What Matters

rylie_icon.png zan_icon.png

Where: Rylie's Townhome

When: June 16, 2012

What: Awkward moments and hard questions follow the ill fated brunch.

If texts could be terse, the one Zan fired off after storming out of his parents' house was that. The message that popped up on Rylie's phone display was simple, direct:

Done. Headed your way.

He'd fly if he thought he could get away with it. It'd be faster. But risk of being seen keeps him on the ground. Blocks are covered without much notice, streets crossed. Eventually he catches a cab to take him the rest of the way to her home. It's not a heavy knock that meets the door once he's arrived and paid the fare, oddly light for his grumbling mood.

The door is opened pretty quickly, Rylie smiles from where she stands in front of a few bags and such things. Her head tilts as she looks through the doorway at him. "You okay?"

She knows he isn't, which is why she reaches over to take his hand to pull him in, instead of handing him bags and sending him down to the car. The desert will still be there when they get there. "Want a drink? Or something— Did you even get to eat?"

"I ate," Zan replies as he's pulled inside. His pack comes off his shoulders to be left beside the door. The same door he leans against after it's closed. He looks down at his hand, fingers lacing with hers. "My dad's pissed at me, mom's about to have puppies. You'll probably hear about the failure of the Caldecott families on Monday."

If only he could claim some joke to those words. Instead it's a moment or two after that he looks up again, resigned to some fate, worried about another.

Rylie steps closer to him, her arms sliding around him as she leans in to kiss him. "I think your father's definition of failure is a little extreme. However much I might hear on Monday."

She doesn't let him of the door, either. "So what's got him so pissed now? And at you. I thought they were pissed at Timmy." Didn't last too long, apparently!

"My dad's definition of failure has my picture beside it," Zan answers with a sigh. His arms draw around her, wrapping her in a hug and holding her there. "Extreme or not."

His head tips downward, pressing his cheek against hers. "They were. Mostly. But Tim's the good son, like a male Mary Poppins. I made the mistake of telling them that I was considering quitting school for a while."

"Oh, I bet they loved hearing that." Rylie hugs him back, pressing a kiss to his cheek. She leans back, though, to give him a more questioning look. "Are you considering quitting school? In a… I don't want to make movies anymore way or a… I'm an artist wanting to explore my craft way?"

It isn't judgmental, it isn't disappointed or upset. It's just curious. It's all going to make work a lot of fun, but she doesn't seem to be seeing it as his fault, at least.

"No, not like that." Zan's head tips back, knocking lightly against the door. "Maybe… more like I don't entirely need a degree to make movies. I'm not giving it up. And I'll go back. Just…" He trails off, shaking his head.

"…I didn't really want to go to school anyway," he continues. "It's good, because I didn't have to move out. But… I'm thinking of getting a job. A real job. My dad accused me of being lazy and screwing around, told me to grow up and I'm out if I go through with it. Didn't even ask what my plans were."

"So come here," Rylie says as she tugs him over to the couch. "Tell me. What're the plans? I'm assuming barista isn't the plan. Even if it would score me a free latte every morning." She smiles over at him, taking a seat on the couch herself, legs folding up under her. "As a matter of fact, since you have plans, I'm going to assume it's something your dad is going to be embarrassed about shrugging off like this." Her eyes narrow, like she's trying to figure it out. However, a guess doesn't seem forthcoming.

Zan allows himself to be drawn to the couch, sinking down beside her. One hand finds hers again, bringing it close enough to hold with both of his. "I don't know if he knows how to be embarrassed. He's definitely done with me though. Didn't care that I could be enlisting for all he knew, he was just livid that I was thinking of quitting."

He pauses there, not that he's considering military life but to give thought to his alternative to school. He looks down at his hands, at hers, brows furrowing with that all too familiar worry; like he's asking her out all over again. "I… I'm thinking of applying for the cadet program… With the police department."

"Done with you," Rylie repeats, as if shocked to hear it. Which she is. "Parents. I have to hand it to you, though. I totally just went along with my parent's plan for my schooling. Mostly because I didn't have an alternative, but it wasn't exactly standing my ground." And now she works in a political office. Go figure.

When he explains, though, she furrows her brow, quiet for a moment. "You want to be a police officer?" It's something of a shift, and might cause a bit of concern, but she doesn't exactly disapprove.

"I don't know." Zan's answer comes quiet, even unsure. His gaze lifts, watching her, perhaps more afraid now that the thought is on the table. "I wanted to talk to you first, before… before getting into anything. Before telling my parents." His hands tighten around hers for a moment, then slowly, carefully release them.

"I… I've been trying to find something," he continues, jaw working to bring forward each word. His palms press against his knees, eyes searching the floor as if it held his thoughts there. "A job that… isn't dead end. That…" He pauses, taking a slow breath in then out again. "Rylie, where… Where do you see us? In the future?"

