Logs:A Lost Thanksgiving

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A Lost Thanksgiving


Characters: Jules, Louis, Miles, Natalya, Odile, Tris
Date: 2019-11-28
Summary: Jules hosts an impromptu Thanksgiving celebration for assorted Lost.
Disclaimers: {{{disclaimers}}}

Jules' house is not at present in the kind of homey state that most people would hope for on their holidays, but it has made some substantial progress. The living room furniture, for example, is not presently covered in plastic, though it is definitely not nice furniture. The kitchen beyond it has a small dinette set, but the dining room beyond is... finished? Well, no, the walls are still peeling, but the floor seems to have been freshly-refinished, and there's a dining table that should seat eight.

The plan, however, as it's been spread around, goes like this: Jules did not plan to have people over for Thanksgiving. Jules has, however, somehow managed to get paid for some of his work in one fair-sized honeybaked ham, and he will do his best to cobble together some other food, and all of this will be available throughout the evening for whoever happens to feel like stopping over until it's gone. "Those who are able should bring a dish to pass," is the general impression. The ham is out on the table, along with an eclectic and mostly-vintage quantity of tableware, two pies, and a green bean casserole that almost certainly involved condensed soup.

The front door has a note taped to it that just says "COME IN", and Jules himself is, when eight o'clock rolls around, still working on getting the living room furniture rearranged into positions where people could conceivably sit there.


Louis's car isn't flashy. It's understated, but elegant, in a dark color that is clearly meant not to attract too much attention. The attention is for his clothes. He's in a tan jacket and slacks, with a bronzed silk waistcoat peeking through, shimmering with imprints of autumn leaves. His pocket square is a pale green to contrast. He steps out, looks at the house for a moment, then reaches into the back seat and comes out with an honest-to-god woven basket, complete with checkered cloth covering it and keeping it warm. He moves to the door and knocks several times, despite the note, before opening the door, and calling out, "Jules? It is Louis. May I come in?"


Someone is behind a stack of very original-sauce Tupperware, orange and brown sunburst lids covering bowls and boxy containers that have probably seen use since the glory days. One strange eye peers from around the bounty, looking for the right house with the right COME IN-vitation. When Natalya lights on seeing Louis, she observes from behind him and her stack of...something: "You know, the words COME IN are right there. Do you think someone should tell them that that's not a good idea for a note? I almost hope someone's standing right behind the door waiting just in case." She shifts uncomfortably, visible for a moment as she tries not to drop the stack of...whatever that is. Something heavy enough to be both burden and blockade.


"Come in," Jules calls, affirming the note on the door, though he soon comes to the door to greet Louis and then Natalya, then heads back in. "I wasn't even sure anybody would want to come. The house isn't really... well, still a lot of a mess." There are still a number of boxes among the living room furniture, for one, but it basically looks like a house that had a hoarder in it for thirty years and has been in renovations for roughly three weeks. Jules himself, also not that dressed up. Jeans, button-up shirt with rolled up sleeves, mantle occasionally frosting over the floor around him when he stands still for a few moments like this. "I don't want to be answering the door all evening."


Tris should come with a giant apology note stuck to his forehead, possibly just for breathing, but that's one thing lacking in his attire that consists of designer tee-shirt, designer jeans, and a navy sports coat. It's all a little rumpled, but the way he wears it makes it seem like it's all supposed to be like that. One thing he should apologize for is the roar-growl-grumble of his matte black Lamborghini Aventador that ends up passing the house twice before finally settling on a spot some distance down, which at least means it should be quieter on his departure. Another thing would be what he brings to the party: a swanky Vitamix blender pitcher full of... well, they're noodles in broth, that look suspiciously like the kind that are 10 cents a piece (and there's probably four or so in there), the kind that even an idiot can make (not naming names). Under his arm is a top shelf bottle of Scotch for which he need not apologize, nor does he need to apologize for the easy smile that only adds to his natural good looks as he moves into the house, like he lives here... or like he thinks here is some sort of strange tourist trap and he's prepared to pay entry. Whichever.

His blue gaze goes around the place first and the people second, offering that smile around until his eyes fall on Louis, wherein it brightens and he cocks an eyebrow in some kind of subtle greeting even as he offers a more general, "Evening," to all and sundry.


"You, I have not met," Louis says, with a smile at Natalya. "We should correct that. May I--" he makes a gesture at her stack, offering to take a few of them as he opens the door. "And I wouldn't worry too much about Jules. He probably has booby traps for unwanted guests. They probably involve spikes, and electricity, and ice." He sounds so cheeerful about this, it's probably a joke, and he grins at Jules as he emerges. "Hello, Jules. This was a lovely thing to do. Thank you for the invitation." He assesses the house, not openly, but as covertly as he can. "Where would you like the dishes?"

When Tris comes in, though, the Wizened stops and stares. "...Tris? What on earth are you doing here?" He doesn't sound displeased, just terribly surprised.


