Coping Mechanism

The skies in Dallas have been overcast all day, rather fitting in the end. Even though the temperatures are nearing sixty degrees the air seems to carry a deathly chill to it. At least, that is how one grief stricken man in the city feels. The guilt within him is almost the same level as the sorrow, sending him into an indescribable state. The initial shock caused him to cry. Even with the tears gone his eyes are somewhat bloodshot. Robert Cornett looks like a man who just lost a loved one, because that is what just happened.

With nowhere else to turn at the moment and no desire to remain at the hospital, he simply goes home. The second story apartment is immaculate at the moment, most likely due to the fact that he hasn't actually been staying here in recent weeks. Despite the chill he finds the need to open up the windows as he enters, allowing some natural light in. The clouds make it dreary, but it is by nature's choice. In his hand is a case of beer, and it immediately goes into the fridge. From that same fridge he pulls out two long necks. One is opened and silently offered to his little sister, even if she is underage. There's simply no more desire within him to lecture her.

One sure advantage of being the baby of the family is that Mellie felt absolutely no obligation to keep it together. She's been unravelling since first hearing the news of the attack, and now, with the bottom having utterly dropped out, she's a mess. As she trails after him into the apartment, wraith-like and silent, the tears have stopped for the moment, leaving dark trails down her cheeks, where day-old mascara and dark eyeliner has run. There's a bit of surprise when he so willingly provides her with the alcohol, but she can't bring herself to comment upon it. Instead, with a nod, she reaches out to take it, pulling a long swig from it like a hardened pro, before she slouches back against the nearest wall. A chair might be more effective, but the wall wins, what with being right here. "Thanks," comes rather belatedly, in a distracted, low tone.

He's always looked out for his sisters, been there to protect them, all the while ignoring his parents. Now they're all hurting. Good job he's done. Robert leans against his kitchen counter, his legs crossing as he does so. He might almost appear comfortable if he didn't look as if he's been without sleep and has been crying. A very long pull from his drink is taken before he just stares off into space. Finally he glances back at his baby sister, shaking his head. "The bathroom is down that hall and to the left." Bobby points as he gives the instructions. "If you want to freshen up or whatever. I have a spare room so you're welcome to stay as long as you like." The company will do him good, for one, and she can be a good drinking buddy at least.

"Okay," Mellie agrees distantly, glancing in the direction he points without really seeing it, nodding absently but making no move just yet to go avail herself of the facilities. There's a long pause as she glances down at her drink, idly picking at one corner of the label, with nails that were originally painted black, but have been picked nearly clean themselves during the waiting game. Lifting her eyes back up, they sweep over the apartment, as if she's only just realizing where she is. "It's funny. I never saw your place before. It's … nice." It's not actually funny or surprising, but a sad stab at inane small talk, something to dance around the elephant in the room. The words themselves are unimportant.

Every time that he's encountered his baby sister in a bar, he's done his best to promptly escort her out. Never once has she actually seen him with a drink in hand so it might be a little odd to her that he drains his bottle as quickly as he does. The empty is placed in the sink and he immediately goes for a second. "I don't think anyone really has seen my apartment. I was planning on inviting you over, but I haven't been home much lately." Small talk, indeed. It does seem to fill a void even if he has no real desire for there to be any filler. Turning to Mellie, Bobby nods. "I'm sorry, you know. For not being there like I should have been, for not being as understanding. For not being the brother and son I should have…" Enter the guilt.

It only really hits her when he finishes his drink before her, and Mellie follows his empty towards the sink, before looking down at her own half-full bottle. She takes another long pull of it, though it's not really competitive, as it might be in another circumstance. She just really doesn't want to end up being the last one sober here. She knows even less what to do with that guilt-ridden apology, responding initially with an uncomfortable roll of her shoulders. "You were … fine. And it's not your fault, you know." She's clearly unaccustomed to being comforting in this sort of situation. She tries to think of something else to add, something better, but coming up short, she just opts to take another swig of her drink.

