Pride & Prejudice

Ravello - Bosch Apartment

At the top floor of the Ravello, this loft apartment is everything an artist could ask for. Spacious, open, with high ceilings and numerous windows and skylights which not only fill the room with natural light, but give it an open and airy feeling, the sky within easy reach. With the exception of the bathroom, the entire space is open with no walls. To the left of the entrance is a large kitchen done in silver-shot black marble with stainless steel appliances and a large floating counter dividing it from the rest of the apartment with stools along the far side for casual dining. Just past that is a dining table, large enough for six to sit comfortably, made out of warm chestnut wood with copper inset details. To the right of center is a raised platform 'room', the bedroom, with pillars at the two corners that jut out from the wall, heavy yet translucent curtains separating the sleeping area from the rest of the apartment. The bed dominates the space, with dressers flanking it and the bathroom leading off to one side. The rest of the apartment is free to be whatever one wants. At the moment there are a few comfortable couches and chairs by the bedroom area with an entertainment center for music and viewing pleasures. The rest has been blanketed in canvas dropcloths, a myriad of rolling carts and tables covered with paint tubes and pots, brushes, jars of mineral spirits, and a variety of other artist tools and utensils. Canvas are stacked up against a wall and a work in progress dominates the interior wall that is free of windows.

Ding-dong. Ten minutes early, at least considering the time he mentioned. She always did that.

There was, of course, the possibility that she wouldn't show at all. He had, after all, left multiple messages, each one shorter and crankier than the one before. The final one? ~Me. You. My place. 8. Dinner. Casual. Be here. Damnit.~ But either way, Hugo was going to have a nice relaxing dinner. Well, okay, he'd have a better chance of that if Josephine /didn't/ show up, but no point in picking a fight before his sister was even there. His head tilts as the doorbell chimes, eyeing the clock in the kitchen before blowing out a breath and wiping off his hands with a hand towel. Crossing over to the door, he swings it open with a cheerful, "Zus!" Casual as promised, Hugo is wearing a pair of old faded jeans that have come to fit his frame perfectly and a black tank top. Stepping back, barefoot, he gestures her inside before asking with only a hint of irritation in his voice, "Why the fuck haven't you called me back?"

"Broertje…" A hint of wary in Josephine's alto when she picks up on his mood. As if she couldn't tell from his last message alone. She's looking better. A world of better. Even took the time to slap on a little mascara, is he feeling honoured yet? Still pale but less ghastly, she enters his apartment. "Been working my ass off," she shrugs, "Didn't leave much room for anything else, you know. busy bee is me." Insert a wry little grin meant to soothe his spirit a little. Then her eyes move past him to the loft itself and she's silenced quite effectively. A frown starts as she takes it all in. And there is so much of it to take in. Seriously not what she was expecting. Obviously.

Ocean eyes study her up and down, from head to toe, and clearly he is relieved by what he sees, a tiny bit of tension easing from his frame as he nods once, his smile altering ever so slightly from irritated bordering on outright furious to easy amusement. "You? Work? Pfft. That'll be the day." But his hands lift to catch her upper arms lightly a kiss bussed to the left cheek, then the right cheek, and then the left cheek again before he turns and pads toward the kitchen, from whence scents come wafting. Damn. Something smells /delicious/. "You look better. More like death over easy rather than all over." Opening the oven, Hugo peers into it for a moment, studying the contents therein before closing it once again. Padpadpad. He takes her arm and leads her toward the large black leather couch noting, come on in, kick off your shoes, make yourself comfortable. Can I get you something to drink?"

"Uhhh…" She's still a little stunned by the loft and everything in it, even the cooking doesn't get a smirk yet, though she returns the greeting. "All this…" she murmurs, duly sat down on the couch, "Is yours…?" Someone clearly didn't expect her little brother to do so well and a little note of envy slips through.

