[Master Post – Glass]
Fandom: Viridian Legacy: Glass
Warnings: Mentions of consensual violence for fun and profit
Notes: I lost the fic I was working on yesterday. Half-done and the draft hadn’t saved, when the browser crashed. Win some, lose some, I guess. Today, Betty makes a call, and Arkady looks on in horror, like watching a slow-motion car crash.
"Hi, mom, I was just calling to… What?" Betty stared at the phone in confusion. "No, mom. No, I didn’t put the storm windows in, yet."
Arkady stretched out on the couch and opened a beer, while he waited for Betty to get off the phone. It was supposed to be a short call, but he was pretty sure, after all these years, that he’d finish his beer long before she even got to open hers.
"Because you’re in Los Alamos, and it’s ten degrees colder where you are!" She wondered why it was that she even bothered, any more. "I know, I know. Storm windows are what you put in when your mother is cold."
From the living room, Arkady tried on a few sympathetic faces. His mother wasn’t crazy, and he wondered how people even managed to function with parents like Betty’s mom — or Severen’s, for that matter. He still couldn’t figure out why Severen’s parents would disown him for deciding to go to college.
"Oh my god, mother. No. I am not marrying Evan." Betty leaned out of the kitchen and made a horrified face at Arkady.
It was a testament to his reflexes that Arkady managed to swallow before he inhaled his beer. Still, he rolled into a sitting position, coughing with his head between his knees.
"Why? Because we’re in a band, which means I live with him anyway half the year, and I’m already handling his finances, while he drinks my beer. He’s my best friend." She wondered how many more times she was going to have to have this conversation, as she returned Arkady’s single-finger salute. It was true, though. She was his accountant, and that was her beer.
"Yes, I’m still in a band. I’ve been in a band for more than a decade. Why would I stop, now?"
The twitch had started, and Arkady could see it, as he finally stopped choking and looked up. The right side of Betty’s face kept starting to curl into a snarl and then releasing, as she resisted the urge to say to her mother the sorts of things she’d say to anyone (and everyone) else.
"Settle down and get a real job? Have you ever even seen a real job that pays what I make? I get to travel around the world and watch people throw themselves at my feet. And throw money at me. Where am I going to get that, as an investments manager?" she ranted. These calls always went this way, but no matter how many times she told herself to skip the next one, she always made it anyway.
After a few moments, he decided to start unlacing his boots. He wasn’t going anywhere tonight, at this rate. Not that he had any complaints about that, really, but he wished it could have been under better circumstances.
"No, I won’t be young and beautiful forever. That’s why I have a degree in accounting, so I’ll have enough money that I won’t have to —" The sentence stopped cold, and the silence crystallized. "Don’t you dare blame Evan’s family for that! Or, better yet, do. It was one of the best decisions I ever made."
Betty leaned around the wall again, with a bottle of wine in her hand and an exasperated look on her face. Shaking his head, Arkady left his beer on the table and went to uncork the wine, for her. He wasn’t sure that burgundy was really the best choice for the moment, so he reached past her to pull out the shiraz he’d hidden in the bottom of her wine rack, the month before, and held up both bottles with an inquisitive look.
"No, mom, please don’t. … Yes, I’d love to but— But, I can’t." She tapped the shiraz, gratefully, and leaned in to kiss his cheek, just in time for another outburst. "Because I’m due in Barcelona!"
Arkady’s hands tightened reflexively around the bottles as she shouted in his ear. A split second later, she stroked his hair and gave him an apologetic look, which he thought was a definite improvement over the apoplectic look of moments earlier. As Betty continued to argue against tickets to some cultural event that was on the same night they were supposed to be on stage, at a club, in Spain, he opened the bottle of shiraz and thought about the show.
It was one of their shows. Not one with the band. Exactly the sort of show you didn’t want to tell your mother about — even his mother, although he was sure his mother would take it much better than hers. What would he even say? ‘Yeah, I’m going to go get strung up by my ankles and whipped until I bleed, by my best friend’? Actually, that probably wouldn’t be a bad opening, knowing his mother.
Betty was still arguing, by the time Arkady poured a glass and handed it to her. "Yes, I’ll be there for Christmas. You know I don’t book on Christmas." She took a large swallow of the wine and kissed Arkady’s cheek again. "Yes, of course. I love you too. I— Mom, wait—"
She stared at the phone after the line went dead. "Happy birthday," she whispered, hanging it up. For a long moment she just stood and stared at the phone on the wall, wine glass forgotten in her other hand.
"Why doesn’t she ever let me say it?" she asked, defeatedly. "I call her every year, and she never lets me tell her why. It isn’t like I don’t talk to her every couple of weeks, in the off-season."
Arkady wrapped his arms around her, from behind. "‘Cause she doesn’t want you reminding her she’s getting older, I think. You call her every year. It’s not like she can argue you forgot."
She sipped her wine and leaned back against him. "I don’t know why she keeps insisting we should get married. I mean, do you want to marry me?"
For a split second, his heart seemed to stick to the inside of his chest. "Dearling, you’d kill me in the first week. I’m not suicidal, today. How about you finish that wine, I’ll take off my shirt, and we’ll practice for Barcelona?"
"Practice? I could do it in my sleep, and you know it. I don’t need practice," she argued half-heartedly.
"No, but you’ll feel better if you hit something, and you always say you love the noise I make when you catch me by surprise," he reminded her. "Just, no skin. I can’t be healing when we go on."
Betty smiled and turned to bury her face in Arkady’s chest. "You know me so well. No skin until Barcelona."