"Do you know the last time I actually had a conversation with him?" Years. Robert takes a long pull, draining most of his bottle. His reasoning behind his protectiveness is because he knows a thing or two about destructive behavior. That guilt soon turns into anger as he looks about his apartment. From his pocket he pulls out both letters that Chloe left him and he throws them on his counter. "And where the hell is Chloe? She can run around and hide all she wants, but she can't be here with us when we needed her?" The anger is real but his words are empty. Chloe is likely his best friend, outside of Hope, and the entire world knows it. "You know what? I'm done. You want to sneak into the Warehouse? Fine by me. Life's too short."

"I know. But it still doesn't make it your fault," Mellie insists, still on unstable ground. She leaves it at that for now, just watching him for a moment, before she catches herself and looks away, examining the room without really seeing it. "At least you get notes." She glances at the letters he's tossed down on the table, though it's not exactly jealousy in her tone. Even she'd have to admit she probably wouldn't have read them anyway. But she certainly agrees with the sentiment. "She should be here. She'd be better at this … talking thing." Mellie, on the other hand, is fairly certain she sucks at it. When Bobby finally just throws in the towel, she looks almost a little frightened. "Don't talk like that."

He's actually always wanted to have her in his apartment, to just have conversations with her like a normal family; funny how all it took was tragedy to make it happen. "Despite what I always said, I was jealous. He liked you more." It isn't an accusation. Bobby literally drains his second beer and throws the empty in the sink to join the first. "She wouldn't want to be around me right now." It isn't the way he's acting that makes him think this; Robert knows more about Chloe than he ever lets on. "But she'll be here, hopefully. She's probably doing all the work that I refuse to do." Both hands run through his hair and for a moment it appears as if he's going to begin crying again. The man inside of him won't let that happen, though. "Isn't that what you want from me, though? I'd rather know you're happy and somewhere that I can make sure you're safe than I would have us fall completely apart." Again.

Mellie doesn't try to deny the allegation, though that he admits to the jealousy so freely gets a look of surprise from her. "I don't know why," she replies, a bit more frank than she'd normally be. She finishes her first beer, glancing down at the empty bottle for a moment before pushing off the wall, venturing nearer to add it to his growing pile in the sink. "Oh. Well, she never really wants to be around me. So I guess I wouldn't really notice the difference." It's a simple statement of fact, rather than self-pity. Not like the feelings aren't most often mutual. Rather than retreat back to the safety of the far wall, she lingers by the sink, close but not too close, and not really sure what to do next. There's another shrug. "I don't know what I want from you." She pauses for a moment, eyeing the empties in the sink. "I only snuck in to bug you though." Drinking she could do pretty much anywhere else with much less hassle.

"I failed him. I wasn't good enough. Never good enough." He runs those hands through his hair again before he plows over to the fridge. The new case of beer hasn't even been opened; he's pulling from the half a case that was already in there. At this point he doesn't hand her another one but motions that they are there whenever she wants one. "That's not it, you know. She never disliked you. She just had some issues that no one understood. But somehow we got all fucked up and I don't get it. What the hell happened to us?" He's not yelling, not at all. Things just need to be said. "I don't want things to be like that, Mellie. Bug me, sure. But that's at least talking to me. We've fallen so far. It's just not right." And there he goes, draining most of his third beer.

"I don't know what happened between you two, but I'm sure it wasn't like that. He's al-" Mellie catches herself, paling as she quickly corrects to the past tense instead. "He always just had this idea of who we should be. But it doesn't work like that. At least you didn't deliberately go out of your way to disappoint him." It's as close as she'll come to admitting to some guilt here herself. And leads to her leaning over to snag another beer in turn. "I don't know," she goes on with a shrug. "But, well, she definitely doesn't like me," is added more insistently, whether or not that's the same as disliking her. "You two always just got along. I never fit. But whatever. I get it." She brushes it aside indifferently, putting more attention on opening her drink than on looking at him right now. It's only once the cap is off that she looks back up at him. "Yeah, I know," she agrees, as to it not being right. "It's sort of like it all … just happened. I don't even know."

