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Kate Gregson ([personal profile] vanillajello) wrote2010-10-28 03:40 pm

Overland Park, KS, Thursday Morning

Wednesday night had been a quiet one. One they'd returned to the Gregson house, they'd found the downstairs in complete disarray. There were branches and leaves all over the place, not just the kitchen where the window had been smashed in by the wind. Someone had left the back door open. Kate had gotten yelled at about that for a while, but not too long. They'd all been too tired and confused and everything to really care. They'd left everything as it was, had some microwaved dinner and then retreated upstairs, each to their own rooms, with the exception of Kate and Bod who of course shared hers.

And now it was morning on post-apocalyptic Oak Avenue. Marshall had just taken off to meet up with some friends for breakfast, and Kate was nearly ready to leave for the rescheduled comic book thing. Kansas City hadn't been hit by the tornado, so there was nothing really stopping her.

She just really wanted to get out of the house. Go somewhere else and ignore the fact that her mother still hadn't come back.

"So, I'll be back in the afternoon, I guess," she said, pulling on a jacket over her princess getup.

"All right," he said, nodding and still not understanding this obsession she had with this whole thing. He didn't think he'd ever get it, really. "Have fun."

It was hard to find something right to say when she was nearly running to get to this thing as fast as she could.
"I'm sure I will," Kate replied, with a little quirk of a smile on her red lips. She glanced at the door, but she knew Lynda would give her a call when the cab was on her street. "You know, I still think you should've gone with Moosh. I'm pretty sure he's gonna finally break up with that Courtney chick."
"I don't really think he needed an audience for something like that," Bod said, shaking his head. "Let alone someone like me. I've never done anything like that so I'd just be in the way."
"Well, he took Lionel," Kate remarked, shrugging a shoulder. "And I'm pretty sure one of the gay neighbors was coming with him too, so..." She fidgeted a bit; the wings were really not meant to be worn with a jacket on. "But I guess you can be useful here."

Her father was already cleaning up the kitchen. Charmaine, rather predictably, was still asleep.
"So, I would have been in the way," Bod filled in, frowning at that fidgeting. She didn't tend to fidget all that often. "Would you rather just wait outside? You don't seem like you want to be here, talking to me right now."
"Don't say that," she replied, frowning back at him. "It's just these clothes, they don't really go well together. But, Lynda is supposed to be here any minute now..."

So maybe she should go wait outside.
"I'll be fine here. Enjoy your day, Kate," he said mildly, taking that last statement as confirmation of his original thoughts. "I'm sure I'll see you later."

Well, unless she decided to make this appointment a day long thing. Not that he thought she would but she was eager to be there so he didn't think it was too illogical to think that.
"Mmm." She didn't really say anything to that, just reached to give him a quick hug, made a little awkward by everything she was wearing. Especially the boots.

"Don't let Dad scare you," she murmured by his ear
"Mmm hmm," he said and didn't really try and hug her back mostly because of the costuming and the clothing. He didn't need to ruin that. "Goodbye."
And she couldn't kiss his cheek like she would've wanted to, because that would've meant lipstick stains and potential parental trouble. So she just said a quick 'bye', then went out the door.
"Right," he said after she'd left, trying to shake off that out of sorts feeling that had been lingering since the tornado. He brushed his hands through his hair and rubbed his eyes.
Well, at least he was going to get something to do, instead of just standing there.

"Hey, Bod?" Max called out before appearing in the kitchen doorway. "You wanna grab a garbage bag and start helping me clean up some of this shit from the living room?"

Because it looked like there was about a half a park's worth of branches and leaves there, all over the floor and the couches and the coffee table. Even on the shelves.
"Yes, sir," Bod said, taking a moment to glance around before he located said garbage bags and eventually headed to join Mr. Gregson in the living room.

He wasn't wrong about the mess and Bod had to blink again at how much destruction the storm had caused in both the house and in the neighborhood.

"Yeah," Max agreed mildly as he opened up a garbage bag of his own and started picking things up. "Lesson learned about not leaving the back door open, that's for sure."
"Saying it could have been worse almost seems silly when you're looking at this," he remarked, moving to start picking up some of the debris strewn about.

"I suppose it's good that just parts of the trees and not the trees themselves ended up in here," he added after a pause.
"And we still got electricity," Max added, because he'd rather think positively too. Or at least try to. It was better than focusing on all the negative.

Like not having any idea where his wife was at the moment.

"Some folks down the street lost theirs 'cause the powerlines went down. We got lucky."
"You just have a small forest in your living room," he joked, nearly getting his shirt tangled in a branch before stuffing it into the bag. "No one got hurt, though."

