The Mash Up

rylie_icon.png timothy_icon.png zan_icon.png

Where: Caldecott Home and Rylie's Townhouse

When: June 25, 2012; Evening

What: Dinner at the Caldecott home is avoided by both Caldecott sons when Rylie invites Timothy to join her and Zan for the evening.

Someone skipped afternoon classes today. Not that anyone at home would notice. They don't take attendance in college like they do in high school. So playing hooky gave Zan an afternoon alone to finish the last of his packing of mostly unnecessaries. Every day clothes still kept to his drawers, his laptop was still on his desk along with a few accessories belonging to his filmmaking craft. But a half dozen boxes, a well stuffed duffel, and a gig bag were left in front of the empty bookcase.

And within that free time he'd texted Rylie, asking her to come over after work and to let herself in through the garage side door. The Escape Route he called it. Then, to pass the time until everyone else was off work, he got to work on his computer, copying the images and video from their trip through time onto his hard drive and fiddling with it, changing settings and such.

Making up for having put in overtime over the weekend, Timothy's off work and arriving to spend the evening at the Caldecott household a bit early. A bit earlier than expected, in fact, and the front door swings open and shut and there's the sound of the older son making his way to the kitchen.

Rylie's bright yellow convertible is less than stealthy, parked out front as it is. But she does a little better, slipping in through the side door and making her way through the house. It's the way someone who lives there should know, rather than a visitor, but there she goes all the same. And frankly, she might have had just enough of the Caldecott father today to be more than happy sneaking around out of sight.

Unfortunately, she isn't entirely out of sight, particularly when she runs right into Tim on his way to the kitchen.

With his own door open, the front door opening and closing doesn't go unnoticed. Zan looks to the hallway as he closes the lid to his laptop, then stands and starts for the stairs. Since he should probably be down there to explain why Rylie's letting herself in to whoever's shown up.

Eyebrows raise, and Tim pauses, before continuing for the kitchen. "Rylie," he greets her, tone fairly neutral. "Good to see you. Didn't know you were going to be joining us for dinner tonight, though?" A pause, and then Timothy goes about getting himself a soda from the fridge.

"Hey Tim," Rylie says with a crooked smile. Caught, but unembarrassed. "Good to see you, too." There's a glance around the kitchen, but she grabs a drink, too, after a moment. "Oh, well, that's because I'm not insane enough to come to the Caldecott family dinner just yet." Nevermind that she's here. Near enough to dinner time. "Zan asked me to come over."

"Plus, I'd like to keep her, not scare her off," comes Zan's voice from the stairs. He appears a few seconds later, and crosses the kitchen to Rylie. He wraps an arm around her shoulders and kisses her cheek before turning a look to his brother. "Wasn't entirely planning on staying for dinner anyway." Unless Rylie decides she wants to brave that storm. "Why're you here so early?"

Timothy cracks open the can of soda, takes a long sip, and then sets it on the counter in order to loosen his tie. "Right then," he says. "Hey Zan. I got off work early, figured I'd come bide some time here." There's an unspoken tone of challenge, a sort of 'you have a problem with that' in the statement. It's followed by a shrug, and when Tim turns, there's the very faint show of a bruise on one side of his neck, hidden fairly well with make-up and concealer.

Rylie's expression brightens up at Zan's appearance and she leans into that kiss as her arm slides around him, too. "Hey, just in time to watch me alienate members of your family one at a time." It might not be on purpose, but at the same time, she's not apologizing for insulting family dinners. She misses the bruise, mostly because she's not looking his way at the moment. "Not a bad plan, by the way. It was a rough day at the office." Which jut might imply that their father isn't going to be on his best behavior when he gets to the dinner table.

Zan, likewise misses the bruise. Or he doesn't care. Either is likely, considering. He's his own share of newer bruises and cuts, unconcealed. Though he's well accustomed to ignoring his own as well. He meets Tim's gaze evenly, though, chin lifting just a touch at the unspoken challenge. His gaze remains on his brother a second after the older Caldecott turns away, then eases into a faint smile when he looks back at Rylie.

"Do I want to know what happened," he asks, a little cautious. He probably doesn't really want to know what's got his dad's ire this time. "And I can make you dinner at your place, unless you want to pick something up instead."

Timothy nods, shrugging his shoulders once more, and moves to pick up his soda again, giving Zan and Rylie some space. "Maybe I should skip the family dinner tonight myself," he muses, giving Rylie half a look.

"You're better off not knowing," Rylie says dryly, and probably because she knows he doesn't actually want to know, either. And instead, she lets his offer take the front burner, a smile coming to her face again. "You're going to cook for me? I might just have to take you up on that."