There's a small flash of surprise and then a small smile of pleasure as he drawls, "Wellllll, it's not really miiiiiiine. Belongs to a friend of mine. I've got a similar place though in Manhattan." Manhattan. A similar place? That would likely be way more expensive than what this place costs. His lips quirk as he concedes, "Well, okay, maybe a /little/ bit smaller and not in as nice a neighborhood…" Whatever is in the oven can stay there awhile it seems as Hugo flops down next to his sister as she looks around before asking, "So, what is it that you've been working on, oh industrious honingbij?"

Shifting a little uncomfortably then, Josephine is probably comparing this to the rundown hotel suite she could afford. So she shrugs her vest a little closer, commenting a little too offhand, "It's not so bad." Another little shrug and the vest goes about a little tighter yet. "I've been doing some editing on the side," she tells him, the green eyes now set pointedly on the oven rather than having to go greener still with the splendor around them. "Some journals someone is wanting to publish, a historical kinda thing." Which they both know is not something she likes to dwell on, given dad's never relenting passion for everything old and ancient. "Pays the bills, you know." Then why does she sound like she's defending herself…

"Whatever it takes," Hugo concurs with a nod. He's certainly not one to look down upon anyone's work, considering what he's stooped to in the past to make ends meet. His head tilts to one side as he asks, "So is that what got your tits all in a tizzy before? Working for a vampire? Do you really hate them that much, or is it just Michael that you don't care for. He said you were terribly rude the last time you met." He hesitates before adding in a coy and teasing tone of voice, "I think you hurt his /feelings/." He frowns as she keeps tucking her vest around her more and more, asking, "You cold?"

Her turn to, "Pfff." She crosses her legs, making her effectively a little bit smaller again, but the set of her shoulders shows she's steeling herself against what else information he's managed to dig up to throw at her. "Let it go Huug," she tells him, "Mike is…" She takes a breathe deep enough to puff her cheeks, "He's okay, he's just. You know how people sometimes take /everything/ you say so personally. He's a little like that. Always with the wanting to help and when you tell him 'No, not needed', he goes on and on and on." The dark brows furrow deeper when something sticks, "Wait a sec, who says I hate vampires. Did he say that?"

"Nobody. I'm just fishing. you seemed strongly against them the last time we talked, or at least strongly against having one of them sucking on you. But Michael was concerned - said you looked terrible and were acting strangely. I can corroborate those facts." Turning so he's facing his sister, Hugo looks her in the eyes soberly before reaching out to muss up her hair and shake her shoulder. "God, relax ouder zus, let your hair down." Catching her chin in his fingers he leans in and rumbles, "You have secrets you want to keep secret. Fine. I'm not going to try to pry them out of you. Lord knows I've got plenty secrets of my own. But if you want to talk about them? Need a shoulder to lean on? I'm here, zus, and my schedule is wide open. Day or night, you can count on me, ja?"

"When did you talk to him?" Josephine wants to know first, shaking her head whether to loose his hand or to loose the incoherency of her thoughts. So maybe all's not as fine as she wants the world to think. "And I /am/ relaxed, I just don't know what to make of this sudden interest, this sudden wanting to know how I'm doing while you were so ecstatic to go MIA in the first place." That easy, from defense to offense. "And while we're at it, wouldn't you? Object to become a meal. Fuck, Hugo, what is this, the Spanish Inquisition?" She shifts to face him fully, the little anchor on the chain around her neck slipping from underneath her shirt.

Lips purse as he ponders for a moment before replying, "Yesterday? Or the day before? Day before. Well. /Night/ before. Him being a vampire and all. And for your information, no I didn't track him down or seek him out or anything like that. Purely coincidental meeting. Asked me if I was your brother, one thing led to another." But then two things happen. Jo start laying into him and that necklace, that damn necklace swings into sight. His thoughts have always been harder to read since mom left, but there is a flare of anger and a rush of thoughts that reach out, broken and jagged, as he rises up to his feet. ~Fuck,ifsheknewnevertellingsheliedanywaysalwaysknewfuckinghellthisiswhyIleftshitIdon'tneedthis…~ "Well. Excuse me for fucking /caring/. And no offense but you went fucking MIA a year before I did. I was just following your lead." Turning, Hugo heads toward the kitchen, reaching up into the cabinet for a bottle and pouring himself a drink. He doesn't ask her if she wants anything, just busies himself in the kitchen, checking on the oven again before pulling out salad fixings from the fridge.

