Brotherly Love

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Where: Caldecott Home : Zan's Room

When: June 21, 2012; Evening

What: Rylie runs interference while Tim offers his thoughts on Zan's choices.

A couple boxes already sit open in various stages of fullness beside a duffel that looks pretty well stuffed. The bookshelf that normally houses books has been emptied, and the closet stands open showing a few empty hangers. In short, Zan's room looks fairly typical of someone preparing to move.

Of course, he's been packing for a few days now, picking through belongings to determine what to keep and what to toss. It's been easier going, having Rylie with for company and occasionally help. Or distract. At the moment, however, the packing has come to a slight pause.

Zan sits on his bed, back resting against the headboard while he pokes a pen against a notebook. There's already numbers and doodles scratched about the surface, looking ever so much like an attempt at deciding on finances. "Might make it on instant ramen and bologna sandwiches," he says to Rylie. "Could possibly talk my mom out of the food she and Dad'll never eat." Things bought for him anyway, when he'd need to supplement some part of a family meal.

"Hey, there's a lot to be said for ramen," Rylie says from her spot on the floor, where she's just taping up a box. She might not be good for picking what stays or goes, but she can pack a box, by thunder. "It'll be easier if you find a roommate, though. Cut the rent in half and you'd be able to get like, real food."

The smile she turns his way is a teasing one, and it lingers even as she shoved the box over to a mostly empty corner of the room. "Besides," she adds, standing up to come over and drop onto the bed as well, "Roommates are an endless fountain of great stories. Remind me to tell you about my first college roomie, the one who had cat ears grafted on."

Timothy arrived probably ten, fifteen minutes ago for the promise of joining the family for dinner, but for the moment, he makes his way to check on Zan. There's a pause right outside the door, before knocking on the doorframe. "Cat ears?" he asks. "Couldn't help but overhear."

"I like ramen," Zan responds with an amused look. "And you can get ten packs for a dollar. Cheaper than mac and cheese and way more variety." He lowers the notebook and holds a hand out to Rylie. "And if I can find a roommate. Everyone I know is staying with parents or in the dorms."

Mention of cat ears being grafted onto someone's head has his brows ticking upward, though. "Seriously? That… Wow. I couldn't…" Tim's knock and appearance gives him slight pause, a flicker of some unhappiness moving over his expression before he gestures with the pen between the two. "Hi. Rylie, my brother Timothy. —Tim, my girlfriend Rylie."

Rylie looks up at the new voice, a smile spreading over her face, "Seems like you have a pair of cat ears, too." Standing up again, she comes over to offer out her hand for a shake. "Nice to meet you, Tim."

She looks back over to Zan, smirking a little, "Were just planning on Zan finding a crazy roommate so he can eat more than ramen and have wacky stories to entertain me with later."

Timothy returns the handshake and then steps in, to lean on the doorway, but not invade his brother's space. Too much, at least. "Pleasure to meet you, Rylie. I trust you're being a good influence on my little brother?" There's a faint, almost sardonic smile that accompanies the statement, some amusement found at the concepts. "I had some odd roommates my first two years in college, myself. Generally preferred to live by myself rather than in the dorms, though, because there was more uninterrupted studying time."

Zan tosses the notebook and pen onto his desk beside his laptop, though the pen ends up rolling and dropping unceremoniously onto the floor. "You don't have to interrogate her," he says as he stands himself. "Certainly don't need you checking up me, looming. Dad does well enough on his own." He turns for the dresser, intending to clear off some of the clutter there. Couple of books, some old hi-8 tapes, discs in jewel cases.

"Oh," Rylie starts with a laugh, "Don't be silly, he's beyond help." It's affectionate, though. "And I loved my study time interrupted, so maybe I'm not the best good influence out there." She glances between them, her expression turning more amused as Zan replies. "I'm not sure one question counts as an interrogation. But if it does, easiest interrogation ever, awesome."

In response, Timothy rolls his eyes slightly, and then remembers to loosen his tie, tucks his hands into his pockets. He leans against the doorway, entirely relaxed and at ease despite the possible tension of the situation. "I wasn't interrogating her, but if you're asking me to, Alexander, I certainly am capable of doing so." He pauses. "Unlike Dad," Tim continues, "I think it'll be good for you to get out of the house and get out on your own."

The younger Caldecott gives Rylie a look, somewhat indignant though amusement is trying to creep back in. Until he's called Alexander. "It's Zan." The correction is said with a roll of his eyes. A stack is made out of the cases and books as he looks back at Timothy and Rylie. "And I'm not asking you to do anything." The pile is carted over to one of the still opened boxes and dropped inside. He'll put it to rights later. "You mean it'll be good for me to fail and have to come crawling back to beg Dad to bail me out." A lilt to his response makes it nearly a question. A cynical question.