A number of things in his reply make Rylie pause. Her brow furrows, she wets her lips and looks very much like she's about to answer, but doesn't in the end. Instead, she takes her hand back to stand up. It is, apparently, pacing time.

When she finally looks back over at him, she spreads her hands out helplessly as she notes, "We've been dating like, a month, Zan. That's a… that's quite a question for a girl you haven't even slept with yet, you know what I mean?" And for a girl that doesn't tend to have relationships longer than a night or two. But she seems to assume that part's implied, rather than bringing it up.

A glance angles toward her when she moves to stand, but Zan doesn't watch her pace. His hands raise, rub against his face in a way that implies he might like to rewind a day or two and try the weekend again. His fingers lace behind his neck, pulling his head downward.

After a lengthy moment, he looks up at her finally, concern drawing his brows together. "Yeah, it's only been a month," he agrees, "but I liked you even before that." He stands, offering an unassuming hand to her. "And I haven't tried to get you in bed because… I didn't want to know you that way until I got to know you better. I don't know where we'll be in another month, or six, or a year from now, but… I'm hoping we're still together."

"I'm not criticizing that, by the way," Rylie says with a crooked smile, on the matter of them not sleeping together. She eyes the hand a little, but does, eventually, take it and steps closer to where he sits.

"And I didn't mean that I don't hope we'll last, but it's a little early for me to think about the future. Like that. And it's a bit too early for you to feel like you have to take my opinion into consideration when you're considering your future. I mean, I can give advice and you know. Encouragement."

Looking down, Zan shrugs slightly. "I'm not going to push you toward anything you're not ready for or don't want," he says, quietly still. "I know it's early, but I can't pretend like it hasn't crossed my mind. Your opinion matters too, and…" He trails off, shrugging again. "I'm sorry… This all… wasn't quite how I meant to go about it. I…" He frowns slightly, scorn directed at himself.

"Hey," Rylie says as she sits back down next to him, still holding onto his hand. "Don't worry so much. It isn't like I'm going to walk out or something." There's a small beat before she adds, "It's my place." She smirks a little there, tugging his hand a little. "If you want to be a cop, you know, go for it. Just don't get shot or something."

Zan's just a little wary when he looks up at Rylie, apprehensive as he perches on the couch. Like she might tell him to get out. "Can't help feeling like I am a failure," he explains. "Especially after…" A shrug fills in the rest. He's hesitant still, but he lifts an arm to draw around her shoulders. "You okay with dating a cop," he asks, searching. "No guarantee I'll even make it. And I'm still going to be a screen writer one day."

"Zan, you're nineteen. You don't have to have it all figured out, no matter what your family wants. That's their life, it doesn't have to be yours. Sure, it's going to piss them off, but that's what parents do." Rylie tilts her head again, her smile softer, "Especially after what?"

She shifts on the couch, tucking her feet under her. "You'll make it. You just gotta want it. And being a cop is a noble career choice, whatever your dad says."

"After…" Zan shakes his head. "Getting ahead of you, and me." He tugs on her a little, gently prompting her to scoot closer. "I thought… it'd be a good choice. Something …I don't know. I don't need school to make a movie." He pauses, looking at her again. "Are you okay with dating a cop?"

"Oh, don't be ridiculous. You need to do a lot worse than awkward questions before I'll label you a failure." Rylie does scoot closer, her arms sliding around his shoulders. "I'm okay with dating you, college student or cop-slash-film-maker. And I really don't think I'm in a place to tell you not to do this if it's what you want to do."

Zan lifts a shoulder slightly, though he does find a small smile for her. He lets out a slow breath, then turns his head toward her. It tips forward enough to touch his brow to her temple, arm around her shoulders tightening for a moment into something of a hug. "Guess I need to start packing, and looking for a place."

"I guess so," Rylie says with a grin, "You let me know if you want me to help you find something. How soon is he kicking you out anyway?" She sits up, hands moving to brace on her thighs. "Cheap place? Nice place? You'll have to figure out what we're looking for."

"I don't know. I got the impression of immediately." Zan sighs and sits back for a moment, the stands as if to take his turn at pacing. "Need to see what I have in savings, decide how long that'll last, figure out how to make it last until I'm earning income." He rakes his fingers through his hair, frowning again.

"Alright. No problem, it'll just need a gameplan. Luckily, I'm really good at that sort of thing," Rylie smiles, her hand patting his leg as she stands up to head for the kitchen. "You want a drink? Or something. I think I'm gonna have a drink." And since she goes for the liquor, it's possible that she's forgotten about the desert.