Already opening her mouth to give a retort, Josephine is silenced for the second time this evening, this time at his violent reaction. And she rises as well, follows him to the kitchen, folds her arms and leans a shoulder against a pillar, "I went to school in Utrecht you idiot, to /study/. If you even know what that's like." Snort. And for the 64.000 guilder question: "Out with it." Just those three little short words, but her tone of voice doesn't leave room for him not to answer. She heard. Damn right she heard.

"No," is Hugo's terse and firm reply. "Just because you can poke into my head and hear what I'm thinking does /not/ make you privy to my life. You don't get to know what's going on with me any more than I get to know what's going on with you. End of story. Just because you're the good daughter, the forgiver of all sins, the wondrously wise and well educated doesn't give you the right to lord that over me. I made my choice, you made yours. Personally, I think my choice is paying off pretty nicely at the moment. How's yours working out for you?" Fuck, he went to far. As soon as the bitter words left his lips he knew he went to far. But there's no taking them back now. He opens the fridge, not because he needs anything in there, but because he needs some space. She followed him into the kitchen, she'd probably follow him into the bathroom and watch him pee if she thought it would prove something. But the refrigerator door is a small silver barrier between them for a moment as he closes his eyes and breathes deeply, bringing his emotions back under control, his mind going quiet once again.

"You're such a dick," his sister curses, biting her lip hard to keep from pacing over and slapping some sense into her little brother. "Always knew you were an arrogant prick, but never knew you were such a fucked up bastard." Leaning away from the pillar, she sneers, "Maybe all that money will eventually buy you a new family, cause seriously…" Forget self control, she's with him before she can fully reason with herself and pulls him away, closes the door with a bang, bottle in the door tinkling their anger. "Who do you think you are," she demands to know. "You think you're special? The only one? I can tell you something, you don't even know what that's like…"

"Sorry." His gaze is fixed to the floor, face hidden by the hair that falls over his brow. He shoves his hands into his pockets, rocking back and forth for a moment before muttering, almost more to himself, "This was a mistake. I should have known better. But Vincent said … fuck, I'm sorry Jo. I can't do this …" and he turns around, flicking off the oven and walking away, calling over his shoulder, "Booze is in the cabinet above the sink. Help yourself." He heads with a quick and easy stride, up the two steps to the 'bedroom' and toward the attached bathroom.

There's something about little brothers. Despite her anger, Josephine finds she feels for Hugo and when he starts for the bathroom, she follows him. Well, once she's come to her senses a little. "Huug! Come on Hugo. You can't tell me mom's still got you all fucked up like this. Huug?!" And she'll pound on the bathroom door if she needs to.

The door is shut and the tap is running for a minute before it shuts off and the door opens again. Drying his face with a towel, Hugo gives Jo a small crooked smile and replies offhand, "No, of course not. And I'm not fucked up," he insists with a hint of intensity. There are words he wants to say, angry, poisonous words, but they won't help and as such he keeps them bitten back. He could point out all the ways that Josephine is 'fucked' up, but he doesn't. Vincent told him she needed family near. Said she needed support. So here he is, being supportive if it fucking kills him. "Come on … dinner is almost ready…" The towel is tossed casually onto the bed as Hugo trots back down the two steps and heads back into the kitchen to make the salad. Spinach, mandarin oranges, bacon bits, a raspberry balsamic vinaigrette… "Table's set … have a seat and I'll serve…"

"No-no-no-no-no-no-no…" Josephine murmurs, trailing after him, but more thoughtful and less angry since he left the bathroom again. "Hugo, again, out with it. Something's eating you and you're going to tell me what it is. Right now." Unconsciously, her fingers find the anchor, fiddling with it. She always does when she needs to ground and center, to focus. And she is now, all her attention aimed right at him. And he can almost visualize her mind reaching out as well, searching, probing. "Cause we both know you're as fucked up as I am. I think we owe each other at least some honesty. If not, I might as well be talking to Vincent."