When she looks over at Tim, her smile dims just a little, making it friendly, rather than friendly. "You want to come have dinner with us? You're totally welcome to. Believe it or not, your brother's not bad at it."

"Maybe later," Zan says, of his dad's foul mood. Since he's likely to end up facing it regardless. He brings out a smile, arm tightening around Rylie's shoulders in a hug. "Of course I'll cook for you. Whatever you want."

His expression falls flat at the invitation, though. He looks at Tim, a small furrow along his brow. "Sure," he adds his agreement, though he doesn't sound quite so inviting.

The older Caldecott boy smiles at the invitation. "Thank you Rylie," Timothy says. "I appreciate the offer of a dinner that's not going to become a war zone or a battle ground." He turns a studying gaze on his brother, but there's no unkindness in it, and it seems that whatever problems Tim might have with Zan's choices, he's brought them up once and he doesn't feel the need to bring them up again, or rub it in.

"Anytime." And despite Zan's lack of enthusiasm, Rylie seems to mean that sincerely. "I can't promise there won't be a war zone, though. We've been known to devolve into food fights or, at the very least, really intense rounds of

"Anytime." And despite Zan's lack of enthusiasm, Rylie seems to mean that sincerely. "I can't promise there won't be a war zone, though. We've been known to devolve into food fights or, at the very least, really intense rounds of Mario Kart." That, too, sounds sincere. Perhaps not reassuring, but sincere. "But first," she says, her arms coming to fold over her torso, "Entrance exam. Favorite Beatle?"

Zan shakes his head a little and gives his brother another small frown. But he doesn't try to talk him out of it. Or protest the invitation. "You'd be better off not challenging her," he asides. Rylie is given another small hug before he turns to run up the stairs, saying something about grabbing his pack before they take off.

"McCartney," Timothy responds, with a faint grin that edges over the calm and collected 'court face'. Zan gets a nod, and then the soda can is tipped back, drained, and set in the bin under the sink for recycling.

Rylie nods to Zan, too, a smirk breaking her serious countenance for a moment. But when she turns back to Tim, she's right back to scrutinizing, if playfully so. "Jimi Hendrix or Eric Clapton?" An eyebrow lifts there, as if this one might be more important than the last.

Upstairs, Zan finds his pack and checks over the few contents that are always within. He adds his laptop and a couple of memory sticks. His phone is shoved into his pocket and all zippers are closed. Pulling a strap onto his shoulder, he starts into the hall and for the downstairs again, closing his bedroom door behind him.

Timothy crosses his arms and peers down at Rylie. "Now what sort of a choice is that," he asks. The smile turns into a chiding frown. "What sort of a choice?" When Zan comes back into sight, Tim turns his attention from the discussion of music, to his brother. "You found a place yet?" he asks.

"A difficult one!" Rylie's answer comes with a laugh, but she turns to Zan when he comes back in, gesturing back to Tim. "Your brother's trying to skip out on the interview and we haven't even gotten to the matter of whether Elvis is alive or dead." As if this were totally unreasonable.

"Told you not to challenge her," Zan says with an exaggerated sigh. His brother's question gets a frown, though he doesn't look at Tim. "No," he answers, returning to Rylie's side. "I haven't, I'm still looking. And Elvis is still alive, I saw him at Jamba Juice this morning."

At the banter, Timothy rolls his eyes ever so slightly. He's good at the expression, if nothing else. "Neil Young, or Crosby Stills and Nash?" Zan probably could warn Rylie about Timothy's rather eclectic set of musical taste, at least if it hasn't changed in the past ten years. Which it pretty much hasn't. "My turn," Tim adds, by way of explanation of the sudden flipping of tables. He certainly has the confidence that he expects his question to be answered.

"Was that Korean Elvis?" Rylie asks with a grin, and probably not helping Tim like their banter any better. She takes Zan's hand between both of hers, and while she might be ready to say something to him, Timothy's question gets her attention. "Neil Young, easy," she says, that eyebrow arching back up.

"That's the one with the purple streak in his hair, right?" Zan laces his fingers with Rylie's, grinning faintly. He looks between Rylie and Tim for a moment, then shakes his head. "You two ready," he asks, brows ticking upward. "Or do we want to wait until Mom and Dad get home? I can leave, but if Tim wants dinner… He can always stay here."

"I'm ready," he assures, "whenever you two lovebirds are." New tactic, teasing his little brother about having a girlfriend. Wallet is picked up from the counter, Tim's tie taken off entirely and rolled up into one pocket.

