Cate and Van commiserate about family and relationship troubles.
Location: Bar, Scorpia
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 367
There's a bar just outside the Scorpian naval base where they all were staying, that turned out to be pretty popular with the military crowd. Cate's over by the pool tables, just finishing up a game with a couple of guys. Looking more serious than a fun evening's game of pool would require as she sinks the last ball. There are some scowls and laughs from the guys and a weak smirk from Cate. She collects a couple cubits from one of them. The other says something to her - rematch? wanting to buy her a drink? Whatever it is, she waves him off and shakes her head, which he doesn't look too happy about.
The last night of leave and Van still hasn't finished his letter to his parents. Nothing has provided inspiration, and so he has gone for beer. It doesn't change the fact that he has to tell his Mother that he married a Tauran NCO's daughter while he was drunk, but it might take some more courage to write those words. He starts toward the bar, slowing as he spots Cate over by the pool tables and instead turning his steps in that direction. As he approaches, he offers up a smile to the medic -- and to the man offering her... whatever it might be. "Cate. Did you need spending money for our next campaign so badly that you felt the need to run pool tables?"
The guy doesn't seem to want to take no for an answer. "What, you think you're too good for us or something? Frakking CF." He might have made more of an issue of it, but a glare from Cate - coupled with the timely approach of Van - has him turning to go with a scowl and a grumble. Cate shakes her head, mumbling, "Sore losers. Hey," she offers a weary smile for Van. "Well, we don't all get that cushy Lieutenant's salary," she points out with a shrug and a little smirk. "Where's Izzy?"
Van is... not particularly imposing, but at least he's backup. The shrug and smirk draws a faint smile from the pilot, "Rank hath its privileges." The question causes him to look back toward the base, "Rank also hath its responsibilities, unfortunately. She's back looking at tech specs on the Dauntless. You know her." That smile spreads a little further, "I thought I should thank you for being with us the other night. Or rather, thank you while I was sober. It meant a lot to Izzy, and to me, to have you there."
"Ah bummer. Though I suppose for Iz, that's maybe not the worst way to spend the last night of leave, pouring over tech stuff." Cate's eyes track the irritated Scorpian marine long enough to make sure he's not going to cause them any trouble, then slants a little smile toward Van. "Oh, well, thanks for asking me. Though y'know if you actually told me ahead of time, I would've worn something decent." She looks a little chagrined there, then lifts the pool cue a little. "You play?"
"She's like a shark in a big, slow school. The Dauntless isn't the Galactica, apparently, but she's better than the Vanguard. Apparently." Van sounds amused by the comparison. "You were decent. And a good deal less drunk than Izzy and I." He moves around to take up a pool cue of his own, "I have played, but I don't play. That is, not well. You're not going to make me part with some of my lordly Lieutenant's salary for the privilege, are you?"
"Wasn't drunk at all actually - we missed a good party, I guess." The other part of the 'we' being Bean, who turned up there with her. Tonight, however, the good doctor is probably a bit tipsy, though it's hard to tell with her borderline-dour mood. She takes a sip from a whiskey glass perched on a table by the wall. "Nah, I'm not going to fleece you. We can just play for fun. Bragging rights of telling Izzy I beat you." A brief smirk is offered, then she says, "So what's it like, being married?"
Crouching down along the table as if lining up a shot, Van glances up, "Pretty good. Pretty crazy. Like... the Academy days come again. Plus a wedding." He moves over to chalk up his cue instead, because that's totally a thing that you do. "Bragging rights it is. And I'm not sure yet. So far it doesn't feel much different. I suppose that would be because not much has changed. No ring for either of us yet, and it's not like there are married officer's quarters on the ship." He pauses a moment, then that smile is back, "So... I thought I recognized your friend. Was he a Picon, or someone from Galactica?"
"Well, at least you all had fun. I've never been much for fancy parties. That last ball was torture, so I just bailed." While he's getting his cue, she racks up the balls and gets them ready. "You can go first," she offers. "Didn't get rings while you were here?" she wonders curiously. There's a slight flush in her cheeks when he asks about Bean. "Oh, Bean. He was on Galactica with us, before we split off. He's from Caprica."
Cate is entirely safe letting Van go first. His shot clacks into the rack of balls, sending half a dozen spinning across the table -- but none sinking into any pockets. He doesn't seem particularly disappointed, however, straightening up and shaking his head, "No, we didn't. I want them to mean something. My great-grandmother's ring -- one of them, that is -- is with the family on Picon. I'm going to have that sent here when there's time." His lips purse into a faint frown, but he refuses to let it weigh him down, shaking his head, "Bean then. I'm glad you found a friend to have a good evening with, since the party was going to be torture for you."
Cate is pretty decent at pool, albeit a little rusty. And although she sinks the first ball easily enough, she misses the second shot. It may be apparent that she's taking harder shots to try and make it fair. "Aw, your great-grandmother's? That's cool. Sure Izzy will be glad to have that." She nods to the last, and almost leaves it there but then ventures, "He tried to ask me to dance at the last ball but we got our signals crossed. And I kinda hit on him that night after you took us all out for drinks but he was a gentleman and shot me down. So... guess third try's the charm or something. They shipped out this morning." There's a little frown, and then it's his turn again.