"I am /not/ fucked up," he repeats, the words becoming heated again. "That's your province and Vincent's. I'm doing what I always wanted to do. And I'm lucky enough, and yes, I know I'm not 'special' like you, just /lucky/ enough to be successful at it. And maybe it will last and maybe it'll all end tomorrow, but I'm going to enjoy it while I've got it." She wants some honesty, he'll give her some honesty, but then there is a /lot/ he can be honest about. He fills his head deliberately with the honest red herring to keep Jo from ferreting out other truths. Carrying the salad to the table he sighs and confesses, "I'm in Dallas because Vincent said you were in trouble. That you needed family and he couldn't be here." There, it's out, and all the thoughts on the surface of his mind buzz around that fact like bees, protecting the hive and its honeycombs of secrets inside. "Please sit," he requests, gesturing to a chair before heading back into the kitchen to remove the roast chicken from the oven.

Josephine is staring at him, brows knitted as she tries to figure him out. But in the end, yes, she buys the herring, a sad, wry smile turning the corners of her lips down before she collects herself. "Trust me," she snorts, honestly, "I'll trade your luck for my special /any/ day." Quieter now, she at least obliges him in taking the seat. Letting go of the anchor as well which she hides underneath her shirt again. "And you so are too."

Bringing over the chicken, Hugo serves the roasted vegetables beneath it first - carrots, potatoes, and parsnips all cooked to a near caramelized perfection. And then there is the chicken. Fragrant, tender, juicy, herbs slid in beneath the skin which, as a result, is crispy in exchange. In a word, it's delicious. Simple, but perfect. Picking up a bottle of wine, a fine Barolo which has been breathing all this time, Hugo pours them each a glass as he asks, "I am so what? Fucked up? Maybe. But I'm not an alcoholic or a drug addict, I don't need to see a shrink, I have a healthy active sex life, and I don't take antidepressants. That puts me in the top twenty to ten percent I think."

A /wide/ shrug tells him that sure, if that's what he needs to believe… So Josephine sighs, closes her eyes and pinches the bridge of her nose with her fingers, "At least tell me you got all that from a caterer and put it in the oven to show off?" Because they both know she's a painfully bad cook, at least, she was. A soft groan, then she opens those green, green eyes again, holding his firmly. "You know, yes, I'm messed up. And I drink more than I should. And I probably need to talk to a shrink. But meanwhile I'm managing just fine and if Vincent told you to look out for me, then he's sticking his nose in, again, where he shouldn't. Though that's hardly a surprise. What does surprise me is that you listened. Since when are you this close."

"Ummmmm, sorry, no I cooked it myself. I find cooking very relaxing, actually." Frowning slightly, Hugo notes, "You know, you don't really /know/ me any more Jo. I'm not that little kid that shut down after Mom left. I've gone through some hard times, but I'm stronger than you realize. Don't judge me on who you think I am or who I was. I may be your little brother, but I'm not a little child." He's quiet, listening to Josephine's assertions before answering, "You didn't look very 'fine' the other night. You weren't fine at all. Doesn't take a mind reader to know that." He frowns for a moment before countering, "For all that Vincent is kind of an ass, he has one redeeming quality. He cares about us. He bailed me out of a sticky situation and he cares enough about you to want you to have someone you could rely on close at hand, should you need it. And despite my long years of absence, I do care. So when he said that he was concerned, that you were in a strange city all by yourself, that something was wrong, I went ahead and found a gallery that was interested in exhibiting my work and arranged it so I could be here for you. For whatever that's worth."