The girlfriend, at least, seems unbothered by the tease, but might make it a little worse when she leans over to kiss Zan right there. Knowing her, she's probably looking to make the teasing a little worse. "Car's out front. We can still miss them if we're quick," she says, before she leads the way back out through the escape route.

His older brother's quip gets a scowl, but it's the kiss that sets some heat to Zan's ears. He at least tries to cover it by looking smug, as he steps up after Rylie and slides an arm around her waist. "Least I have someone," he calls back to Tim as they take the exit through the garage, around the side of the house and back to the driveway.

Timothy follows after the two in silence for a moment, then grins. "I'd say to get a room," he points out, "but then I'd be missing out on dinner, plus there's that whole part that Zan hasn't found anywhere yet," he says, once they're all in the car. "Nice car, Rylie."

"Now, boys. You're both pretty," Rylie says as she hops into the driver's seat. And to prove that Rylie's music tastes are far and wide, the speakers shout out La Roux when she starts up. "Thank you," she says, turning the sound down enough for conversation before she pats the dash affectionately.

"I'll find one," Zan replies emphatically. He shoots a look to his brother, scornful, then climbs into the front seat beside Rylie. His backpack finds its way to the floor near his feet as he looks up at her. But whatever he might say goes unsaid, and he turns his attention to what's beyond the windshield.

Timothy settles in the back seat, a little bit cramped but not too badly. "You can crash at my place if you need to," he eventually offers. "If you don't find somewhere." There's a hint of tenseness in Tim's voice, but the words are genuine.

Rylie pulls away from the house, and no sign of the elder Caldecotts just yet. They'll just have to deal with the fallout another night. "There's quite a few places to check out. I'm going along to make sure no one's cheating him on the rent. You know. Or trying to pass off a piece of crap as a winner. The things people try to get away with. Honestly."

Although, for her own apartment, she seems to be lingering in the nicer parts of town. Maybe the mayor pays her too much.

"Dad put you up to that offer," Zan asks, glancing over his shoulder. He looks at Rylie again and nods a little. "There's some apartments a few blocks from your community. Rent's not bad, my savings'll hold out for a few months as long as I'm careful." And as long as he gets the job. "We'll have to see when they're expecting an opening there."

Timothy raises his brows. "Dad didn't put me up to it," he says, and there's a hint of surprise, finding the idea almost ludicrous, as he leans back in his seat, partially paying attention to Rylie's driving, partially paying attention to Zan. "The couch folds out into a decent bed, and you're family." And family looks out for one another.

Rylie's driving is mostly good, if on the speedy side. Lead foot. Having a fast car probably doesn't help. "Zan, you're paranoid," she says with a laugh at that accusation. "And it might not be a bad idea, if he kicks you out before we find you a place. Just for a little while, anyway." It's telling how short a time they've been dating, that she doesn't just move him into her place.

Probably why he hasn't asked for more than just the occasional night over, too. "You didn't grow up a Caldecott," Zan points out, a little nearer to joking. He looks back at Tim for a moment and shrugs. It isn't an agreement, but he isn't closing the door on the idea either. "So long as he doesn't cramp my style. And if he starts acting like Dad I'm out of there. I'll take my chances in tent city."

Attention to Rylie's driving lessens after a few minutes, long enough to get used to things. Timothy folds his arms, brows raising a bit, and then sighs. "Seriously? I think I'm pretty relaxed compared to Dad. My room's off-limits, my office is off-limits, don't wake me up when you come in at night, and don't have sex on the couch without warning me to not be home, first." He falls silent, apparently that's it on the rules.

"That I did not. But we all know I would have been the favorite if I had," Rylie says with a flash of a smile toward Zan. Just a flash, because her attention is on the road. The set of rules seem to be taken in stride, right up to that last one. It's Rylie's turn to be a little embarrassed there, and she barks out a nervous laugh before glancing toward Zan again. Not a word spoken, though.

"Of course," Zan says to Rylie with a grin. The grin turns to a look of annoyed disbelief. Rules? Really? Letting his brother talk, he reaches for Rylie's hand. He falls short of taking it, though, when that last rule is spoken. Palm meets face instead, fingers dragging over his head and through his hair as he looks at Rylie.

Timothy grins, widely, and laughs, a very quiet 'hah'. "Gotchya," he says, to both of them. "Though I really mean it about my privacy what with my office and my room. There's a main bathroom with a shower in the apartment aside from the master bath, so there's no reason you should need to go in my room anyway."