Well, Bod hoped that was true especially since Mrs. Gregson was still gone. He hoped she wasn't hurt wherever she was.
"No one got hurt, yeah." Max sounded like he may have wanted to sigh, but he didn't. Just kept picking up branches and all the other debris the wind had blown in.

He was quiet for a while, just thinking. The topic of his thoughts became clear once he spoke again. "So, I guess Kate's told you about her mom, huh?"

Seeing as he hadn't freaked out much when all the crazy started happening. Not more than everyone else had, anyway.
"She has," he said, nodding. "Not in any kind of great detail, of course, but she told me enough that I understood despite not having a great deal of exposure to it."

He shook his bag to settle the leaves at the bottom. "It seems difficult for you all."
"It's our life," Max replied simply, with a hint of resignation, examining the TV set for signs of damage. At least the screen hadn't broken, that was a good sign.

"Just how it goes around here."
Bod understood that sentiment but couldn't share because of what his past was. Unfortunate because he did want to try and relate.

He nodded though, sympathizing quietly. "I think I might be jinxing your town," he said and laughed. "The last time I was here, your neighbor passed on and this time, there was a tornado."
Max couldn't quite muster up a laugh. Or even any wry amusement.

"It's been eventful even when you haven't been here."

He left it at that. If Kate had talked to Bod about what had happened at the ice skating rink – though Max doubted that – he might know what Max meant. If not, well... Max didn't particularly care.

He put his bag down on one of the couches and got his phone out. "Gonna see if I can get a hold of Kate's mom."
"All right," Bod said, nodding and continuing his clean up quietly. His poor hands were getting dirty and occasionally scratched by the tree branches but he ignored that.

He scooped up a pile of leaves into a pile before transferring them into his bag and shaking it to settle them.
Max kept the phone clamped to his ear for a long, long time, hoping Tara would pick up if he just waited for one moment longer.

But she didn't, and eventually he had to admit that to himself. "Dammit," he muttered under his breath, sliding the phone back into his pocket.

He didn't say anything for a long time after that, just went back to cleaning up.
Bod felt like he had to say something in response to that but he didn't really know what. Assuring Mr. Gregson that she'd come back was ridiculous because he didn't really know that much as he hoped it. Making flimsy excuses would probably just anger him and espousing impersonal platitudes would only make him look like a fool.

"I hope she comes back soon," he said, going with that since it seemed like the safest thing to say. "And I'm sorry I can't be more help right now."
That, at least, got Max to give a quiet snort. "You're being more helpful than either of my kids."

Not that he could really blame them for wanting to get out of the house.
Bod shrugged and offered a small smile. "I don't really understand the things they've gone off to do. I'd just be in the way."
"Well, you and me both, buddy."

He just had no idea what Kate was doing nowadays, as much as she tried to still have some parental control over her, and he'd sort of had his hands full lately so he'd lost track of Marshall a little, too.

"Not feeling the... whatever princess crap it is that Kate's doing?"
"Not really," he admitted with a brief shrug. "I don't understand mostly and I think her focus has skewed so heavily towards it that she forgets about other things."

As soon as that came out, he realized that he sounded jealous or possessive and he made a face at himself.

"I didn't mean just me," he clarified even if he did feel like that sometimes. "I feel like I've seen her alter ego more than I've seen her lately. I prefer her."
Max's lips pursed a little, at that, and he didn't immediately reply. That hit a little close to home, for obvious reasons. Bod had even seen those reasons with his own eyes, yesterday in the basement.

"Yeah," Max sighed. "I know what that's like."

He fell silent again, eyes on the assorted crap he was picking up and stuffing into his garbage bag.
Bod nodded and twisted the bag he was holding somewhat, lips pursed and eyes downcast.

"It makes her happy and I'm not one to argue against that," he added quietly, lest her father think he was going to control something like that. "I know it makes her happy."
Max had been on the verge of getting lost in some of his own thoughts, but he was still listening.

"She thinks it makes her happy," he offered, a little absently, if not entirely unkindly. "She gets that way about things sometimes."
"Maybe," he said, nodding and picking up a few more strewn branches and leaves. He knew her father was probably right but he wasn't about to say something like that to Kate.

"I suppose it's better to think you're happy than to know you're not?" Bod suggested, shrugging a little helplessly.
"I don't even know anymore," Max replied, sounding like he barely even realized he'd said it.