Van whistles as she makes her first shot, "I'm going to get my clock absolutely cleaned, aren't I?" Moving around the table, he starts to line up a shot, "That means that I'm going for the stripes, right? Since you sunk a solid?" On her confirmation, he settles in and sinks a pathetically-easy shot, even if he nearly scratches, the cue ball spinning at the edge of the pocket for a moment before it ricochets away safely. "It took Izzy and I three tries too. Picon before the Uprising, our blow-up on Galactica, and now this one." His second shot is way off, very nearly a table-scratch, the cue ball bouncing around a little wildly before it makes contact but does nothing productive. "Sorry to steal some of your time."
"Aw, where's the fun in that?" Cate quips when he mentions her cleaning his clock. "I used to play a lot back home. Not so much lately. Oh, but yeah - stripes." She sips her drink while he takes his shot, looking amused at the way it goes. "Don't be sorry. Not every day your good friends get married. Though... actually it's happened three times since the war started." Another drink. "I was the witness at Paddy and Taras' wedding back at Triton." That's a bittersweet memory though since they're both MIA, and she refocuses her attention on the pool table. "Anyway, Bean's a nice guy. We had a good time but..." Her shot whiffs from distraction and she doesn't actually finish the sentence.
Van's gaze follows the bouncing cue ball, and he shakes his head in amusement, then watches her line up for her shot, "Three weddings in two years? That seems a little light. I remember Dean going to three or four a year while he was in law school. Perhaps we as a people are actually taking the war seriously." There's a wry sort of amusement behind those words, although he seems subdued in the wake of the mention of Paddy and Taras. "But you're not ready for something serious right now." Holding his cue in his left hand, the pilot rubs his other hand over his short-cropped hair, then just dives in, metaphorically speaking, "And maybe you never really were? My apologies if that's too far."
"Three or four every year? Frak, I don't know whether to be jealous or sorry for him." Cate is also trying to stay light-ish, but her thoughts still dwell on Padlock and Taras and the other missing friends from Triton. She takes her shot, sinking one then missing the second, and squints over at his last comment. There's a touch of confusion, then a frown, then a sigh as she straightens up and yields the table to him. Tension settles in her shoulders, but she leans against the wall as if she needs it to prop her up. "You're talking about Tucker," she surmises glumly.
"A little bit of both," Van responds to her light words. He moves over to line up another shot, but most of his attention is on his fellow Triton survivor, "Yes." The word is quiet, perhaps even delicate, "There's certainly something to be said for trying to avoid something serious in the midst of war." He leans over the pool table again, his cue testing, testing, then he glances up to Cate again, looks down, and strikes -- only to send his target caroming off the side-wall of the pocket and clacking around the table. He shrugs a little helplessly, then steps back, ceding the table to her.
Cate drains the last of her drink while she watches him - though there wasn't much left in the glass by this point. She sighs again, still frowning. "Maybe you're right. Maybe I'm not ready. But it's not that." She's not drunk, but she's buzzed enough that putting together a serious train of thought takes her a moment's pause. "Well... it's not just that. I'm not avoiding it. I want what you and Izzy have. What Becks and Tam have. But... I just..." Even though it's her turn, she continues leaning against the wall. "I dunno. I think Jake, and maybe Evan... they broke something in me. And I dunno if it can be fixed." Her head thunks back lightly against the wall. "And since I don't do casual too well either..." She sighs, letting that thought trail off.
Van moves over to stand alongside Cate, giving her a few inches of space as he wraps both hands around the neck of his cue and leans slightly onto it. "So your heart has been broken. At least twice, perhaps three times." He considers for a long moment, a faint frown touching his brows, then lifts them and offers, "What would you do for someone who broke their arm a couple of times?"
An odd expression creeps over Cate's face. Sad, hurt, maybe even a touch angry. "Van, don't," she says flatly. "You have no idea what happened, so don't trivialize it like that." She pushes off the wall and resumes the game, sinking another ball.
Van holds up his hands at the flat words, drawing back a little, "My apologies. You're right." He settles back again to watch her playing pool, although his attention is very much not on the table, "I was forgetting myself. I shouldn't be trying to fix anything. I should be listening."
Cate tries for a second ball - an honest try this time, not a harder-than-necessary trick shot to make the game fair. But she misses, and then straightens up. "It's been four times, for the record. Tucker makes oh-for-five but that's not really his fault. Probably was heading for disaster even if he hadn't died though." Still that same flat tone. At least the anger seems to have dissipated.
"Why do you think that?" Van's brows lift just a little with the question, and then he shifts around the table slightly, "Or would you rather talk about how I'm half terrified about what Mother will say about my marriage, and half already furious with her for what I expect she'll say?"
"Because he wanted more from me than I could give him. And I could see it in his eyes, every time I fell short. The hurt. The disappointment. Neither of us could've kept that up." Whether or not that's actually true is debatable, and Tucker isn't exactly around to contradict her. But regardless, Cate utterly believes it to be true. "What do you expect she'll say?"