"Shut up," Rylie says to Tim, but good naturedly. And with a smile. "Privacy's understandable. It is your place, after all." She glances over to Zan as she pulls up to the gate of her complex, swiping a card to get it to open. "That's not going to be the first place we have sex, for the record. Maybe not even the second. Third, though, watch out."

Zan? He's trying to pretend he isn't hearing his brother. Which is hard when his girlfriend joins in the discussion about where sex is or is not going to happen. He tries a couple of times to say something, but ends with just looking at Rylie, brows ticking upward slightly.

"I don't care what you do, as long as I don't walk in on it," Timothy says, with a snort, unbuckling his seatbelt when they arrive.

Jumping at the poke, Rylie laughs and follows after him to the kitchen as well. "Well. I always have stuff for pasta, if you want something different, you'll have to poke around." She looks over at Tim as she reaches to pull down glasses. "Drink, Tim?"

"She makes a mean martini," Zan says to his brother, casting Rylie a smile. He starts pulling out pots and pasta makings, setting water to boil and reading labels as he goes. Seems he's spent time enough rummaging to know where things are kept.

"Alright, sure thing," Tim agrees, readily enough. "Thank you again for having me over for dinner, Rylie. Zan." The thanks is extended to both of them, graciously. "I appreciate it."

"I do make them mean. There's a beware sign on my shaker." Which there isn't, really, when she pulls it out, too. The thanks gets a more genuine smile, though, and she nods back to him, "Anytime. You have to spend all day with the suits, gotta have a night or two with regular people, right?"

"Yeah, sure," Zan says in response to the thanks. He looks up at Tim and shrugs, then makes a decision on sauce and noodles. And while the water heats up, he turns to half sit against the edge of the counter. A mischievous grin curls the corners of his mouth as he watches Rylie, but it's his brother he addresses."So, Timmy. Rylie and I are going to Minot over the Fourth. So you'll have weather the fall out for us."

Timothy raises his eyebrows at Zan, leans back against the doorframe to consider his little brother for a very long moment of silence, in which the resemblance between Timothy and his father is obvious, in expression, body language, everything. But not tone, when Tim finally does respond. "Hah," he says, quietly. "Enjoy yourselves in Minot, but the fallout'll from our parents will still be here when you get back, you know." Tim pauses. "Nothing I can do that will lessen it, really. Might be less if you've moved out of there before you go off," he offers, "then they won't have as much leverage."

"Oh yeah. Bison territory," Rylie says with a sidelong glance toward Zan before she starts mixing. She must pay attention in the bars, or she's seen Cocktail too many times, because there's even a bit of flair before she ends up pouring out a pair of drinks. A pair, because she's not giving one to Zan. Maybe she's just on her best behavior. "He's got a point there, you know. If you're out of the house, there's really not much they can say."

"They're already kicking me out," Zan says, as if there weren't much else his parents could do. Rylie's look is given an all too innocent grin. "Best vacation spot ever," he teases. He pushes his hands into his pockets as he glances over the two drinks, then gazes at the stovetop. "I should get out soon anyway. Rylie, think you'd go to the recruiter with me?"

Timothy moves over to pick up his drink, taking a sip, and offers Rylie a grin. "Mean martini," he agrees, with the impression that's a good thing, before he looks back to Zan. "Yes, they are. But if you move out before you go off for a few days, you won't have to deal with the incessant fallout quite so much, when you come back." He shrugs. "Up to you, I can get a spare set of keys made whenever you need." Which is to say, the offer for Zan to come crash on his couch is still open, and there's an expectation that Zan's going to take him up on it implied.

Rylie winks at Tim's compliment, complete with a click of her tongue for effect. She slides up to sit on the counter before picking up her own, and there's a nod along with the brother's words. "And you can always keep your extra boxes here, while we're still looking around. I mean, if it's a matter of getting out soon." But her expression softens at the question from the younger Caldecott and she smiles brightly. "If you want me to come along, of course I will."

A frown is given to Tim, with Zan shaking his head. "Fine. Tomorrow we move. And you're not allowed to give me anymore grief." Not that he expects his brother to listen. He slides along the counter to lightly bump his shoulder against Rylie's. "Awesome. I'll set it up then. Get this show going."

Timothy chuckles quietly, lifting his shoulders in a shrug that's probably acknowledgement. There's no promise about whether or not he'll continue to hassle his brother. "Gotchya." It's a vague agreement, certainly there are lots and lots of loopholes that the legal-minded older Caldecott son will be able to find.