"For whatever that's worth…" Josephine sucks in her cheek and chews on it, the eyes narrowing. "Huug, I've been to Sudan. /Sudan/. Vincent worrying over me because I'm all alone in a strange city in /America/? I'm not buying it. He can't be /that/ concerned over the 'salvation' of my soul. And he at least still knows me, knows not to bug me like that. So… As much as I like seeing you again? Cause I do. I'm just not sure if it's healthy, for either of us."

"Riiiiight, because of all the people in the world that Vincent would trust to redeem a soul, that would be me? Don't think so. He thinks I'm positively amoral." But her final words hit him hard, like a dagger, and quietly he places his silverware back on the table. "So, what you're saying is go back where you came from then, is it? Three days ago you were begging me to stay, asking me to promise, clinging to me like I was your last hope and now you want me gone?" He lifts his glass of wine and sips it slowly, his appetite vanished. "Well, sorry, I can't completely acquiesce to your wishes. I signed a contract, so I'm here in Dallas till it's finished. But you know where the door is, don't let it hit your ass on the way out."

Pause. And a very deep breath taken, /slowly/ expelled. "Alright," she finally nods in a small voice, "I deserved that." She has nothing to put down, didn't pick up anything to begin with, not even a glass - self proclaimed near alcoholic or not. "I don't know why you ran away like you did. You must have had your reasons, I'm sure. I just don't think we both are ready to face what we left behind. So…" She rises, slowly but steadily. "I'm sorry for all the trouble you went through Hugo. I really am."

All the trouble that he went through. Does she mean the meal? The arrangements he made to be here? His self-alluded to 'hard times'? No idea. He's not the mind reader in the family. All Hugo knows is that he doesn't want it to end like this. And maybe what he wants doesn't factor into the equation. It rarely has. "I left because you all left me first. Mom betrayed us, you betrayed us, Dad fell apart, Vincent was … Vincent. There wasn't anything left. I went to the States for fun. Realized it was everything that I wanted … and there wasn't anything or anyone waiting for me back home. So I stayed. I really don't see how you can blame me for choosing a new life for myself when the old one was in ruins."

A flash of pain narrows her eyes and makes her look away then, standing still between table and chair and she folds her arms to give herself a pose if nothing else. He can see her jaw work and the alto sound tight when she questions, "I betrayed you… How exactly did I do that, Hugo. I wasn't the one who left and didn't come back. Who didn't leave a note where he was going, staying, if he was even alive."

"You lied to us for a year. Mom was having an affair for a year and you said /nothing/. You sided with her and said /nothing/." There was anger before, but it's all deflated now, his voice calm and flat as he points out the obvious. A hand lifts to point to Jo's throat and the necklace hidden there. "You still wear that necklace she gave you. You always were the only one she cared about. "Guess she trusted you to keep the truth to yourself. And why wouldn't you? You were always her favorite. You had a stake in protecting her, supporting her choice." His shoulders shrug as he counters, "And I /did/ send back a note. If Dad didn't share that with you, well, take it up with him."

"What?!" So much for grieve, the outrage on her face layers thick now. "How the fuck did I know, you tell me that. /You/ were the one who walked in on them?! You were the one who found out, not me. For fuck's sake Hugo, I learned to block Leonora since I was fifteen years old. I'm messed up sure, but willingly invite the thoughts she was having about every single man we came across… That's not even something I would do. Guess again. I. Didn't. Know." Finger seek out the little anchor and she frowns, "As for this, this is nothing more but a little thing that helps me get through every day life. I know she didn't care much for either of you, but I didn't keep this as a memory of my mother."

Frowning, Hugo stares at his sister with a hint of doubt in his eyes. "You could hear anything. You used to thump on the wall between our bedrooms not because you could hear me masturbating, but because you could hear me /fantasizing/. Are you telling me that somehow you didn't manage to accidentally overhear a stray thought, an indiscreet moment? How is that possible??" His blue-grey gaze comes to rest on that little necklace, his frown deepening as he asks, "How does it help you get through every day life? Emotionally? I mean, it's Mom's gift to you. How does that not factor into its importance??"