Cate's brutally honest response is... brutally honest. Van nods slowly, "I could see that. And I can absolutely see how difficult that would be on both of you." And then he goes onto the less-painful-for-her subject, hesitating for a moment despite offering himself out as a distraction. Then he lets out a breath, finally stepping back up to the pool table and flubbing a shot, actually sinking one of Cate's balls rather than his own. With a grimace, he straightens up again, "I expect she will be unhappy that I haven't chosen to connect myself to a Caprican, Leonese, or Virgon officer from a good family, because there is a whole new pan-Colonial ladder to climb now, and she has always been ambitious for the family." The promised anger does filter into his voice, and his next words even snap a little, "And if she says thing one about that, I'll tell her where she can shove it."
Cate nods once to the acknowledgement of how hard it was, but is content to just sit back and listen to him talk for a change. "Well you should. It's not up to her, and frak her if she thinks that standing is more important than love. Though maybe the fact that Izzy's a highly decorated Tauron officer -" Bit of sarcasm there, since Cate personally doesn't put stock in such things. "- will smooth things over a bit. Or maybe she'll surprise you. Family sometimes does."
Van nods sharply at Cate's response, "See? That's what a real friend would do when their friend is having trouble with something." Yes, he's poking fun at himself, and he nods, "If I set aside the little boy who is a little terrified of his mother, I honestly think that it will be more the short engagement and spur-of-the-moment wedding that will... displease her. A big inter-colony wedding would have been something she would quite enjoy." Still, he acknowledges, "And maybe she'll surprise me."
Cate comes over and goes to nudge him with an elbow. "You are a real friend, Van. And I do appreciate you trying to help." She shrugs then. "I mean, I get it - I found out my dad's still alive, and I'm still terrified that he'll disown me when he finds out I joined the marines. But it's not his life."
Van nods thankfully, but still a little shame-facedly at her nudging reassurance. Still, he leaves that aside, starting to respond to Cate's comment, then swallows his words, nodding and instead going with something else, "I'd like to think that he would be proud of you for saving so many lives. Especially so many non-Virgon lives? But you're right. At some point we'll all realize that none of us are teenagers anymore and we don't have to have our parents' approval."
"It's still nice to have it though. I envy you that." Cate looks past him, a distance in her eyes as her mouth presses together sadly. "Jake wasn't Jake when I knew him. He was Sean. My cousin Tommy was in with the rebels, and he introduced us - said Sean was one of them. We started dating. After awhile it got serious and I moved in with him. I even thought he was going to propose at one point - and I would've said yes." Her eyes dampen. "Then one day he was gone, and I found out the truth. They were going after my uncle - and I was just a way to get close. Everything about the man I loved was a lie." She lets out a slow sigh. "He didn't just break my heart, he shattered it and pissed all over the pieces."
Van turns his back to the pool table as Cate opens up, resting both hands on his pool cue and tilting his head slightly to listen. He looks confused at first, but then his eyes tighten with sympathy. Once more, he doesn't respond off the cuff, no attempts to explain anything away. Instead, he nods, "That's... that's incredibly rough, Cate." He reaches out with one hand, aiming to squeeze her forearm lightly, "I'm sorry that he put you through that."
Cate just bobs her head to acknowledge his words, sniffing once and taking a moment to put the pieces of her composure back in some semblance of order. "Y'know what the worst part is?" A hint of irony there, because godsdamn wasn't that bad enough? "I can't even hate him any more. Seeing him on Galactica - I saw it'd shattered him as much as me. And he saved my life. He claimed he still loved me, but... they're just hollow words now. Even from Tucker." She rubs her face, suddenly realizing that maybe she's been a little too brutally honest for either of them. "Frak, I'm sorry," she says with another sigh.
Van shifts a little uncomfortably, some portion of his brain squaring his shoulders up to offer a hug, while another part decides that that's definitely not what Cate needs right now. 'The worst part' gets his brows up in surprise and expectation, and then he winces, nodding, "No need to apologize. I hope..." and then he doesn't know what he hopes, not really, and so his words trail off for a long moment before he finishes less-than-spectacularly, "...I hope that you find something that makes you happy, Cate. Whether it's what Izzy and I have, or something else entirely different. Just something that makes you happy, because you deserve it."
"Thanks," Cate says, though the word is a little hollow. "Mean time, I think I'll just set the bar at trying not to frak up my friends' shore leave." She lets out a little self-deprecating snort there. "Think I'm gonna head back to the ship. But thanks."
"Oh, you haven't done that," Van might be trying a little hard to be too bright too soon after the darker discussion, "I was just going to be obsessing over my own feailings and the failings of my family tonight anyway. Stay safe, Cate. And you're welcome to bragging rights," he gestures toward the table, "You definitely had me."
Cate looks skeptical on that score, but she appreciates the effort. "Thanks," she repeats, putting the pool cue back on the rack. "Maybe Izzy can cheer you up. Or at least distract you." There's that brutal honesty cropping up again. "I'll seeya." And then she's heading out, but not before stopping at the bar to get a bottle to take with her back to Dauntless.