"I think Tim is now my official tag team partner in helping Zan make important life decisions. Huh!" Rylie might be teasing, but she points over at Tim, her expression more serious. "When Christmas rolls around, we gotta talk strategy." But when she swings her attention back to Zan, she drapes an arm over those shoulders and grins, "Just let me know when. If I have to take a long lunch or something, totally worth it."

"Great," Zan says, drawing the word out and sound not entirely enthused. "Should I be worried? Life decisions and Christmas?" He feigns wariness fairly well, looking at Tim and then Rylie as if either one might sprout wings or something else devious. "Always worth skipping work on my account." He grins and slides his arm around Rylie's waist, then nods toward the pot. "Add the pasta to the water, Tim?"

Timothy moves into the kitchen, setting his drink down on the counter and then adding the pasta to the water. "I dunno," he informs Zan as he does so. "You tell me whether you should be worried." The tone Timothy offers this in is dry, sardonic, and there's a faint grin. "Certainly if you think you should be worried, you should worry." Logic, the older brother never fails at it, at twisting it to suit his whim.

"No trust whatsoever. And after everything we've been through together," Rylie says, her smile crooked. "And of course I skip work here and there. Who doesn't?" It's all part of her live-for-the-moment philosophy. "Speaking of work, though," she says, more serious again, "I'm working one of the parties this weekend." Which she hasn't done since that whole kidnapping thing. "If you, you know. But if you don't, I understand."

"No trust whatsoever. And after everything we've been through together," Rylie says, her smile crooked. "And of course I skip work here and there. Who doesn't?" It's all part of her live-for-the-moment philosophy. "Speaking of work, though," she says, more serious again, "I'm working one of the parties this weekend." Which she hasn't done since that whole kidnapping thing. "If you, you know. But if you don't, I understand."

"I trust you," Zan says easily. "It's Tim I don't." His smile sobers a little, then turns a touch toward worried. "No, it's okay… I'll be there, Rylie. It'll be fun. I'll stay close this time."

There's another quiet snort of laughter, and Tim makes with stirring the pasta every often, and doing quite a good job of pretending he doesn't hear whatever parts of the conversation between his brother, and his brother's girlfriend, that are more private.

"You don't have to. If it's not… Well, you know." Still, Rylie takes his hand for a grateful squeeze. But there's a nod toward Tim after a moment, and a smirk returning to her face. "Hey, if you can't trust a lawyer, who can you trust?"

"I'll be there," Zan says again. He smiles at Rylie, lacing her fingers with his. "It's fine." He watches her a moment longer, then follows her gaze to Tim, brows raising. "I'd say my brother. But he's a lawyer. Kind of negates that whole thing."

Court-face. Timothy spends a moment longer facing the stove and stirring the pasta, and when he turns back to the two of them, he's entirely and wholly composed, face unreadable. And silent, brows raised slightly.

"Two lawyers and a politician in your family. I guess the girls will have to go into some seriously humanitarian work to even it out." Rylie teases because she cares. Really! She glances over at Tim, her hand moving to her hip. "Okay, how do you do that with your face? That's gotta be cheating."

"Knowing my luck, Marlie and Maddie'll go political, too." Zan points at Tim. "Stop it. It's your fault. And you're overcooking the pasta." He sighs and gives Rylie's hand a squeeze before going over to take over the cooking again. "Rookie." The noodles are taken off and drained. Some searching brings up a pat of butter to mix in while he sets sauce to heating.

Timothy steps quickly and deftly out of the way to let Zan back to the helm of cooking, before turning that ever-so-serious expression onto Riley. "You learn it in law school," he explains.

"Oh, I bet it is. The professor goes between reading out horrific news stories and insulting your mother. Whoever makes a face fails." Rylie smiles over at Tim before she turns to watch Zan cooking. "And if they do, you realize your movies have to be as mindnumbingly base as possible, right?"

"My movies are going to be awesome," Zan says quietly, picking through various herbs and spices to add to the sauce. "Edge of the seat, awe-inspiring. Not just flashy CGI and explosions, but something profound. Awakening."

Timothy takes another sip of the martini, the expression maintained in neutral-interest as Zan speaks. "They'd better be awesome," comes the dry remark. "You're a Caldecott, after all."

Rylie opens her mouth to respond to Zan, but Tim's words pull her attention that way. There's a chuckle and a shake of her head before she murmurs into her martini glass. "No wonder he's the favorite," she says, just before taking a long drink.

"Favorite conformist," Zan says derisively. He hasn't looked up from cooking, in fact the burner turns off and he starts pouring the sauce over the past. "Perfect Timmy, never the thorn in Dad's side. Never does anything wrong." The pasta is tossed a little, mixing in the sauce with maybe a little more force than necessary.