The slip up is noted but he doesn't comment. He'll likely be doing the same thing once he's good and plastered. As it is, he hasn't really felt the full brunt of the sudden alcohol. "I just think that his goals for me just fell flat. I didn't actually plan on getting injured." Bobby looks down at that knee, the lamest reason for not speaking with his father. "Don't you see?" His bloodshot eyes turn towards Mellie, nothing but sadness within them. "She always needed that person there, to look out for her. Like a bodyguard. You never needed that. If I thought you did…" He suddenly shakes his head before finishing his beer and chucking it into the sink. "No. That all is the past. This is the worst freaking way to think of it but we've been given another chance. I will tell you straight up that I can't approve of everything that you do, but hell Mellie… it's not my place to say anything." Yes, he must be drinking.

"Well, duh," Mellie replies, when he mentions it not being his plan to get injured, but her tone isn't unkind. "Which is why it's not your fault." She really doesn't know how to put it any more clearly than that, and just punctuates the thought with an opening swig of her new drink. "Right. She needed you." Though she's in a charitable enough mood to keep from rolling her eyes right now, it's not all that far off. "Though I guess at least finally someone recognizes that I've done all right looking after myself." She has to grant that much, even if it makes her jealousy at their closeness more confusing. She gives him a look that's almost wary, not wanting to trust in this drunken new leaf he's turning over, but almost unable to help herself. "I never asked you to approve of it. Just … let me live my life." Another pull from her beer, but it seems the best she can hope for is keeping up a 2:1 ratio with him.

It has been a hectic, horrible week for Chloe, that all culminated this morning at the hospital. Where she went directly when she realized it was likely safe to do so. Thus, regardless of what her siblings think, she was there when he passed, and then she disappeared. There's been too much worry, and too much grief this week, so instead of dealing with it then and there, she went to the home of her parents, opened the safe, got out the will and the required documents and began to set things in motion.

Now, she's been trying to call Bobby, but getting a notice that his phone is out of range or not available. Chloe is currently standing outside his apartment, debating on whether to knock or not. Finally, with a deep sigh, she raps at the door. May as well face it head on and see her brother to explain things. So there she stands, bandaged up on her arm. Especially tight wrapping around her one hand, and the other wrist. A butterfly bandage is on her brow, and she's fairly bruised up from various falls and.. well… beating up the bathtub last night.

"It doesn't feel like it." It's almost a snap, an all too truthful reality in the mind of her brother. "I'm the oldest, the only boy. I should have been /something/." With his third empty beer tossed in the sink he almost slides to the ground. There's something driving him to stand, though, but it isn't the desire to be strong. It is the desire for more beer. So he moves past his sister and grabs another. "You're alive, aren't you?" That's more than he can say for his father. "And you're not in the hospital. And…" The doorbell cuts him off before he can get too much more in. For a while he just stares at the door, as if telling the person on the other side or to come in themselves. The top is popped off the beverage and thrown into the sink before he eventually moves. The door swings open without so much as a peephole investigation and he just stares at Chloe. It isn't a glare, far from, but more a look of fear. "… better off than what I'm seeing now."

"You are something. You're just not the something that he wan- I'm really not the right person for this," Mellie notes, cutting herself off as she realizes that's maybe not the right track to be taking. So she just reiterates: "You are something, though." Not that she's really been around to know exactly what, but she's willing to take that much on faith. Somehow, having it pointed out how much better off she is than the other less fortunate members of the family makes the victory feel a little hollow, and just gets a frown from the teen. She looks down at her beer for a moment, glancing up only at the sound of the door. As he moves off to answer it, she uses the opportunity to finish off her second drink. Setting it gently in the sink, she crosses her arms over her chest, trying to brace herself for whatever has happened now.

"I'm fine, thanks for asking," Chloe says, using somewhat grim humor. "Before you start in on me, I /was/ at the hospital. I was with him this morning when…" Giving her head a shake, she moves into the apartment. "Mellie? I'm actually surprised to see you here." She draws out an envelope with all the information in it, and drops it on the counter. She gives each of them a look, peers at the sink and sighs. "I took care of everything. The arrangements, the obituary… dad had a folder in the safe with everything he wanted in it, and since mama's still in the hospital, I did it."