Natalya coughs a little, and shakes her head to demur at Louis. "I have it. I just parked around the block. Old habits: I brought too much, even if it is all hors d'oeuvres. We can meet properly inside -- ah, hello." This last is aimed at Jules. "I'm imposing so I brought extras. There's no such thing as too much food at one of these get-togethers, is there? If you're our host, it's a pleasure, whatever the house is." A hand waves over the Tupperware. "Natalya Valentine." That almost counts as introduction, even if it's difficult to say who she's talking to until she starts setting down boxes without much being prompted. Deviled eggs, something that looks like a baked brie, something wrapped in bacon with little skewers, and on the bottom in a fancy tray, some share of pickles and olives and finger foods; it's very snacky rather than traditional.


Miles is in a suit, but it's not for the occasion, that's just how he dresses. It's charcoal tonight, with a festive tie. There are turkeys on it. He's a fun guy. Never mind the tie is dark blue and the turkeys are mostly realistic little birds in a pleasantly repeating pattern. He could probably wear this tie at any time of the year and no one would question it. The thing that probably stands out more than his tie is that he's carrying a case of beer in each hand. One is boring, cheap budweiser, and the other is a higher end ale. "And to think I thought I might be the only one showing up," he announces, you're welcome Jules.


"There's room on the dinner table, or the kitchen counters, or--well, I'm not really that picky. I didn't think this through much," Jules says to Louis. No, really? "Natalya--Jules Landry. That's terrific, I figured it'd be more of a matter of people taking food whenever they're hungry anyhow, didn't want anybody to feel bad for being late. Miles!" He's sounding much more flustered by this succession of greetings than like he's smoothly moving through the arrivals. "Oh dear god," before he can get further in saying hello to the other Winter, "are those ramen noodles." Regrets are being had, so it's already a Winter party.


"Jules invited me," Tris' cheerful, much too obvious response to Louis' question comes readily and trots that stellar intellect out for anyone who was doubting him, given the blender pitcher of noodles. He doesn't really pause as he joins the group, though the heat coming off of him is obvious enough to anyone he brushes past, even if he takes care not to actually touch anyone. "I'd heard you were down here when I was moving, but I hadn't had a chance. Things were... busy." And this is now suddenly awkward, so cue that distractingly charming smile. "How've you been?"

Despite the fact that Tris is speaking with the fixer, that doesn't stop his youthful interest from straying to all of those Tupperwares that probably hold more home-cooked, real food than he's seen since he moved. That might be why he glances toward Natayla with something akin do awe and gratitude before the meal has even started. "Tris," he offers to the woman with the provender. His pitcher and scotch are ready to be set down wherever they're directed to. Really, the noodles may be swollen to inedibility by now, but he tried; maybe if someone is fast they can confiscate the poor attempt and relegate it to the trash before anyone feels obliged to try it. "They're what I had," the young man explains to Jules - which is basically a yes. "I brought Scotch?" Does that make this any better, asks the tone?

Tris' eyes are only drawn away from the current happenings when he hears Miles' voice, smile broadening when he lays eyes on the suit-wearing Winter. There's no greeting as such, but maybe the smile says it all.


"I think that's unfair," Louis says to Miles, looking quite pleased to see the other guy. It's the suit. Now he's not the only one in a suit, and all is right with the world. "Jules is very good company. Why wouldn't people come when he invites us?" With that, he wanders over to put the basket on a bare place, and starts unpacking smoked turkey wings, homemade sage stuffing in a casserole dish, and homemade turkey gravy in a container. Under that, there's a container filled with pecan pie tarts. Only once it's all out does he turn to smile at Natalya. "Louis Verte. Happy Thanksgiving, and very nice to meet you."

A warm smile to Tris. "Well, it's good to see you. How are you settling in?" A question with perhaps more emphasis behind it than it might otherwise have, and even a bit of skepticism, like he can't imagine how Tris got himself down here without something exploding.


"Oh my. I bet you actually cook," Natalya observes of Louis. "Or you know the right person who does, because that smells great." That may not bode perfectly for her bounty -- or perhaps it might. She's got a collection of the kinds of foods you toss together from a Pinterest marked 'so easy anyone can do it!' or that's been dumped freshly from jars, after all. Still: food is food. Her smile is warm even if Natalya's aura smells like burning leaves on a bit of cool wind, and even if there's that offputting sense that she's got too much mouth and teeth for her face. "It's not surprising that I'm new face to everyone. Haven't been in town long and I've been buried in office politics from the word go." She looks between Tris and Miles and observes, "Being well stocked in liquor has never made for a sad Thanksgiving unless you have relatives like mine. Least said the best. Glad to meet others like us here." She sounds like she's used to public speaking.


"He has his charms," Miles will allow when it comes to Jules, but there's still a doubtful edge in the way he says it. "The place is looking almost presentable, Jules," he adds to the man himself. Almost. When the Fairest Winter notices Tris, there's a brief appearance of a warm smile, "It's good to see you here, my friend." Then Miles is looking for somewhere to put the beer because he didn't bring a cooler to make sure they could stay cold or anything.


"I'm sure the Scotch will be appreciated by someone," Jules tells Tris, very reassuring, a hand on the young man's back, taking the blender pitcher from him for just that eventual mission towards the trash. He does, however, nudge him off in another direction before attempting to do that when he isn't actually looking. Then back to all those people, and a general encouragement of whoever happens to be handy in the direction of the food, despite his not having done so yet himself. "The pies on the table are sweet potato," he offers up to nobody in particular, "and anybody comparing them unfavorably to pumpkin isn't invited to Christmas."


