2237-09-03 - Two Steps Back

For Jacob and Cate, trying to patch things up isn't easy.

Date: 2237-09-03

Location: Argyros Station

Related Scenes: None

Plot: None

Scene Number: 482

Jump to End

It's late evening. The Dauntless crew started arriving a little while ago in Raptors and a couple of the larger shuttles. Cate has already received her billet assignment. Her duffel is on the floor and she's flopped on the room's double bed, clicking through the media library on the TV. She's got her khaki trousers and double tanks on, and looks tire. There's a second bed - that one a twin. It's unoccupied at the moment, but has a duffel parked out on top.

And even through the hum of the room's air conditioner, the click of the door lock could be audibly heard. Jacob Marx had experienced a relatively easy day. He'd remained behind on the Dauntless until the final transport, ensuring his little gang of recon soldiers had billet assignments and understood the duty portion of their time on the surface of Caprica. That was a challenge. The junior soldiers had seemed more excited to exit the ship and directly step into the party than they were to train. That fact alone made Jacob rather tired. When he finally pushes the door open, it's with a standard military duffel over one shoulder and his vest supported lightly in his other hand. He carried both like an old pro, his bright blue eyes on the floor. Until he looks up, of course. And when his eyes settle on Cate, he has to stop a sigh and a glancing toward the heavens.

Cate's eyes drift up from the TV screen to the door and there's an odd squint. "You're kidding, right?" she deadpans skeptically. The hand holding the remote is lowered to rest on her leg, the TV forgotten for now. "This Mercer's idea of a prank?" Though why the gunny would think to prank them is anyone's guess.

Jacob says, "I don't know that the Gunny would be this creative." Jacob answers with an arched eyebrow.With a slow turn of his neck, he inspects the two beds. He was batting a thousand. He seems to consider something, staring at the twin bed with the bag with an almost quizzical look. "Hmm." He turns his eyes back to Cate, not allowing the slightest bit of softness to invade them. "Could ask for a transfer." Though it's offered, something in the tone of Marx's voice seems to exclude it as an option."

Cate considers the option as well. "He'd want to know why," she concludes, and the way her mouth twists in a frown suggests that she's also excluding it as an option. She sighs. "We got assigned Stone as well, but she split for town as soon as her duffel hit the bunk." Stone is one of the other riflemen - or women, in this case. Even in his short tenure aboard Dauntless, Jacob may have picked up on the fact that Stone prefers to flirt with the ladies.

"Great. Little to no company." Jacob shakes his head, casting one more look at Stone's bunk before moving to the opposite corner of the room with an absolute decisiveness. His bag and vest are set quietly in that corner before he moves toward the mini-fridge. "Wonder if we'll see her back around at night." He opens the door and peers in. "Hopefully... Without... Company."

Despite the awkward tension that seems to have settled on her face, Cate quirks a little smirk at his latter comment. "Hey, I'm all for people enjoying their liberty. Long as they don't enjoy it where I have to listen. The bunkrooms are bad enough." Thin curtains and all. She watches him move across the room. "There any food in there?"

"Not even a box of baking soda." Jacob shuts the door much more quickly than he had opened it. He immediately began visually searching the hotel room, looking as though he was seeking a distraction. "I think... I might need something to drink. You..." He opens and shuts his mouth, blinking a few times as if he was just realizing what he was going to ask. "Wanna join me?"

An odd expression comes over Cate's face at the invitation. Surprised. Uncertain. Maybe a little sad and... wistful?... mixed in. She wrestles with the question, several seconds ticking by in silence, before she nods. "Okay. Thanks." Not the most definitive of yes-es, but still a yes nevertheless. "Somewhere they have food too," appears to be her only condition. She clicks off the TV and swings her feet over the side of the bed into her boots.

As the expression overtakes her face, Jacob looks away, finding something intensely interesting to study just to Cate's left. That is, until her words visibly pull him from the day dream. "Yeah. Something that's not served out of stainless steel buffet trays, though." He smiles at her, the expression actually showing a bit of the man she used to know. The smile is, for a moment, carefree. "And if we run into Stone? I'm definitely sending her a drink on your behalf."