Dropping his hands to his sides, Zan looks after Rylie. "I think I could use a drink," he says, almost to himself. And after the day's events so far, it might not hurt to indulge a little. He follows her a few seconds later, joining her in the kitchen. The desert will still be there later. "More like it'll need a miracle. But if I'm going down, might as well go down in flames, right?"

She doesn't skip a beat in pulling down another glass, and she's pretty generous with the vodka when she gets around to pouring. But his words make her chuckle. It might be a little nervous, that sound. "You're not about to tell me you love me or anything like that, right? Or do I need to pour a lot more vodka right now?" She's teasing. Mostly.

"I…" Zan pauses, brows lifting just a little at the generous amount of alcohol going into the glasses. "Not now," he responds, trying to sound more joking. Another pause follows, with a nervous look of his own. "Maybe. Though with how badly I failed at awkward questions I might need something stronger just to get up the nerve to hug you again."

Rylie laughs, handing him over his drink before she pulls herself up onto the countertop to sit. "You worry too much. I'm not planning on tossing you out, I just… wasn't expecting the Where Is This Going talk to pop up just yet. I mean… we're having fun, right? Isn't that… okay for now?"

Zan looks down at the drink as he takes it. "It just kind of came out," he explains. To his glass. "I wasn't thinking… like tomorrow or anything, but… I…eventually, one day. Maybe." He lets out a slow breath and looks up at her. He even manages a small smile. "And your opinion does matter. To me. I want you to be happy, and comfortable with where we are. And I'm okay with us. Where we're at."

"And I'm glad it matters," Rylie says, her hand coming to rest on his shoulder. "I guess I just feel strange about saying something that would make you rethink what you want to do with your life. You know? And then you regret it and it was my fault and we've only been dating a month, and all that."

"I don't even know if it's what I want to do with my life," Zan replies. He tips up his glass, almost in jest of his earlier comment of steeling nerves as he takes a long drink, then slides an arm around her waist. "I could get in there, decide I was better off in school. Or freelancing. Or… convincing you to run away with me. And I wouldn't blame you if your thoughts made me reconsider my choices."

Rylie's arms drape over his shoulders when he slides his arm around her, a smiling coming to her lips. "Run away with you, huh? On a cop's salary? It's a good thing you can fly." She grins, though, the tease coming easier this time. "My thoughts are that you should try whatever you want to try. And when you find what you're happy doing, keep doing that. And don't get shot."

"Run away with me," Zan says again, decisively. "We'll save on airfare and have more to spend having fun." He looks up, smiling at her. "I won't get shot," he promises. His arm tightens around her just a little as he leans in to kiss her cheek.
"Oh, don't lie. You will totally get shot. It's your luck," Rylie says with a chuckle. But when he leans in to kiss her cheek, she turns her head just enough to make it land on her lips instead. She even makes it a deep one. "Will you get to wear the uniform home when you're a cop?" She asks with a crooked smile.

"Good point," Zan concedes with a chuckle, once he leans back a little. He smiles, though a shrug follows to answer the question. "Probably, if I wanted to." His brows arch upward a little, a small mischievous look touching his smile. "Thinking about what I'd look like in uniform?"

"I might be," Rylie says with a broader grin as she looks down at him, "Guys look good in uniform. And since you've forgone a career with regular suit-wearing as a perk, it's my only hope left." She sets her drink aside as she slips off the counter in front of him, "Seriously. If you want to do this cop thing, I'm behind you. Slightly worried about how dangerous it is, but behind you."

"Hey, I dress up on occasion. Sometimes." Rarely. Zan turns slightly to set his drink aside. Then, turning back to Rylie he gently pulls her into a hug. "It's me," he murmurs. "It's dangerous, but so is flying. It'll be okay, I'll come home."

His arms tighten around her briefly, and he smiles at her when he leans back again. His hands rest on her upper arms while he watches her a moment longer. "Promise. And we still don't know if I'm even in, so the worst to worry about is figuring out how I'm going to live."

Rylie returns the hug, nuzzling into his neck a little before she leans back again to look at him. "I know. Life is dangerous. Just— yeah, just make it home." She holds a little tighter there, although she doesn't seem to notice. "Either way, we'll find you a place. And a way to afford that place. How much do you think I could sass your dad about this before he fires me, anyway?"

"Maybe I can convince Fletcher to let me crash at the gym until I've got something set up." Zan's musings come a little muffled as he tilts his head against hers. Until he shakes his head at the idea of going to his dad. "Don't," he asks, looking at her. "Please. Don't risk your job for me. I've got some in savings still. It'll work out."

"But it's stupid. I mean, I get that he's in the public eye and I get that he has expectations for you guys, but he didn't even listen to what you wanted to do. Being a cop is a good job. It takes guts. It's important."