"Well..." There is that pitcher of noodles to consider when Tris answers Louis. "I'm having some trouble finding good people," the young man admits wryly. "My people- the people- you know," because Louis knows who he means, hopefully, "They set up my apartment for me and I got myself here with Tank and Tiny and Cleo and Ninja," his menagerie of house pets. "Jules fixed my vacuum," he credits where credit is due. "I learned to use a vacuum," is added for his own pride (even if he also broke his vacuum), because that's a big deal in his world says his bright smile. If only he were kidding. Natalya's words about her settling in experience get a cluelessly sympathetic smile, the kind that comes from someone who simply can't relate on any level.

The Millennial gives a nod-and-smile combo to Miles that silently communicates a reciprocal sentiment. "Who doesn't like Scotch?" would be funnier if it weren't paired with that slightly bewildered look that means it's not a joke. Probably. At least he doesn't try to retain his pitcher o' noodles when Jules relieves him of it, and in fact he gives a smile of thanks. Maybe he wouldn't even be saddened to hear of their destination; a man can only eat so many noodles.


"Congratulations on your use of the vacuum, Tris. I remember the first time I used one; I burnt out the motor completely the first time, and had to build a new one. It was a learning experience." Louis grins at Tris. "Well, I'm glad you're here. A familiar face is something to be thankful for, and I imagine it'll do you good. We can talk about your needs and how I can aid you with them, sometime soon?"

A curious look Natalya's way. "Office politics, hmm? What is it that you do, Ms. Valentine? If I might ask. And I do cook. I quite enjoy it, if I'm honest. But everything here looks delicious."


Natalya pauses before she answers Louis; she's watching Tris with some interest as he elaborates his accomplishments and advances, and seems to come to some conclusion there, with an answering smile that's meant to be encouraging, probably. "Academic. I teach economics and math. Adjunct, so my life is hell, really, but it's a better class of hell than most." She doesn't elaborate further, instead considering Jules's selection of tableware.


Better late than never. The roomy, black Lincoln town car pulls up somewhere in front of Jules' house, the uniformed driver stepping out to open the door for its occupant. He also ends up carrying the small crate that he fishes out from the back of the vehicle while his passenger waits, the telltale clink of glass bottles evident on every step.

He stands behind the slim, elegant form of Odile Devereux, clad today in tailored Versace dress dyed a deep burgundy with subtle gold embroidery on one side of her, a black coat draped over her shoulders without putting on the sleeves, and a matching hat pulled low to obscure her eyes from view. As always, she's never without her pearls.

"I hope I'm not too late," she tells the gathering, waving for her driver to set the crate down, laden as it is with two bottles of Italian red, a bottle of fine brandy and a 21 year old Balvenie. "It took longer than I liked, helping myself to a friend's cellar." Hidden eyes flash a clear blue, momentarily, lighting upon familiar faces and new - Natalya and Miles aren't familiar to her. Louis, as usual, gets a warm curve of her visible scarlet mouth. Tris? Her lips purse faintly in surprise.


"Next time," Jules mumbles as he coordinates the getting of a lot of this liquor into the same place in the kitchen in proximity to glassware, "I am putting a budget limit on contributions." But he's mostly been left talking to himself, here, playing host without actually doing much hosting. Whatever anybody else has managed so far, he finally diverts to get a bit of food onto a plate and one of the less-impressive beers, and to hide in the corner of his own kitchen while he gets some of it down before he wastes away. Which he is clearly close to doing.


Tris' nod and just shy of overly-emphatic, "Please," to Louis marks him as a man ready to make a deal, or two, or six. That there are a variety of things the brunette is in rather desperate need of help with is not a difficult conclusion to draw. He has every appearance of listening to Natalya's response to the man with the answers, but he can't seem to help the slightly pained expression that the words 'economics' and 'math' bring to his face. It's there and gone and it's nothing against Natalya, but those might be things that fall into that wide gulf of items that could be labled "What Tris Needs Help With."

His attention is stolen by the arriving Changeling, drawn in the form of a questionably flattering double-take. Dark blue eyes blink rapidly in a moment of silence as that fully functional brain of his pieces together memory with moment and his hitched breath is released. He manages a polite, 'excuse me' nod toward Louis and Natayla before he's practically drawn like fish on a hook toward the newest arrival. The only pause is when he passes by Jules in time to hear, and repeat with a perplexed tone, "... Budget?" like he's never heard the word before. When he draws near enough to Odile, he aims for a faire la bise style greeting. He almost reaches for her hands, but he is not unchanged by time, looking ten years older and radiating a substantial amount of heat that is unseasonable for sure. "You look radiant, Odile, as always."


In stark contrast to Tris, Louis' expression as Natalya mentions her areas of emphasis is delighted. "How wonderful! A couple of my favorite subjects." There's a rueful chuckle. "Well. One of my favorite subjects, one very useful subject that nonetheless only excites a small bit of passion in my heart." He wanders the food available, choosing a couple of samples of other people's offerings, and tasting them with apparent satisfaction, before turning his attention to Odile. "Happy Thanksgiving, Odile. Look who ended up in New Orleans?" A wave towards Tris as he greets the woman, before he steps forward to offer an air kiss at her cheek.