He straightened up and rolled his shoulders a few times. Guys his height weren't supposed to be spending time hunched over picking stuff up. "You know, Bod, I'm glad th--"

That was as far as he got before his phone rang. He got it out of his pocket quickly, clearly hoping it would be Tara.
Bod stepped away to give him some privacy and busied himself with clearing some of the leaves off the shelves. It didn't look there'd been too much damage in this area either.

Bod paused and wiped his hands off on his pants before resuming his cleaning duties.
And he'd put himself in the prime spot for looking at some family pictures, too. There were quite a few of them on the shelves.

Kate looked like a loud but happy kid. Marshall gave off a quieter vibe, as always.

Much to Max's dismay, the caller was not Tara. And it soon became clear it was not a good call to get, either.

"-- You do know there was a tornado through here yesterday? ... No, no, of course, I understand. ...Yes. Okay. Fine, we'll be here."

He lowered the phone only to start selecting a new number to call, sounding less calm than he'd been while he talked to whoever that caller had been. "Un-fucking-believable."
"Is everything all right?" Bod asked, turning his attention away from the pictures and back towards Mr. Gregson.
"No," he said, bringing the phone up to his ear again. "A fucking social worker is coming here for a visit. In about five hours."
"Oh." Bod really had no idea what that meant and he just stood there, looking a little hesitant about doing anything else. He decided he'd just keep cleaning for the moment and wait until Mr. Gregson was off the phone.

If anything, the place would need to be clean for this visit so he was helping somewhat.
Max would probably be grateful, eventually. Right now, his priority was getting hold of Tara.

"Pick up, come on, pick up," he muttered under his breath, pacing a bit. And then... "Hello? Tara?" The relief he was feeling was evident in his voice. "Where are you? Are you okay? ... I've been worried about you all night."

But then it was time for business. "Guess who's paying us a visit at one o'clock? Department of family fucking services." He paced some more, looking around at the wreckage that remained. "It's the Sully thing. Court's sending someone over to check on the kids, make sure I'm not an unfit parent."

His house was a mess. His life, too, a little. He didn't care whether Bod heard this or not. He explained the situation to Tara, how the guy was coming over in a few hours, how Kate had left the back door open and how there was dirt and shit all over the place.

Finished with the call, he shook his head. "Tara's on her way."
"I'm glad to hear that," Bod said sincerely, picking up the pace with his cleaning now. If she was on her way, she was most likely all right and that was a relief even if he and Mr. Gregson were the only ones that knew it.

"Um, is there anything else I can do?" he asked after another moment. "Continue cleaning? I can call Kate? Or I can make myself scarce since I'm not really a family member and might draw questions."
"No, no, you should stay," Max said, picking up some broken decorative items and throwing them in his bag. Not enough time to start finding all the pieces to see whether they could be fixed. "You can... be the respectable English boyfriend."

Because they needed every bit of respectability and sanity they could get on their side, at this point.

"And yeah, you should definitely call Kate. You probably have a better shot at getting her to come back than I do." Of course, Kate's phone was on mute in the back room at the comic book store, but it was not like Max could know that. "And then, if you could, you could keep cleaning the living room and I'll go work on the kitchen?"
"I can be respectable," he said and laughed, already pulling his phone out to try and get hold of Kate, not knowing that he wouldn't have any luck.

While he held the phone with one hand, he continued tossing things into the bag that was rapidly filling up. His hands were getting dirtier and dirtier but he wasn't paying attention to that anymore.
"Good, you do that," Max nodded, picking up his garbage bag and carrying it to the door to be taken outside. "I need to call Marsh."

And with that, he vanished into the kitchen.
Of course, he was having more success with one than the other. Kate wasn't picking up and he shook his head, starting to really feel himself disliking this alter ego of hers.

He straightened up the couch cushions, brushing the dirt off of them and then tried to clean up the rug around it.
A few moments later, Max poked his head into the living room again.

"Did you get Kate?" he asked. "Marshall says he's already on his way back."
"No, sir," Bod said from where he'd gotten to straightening things on the shelves and brushing dirt of various surfaces. "She's not answering which either means she's ignoring me or she doesn't have her phone in front of her."
"Could be either one," Max replied, shaking his head before rubbing his forehead. "Okay, well, keep trying, and we'll figure something out once her mom gets here."

He went back into the kitchen.

It was starting to feel like this was going to be another very long day.

[ooc: NFB, NFI, OOC-okay! Part one of three. Again, preplayed with the amazing [ profile] there_was_life, and taken and modified from United States of Tara S02E07 'Dept. of Fucked Up Family Services'.]