Something. Oh, he's something. Something being that he's on his way to blacking out if he keeps drinking the way that he is. It's too much too quickly. Robert knows better perhaps more than anyone else in his family yet this is now he has chosen to react to things. Chloe will smell the alcohol more from him than her sister as she passes. "Damn." He's not cursing at her, just in general. "I don't want to know." The whole thing is waved off as he drains most of that beer. "I'm not asking, you know. I'm not. Just tell me who the hell to beat and I'll take care of it." He'd be more concerned, more caring but he's way too plastered for it all.

"Yeah, well, someone had to be," Mellie replies, never one to let her sister off the hook easily. Her gaze flickers down the envelope as it's tossed onto the counter, and then she quickly looks away, finding it simply too real to acknowledge the existence of it. "What the hell happened to you?" Robert might not be willing to ask, but it's not holding her back. Her arms remain tightly crossed over her chest, even though this is limiting her ability to go for another beer.

The first thing she does after explaining that information, is to give Bobby a stern look. "Robert Allen Cornett, you are /drunk/." Chloe does not bother to blame Mellie for this, because it's /Bobby/ and he should know better. "So you are going to stop drinking right now, or injured or not, I'll kick you in the ass." The curse should show just how stressed out she is. A deep breath is taken, and she turns to Mellie. Slowly. "I tangled with a vampire. Or two. Or three. To save a friend." Not a lie, just not the entire truth. "I won." Go her. "But all of /this/ is my fault. /Mine/. Not yours, Bobby. Not yours, Mellie, but /MINE/. Dad is dead because of /me/." Oh, she knows her sisters reaction will be that she's trying to be the center of everything again, only this time she's trying to explain to them that there may still be danger with her around.

"Not drunk enough." This is said as he deposits his empty and gets another beer. Yes, another. He's not going to stop until he's good and blacked out. The drink in his hand is half gone before she can even think about doing anything. "You won't hurt me. Though you'd have a better chance than that Fontane dick did." Okay, okay. So Ivan stood no chance at defending himself. That doesn't really need to be discussed at the moment. The depressive state that he was in just moments before is soon replaced by anger. At least he's not yelling, or punching anything. "Jesus, Chloe. Why the hell didn't you ask for help? Don't be a hero. Your life is worth more than that." Then she's saying that it is all her fault and he just stares at her. "And don't say that. You didn't do anything." Robert: denial.

"Oh, leave him alone," Mellie replies, tightening her arms a bit. She would be the one defending self-destructive behaviour, after all. In equal parts because she simply can't take this all right now, and to drive that point home to her darling sister, she catches the fridge before Bobby can close it again, finally have untwined her arms to snag herself another beer as well. "What the hell are you tangling with vampires for?" Mellie asks, narrowing her eyes almost suspiciously as she peers closely at her sister, trying to puzzle this out, while her hands crack open the beer without her attention. The scrutiny is short-lived however, as Chloe takes her turn claiming the blame. "Don't talk about this as if it's just some thing that happened to you." Not so many weak but well-intentioned words of comfort as she had for Robert earlier.

Chloe stalks right up to Robert, and unleashes all her stress upon in him the form of a slap across the cheek. "I get that you don't want to deal, Bobby, I get that. But we /need/ you. And /we/ need you not to be drunk. Me, Mellie, mama… we all need you to be strong for us, because I just /can't/ carry that burden all on my own right now."

Mellie is given a look. "Because, Melanie, my /friend/ was kidnapped by a group of them. So myself and some /other friends/ went to rescue him. But the vampires in question sent a we—" She clears her throat. "A wolf to the house to attack mom and dad, thinking it would bring me out of hiding so they could get me to. So yes! This is MY fault. It happened to all of us, but if anyone is going to shoulder the blame it's going to be me, okay?"

He may be drunk, but this is his apartment. "Hey." It's said a little more forcefully than he originally would like, but to hell with it. "This is my apartment. If anyone's going to be mad, it's me. So you both hug and play nice." He's about to send one of them to their rooms when there's a sharp slap across his face. Bobby just stands there, staring at his sister, doing his best to fit it all together. There isn't much left to his beer by time this happens but there is some liquid there. All the same it is thrown into the sink, the sound of glass breaking echoing in the apartment. "Fine. Then point me to the person I need to beat up because that's all I'm damn well good for!" Yes, he's snapped, but a drunken upset brother is not a polite brother. "And it's not your fault. Even if all of this is true…" He believes her. He always believes her. "You didn't make it happen. None of us did."