"It's Tim, Alexander," Timothy grumbles, annoyance creeping into his voice and the nagging tone with which he uses his brother's full name that doesn't show otherwise.

"Oh come on. Tim, you've got to do some things your family hates. He just does it quietly. No one's the perfect kid." Rylie looks over at Zan, scooting over so she can reach over to touch his arm. Reassuring. "I mean, I'm the Tim in my family, but only because my brother messed up so much. You think they wanted me to be a secretary? You know Tim isn't doing what your mom wants, but she's going to accept it, because it's a far cry closer than you striking out to do something completely your own. No offense, Tim."

"He's doing what they want, just now quite how they wanted." Zan stares down at the pasta as he gives it another stir. "And they forgive him, because he can't ever do anything wrong. But me. I'm always a wrong, a failure." He glances up at Rylie, offering a sort of half smile, apologetic, grateful. He takes her hand and gives it a light squeeze, then sets the finished food product in easy reach. "Sorry," he says quietly, excusing himself from the kitchen.

Timothy sighs, some, though he doesn't interrupt Zan, doesn't try and stop Zan or go after him. Instead, there's a half-frustrated grumble and glance towards Rylie. "She's nowhere near accepting it yet," he notes. "And they'll accept what Zan chooses, eventually. It's just not easy for them to accept one of us making our own choices."

Rylie squeezes his hand back, but ultimately lets him leave the room when he needs to. She might not normally, but if he needs a break from family, she's not going to argue. Yet. But she does hop off the counter with a sigh of her own. "Oh, but she will. Faster than Zan's ever going to get encouragement from them. Hell, your dad gives me more support than he does Zan. He doesn't care what they think— just enough to do what he wants, but then he still cares just enough that it hurts when they dismiss him. Family, what can you do."

She pulls down plates, gesturing for Tim to help himself before she slips out of the kitchen, too, to go after Zan.

In the small space that he's alone, Zan has retrieved his backpack and set himself on one end of the couch. He's pulled his laptop out, but no further work has been made. A slight furrow's set between his eyebrows and his thumb pulls at the lip of the laptop lid. He looks up when Rylie leaves the kitchen, watching her.

Seeing him there, Rylie comes over to drape her arms over his shoulders from behind the couch. A kiss presses against his cheek and she leans her forehead against his temple. "You know you're not a failure, right?" She asks the question softly, just a whisper between them.

Zan doesn't voice an answer immediately. His head tilts back some, and leans into her shoulder and forehead. "I know," he says finally, matching her tone. "Just seems like they're expecting me to. Constantly. That nothing I do is ever good enough or is going to embarrass someone."

"You better know. You don't get to call yourself a failure until you're like, ninety. And even then, I'm going to need to see the evidence." Rylie's arms tighten around him some, and she sneaks another kiss or two in there. "Who cares. If it embarrasses them, that's their problem, seriously. You're not doing anything unseemly, there's no reason for anyone to be freaking out. And they'll see that you're more than good enough."

Zan musters a small smile, reaching up with a hand to hold her arms around him. "I know," he says again. Though it's hard to be convinced completely, considering his family. He turns his head, to touch his forehead to hers, then glances toward the kitchen. "He's just like my dad most of the time. You know? No pleasing any of them." He sighs and shrugs, then kisses Rylie's cheek. "Should go eat while it's still hot."

"Maybe. But you know, I think there's a lot of potential there for you guys to be bros. You know? Or at least for an ally in these family squabbles. I don't think he minds what you decide to do with your life, so long as you do the shit out of it." Might not be how the lawyer would put it, though. Rylie smiles at the kiss, and gives him a nod. "You spent all that time cooking it, we may as well make sure it tastes good. Come on."

In the kitchen, Tim's dished out food not only for himself, but for Rylie and Zan as well, such that the food doesn't get cold, and he stands, leaning against the counter and fussing with his Blackberry. Work email that's followed him, certainly.

Zan sets his laptop beside his hip, then tightens his hold around Rylie's arms. For just a moment. He kisses her cheek again then stands, a hand held out to her as he turns toward the kitchen.

Rylie takes that hand to walk with him back into the kitchen. And seeing the food dished out, she chuckles a little, "Invite you over and put you to work, that's the way we do it around here." But she picks up one of the servings to pass to Zan before claiming one for herself.