"If the two of you roll your eyes any harder and I'm going to think I'm at a twelve year old girl's birthday sleepover. For real." Rylie steps over to one of the other boxes, to start filling it up, too. Her gaze, though, flicks between the two of them. Her smile is amused, but she's trying to subdue it. "You guys need to tone down the mushy reunion, golly."

Timothy smirks a little when Rylie comments, and lifts his shoulders in an easy shrug. "I'm saying that learning experiences are good things, if you're also prepared to face the consequences that are possible. Not that there will be consequences, it just tends to happen some of the time. I'm not placing any expectation on what you ought to be learning from it, unlike Dad." Another shrug follows the statement.

"Whatever," is Zan's response to Tim. To Rylie, he just shakes his head. "You missed the mushy reunion. We shook hands, then the waffles got soggy." It's an attempt at joking over the failed brunch, he'd already related the incident to her. The books he'd left on the dresser are collected, and he kneels down beside her to add them to the box. "We should introduce him to Shay. Might help him lighten up."

"Waffles are notoriously weak against tears of joy," Rylie jokes back, nudging him with her shoulder when he crouches down. When he offers up Shay, though, Rylie laughs more heartily. "I'm not setting Shay up with a lawyer. No offense," she tacks on toward Tim. "She's not into suits. Plus, you know. She's slippery." Whatever that means. But it comes with a significant look to the younger brother.

"None taken," Timothy assures, though his brow raises just a tick. "Who assumed that I wanted to be set up with anyone? Thank you, but I'll pass." There's a quiet confidence in the older Caldecott's words, though. His brows raise ever so slightly further. "Also, everyone knows suits are boring."

"Who said I was trying to set anyone up with anyone," Zan asks. He tilts with the nudge, exaggerating the force given to it, then leans into Rylie's shoulder with his own. "Besides. She'd probably hurt him."

"Oh, you get it. Good," Rylie says in Tim's direction, "But then, you work with suits everyday, too." She looks back to Zan, lifting her eye brows, "Shay is cute and blonde and funny, who wouldn't want to set her up with their rich, good looking brother?" Duh. "But that's a good point, she has a tendency toward smacking people."

Timothy gets a very, very neutral look on his face. Zan would likely recognise it as Timothy's court face, very similar to their mother's. There's no response to Zan, however, and Tim turns to Rylie instead. "I have a junior district attorney's salary," he points out, blandly.

"Good looking?" Zan, looking dubious, glances between Rylie and Tim. "Him? You think he's good looking?" He looks at Timothy again, squinting, making a big show of trying to see it. "You sure? I agree about Shay, though. She is cute. I think she'd intimidate him too much in the end, scare him off. And he makes less than I will."

"Well, yeah, he's good looking," Rylie says, gesturing toward the courtly fellow, "Like, all the Caldecott men are." Which might be digging herself a bit deeper, but she doesn't seem to notice, because she goes right on into the next topic. "You can't tell me a cop is going to make more than a lawyer, or my entire understanding of US Economics is going to turn upside down."
Timothy pulls his hands from his pocket to fold them across his chest, brow furrowing in obvious displeasure. "You are not going to go out there and become a cop, Alexander," he snaps. "There's going out and staking it out on your own, and then there's just plain dumb. Law enforcement, while necessary, is something that's best if you feel a calling to it, and if you don't, don't do it." The easy-going mannerism of the older brother is entirely gone now.

"So what you're saying is," Zan begins slowly, finally turning his scrutiny off of Tim to look at Rylie, eyes narrowed just a little, “that I rank in there pretty much with my dad and my brother." He pauses for a beat. "Guess we're going to Minot instead of the Bahamas." He might be teasing. A grin he can't quite suppress twitches at the corners of his lips.

Until Timothy speaks. "What?" His reply to his older brother has a touch of a chuckle to it. Brows lift as he looks up at the elder Caldecott. It's gone as soon as he begins talking again, words becoming more angry as he continues. "First, it's Zan. Second, you can't come in here and tell me what I can or can't do. You have no idea what my calling is. Nothing I choose is ever good enough for this family. First you and Mom and Dad shit all over filming, then over the very idea that I might not want to go to college. Then all hell breaks loose when I say I'm considering quitting."