Mellie opens her mouth, about to retort colourfully to the idea of hugging and playing nice, when the slap managed to catch even her by surprise, just by proxy. "What the hell, Chloe," she mutters in a sharp tone, before taking another swig of her beer, even as Robert is tossing away the dregs of his. No one needs her, so she will continue drinking - for both of them, if she has to. Coming down from the overzealous mouthful, she gives Chloe a long look for her spiel. God, everything really is about her, Mellie can't help but think. "You know what? I don't care whose fault it is. This isn't about you. Dad is dead and you're just off playing hero…" The words are hurtful, but she's getting worked up, quite suddenly on the verge of tears as her voice breaks. "And you weren't there."

"You shut your mouth, Melanie! I was there. I was there yesterday, and I was /with him/ when he died, and you'd just better stop drinking right now too, 'cuz I ain't afraid to slap you either." Chloe takes a deep breath and then rolls her eyes at her sister. "And you're right. In this instance, it was once again all about me. Get over your petty childishness on the fact that for one year, a /whole/ year out of our lives there was some concern for crazy Chloe. I'm so sick of your shit…" Reaching up, she pinches the bridge of her nose to calm herself down. She's yet to cry. She can't cry. "Bobby, I would tell you the all of it but you wouldn't believe me. Dad is dead, mama won't be able to make it to the funeral, so it's just going to be us." She shifts a glance to Mellie now that she's calm and asks, "Do you have an outfit to wear to the wake? If not, we'll need to get you something decent."

"No. I deserved that." It's said to Mellie more than anything, but still Robert is walking away from them. Both of them. The man is now pacing. "Just stop it though, both of you. I swear, just stop. For five freaking minutes can we just act civil with each other?" The act seems impossible but he'll make it happen, even if just in his own drunken delusions. It wasn't all that long ago that he all but broke his hand defending his baby sister, and that fist then finds the nearest wall. Being drunk dulls the pain, at least. "Just, damn it. This can't be happening." Slowly his gaze moves to Chloe, the most pained expression he can muster plastered to his face. Considering his currently condition he does look rather pitiful. "I have /always/ believed you." Even drunk he doesn't spill the beans on what he knows. Finally he does begin to tear up so he just leans against the wall and looks away from both of them. "Tell me the son of a bitch responsible is gone, or so help me I'll kill him myself."

Rather than answer Chloe's diatribe, Mellie just looks at her, eyes flashing with both anger and tears. And then, very pointedly, she tips back the bottle, intent on finishing it all in one go, pretty much daring Chloe to just go ahead and try to slap her. Just in case that dare is taken though, she's sliding back along the counter, slowly moving away from her sister, lest physical violence occur before she can finish the much needed drink. Draining it quickly, she thunks it heavily down onto the counter with a note of finality. "I can take care of my own wardrobe," is the only point she bothers to counter, though it's said with some considerable ire. She casts a glance over at Bobby, throwing her hands up with some drunken frustration. "Great. So you both are gonna go and get yourselves killed. That's perfect. Just perfect." No more people making her worry, dammit.

He wants to hear the all of it? Well Chloe is /so/ done keeping things from everyone. She's just hit a breaking point, and since she couldn't find either Will /or/ Mischa to talk to about the supernatural side of things, she's just about lost it. "Alright then, Bobby. It was a werewolf. A freaking /werewolf/ attacked mama and daddy, and y'know what? I'm pretty sure from the books I've been reading that means that there's a chance mama could become one." Go ahead and call her crazy, she can handle it. At least she got it out there. Just to add more stress onto things. "As for the megalomaniac that was responsible? I'm pretty sure he was taken care of, though I won't know for certain until someone calls me to tell me so." She's heard nothing from the vampire contingent, so other than knowing the warehouse blew up, she doesn't know their fates.