Timothy gives a gracious little smile and nod to Rylie. "I try and do what I can," he says. Clearly, he's not interested in any line of discussion that would lead to further argument or discussion. "Thank you for dinner, Zan. You'll have to help me learn to not make a mess of my kitchen while you stay with me, I still can't even boil water or make toast without burning it most of the time." He claims his own plate, sets the glass from his drink down on the counter behind him.

"Sure," Zan replies to Tim as he takes the plate offered to him. "…If you want. I'm not much of a cook, though, just… by necessity." He turns to take up his spot against the counter, half sitting again while he pushes the noodles around in the sauce. He seems to be watching the other two, as if wondering how they're going to perceive his mixture.

Someday, Rylie will get a table. A proper one with chairs and tablecloths. But for now, everyone gets to hang out in the kitchen. And she leans against a counter herself, perhaps for leverage while she shamelessly devours the pasta. At least it seems to be good? Or she's just really hungry.

Timothy doesn't seem to mind the entire lack of ceremony that accompanies dinner, at all. Or it's a refreshing change from family dinners that he's just gotten back to and is already rather sick of. There's equal enthusiasm for the food, complete with a wide grin, and Tim pauses mid-bite to look over at Zan. "You're a hell of a lot better of a cook than I am," he responds. "This is good." And that's all that Timothy wastes time saying, attention returning to his food.

After watching the two a moment longer, Zan finally tries some himself. He still picks at it, stabbing at one noodle then pushing another around experimentally before finally taking a bite. "It'll do," he decides with a shrug, though he, too, busies himself with eating.

"It'll do," Rylie repeats with a laugh before she sets her plate down in favor of having a drink. But when both are back down on the counter, she opts to sliiiide over toward Zan to put her arm around his waist. "Don't sell yourself too short in the kitchen, flyboy, why do you think I keep having you over?" She kids.

Timothy grins, a bit. "I mean it when I say I typically burn the water when I'm trying to boil it," he says. "Law school doesn't do so much for teaching you practical things like cooking."

"Because I'm a good kisser," Zan answers smoothly, a grin hinting in his expression. He finishes off his pasta and sets the plate on the counter behind him, then loops his arm around Rylie's waist. He shakes his head at Timothy, actually letting out a small chuckle. "Yeah. Well, we'll start with… Instant pudding and single serve mac and cheese dishes that you microwave."

Rylie pauses at that, blushing a little, but a grin follows not to long after. "Okay, got me there," she says with a slight laugh. "The cooking is just a bonus." There's a glance to Tim, like she's not quite sure how he'll hold up under such banter about his brother. She already knows how little the mayor likes it. "Can't do too much wrong with those, it's true. And no boiling involved!"

The older Caldecott certainly handles the banter between the two better than his father does. There is, however, a slight and childish rolling of eyes while they discuss kissing. The 'la la la I'm not listening' face. "Thanks, Zan. I really needed to know that," Tim adds. "The microwave isn't my enemy. Only the stove."

Zan grins far too innocently, both for the blush and the eye rolling, and he tilts his head to rest lightly against Rylie's. "Just a hobby, though. Nothing special about what I make. Really. We'll start with easy stovetop things. Eggs, spaghetti. Just takes watching so it doesn't burn."

"Just wait until I tell you how good he is with his hands," Rylie says at Tim's protest, her tone dry. Give her an inch, she'll take a ruler, apparently. But she turns back to Zan before she can really get Tim's reaction, her smile turning crooked. "Are you starting a class or what, because I could get down on that."

The eye rolling continues, and then Tim coughs, in the way of interrupting the train of thought and changing the subject. "Do you tell everyone how good he is with his hands?" Timothy asks.

"I'm so good with my hands," Zan says with a chuckle. He holds them both up, fingers wiggling as if playing a piano. Not one of his skills, but he can pretend. "Not a class," he continues, lowering his hands, "but I'll show you a few things I've picked up. Really, I'm not really good enough to teach anyone anything."

"Not everyone," Rylie says, which might just imply there are a few people out there who've heard it. But, you know. "I have some discretion. A bit. Sometimes." She gives Zan a bump with her hip before she adds, "Hey, if you're better than us, then you've got something to teach. So your brother doesn't burn down his new place."

Timothy raises his brows. And then raises his brows some more, before he picks up his plate again, and picked up his fork again, deciding to leave well enough alone. "I think you're more than good enough to teach me a few things, Zan," he says, a slight tone of confidence allowed into his voice. "Then again, we can all learn from each other."

Zan only shakes his head, though he's relented he'll share whatever wisdom they think he's got. "Just a hobby. A necessary hobby, but a hobby." He shakes his head again. "It's still not a class. And I'm not a teacher. But I said I'd show you two some things and I will."