"Oh don't fuss, my darling Winter," Odile replies with a light laugh at Jules' quiet mumbling. "Though I find it absolutely adorable that you think I paid for any of this." Mischief plays over the visible line of her mouth; clarifications don't appear to be forthcoming, however, when slender legs pivot and that effortlessly graceful stride takes her to the food offerings on wherever they're laid out. She can pinpoint Louis' handiwork almost immediately, taking an appreciative whiff of the air. "As always, dear Louis, you've outdone yourself."

That hatted head takes on an almost inquisitive incline when Tris approaches, her earlier surprise dwindling away to a more open look - if her mouth wasn't so expressive, it would be difficult to tell, given her mostly shadowed countenance and the fine alabaster lines that disappear within it. But what he hesitates in doing, she facilitates by offering a pale, delicate hand towards him, manicure as crimson as her smile. "Of all the gin joints in all the towns," she quotes lightly. "You're a long way from home, Demitrius."

Louis' greeting has her tilting her face, pressing a light kiss on the air by his cheek. "Happy Thanksgivjng to you also, mon ami. Making new friends already?" Eyes move to where Natalya lingers.


A single brow arches under the flop of hair that dangles into Tris' dark eyes at Odile's words about payment for goods, but then, maybe he never knew. He briefly takes her hand, the heat even more evident when there's skin to skin contact. His thumb brushes over the back of her hand in a movement that is familiar and verges on the tender, before he's letting go and looking with some surprise between Louis and Odile, "You two know-" he starts, only to cut himself off and answer his own question, "Well, I guess that does make sense." Only. He turns a curious look to Odile, brows drawing down. "Have you always been... like this? I mean, when I knew you?" He darts another look toward Louis, though for what it isn't clear - maybe insight? Guidance? He does seem to be in need of rather a lot of the latter.


Miles was here and then... where did he go? He must had an Important Phone Call because he's coming back into the kitchen from the back door, a bottle of that ale in one hand and his phone in the other. He takes a drink from the former as he pockets the latter, then he's heading to make himself up a plate from the various offerings. "Did I miss anything exciting?" he asks of no one in particular, or everyone in particular.


Jules gives this reunion a wide berth for a bit longer, but Miles' return gives him somebody else to meander back towards once he's actually had a chance to eat. "Apparently some of them know each other, but everything seems to be going well so far?" But? Like this isn't what he expected.


Louis watches Odile and Tris' greeting with his eyebrows going up. "I didn't know the two of you knew each other," he says, in a murmur to Odile. He looks amused and pleased at it, though. "And I adore making new friends. Or meeting old ones. You know that. I--"

His cell phone goes off, and he sighs as he checks it. "I told him not to call unless it was an emergency. My apologies, everyone. Please proceed without me. I have to," a vague wave, and then he's heading for the door so he can take the call without talking over anyone else.


The line of her mouth changes briefly at the brush of Tris' thumb over her knuckles, but she's all smiles again when he releases his grip, a brief squeeze delivered upon his fingers before her own falls on her side. Odile's attention diverts, briefly, to where Jules appears to be huddling in the kitchen by his lonesome, before her hat brim turns to regard Louis as he exits the gathering. "A woman has her secrets," she tells him in reply, regarding her true nature. "Almost since he returned to us, I've known Louis for almost ten years." Her attention shifts back to Tris, taking in his changes with a quiet, but incisive air, piercing through the mask and the passage of a few years. It doesn't feel very long since the last time she had seen him, and yet...

"All grown up, him?" There's a teasing lilt to her tone. "We should have dinner and catch up, later. And then maybe you can tell me more about what happened."


"Small world," muses Miles, setting his bottle down on a hard surface so he can pick through the food he's gathered with one hand and hold his place with the other. "What did you expect? Arm wrestling? Granted, I'm not sure that's out of the question where that one's concerned," he says with a quick gesture toward Tris.


The understanding smile sent after Louis shifts into a brief grimace, but it's not a look that lingers. The cause is passing, not present. Present is the lift of his lips into a warm smile to accompany Tris' encouragement of, "I'd like that," for a later meeting. Whether or not a later meeting will include a lot of details... well, that's a problem for Future Tris. Some things have changed, but the bevy of items assigned to that version of himself compared to the man in the moment certainly has not.

"I wouldn't say all grown up." This admission to Odile comes with a little bit of a chagrinned look and hands tucking into his back pockets before he rocks onto his heels and pivots just slightly toward the rest of the Thanksgiving diners and food. "Time to eat?" He suggests, or at least to socialize with their host and his loyal, Winterly companion. No one mind the fact that Tris stops for his bottle of Scotch on his way to collect a heaping plate, to pour himself a substantial drink. It's probably nothing. Maybe he drinks like this all the time?

"Good to see you, Miles," are words finally offered to the well-dressed man. These words and his smile dim slightly as he looks to Jules, "Ah, Jules. Do you think you'd be available to come look at something for me tomorrow?" Presumably, he means, something else that's regrettably broken. "I mean, there are all those sales, so I could just go buy another..." Of whatever it is.