Chloe lets her sister finish the last bottle. Instead of hitting her, she moves to the fridge and pulls out the rest of what's in there. One bottle at a time, opening them to dump them down the sink. "Y'all don't need this to grieve, you'll regret it later." Beat. "Because you're so perfect, Mellie? Running around like some vamp tramp, letting whoever walks in just treat you like a /whore/? At least Bobby and I know how to take care of ourselves."

He actually remains calm through her explanation, he really does. It doesn't even bring a noticeable reaction. "I believe you." It's said extremely quietly. "And he better be, because if not I'll fucking kill him with my own bare hands." He's such a sad state in comparison to what he used to be, but it isn't going to change anytime soon. "I said to stop!" He's not even looking at them when he yells. The hand is throbbing a little yet he would much rather deal with his sisters. "This is /not/ the time for this shit. Seriously." Standing up from the wall he slowly looks at them, the tears still present. "Dad is /dead/ for crying out loud. Do you think he'd be happy to see us all fighting? That's really a great way to remember him, isn't it?" The beers are poured down the drain but he doesn't care. He can get more. There's always more. "If you two can't act decent around each other for five god damn minutes you can get the hell out. Because as much as I love you both, even I can't sit through any fighting right now. So we can either sit around and make nice for one god damn night, or I'm going to find that Fontane guy to use as a punching bag again."

As Chloe makes her grand revelation, Mellie finds herself just staring at her sister in disbelief. Vampires are one thing, but werewolves? Has Chloe gone cuckoo again? But while that's an almost comforting thought compared to the alternative, she can't entirely just brush it off. "A werewolf? Yeah, okay," she replies just skeptically enough. She lacks Robert's unwavering faith, after all. Chloe's diatribe distracts her from the troubling inner debate. "At least I never claim to be perfect," Mellie counters, just beginning and building up quite a head of steam as Chloe rises to the bait. But Bobby's shouting actually manages to quiet her this time, perhaps only by the grace of their earlier camaraderie, since under normal circumstances, it would just get blown off as well. Instead, she goes quiet and sullen, arms crossing again now that she no longer has to hold a beer. "Then tell her to stop picking on me," she mutters, though it's without much spirit this time. Just a baby sister last-ditch attempt to shift blame. Hey, Chloe was so happy to claim all the blame earlier, right? Suddenly finding the kitchen far too cramped, and unable to just stand by and watch all that beer being wasted, she pushes away from the counter, stumbling slightly as she moves to find herself somewhere else to lean.

Chloe remains quiet, right up until the very last bottle is emptied. She doesn't raise to Mellie's childish cry of 'she's picking on me', she doesn't raise to Bobby's anger. When the last bottle is emptied, she has only one thought in her mind - how much she /hates/ being stuck in the middle all the damned time. "I'm sorry I wasn't around, Bobby, I really am. If I could've been, if I thought y'all weren't in danger with me being there, I would have been. I stayed away to keep the two of you safe, because I actually love you /both/." She rubs her bandaged hands carefully over her face, then moves to lean on the framing wall, looking at both her siblings. "I left you notes so I wouldn't scare you too much. Dad /is/ dead, and getting drunk isn't going to change that. Neither is us fighting with each other. Neither is me telling you the truth. But if the two of you don't calm your minds just a /little/, I'm not going to be able to keep my temper in check." It's been weeks since she's been off her medication, and with the unwanted dose of vampire blood last night, she's not exactly able to keep her abilities under control. Her anger, frustration, and fear is all an extension of their own at this point.

At this point the beer is really starting to hit him. The room begins to spin slightly, causing him to use the wall for support more than he should. Bits and pieces of the conversation are picked up, carried on. "You didn't want me to worry? I thought you were dead; or hiding from the mafia or I don't know what. And when I couldn't find either of you when I was told the news? Waiting at the hospital alone feeling helpless?" After this is said his voice raises again. "I am not a helpless person. I don't like feeling like that. You both worry me more than I am willing to admit to." There, he said it. With that said he calms down, sliding down the wall to sit on the floor. "We all have our ways of dealing, okay? The point is that the one thing we shouldn't do is be at each other's throats. I can't handle it right now. You guys are all I have left." He has Hope, but he can't go to her like this. She'd dump his sorry ass in a heartbeat. "Yeah, why the hell can't werewolves exist? Vampires do, witches do, psychics do. Damn. It's like we're not safe no matter what we do."