"So beer and a lack of steel trays - that kinda cuts out the mess hall. Maybe there's someplace close to the base." Cate starts to get up. "Times like these I miss having a phone." She grabs her uniform jacket and starts putting it back on. The comment about Stone earns him a look. "Then I'll have to kick your ass. You know Becks tried to set me up with Hayes a couple months back? Awkward." Awkward kind of like... how she suddenly feels, when the moment of levity fades and she remembers where they stand.

"Becks? That other medic?" His answer comes as he, too, is in motion. His isn't to put any uniform pieces back on, though. It's to root through the bag on the floor for something that isn't standard issue. "Does he know you? You and Hayes. That... Wow. I guess it'd be something, huh?" He finally settles on a grey t-shirt with the name of a faded boxing academy across the left breast. And it appeared that jeans, too, would round out the ensemble.

"Yeah. Dorn." Cate supplies the name he probably more likely knows the marine by. "He does now, but this was back when we first met, so... I dunno. Guess he thought that was my thing." Seeing him fish out a pair of jeans, Cate suddenly stops buttoning up her jacket. "Oh yeah, I guess we can wear regular clothes." She must be tired. Or distracted. Or both. Probably both. She also starts rummaging for her civvies. "Anyway, Becks is one of the few friends I have. He's a good guy. Good medic too, if he doesn't get his head shot off charging out into sniper fire." There's a worried frown there for a moment.

"I was gonna say." Jacob, as soon as her back is turned, seems content to actually study her. As he does, his eyes take in her stance, her movements, and the dark look of worry marring her features. It softens his own, if only by a few degrees. Those broad shoulders seem to let go of a bit of their tension and not every line in his jaw remains visible. "But, I think a lot of the other marines had that covered. I think you're right, though. He seems like a good sort." The big Hibernian's words get a bit quieter as he moves further away toward the bathroom. Though they had been in the military a while, something about changing in front of Cate didn't sit well with Jacob. "And if he helps you carry the weight? Well. I guess I'm going to have to like him."

The tension hasn't entirely left Cate's shoulders either, even when the worry eases. And bending over still elicits a little wince. It was only a day or two ago that she was getting shot in the vest again. She glances over at his retreating back when he heads for the bathroom. "I hope you do. But uh... he might not be completely friendly. He knows a little bit about us. Sorry." It's an off-hand apology accompanied by a what-can-you-do shrug. She's not going to feel too guilty over just telling the truth.

Jacob doesn't answer immediately. He's busy with the wardrobe change, of course. The sound of jingling metal and cloth hitting stone annunciates his movements. Other than that, though, he doesn't seem to make much noise. "Exactly how unfriendly are we talking? On a scale of zero to Cylon?" The sound comes just before the door is opened. Jacob looked good in civilian clothes. His shirt stretched tightly across his chest, his shoulders, and his biceps. It actually sat somewhat loose where his waist transitioned into those well fitting blue jeans. His hair was even slightly mussed, too, as if he'd wetted his face and ran his fingers through it. "And a little? About us? Seriously, Catey. He gonna try to be a problem for me?"

Cate was changing as well while he was in the bathroom. She swapped out her uniform trousers for jeans and was just in the process of slipping on a T-shirt when he emerged. Her back isn't nearly as scarred up as the front of her, but there are a few pockmarks of bullets that have gone clean through. She pulls her ponytail out and sits down to put on her gym shoes. As she ties them, she slants him a glance over her shoulder. "I dunno. Where do overprotective buddies rate on your scale?" She shrugs, frowning. "And what? I'm not supposed to tell anybody about my life because it might make trouble for you?"

"You've known me for a while. When have I been afraid of trouble?" Jacob answers with a searching arch of his eyebrow. If he notices her back, he reserves comment. It's more her tone that seems to harden the lines of his face than anything. He, too, moves to put on his workout shoes. But when he does it, he sits on the floor by his bags and pulls them on. "You can chat to whoever you want." He says matter of factly. "But I'm not out to hurt you. Never wa-" He shakes his head. "Nevermind. You still want to bother doing this?"