"Get food, Tris," Jules is quick to tack on the encouragement even if Tris is already on his way that direction. Like he's afraid the man might get distracted between here and the dining room or something. "I don't know what I expected," he admits, quietly, to Miles, "but maybe it was just that this couldn't possibly go well." Improbably, this prompts a small smile, which actually lingers right through Tris' shopping intentions are made clear. "I'm not going out on Black Friday," is the already-weary-sounding response. "What do you think you need on Black Friday? He can't," as though entreating some agreement from one of the others, "actually need anything on Black Friday."


The sharp curve of her smile softens faintly at Tris' acquiescence and mild protest regarding his maturity. "Let me know," Odile tells him simply, handing him a small white card containing her name and present cellphone number. "I should see to Louis, however, if it is an emergency." There's a smile towards Jules and Miles, who she has yet to get acquainted with, but business is what it is. Next time.

Taking a sideways step, she follows the wake of the Wizened, to undoubtedly insert herself in his business whether he wants it or not.


Miles could make some joke that would probably make Jules uncomfortable about Tris' question, but for now he only offers a knowing smile between the ogre and the younger man. "It's good to see you, too, Tris. I'm glad you could make it. I was worried you might not want to involve yourself in all... this." Miles nods after Odile, then adds on for Jules's benefit, "You can get all of those sale online now. You do know how to use the internet, Tris? Some of us are still struggling our way through." It's Jules. He's struggling.


Since he's got a blazer on, Tris makes use of one of the inner pockets to tuck away Odile's card, to make room in his hands for that plate of food and that drink before joining Miles and Jules. "What can I say, I like to be where the cool kids are." That's a joke. He grins at the two older men with a look that is downright cheeky.

"My coffeemaker is broken. I don't think I can survive the day tomorrow without coffee." Certainly not if Tris plans to have more of the Scotch, which he is swallowing in hearty gulps here and there. He settles himself somewhere - a chair, the edge of a table, wherever, he's not picky, so he can start working on his plate. "You could fix a coffeemaker, couldn't you, Jules?" See his faith? It's there for Jules after the parking lot vacuum cleaner fix. "I can pay you," even if being paid on Black Friday isn't necessarily anyone's idea of fun either.

"I'm fine on computers. It's where I process all my photos," Tris adds, for Miles with a hint of a smile. "It's where I doctor them up too." That causes a little bit brighter of a smile and maybe a slight tinge of humor to his voice. "If there's someone struggling with those basics, I can trade them for skills I don't have. Like cooking. This is fantastic, have you tried it?" He gestures at-- well, whatever that is he's eating with such gusto. It might be two dishes mixed together, but a man living on Ramen and tuna can't be picky.


"I can... maybe fix a coffeemaker. Lot of the new ones aren't really made for fixing." Jules does not sound like he approves of this in the least bit, but it's the sort of abstract disapproval that is perfect for Thanksgiving, where you are otherwise comfortable and standing around with a beer and you've already had a lot of ham. "I still don't like the whole computer thing. Everybody knows all these companies watch what you do on the computer. I'll send you home with leftovers, Tris, there will be plenty. Will keep you for a couple days, I'm sure."


"No," says Miles, firmly, to Tris when he mentions his photo doctoring. But that's all he'll say about it, only a slight frown and stern look. And then he's looking for somewhere to dispose of his plate so he can pick up his beer again and drink. Maybe not quite like Tris is drinking, but clearly Miles has better impulse control. "Those companies don't care about you, Jules, just your general shopping habits as a 300 year old white male." He's guessing based on the evidence provided.


"Are you doing things you don't want anyone to know about on your computer, Jules? They have software for that." It's hard to say whether or not Tris is joking because he cants his head just slightly in genuine inquiry, but there's something lighthearted in his look at the older man. Fortunately for Jules, the younger man is readily distracted by the next bite, which apparently requires an appreciative, "Mmmm," as it's tasted and chewed and swallowed. Maybe he won't have to answer after all.

The enigmatic smile leveled at Miles is not comforting, but nor is it the kind of thing that looks all that serious. All might have been well enough, except Tris chokes on his next gulp of Scotch, coughing (thankfully into his sleeve by reflex), eyes starting to water before he clears the burning liquid his wide eyes going between Miles and Jules. Since he choked when Miles said 300, there's a pretty safe bet what is going though that pretty but possibly pretty empty head of his just now.


"Seventy-eight," Jules insists on correcting Miles, like that number is really going to improve things substantially. "If I were hunting Lost, I would be very into computers right now. But I am just trying to make a nice life for myself in my family house right now. For myself and... other people. The community." Jules must have the best impulse control ever, because he's barely making a dent in his own beer. "I live with the phone because it's proved useful for that, but I don't use the internet more than I have to." Which doesn't of course strictly answer that question, but evidently he doesn't intend to.


"Jesus Christ, seventy-eight?" That's probably not what Jules wants to hear, but it doesn't seem to be an insult or anything. Miles is just, you know, realizing something. Maybe how old he is on paper. The official ones, anyway. He takes a longer drink this time. "I would have expected you to be big on all those youtube channels of guys... doing things." Making stuff, whatever. He looks at Tris. He's right, right?


"Yeah, there's a ton of videos like that. How tos on..." Tris' blue eyes dart around the room, to the peeling paint and they come guiltily back to Jules. "Anyway, I could show you some things, if you want." He swallows his Scotch, only to find that's the last of it. He regards the glass grimly, and then his plate which he's made inroads on, but hasn't demolished as yet. The plate is set aside though, in favor of rising to go fetch the Scotch bottle and bring it back with himself. "Do you know how old you are?" The younger-looking man inquires of Miles with a conspicuously casual tone as he pours into his glass.