"Nothing is going to change that, so what does it matter what we do? Being sober and feeling like shit isn't going to change things either," Mellie counters, still a little bitter as she's had to watch the best hope for passing out into a dreamless sleep go gurgling down the drain. "And for the record, the notes didn't do anything." Not that she was scared for her sister, of course. Bobby gets a glance and she lets out a sigh. "Yeah, feeling helpless sucks," she agrees simply, without apology for doing it to him, but not gloating about it either. No comment is made about her troubled thoughts, at least not verbally. There might be a mental «Screw you,» in there though, despite her agreement not to keep fighting. To the matter of werewolves, she slumps against the wall, shrugging her shoulders. There's really no good reason they can't exist, other than she just really can't deal with that right now, not with the potential implications Chloe spelled out regarding their mother. "So. If I did believe you, and I'm not saying I do… now what? What happens to mom?" There's a waver of worry in there, despite her proclaimed disbelief.

Eyes close, and Chloe does her best to block out the emotions of her siblings. She /tries/. She really does. But Mellie's thought comes through loud and clear, earning the girl a rather dirty look. "Right back at'cha sis," comes the scathing reply for all to hear. Chloe is absolutely non-apologetic about it either. She's had the worst week of her life, trying to save someone she /loves/ and this is what she gets for it. A dead father, and completely soused siblings. Lovely. "I'm sorry for worrying you, Bobby. I would have called if I could have. I /was/ somewhere safe though. Somewhere protected. I can promise you that." She just didn't want him to die which is why he wasn't involved. "And I don't think the Tyler girl would dump you. I'm sure she understands more than most, how things are when you lose someone close to you."

There is a slightly long pause, and Chloe looks over at Mellie. "I don't know? It's not like there are rules for this stuff written down, but the lore that I read said that we'd find out on the next full moon. It's on the twenty-third. I checked this morning."

Everything is swirling, including his thoughts. They're literally everywhere until he suddenly realizes something. "Sorry." A finger is pressed to his temple as he looks to Chloe. Then his mind goes mostly blank as he just watches his sisters interact. They may not be getting along blissfully well, but at least they're talking to each other. Perhaps, just perhaps it's time for him to stop getting involved and just let them work things out. If it doesn't work, then he'll get involved. "We'll see what happens," is Robert's only response about Hope. He is being rather pathetic, after all. Not the Bobbyguard he's supposed to be. "So where do I find out about this stuff? Before next week, since we might need to know how to handle things."

Mellie narrows her eyes at Chloe's reply to her thoughts. "I didn't say anything." She can't help what she thinks! Even if she totally thought that bit on purpose. Logic really doesn't matter in a petty sibling fight, though. She leaves it at that, at least, which is rather passive for her. She'd storm out about now, but she's feeling some weird desire to actually be near family right now, and that's annoying her almost as much as anything else. She listens to Chloe's response, still not willing to admit she actually believes it. "Well, I don't know. You're the expert on all this stuff, apparently," she replies a touch defensively, as Chloe points out the lack of hard rules.

"Yet I heard you anyhow. So maybe now you'll believe me." Chloe shrugs at that. Then she turns to Bobby. "I got some books at the Ogham? It's a shop just down the street from my apartment. I can bring them over if you want, before, y'know." The funeral. "The proprietress is nice, if not a little pushy. Maybe she'll have something a little more substantial? I can call and ask if you want." Or she can ask Mischa, if she could get in touch with him.