"No no, you're the prettiest," Rylie says, patting his leg, "Just like the Bahamas." And her smile lasts right up until Timothy gets his serious voice, too. "You know, too, your brother's been through a lot lately. Stuff that makes you rethink things a little. And doing so while everyone around you is talking it down sucks times two, Tim. Just saying."

"Then see if you have a calling for it," Timothy responds. Court-face, court-voice, and patient even in his anger. "That's okay. But I expect you not to pursue it if you find out that you don't, understand?"

Zan places a hand lightly over Rylie's, wordless thanks for her support. His jaw tightens a little, while Tim's anger is calm, his own looks about ready to explode. Nothing his older brother would be unfamiliar with. "You can expect whatever you want. I don't have to answer to you," he states, the words almost bitten off. "You've been gone, you have no idea what I've done or been through. You don't know me."

"Hey," Rylie says, giving Zan's hand a squeeze and getting a more worried smile, "You guys been paying attention to baseball lately? I'm quietly rooting for the Diamondbacks, I admit begrudgingly." Which is probably a lie, but you take what you get with sudden topic changes. "Officially, we root for the Yankees, right?"

Timothy folds his arms a little bit more tensely, the only sign of displeasure with Zan's outburst. "Baseball, right," he agrees. "There's a pool at the office, but I generally try not to put money into those things."

It doesn't temper his anger much, but Rylie's hand does keep Zan from moving much. He stares at his older brother, no lessening to his own annoyance. Typical, he doesn't join into the change of conversation, though his redirection comes with finally turning his attention onto his packing again, things getting roughly shoved into the box in front of him with one hand.

"Tim. This is Vegas." Rylie gives him a weird look there, because it's Vegas. She glances to the box, but then up to the older brother. "As much as I love talking sports, we're working hard here, so pitch in or vamoose, Timmy. And give us a good excuse if we just so happen to miss dinner, huh?"

In response, Tim turns from the doorway. "Excuses yes. Packing, no. Who knows what Zan keeps in his drawers," comes the response, with more than a hint of snark. "And, it's Tim. Or Timothy. One or the other." So much like his younger brother, before he turns to walk back off down the hall.

Still nothing from Zan, but something plastic cracks inside the box. He doesn't even rise to the bait until after Tim has disappeared down the hall. "I'm sorry," he says, a little more evenly than he might have moments before. "I could've handled that better."

"You really don't have to apologize," Rylie says with a gentle smile. She sits back from the box, reaching over to take his hands, tugging his attention over her way. "Let's stuff a few more boxes, and then totally skip family dinner and go have something totally irresponsible to eat instead. Milkshakes!"

"I do," Zan says, not entirely insisting. "It's just…" He doesn't finish, stopping himself instead with a small shake of his head. He looks up at her when she tugs his hands, a nod following in response. Though before he returns to dumping more things into boxes, he tugs in her hands in turn and pulls her into a hug. "Thank you," he murmurs next to her ear.

Rylie's hand comes to rest against his cheek when he pulls her in, her other arm wrapping around his shoulders. "You're welcome," she whispers back to him. "Moving out'll be worth it, even if you do have to eat nothing but ramen. This stuff'll be less frequent."

Tilting his head a little, Zan presses his cheek into her hand. After a moment, he turns his face toward her and places a light kiss against her neck. "C'mon," he requests, starting to stand and pulling her with. "Let's get out of here now. I'll work on the rest of this later."

There's just a little mm at that kiss, and Rylie leans back with a crooked smile. It isn't hard to get her up to her feet, either. "Alright, time for Operation Get-Out-Of-The-House-Before-The-Other-Caldecotts-Notice. Which is a very catchy title, thank you. Sneak out the back?" Even if it isn't entirely necessary, this is the plan, apparently.

"While I might be inclined to boldly leave through the front door and thumb my nose at the Caldecott world, slipping out the back unnoticed is acceptable." Zan smiles at her then starts for the door. Though he pauses before going into the hall, long enough to pull her in close and steal another kiss.

"Save the nose thumbing for a better moment," Rylie says with a grin, which disappears when he steals that kiss. Leaving is delayed for just a bit, because she draws it out for a few more kisses. "You know, when you move into your own place, we're going to make out right in your living room. Just fyi."

"Are we," Zan asks quietly, grinning. He tips his head forward, lightly resting against hers for a moment. "I better find a place sooner instead of later then." He tips his head back and kisses her forehead, then starts for the familiar back route escape from the house he'd led her through before.

"Oh yeah," Rylie says with a slyer smile and one more quick kiss. "If you can manage it quickly, that would be a plus." She follows him out, keeping a hold of his hand as he leads them out of the house. And on to milkshakes.

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