"It's an /anchor/," Josephine stresses the word, taking off the necklace after a little work, dangling it between them. "It helps me stay grounded, focuses. It's symbolic you moron, not a trip down memory lane thankyouverymuch. Though if you keep talking like this…" She eyes the thing with something like regret. "And I don't know how I managed. Maybe it was important enough. Damn it Huug, the woman hovered around me 24/7, what effect did you think it'd have on me. That I /liked/ it? Welcomed it? Loved it? How could you be /so/ wrong."

"I don't know. I'm not a mind reader. I'm not special. How could I know? All I knew is that you could read thoughts. Inconvenient thoughts. Embarrassing thoughts. Seemed like all the time you were picking up on things, teasing and picking on us for having them in the first place. How could I understand what your power was like? If you could read us so easily, why wouldn't you be able to read anyone, everyone, as easily. What else was I to think? You and Mom were thick as thieves. We figured you shared everything. Or even if she didn't tell you, that you would just … know." His gaze drops to the table, the glass of wind dangling in his hand as he rumbles, "Of course we thought you liked it. It was what /we/ wanted after all. Why wouldn't you like having something that we never had? You have no idea how hard it was to hear your name praised up and down the halls every minute of every day, while our interests and talents amounted to less than nothing."

Eyes wide with disbelief, Josephine can for a moment only mutely shake her head, an irritated hand fighting the hair that falls before her eyes next. "You're insane…" she concludes, "To think for even one second that it's a good thing. A 'fun' thing. Sitting in a classroom, being bombarded with the thoughts of 30 kids and a teacher, none of them positive, and then coming home to what should be a safe haven and having to deal with her wanting to experiment and whatnot and the two of you going through…" She shakes an annoyed hand, indicating puberty in it's entirety, "And dad with his head in the books and in the past." Anger moistens her eyes, but she refuses to let it get to her, again. "A thousand times I thought of running away, sure, I admit it. Go to some mountain, have some peace and QUIET for once. But how could I…"

"Not /that/," he corrects with a scowl. "Mom. Having Mom dote on you, praise you, support you. Love you. God, I wouldn't want your gift, not unless I could completely control it. No, idioot, we were jealous of your relationship with /Mom/, not your 'gift'. What a nightmare that must have been. Course," he muses, "at the time it seemed both cooler and more annoying, but I realized later how unpleasant it must have been." Placing his glass on the table, his chin in the palm of his hand as he leans there, Hugo sighs and asks bluntly, "Why didn't you then? Go someplace where it would be quiet. Where there weren't any voices percolating inside your head?"

Josephine tilts her chin a little, shoulders lifting as well when she steels herself, hands now leaning on the table, "Because I didn't have your guts," she states bluntly. "Because I didn't want to leave the only people who didn't judge me for wearing those stupid clothes or, or… Because to some extend at home I could at least still be me." She straightens, stiffly, "I know it was hard on you too. And Vincent. But you can't blame me for all the things she did. Or didn't do." Pause. And she continues a nudge gentler, "I managed to live past it all. Maybe it's time you did as well."

For a moment anger flares in his eyes, turning them into an icy grey shade. But after a moment they warm again to blue as Hugo lets out a derisive snort of a laugh. "You really have a knack with the backhanded compliments. One minute you're telling me that I've got guts, the next you're accusing me of not being able to 'live past' the past, when /I'm/ the one who moved on and moved out. Make up your mind. You want me here, you want me gone. I'm strong, I'm weak. I'm a pioneer, I'm trapped in the past. Stop trying to pigeonhole me, zus. I don't blame you for Mom leaving. I don't blame you for Mom not loving us. Never did. I /did/ think that you had lied to us, that you knew, and yeah, that hurt and it made it easier for me to leave. If I had known the truth, I might not have stayed in NY. I might have come back. For you. After all, I came to Dallas. For you. Give me /some/ credit."