Cate gives a non-committal grunt to the assertion that she's known him for awhile, and the 'never' gets a pointed look, eyebrows arched until he drops it. But she doesn't seem particularly upset. "I didn't say you were. You just sounded irritated that I'd told him." She tucks her thin card-holding 'wallet' into her pocket and stands. "Let's go."

Base transport or 'Red Ball' was a brilliant thing. Each person paid five cubits and the van-like taxi dropped you wherever in the city you liked. It was a brilliant system, and one available only to military personnel. The only down side? It was sketchy and often full of the incredibly drunk. The Red Ball stop conveniently located outside the BOQ was nearly empty when the Jacob emerged from the hotel's main door. Apparently, it was either too early or too late to host the usual cavalcade of drunkenness or abuse. "No, I'm not irritated. I just..." He shrugs his shoulders, not looking anywhere but ahead. "...guess I'm not supposed to give a shit that the world seems to think I'm destined to break you."

Cate takes a moment to study him while they're making their way to the transport. Seeing him in civilian clothes for the first time since Hibernia brings on a disconcerting swirl of memories and feelings, and she's quiet until they have their seats in the taxi and have given the driver some parameters for the type of establishment they were after. Only then does she sigh a little. "I didn't say you couldn't give a shit either." She looks over at him, brow creased. "And c'mon, you were worried about me being thrown by you being back. What're my friends supposed to think?"

"There's a difference between being worried about you and having assumptions about situations you know nothing about." Jacob looks rather relaxed in the taxi. He leans back into the seat in a quiet slouch, reflecting the Hibernian ghetto he grew up in. He was New Castor, through and through. "I've got broad shoulders, though. Some kid doesn't want to be friendly? I think I can probably keep myself from crying at night." She finally earns his gaze. The blue eyes are as hard and cold as ice. He studies her for several moments before allowing a sigh to escape his chest.

That cold look catches Cate off guard, and she looks away, once again off balance. So familiar. So different. She shrugs, though. "I don't know what kind of assumptions you think he's making. But I don't doubt your ability to not give a shit what he thinks of you."

"Don't worry about my ability to avoid him, either." The reply comes in the same steady tone. His gaze, having achieved it's desired effect, shifts back to the back of the cab driver's seat. "In fact? Don't worry about me at all." It was the last sentence Jacob could offer before the taxi came to a stop. Marx, already having the money between his fingers, passes a few folded bills up to the driver. It appeared, actually, that it was enough for both of them. The marine has no trouble emerging from the cab, despite being nearly too big for such a thing. He looks at the bar for a long moment, then glancing up the block and down the block. If someone were really watching, they may see the wince that barely comes to his lips, too.

Cate is really watching. She's staring at him with a furrowed brow. "Don't worry about you at all huh. Yeah. Okay. Guess we're back to that whole 'professional' thing again." She just gives a little headshake, lips thinning. "Tell you what - I won't torture you by holding you to an offer you obviously regret, so... I'll see you back at the base." Stiffly, she turns to go... left. Away. She really has no idea where they are, but she survived growing up in the Hibernian slums, she figures she can manage the mean streets (heh) of downtown Cap City.

And Jacob, for once, doesn't follow her. He does stand there, though, watching with a darkly concerned look touching the corners of his eyes. "Not sure we ever left the professional thing, Catey." His words are offered very low tone, not honestly intending to make it over to Cate's ears. It's the bar that fights for his attention, though. The red neon of the 'The Raging Donkey' is like a beacon to him, and he shakes his head softly. "Not since Tiras." And his steps move forward, taking him toward the thing that isn't walking away. Jacob Marx was going to the bar. And in his current mood, he is absolutely going to paint the town red.

Cate doesn't hear his quiet words, not over the bustle of the big city. She glances back, though, long enough to see him moving towards the bar. Message received, she folds her arms across her chest and continues her flight.


Tags:

Back to Scenes