"I know how to do most of it. And I have some books. Magazines. I've only been back here a few weeks, you know, and I'm doing all the work myself. Don't give me that look." The last particularly to Tris, before he gets up to go after the bottle. When he's returned, Jules seems happy enough to move on to that question. "Yes, Miles, tell us." He is not the sort of man who normally smirks, but his mouth is definitely, it turns out, capable of smirking a little.


"You know what, you can both just mind your damned business," says Miles, finishing off the rest of his beer and setting the bottle down on the closest surface. "Don't let him drive if he keeps drinking," he says to Jules with a gesture at Tris, then a serious look at Tris to make sure it sinks in. "I'm going ho-- back to the hotel. Happy Thanksgiving." And then he's, you know, going.


"Miles!" Tris can't seem to help calling after the suited man. Maybe it's the alcohol, or maybe it's because the question wasn't meant to send him running. Though Miles won't see, Jules certainly will if he's looking, that brief look of a wound reopened, a pain that goes deeper than the matters of the moment. Closing his eyes briefly, the younger man swallows down another gulp. "I can drive. Even when I'm drunk." Or so he claims. That he would have cause to make a claim is worrisome though. He looks down at his plate like he might have lost his appetite, but shakes his head after a moment and takes up his fork again to eat. Waste not when it's not swollen noodle soup. "Sorry," he mutters to Jules, as if it's somehow his fault that Miles left and the others are regrettably detained doing whatever it is they need to be doing.


"Good night," Jules calls after Miles, but not with any particular urgency or seeming upset at this. "I think," he says to Tris, a bit confidentially even if everybody else seems to have headed out, "that he's maybe twenty, thirty years before me? Reminds me of my dad, sometimes." Slight pause as he sips at his beer. "Guess that's a bit weird. You're not going to drive if you're not sober. We need you alive, remember? You can stay the night here if you need to."


It's the booze. It has to be the booze when the words, "You sleep here?" falls out of Tris' mouth. From the mouths of babes, though, come the health code judgments about this structure. He does have the grace to look slightly abashed from behind his glass. "Someone has to walk the dogs." He frowns at his glass and then looks up at Jules. "Maybe you can drive me back to mine and stay there? Fix my coffeemaker in the morning? I can pay you," he's said before, so maybe he really shouldn't be allowed to drive himself back. But long before there will be any need for those kinds of arrangements, there's more food to be eaten and he works on that in silence.


Hopefully understandably defensive, Jules says, "Of course I do. Downstairs bedroom and bathroom--on the other side of the stairs through there--are the first places I cleaned up." He does look around this living room, though, and sighs. "Maybe not for the best to have you sleep out here, though, I guess." He wanders back, glances over all the remaining food. "I'll need to get leftovers at least packed up. I guess... I don't like leaving the dishes overnight, but better than letting you drive, kiddo."


"Still not a kid, or a sport, or any of the other baby names you want to give me," Tris replies, but through his hands as his plate has been set aside and he's covered his face for the space of a few heartbeats. He rubs at it and then sighs. "I might be as old as you are," sort of. "It was a long time." There. In his durance. In Arcadia. It's not a great day for those kinds of thoughts though. Whatever appetite he had is gone in the face of that and he rises, looking down at his half-eaten plate and drink. "What if I help do the dishes first?" It might be a fair trade. But then... "I've been eating off of disposables." Of course. "So you'll have to show me how." But surely cleaning a dish can't be that complex?


"Sorry, habit. Don't know why it bothers you so much, though. Might as well get what you can out of being young and pretty for as long as anybody thinks you are, huh?" Jules goes into the kitchen, gets down a bunch of plastic containers, basically all of which previously held some variety of butter spread or Cool Whip, many of which look like they might at least be older than Tris looks. "Difficult to reconcile the idea of teaching a mature adult to do dishes. But yeah, sure, as soon as things are put away."


Tris pads along behind Jules, his tread light in those expensive loafers he wears, despite the new flooring as they pass through to the kitchen. "Maybe I just don't want you to think of me as a kid." There's the slightest emphasis on 'you', but that might just be a trick of the ear it's that subtle. "I'm not a child just because most of my educational experiences didn't include things like dishes or buying appliances or cooking." He sets his plate on the counter to nurse his glass of Scotch. "We always had people for that. I could have people for it now. It's just... not a good option anymore." He frowns into the glass. He probably would help if he were asked, but as he's just said, he used to have people for this kind of clean up and it simply doesn't seem to occur to him to offer help more than he's already done. So he'll just follow Jules, Scotch in hand until given a purpose.


It also doesn't seem to really occur to Jules to ask for help with this part, probably because he seems to have some mental system already in place for what goes in what, and it goes so much more efficiently when he's doing it himself. "I don't think having other people do everything for you is ever a good option. But especially for us." He divvies things up, snaps plastic lids back on as he goes. Labels? Hah. Most of the things wind up in the fridge. "Do you want more pie before I put it away?" The last thing. Much belated, now: "How do you want me to think of you?"