"You didn't move on," she clings to the one topic that still hurts the most, "You ran away." And after she's swallowed the lump in her throat, "And no, dad didn't share your note." She sits down then and will take the glass of wine and good or bad, it goes down. Quick.

"Now you're the one who's deluded and believing something that isn't true. I moved on. If I hadn't, I would have said "Fuck you" and left. If I hadn't, I wouldn't be in Dallas now." Picking up his glass as well, he rolls the wine about before taking a sip. "I ran away. I was young. I was hurt. I wanted to start over. Nobody gave a shit about what I did and nobody believed in me. So why wouldn't I be seduced by the Big Apple? By the chance to become a real artist. Zus, I was running toward something I wanted as much as I was running away from something I didn't. And I've had a lot of years in between to figure myself out. But I'm sorry… that you didn't know. That you didn't see the letter. I did send it." He looks at the now cold food and sighs. "Well, at least it reheats well." Taking another sip, Hugo asks bluntly, "What do you want from me? I can't go back to New York, but if you really feel like seeing me is only going to make things worse for you, then I'll stay away. If that's what you want."

Josephine mutters darkly around her nearly finished glass, not quite meeting his eye, "I did." Pause. "Give a shit."

"Like I said before, I'm not the mind reader in this family. You tried to keep Dad together and then you were gone. At the time I was convinced that you knew, and if you knew and didn't tell us, then how could you possibly have given a shit?" His lips curl at the corners slightly, the smile not exactly what one could call a 'happy' one. "Now who's not 'past' it?" Picking up the wine bottle, Hugo refills Jo's glass and notes pointedly, "You didn't answer my question. As the Clash once sang, 'Should I stay or should I go?' You tell me."

Josephine releases a deep sigh and shrugs, "I don't know." She flashes a quick, wry smile and cynical, "There's been a lot of not knowing lately." But she waits with drinking. "There's things I want to tell you and things I'm not sure I should. There's me being so glad to see you again and yet maybe too much bad stuff has happened already. I… Just don't know."

"Welllllll," Hugo drawls thoughtfully, "one way to conquer not knowing? Telling. Telling fixes not knowing pretty well. As for telling /me/, I personally think that if you want to tell me something, you should just tell me. You might be surprised at how well I can handle it. I am a New York City boy. I've seen a lot in my eleven years there. Hell, some of it might even shock /you/." He picks up a piece of chicken and eats it. Still tasty, even cold. "So how about this. I ain't goin' nowhere. I can't say that I won't pry, but I'll try really hard not to. We carry on as usual. You either tell me stuff or you don't. I'll paint. You'll write. Stuff will happen. We'll hang out when we feel like it, call when we want to, and promise to at least return each other's phone calls so we know that one of us is not dying in a ditch somewhere. And if you decide that it's too hard, you tell me and I'll leave you alone. I don't think that will be an issue the other way around."

A brow quirks at his comment about shocking her, but Josephine puts no words to the dare, instead sips a /tiny/ sip from her wine, then sets the glass down again and watches him talk and eat. "I can do that," she finally nods. "It might even b-" No, she shakes her head, brings back her hair again and starts over, "I'd like to get to know you again."

A matching brow quirks at his sister's aborted comment, filling in slyly, "Might even be…?? What? Funny? Entertaining? Fascinating? A mistake of Godzilla proportions?" But he doesn't let her finish and instead announces, "How about this? How about you get settled on the couch, look through my collection of movies, and pick something that you think looks good? I personally recommend Tampopo, if you haven't already seen it. I'll reheat dinner. We'll sit on the couch, watch a movie, hang out in a lazy fashion and talk about nothing of any importance for the rest of the night. Just be, ja?" He gives Jo a smile, a rare genuine one, as he rises up to collect the food and take it back to the kitchen. "Go, choose, settle," he calls over his shoulder in a mock-imperious manner that will brook no dissention. "But choose wisely, otherwise we'll have to indulge in the sibling ritual battle for the remote…"

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