"That was very zen of you, Tim," Rylie says, gesturing toward the older brother with her martini glass. But after a moment, her eyes narrow and she takes a moment to peer at him.

"Favorite Queen song?"

"Bohemian Rhapsody, hands-down," Timothy responds. There's no flinch and no backing down, the lawyer meets Rylie's gaze quite evenly as he continues to eat. "No better one."

Shaking his head again, Zan tucks his hands into his pockets and leans a little into Rylie's shoulder with his own. His head tips forward some, but his eyes lift to watch her and his brother silently.

"Oh, please! That's the easy answer. That's like saying Wolverine is your favorite X-Man. And there's tons better than Rhapsody. Stone Cold Crazy? Killer Queen? Crazy Little Thing Called Love. Fat Bottomed Girls. Somebody to Love? Or, my personal favorite, Don't Stop Me Now. Come on, Tim." Zan may lean against her, but her hand still goes to her hip. "If Zan gets to teach you how to cook without casualties, I get to teach you about music."

Timothy rolls his eyes at this, sighs. "I suppose," he vaguely agrees. "Though really, music is supposed to be something in the background while studying. Wasn't ever something I focused my hobbies on or anything like that." Tim takes his empty plate and glass over to the sink, rinsing them off quietly.

Shaking his head, though grinning slightly, Zan glances up at Rylie. While Tim is turned away, he takes his hands from his pocket and draws a square in the air. His hands go back for his pockets after, before his brother's turned back.

Rylie puts a hand to her chest, making a melodramatic show of being shocked at his words. "Background while studying?!" Gasp, shock, etc. "What in the world did you boys grow up in, for goodness sakes." She disappointed, apparently.

Timothy finishes washing his dish and glass, sets them next to the sink, and then leans against the counter. "You're the one who works for my father," the older Caldecott points out, tone blandly.

"Tim probably listened to Bach, Chopin, Schumann." Zan tilts his head and looks at Rylie. "Whatever Mom had on. Classics, classical jazz. Kind of like the Muzak that haunts my dad's office. I broke away." Unsurprisingly. "Found Queen, Savatage, Bowie, Black Sabbath." There's more, implied in a slight trailing off with his last selection, but he stops there with a small roll of his shoulders.

"Yeah, but I get paid, see." Rylie points out right back, a smirk on her lips. "And at five o'clock, I get to forget all about it and go home and listen to whatever music I want." Which sometimes includes classical and jazz. But also other things! When Zan starts to rattle off his list, she turns his way and slides an arm back around him. "Oh, he knows how to speak my language."

There's a snort from the older brother. "I found my own music thank you very much," Timothy says. "Neil Young, John Denver, Simon and Garfunkle, James Taylor, Carole King… It's not my fault I don't like getting a headache with some of that racket you kids call music." Timothy crosses his arms in front of his chest. "If you kids are going to be on about speaking each other's language, I should call a cab and let you two practise your linguistics in private." Merciless, oh yes.

Zan smiles at Rylie, but when Tim starts in he laughs. "I'll remember that when I move in," he counters. "Your bridge over troubled water will be flooded by Nothing Else Matters at full volume. Maybe followed by War Pigs." He looks up at his brother, brows ticking up a little.

"Hey, I like all those, too. I like just about everything." Rylie brings a palm to face at the teasing. "I feel like Tim knows too much about me now. But for real, I talk about music too much for it to be our signal. I swear, it's not all flirting." She looks over at Zan, chuckling at his retort. "It's a mashup waiting to happen."

Timothy doesn't seem to be inclined to give either of the two the satisfaction of a reaction. "Still, I should leave you two lovebirds to it, and I've got an early day in the office tomorrow if I'm going to help Zan move and such." There's a pause, and then Timothy's brows raise a bit, at Riley, and he turns back to Zan. "Hear that? She likes just about everything." Double-entendre doesn't even come close, and there's a fair amount of deadpan in the lawyer's delivery of the line. "I'd pay that heed, if I were you." And with that, Tim's nodding to excuse himself from the room rather than stay and watch the reactions.

"Yeah, I heard," Zan answers, shaking his head. He pulls a hand from his pocket and slides it around Rylie's waist, watching his brother leave. "I'll see you tomorrow, Tim."

It's a good thing that Tim can show himself out, because Rylie has to pause a bit at that parting comment. Torn between rolling with it and making a correction, he ends up getting a pretty clean break. And by the time she's ready to talk again, she turns to Zan, closing her eyes a moment before she opts to change the subject.

"Ice cream? I'm ready for dessert." Oh yes.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License