"I wasn't an 'us' before." Tris replies, staring again into his drink, while he moves to lean out of the way while Jules works. "The woman who came in? Odile?" He looks into the glass like that liquid will yield some kind of answer. "I knew her before. Before for me." Maybe that's why the drinking. "Maybe it wasn't good to have everything done for me, but I'm only learning that now. In the last six months. And at least before I had the same people doing things for me, more or less. The people my parents hired. The people who..." He shakes his head, giving up on explaining and going back to drinking.

"Maybe later." The pie. He's not thinking ahead. "Don't have much of an appetite right now." All those ugly memories will do that to a person.

"How I want you to think of me and how it's fair to think of me are probably two different things." The alcohol might be providing insight here. Or maybe there are layers to this man unguessed at without the effect of the Scotch to loosen tightly held veils. "I think it's fair to think of me as unskilled. As lacking. I don't think it's fair to think of me as childish. I'm trying. Kids aren't smart enough to know they're lacking and to try, most of the time. I didn't." How's that for deep?


"I'll make sure some goes home with you." By some, apparently Jules means the whole second untouched pie, since that's what stays out while the rest of it gets away. But eventually he brings the dishes into the kitchen. "All right, I'm just going to run the water until it gets hot, to start with." Tris' home may have a dishwasher, but Jules' does not. He lets the water get hot, stops up the left side of the sink, starts to let it fill, adding a bit of liquid dish soap as he goes--offering light commentary through all of this. But then as an aside: "Kids, young people, they might not know they're trying but they are, soaking up stuff when they get the chances. Kids are great learners. Grown men, I have different expectations of grown men."


It might be surprising that Tris dutifully sets down his glass and meanders to the sink to watch the process, but then, he did ask. He leans against the counter next to the sink, in close enough proximity to the older man that that heat that is the younger man's constant companion might be felt. He listens, too, to what's said regarding the process, though with that slightly glazed look to his eyes, it's hard to say how much will actually be retained when he tries to do this again. Maybe the next thing to break will be Tris' garbage disposal, or maybe even his faucet. Who can say? It all seems plausible with Tris Snow Who Knows Nothing.

"Passive learning and active learning are different. It's easier when you don't know..." what. Whatever it is, Tris' eyes briefly close and his shoulders shudder slightly before he brings himself back to this moment and anchors his gaze on Jules. "What are your expectations for grown men?" It may not be that grown-man-Tris is actually asking to apply these standards to himself, or to see where he falls short. The curiosity in his voice sounds more innocent than that, more simplistic in nature. Just a question he wants to hear the answer to.


How much is he going to retain? Well, after the first few, Jules shifts over to the other side of the sink, rinses, and dries them off with a very dated-looking dishtowel. Then, he says, "Here, you wash the others, and rinse them, and then I'll be drying them and putting them away. That way, you don't have to worry about where anything goes." But as far as the other thing goes? "Well, that's... complicated. Suppose I expect a grown man to pull his own weight, as much as he can. Think things through, make responsible decisions."


Tris turns to face the sink, stepping the distance needed to occupy the space Jules vacated. He looks down at the water a moment before shrugging out of his coat and moving to set it to the side. In short sleeves now, the younger man returns to the sink and lets his hands touch the water. "This isn't very hot," the Summer observes, but doesn't do more than mimic the motions shown him. Poorly. But he's trying. Obviously, he's trying. "So you call me sport and kid. And you tell me what you expect of a grown man, because I asked," he'll take that responsibility. "But you want my help in talking about things that impact all of us anyway?" Maybe he isn't as dumb as he sometimes seems. Handle with care, Winter.


"You can add some more hot water if you want, but scalding won't help anyone much--ah, here, you might want to give this one another going over." Jules, glancing over each piece as he goes, hands one back. "We only have however few people we have. Freeholds often run young. It's a dangerous world. You could have a crown, come June. Summer could be needed well before that." He has a stack of plates going and so goes to put them back in one of the cupboards. So much more in there than one person could ever need. "Young people ought to have a say, if it's your lives, too. Why not?"


It might be hot, really. Maybe Summer just doesn't register these things quite the same as Winter. His hand moves to the faucet which is at least one thing he seems to know how to work to run the water while he reaches to take back the plate that needs a second attempt and observe it without complaint before shutting off the water and bending back to the task. It is thus that there is extended quiet before Tris' voice rises over the slosh of the water to answer.

"If you think I'm a child," he murmurs, just, just audibly, "Then that sounds like bullshit." It's not aggressive, but it is blunt. His hands still in the water, and he slants a look of those dark, serious eyes on the Ogre. The Beast in him is there, in that look; predator sizing up prey? It's there and-- well, not gone, but subverted by whatever helps him stay closer to what he was before. He looks back to the dish in his hand and scrubs. "If I have a crown, will that make me less a kid to you?" These words, too, are quiet, but they lack a tone that indicates any kind of emotion.


"You act like I think you're an unattended six-year-old." However he's being sized up, Jules doesn't seem to pay much mind to it--but then, he's had a lot of years, as mentioned, around Lost in all their varieties. "Rather than just an... impetuous youth." That word, "impetuous," does not seem like one he'd be most inclined to use normally. A phrase heard somewhere and borrowed. He comes back, takes the towel back and dries another. "Don't know why you're so concerned. As Summers go, you seem all right to me." And yet the tone he says it in, you'd think that was higher praise.