She shakes her head, letting out a sigh before she nods. "Ask Fletcher. Can't hurt! If he says no…" Her brow furrows a bit as she turns to glance at the living room, "I mean. You know there's a couch here. Until you find a place. A few nights."

"I know," Zan says, quietly. Soothingly he hopes. "I know. But school is expected, if I'm not doing that, then I get out and get a job. And after high school and barely passing that… I wish you'd been there, but I'm glad you didn't see it."

His gaze follows hers to the living room, though he shakes his head a little. "I'd much prefer your company to that of smelly sand-filled bags and practice dummies. But… I'll see what Fletcher says first."

"Sorry. I'm sorry, I know it isn't really my business to butt into. They just don't give you enough credit. It's frustrating." Rylie takes his hands in hers, jut to give them a little squeeze. "And it's probably best I wasn't there. It wouldn't have been pretty." She nods to his decision about Fletcher, and leans in to kiss him again. "Maybe it won't be so smelly after hours," she says with a crooked smile.

"It wasn't pretty," Zan asides before he ducks his head down to return her kiss. "It's smells all the time," he says after. "Like stale sweat and unwashed bodies." It only sounds like he wishes he were joking. But a small shrug follows and he draws her in close, arms wrapping around her shoulders while he presses his cheek to hers.

"We'll find you something before the smell sets in permanently. No amount of uniforms is gonna make that better," Rylie says with a soft chuckle. She is joking. Mostly. Leaning in, she wraps him up, too, eyes closing. "Just make sure you don't end up moving too far."

Turning his head slightly, Zan touches a light kiss against her jawline. He's quiet for a moment, staring at some vague and inconsequential point. "Anything around here opening up," he asks into the quiet. "Or know anyone nearby looking for a roommate."

Rylie tilts her head at that little kiss, and she tries to scoot in closer. "I'll keep an ear out. And I'll see if Shay knows anyone who needs a roomie. Hey, people around your school should be needing them, right? Something'll come up."

"Yeah," Zan agrees. Something will work out. He nuzzles her cheek a little, arms holding her close. "Mind if I stay here tonight," he asks quietly, leaning back just a little to look at her. "Tomorrow I can start packing, and we can figure out the rest of this."

"Of course I don't mind." Rylie smiles when he leans back, but it's not too long before she leans in again to kiss him. Maybe twice. "I guess that puts the desert off for a bit. We'll have to save it for a celebration when you find a place. Or something." Maybe three times.

"Just this weekend." Zan smiles, leaning in to kiss her again. He leans forward a little more, a slight bend to his knees and one arm slipping down to wrap around behind her knees. He straightens and lifts her up with him, and though he doesn't fly indoors, he does carry her back to the couch laying another kiss or two to her. There he sits, keeping his arms around her, pulling her into his lap. "We can still go. Maybe we can hit up LA for celebrating."

Rylie grins when he picks her up, and her arms wrap around his neck as she returns those kisses. "LA is good for that kind of thing. Nightclubs and all that," she says as she settles into his lap to kiss him again. "You still want to drive out there? The drive shouldn't be too bad if we leave soon." After the kissing, clearly.

"We can leave in a bit," Zan murmurs between kisses, smiling a little. After a short bit, he leans back some to just gaze at her. He lifts a hand to tuck a lock of hair behind her ear, fingers lightly trailing along her jawline. Another smile forms, and he leans in again, placing a small kiss against her lips.

"I'm sure the traffic will be fine later, too," Rylie says with a grin. Sure, it's interrupted by the various kisses, but she doesn't seem to mind. When he leans back, though, she looks at him, her smile crooked. And while she returns the kiss, she leans back again not too long after. "You're thinking serious again, aren't you?"

It's a shrug that answers first. "Yes and no," he answers, then shakes his head. "Mostly just enjoying this, this moment, you." He sinks back to partially slouch where he's sitting, arms loosening though remaining around her. He smiles a little, looking up at her.

Rylie looks at him for a moment, brow furrowing a little. "Good. I'm enjoying it, too," she says, a smile following. But even so, she starts to get to her feet. She doesn't let go of him entirely, though; her hands take his as she stands up. "Come on, officer, we've got a beautiful desert out there waiting for us. It's going to think we stood it up before long."

He resists a little, enough to tug her back down to kiss her. "Nothing too serious," he states quietly, grinning as he lets himself be tugged up finally. He slides an arm around her waist, turning with her for the door.

"Well, yeah," Rylie says, after she returns the kiss, "That's why I'm still going out to the desert with you." Her smile grows into a grin there, as she shoulders one of the bags. Before she opens the door to head out for the weekend, she stops him just long enough for one more kiss. Reassuring, perhaps.

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