He's drunk so he can't help it. "You don't have to say it. She just knows. I bet if you thought of a number between one and a thousand she'd know what you picked." He says that with a bit of pride, actually. The reason why she needs him, or he thinks that she needs him. Robert doesn't even bother to pick himself up off the floor. Instead the man hangs his head, the fight almost all the way gone. "Could use a beer," he mumbles as he tries to mull things over without actually making Chloe's head explode. "So what do we tell Mom? Your husband is dead and you're a werewolf? She's barely holding on as it is." The man nods, to no one in particular but it is meant for Chloe. « I'll read what I can. »

"Oh spare me," Mellie mutters, unable to work up a better counter. She's just too drained to start delving into that can of worms right now. Robert gets a look as he rushes to Chloe's defence, or so Mellie sees it. "And I don't need the two of you ganging up on me again." That's more sullen than provocative, but with everyone so on edge, there's no telling how it will actually come across. "Forget beer. I could do with something stronger." And it might not be too long until she gives up on family togetherness to go in search, at least temporarily. When Robert points out the difficulty of telling their mother these things, Mellie just frowns down at the ground. No matter how many times she hears or says it tonight, the word 'dead' is no easier to fathom. It's like she keeps forgetting the reality of the situation, before jarring back to it: dad's dead.

"Bobby!" Geeze. Defense is one thing, convincing Mellie she can hear her thoughts is another entirely. "You don't need beer, and it's gone anyhow. And you," she says to Mellie with a sigh, "Don't need V or whatever else it is you're thinking of getting. Mom needs us sober and alert tomorrow." She takes a breath, exhaling it slowly. "She knows about dad, but I didn't have the courage to tell her the other stuff. I mean… I don't even know for /sure/ that it's going to happen. I just want to prepare you guys for if it does."

This is his apartment. His apartment. Now he's being treated like the younger sibling and he's being told what to do. All he's trying to do is to get them to get along. "Yeah, you're right. Forget I said anything at all. Drunk man is obviously crazy." It takes a bit of work but he uses the wall to help him stand. He then walks perfectly fine over to the counter and grabs his keys. "Chloe, you know where the spare is. You guys can stay here as long as you like. Consider this a safe haven or whatever. Hell, it'd be nice to have you guys under the same roof again. I miss it." It's just a flicker of emotion before the anger returns. "But damn, what are we supposed to do? Wait around until Mom starts trying to bite people? And if so, what do we do /then/?" He shakes his head and walks towards the door. "I can't take this right now. I'm going for a walk to clear my head and sober up. Lock up on your way out."

"You don't know what I need, and don't tell me what to do." Mellie is much more forthright in her protests to being bossed around, even if it is the stunning argument of a seven year old. Robert's rising shuts her up from going further down that road though, and she just watches him take his keys and make to beat a retreat. "You sure you'll be okay?" she asks, showing actual concern, even if she isn't about to fawn over him or insist that he shouldn't go out in this condition. She doesn't comment on the werewolf stuff, still not willing to admit she believes it - though having the two of them talk as though it's a fait accompli is making her drunken self forget periodically that she's denying it at all. And yet believing it isn't much better, especially considering the utter lack of answers. She doesn't feel very prepared.

"I need to head home and grab those books, and see about something." By something, she means talking to Mischa. "I'll be back later, even if it's really late. If either of you need anything /please/ call?" This is when she gives Mellie a look. There's little argument left in her now. The years haven't changed her, and it's doubtful that the death of their father is going to do much to change the girl either. "Go see her, Bobby. If she can't be strong for you for once, she's not worth it." She's sure her brother will be okay, because he /has/ to be okay.

It isn't his plan to go see Hope. He may end up there, he may not. The one thing he is planning on doing is walking so they don't have to worry about any drunken driving. "I want you guys safe. Don't worry about me." He actually attempts that charming smile on both siblings. "I'm dead serious. The spare key is outside in a hidden panel near the doorbell. You'll see it if you actually look. Mellie, stay here all you want." There's a pause before he looks to her with pleading eyes. "Please?" Robert has to shake his head. "I don't know. We'll see. It's not my place to ask her to be strong for me." With that he slides out of his own apartment. Trouble awaits!

Mellie heaves a sigh as Bobby gives her that pleading look, pausing for a long moment, before she rolls her shoulders in a drawn out shrug. She won't make any promises, but she's not outright stating that she won't, which isn't something she'd be shy about. Really, she hasn't entirely made up her own mind, but the pleading look has annoyingly at least forced her to consider it. "Whatever," she adds, sort of to the conversation at large - or perhaps in parting to Chloe, for she pushes off the wall, stumbling slightly as she turns her attention from her sister to the apartment, trying to remember where she was told to find the washroom.

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