Tris' frown is subtle at his mouth but the look is more obvious in the wrinkles on his forehead, visible through the fringe of flopped dark hair that's back in his eyes again. "None of us get to be an 'us' without issues." They probably didn't even start for him when Tris joined the lost. "My therapist says I'm too sensitive sometimes." He glances aside to Jules. "I don't want you to remind me of my dad. He called me shit like that 'til I was old enough to scrap with him about it." He hands off another rinsed dish before he adds, "You don't want the association." Some people have good parents; it sounds like Tris did not, or at least not his father, anyway. "Just... treat me like someone new to a job, maybe? Not like an 'impetuous youth.'" Hear his air quotes? Hear his snort? The latter is more obvious than the former.


"Got it. Not intentional. Used to have a friend, Autumn type, used to accuse me of going a bit too mother hen. Bad look for an Ogre, she said. Well, I'll get the house cleaned up and probably have plenty of folks to fuss over who aren't you." Jules starts to set some of the dishes aside as they get to the things people brought food in, drying them and making some neat stacks of Tupperware and otherwise to return to their owners. "It's a bad job to be new to. Bad job, in general. We find our ways to manage. Myself included."


"Do you know how to look out for people as friends?" Tris inquires, his voice turning a little wry as if he thinks this might be an overly optimistic inquiry. "I could use a friend, or two." For a sentence so innocuous, there's an unexpected weight to the words when the younger man says them. He doesn't look up at Jules, his attention too trained on the task at hand. "You can mother the others all you want," he adds, in case that's something Jules needs his blessing for, though there's a little humor in the remark, too, an attempt to lift the weight of the previous words. There's enough pause for him to pass over another dish that might have a scum of oil still on the surface, before he asks, "How do you manage?" The tone suggests that Tris might already be drawing his own conclusions about that.


"I mend what I can." Jules pauses, there. "And pay too much for cigarettes. Not ordinarily inclined to think of Summer as friend material, but you, I think I can make an exception for." If it's a joke, he's not really grinning or anything. "The house will be in good shape by summer. Just needs a little love and care and a few cathartic afternoons with a sledgehammer. But you get some people do it with drink, or fucking around, and--I do my best not to judge."


Tris' "I've always been exceptional," is too dark to be a joke either, but he doesn't elaborate. He just frowns at the dishwater, finishing the last dirty dish and rinsing it. He dries his hands on his jeans after passing it off and picks up his cup do down the remainder before stepping back to the sink to clean the cup. "I have no idea what I'm doing with anything," he gestures a wet hand toward the house in general, "But if you need hands." These days he doesn't have any qualms over doing manual labor. If Jule might have to do some of it over again, well... Lessons aren't always successful the first time they're taught.


Here, that did get an actual smile. "I might." Jules gets the last few things dried and put away, waits on that final glass and gets it dealt with, and then folds the towel tidily to hang it on the oven door handle. "That'll do, I think. Don't forget your jacket. Think I've got everything I'm apt to need in the truck already. We'll come back for your car in the morning, if that's all right. Handsome piece of engineering but I think I'd be much more comfortable *not* driving it."


Once Tris has his jacket on, he fishes in a pocket and pulls out his keys. "Oh, Jules," is a deeply amused and too knowing tone. "You know you want to drive it." His brows even wiggle in entreaty. "Besides, if you wreck it," he's not laughing, but only just, "I can always buy another one." There's a wink before he tosses the keys to Jules. "I'm not leaving my car here to get busted into overnight." He might also mutter, "On street parking," as he turns his back to go and help himself to a long slug from the Scotch bottle (look, no new glass to clean up, Jules!), and then leave it on the dining room table while he meanders in the direction of the front door.


"Dear Christ." Jules manages to catch them, eyes them dubiously, and then lets out a sigh. "I'll have to get some stuff out of the truck." It must be said: It has not exactly taken pleading to get this to happen, so maybe that's a sign? He works on closing up the house--locking the back door, shutting off lights on their way out, then locking up the front. The sign finally gets taken down, crumpled up and shoved in his pocket. Then he's off to his own vehicle first, to extract from it a duffel bag that he stuffs even further full of... well, whatever it is he keeps in that truck. "You're in charge of that and giving me directions," he says as he shoves the bag at Tris.


Tris is not actually an exceptionally strong man for all that his build is leanly muscular. Still, a bag he can handle, unless it happens to be full of unexpectedly hefty rocks. When he's given his instructions, he laughs, but it's the kind of wild laugh that might be intoxicating to some (worrisome to others). "Turn it on," he advises, nodding in the direction of the car. "With the keys." The car will respond to the touch, to make that growl that quickly revs into the obnoxious keyless startup. Once they're in the car, with the duffle bag settled between Tris' feet as he sprawls across the passenger seat, belted like a boss, he says, "Take us home, Ace." That might initially seem like a remark to Jules, but since a smooth voice replies from the car itself with the first of a list of instructions to guide Jules to the swanky apartment building in the central business district, as long as Jules doesn't actually crash the car, they'll probably reach Tris' place just fine. Friends, technology and really fast cars: those are three things to be thankful for.