2011 06 24: Tough Love

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Mission Name: Tough Love
Date of Mission: June 24, 2011
Locale: Tamara's apartment

Ashley catches Tamara sneaking out of her apartment and reprimands her.

Ashley Tamara

Tamara has been a naughty girl, not staying on bed rest at all like she's supposed to be. No, Miss Carver has been out and about at least three times these past few days, despite the absolute agony it causes her - and the damage it no doubt does to the healing wound. But there are things to do, and they aren't going to wait for the stitches to come out. Tamara is moving slowly, however, just coming back into the apartment now. She gets the door unlocked and swings it open wide before she begins to hobble into the apartment, giving herself the luxury of supporting herself along the kitchen island as she passes, since she figures there's no one watching. In her haste to make it to the nearest chair, she's forgotten about closing the door, which is going to be a pain in the ass once she sits down and only then notices…

Ashley hasn't been asleep the whole time she's been out. And he's been here for a good portion of the time, having taken a bit of well earned vacation time and devoted it to overseeing Tamara's recovery. He's known about her excursions out and hasn't said anything, but now that's catching her red-handed, it's a slightly different story. He stands in the kitchen, tapping his fingers against the table. He's acting more like the cheated upon, long-suffering wife than anything. "And where were you?"

Tamara hides her surprise behind a sweet smile as she turns to face him, removing her hand from the island and thereby all the weight she was supporting on it. "Out," she replies simply, not looking terribly guilty about the whole thing. "I had a few things to take care of." Apparently he doesn't even get a straight answer for his troubles. It's then that she notices the door has been left ajar, and, heaving a sigh, she begins crossing back to it, going slowly but trying to hide the limp, as silly as that is. See? She's fine.

"That's obvious. Don't think that you being cute is going to get you very far this time," Ashley says as he starts to move faster than Tamara in order to close the door, giving her a stern look. "Sit down. Let me look at your leg. You're lucky you haven't ripped any stitches yet." He comes up beside her after the door is shut to offer her his weight to lean on if she needs to. "I know it's unusual for you to be cooped up like this, but you just can't do this sort of thing. You're compromising your entire recovery… and for what exactly?" Ashley asks her, still wearing that same stern look.

Tamara's smile fades as he cuts her off on the way to the door, and while she's not quite upset, her frown is vaguely troubled. "Yes, I am exceedingly lucky," she replies, rolling her eyes skywards. She gives him a look, like she's considering taking him up on the offer, but then, damn pride, she starts limping her way over to the chair under her own power. "Clearly I can do this sort of thing. And I have my reasons." She still isn't going to share them with him, however. "Honestly, Ashley, my leg is fine."

"Your leg is not fine. You were shot." He reminds her, watching her limp to the chair with some mixture of amusement and dismay as he follows her. When she's seated, he kneels down in front of her. "You can but you shouldn't. Doctors' orders." Nevermind the fact that he's a doctor of psychology, apparently. "I won't ask what you were out doing since I know you won't tell me, but damnit, Tamara." He waits patiently for her to either move the fabric obstructing her knee, lest he do it for her.

"I know. I was there," Tamara replies as she sits down a bit more heavily than intended, her leg giving out on her as she bends it at the knee. "I am not very good at following orders," she informs him, still without the tiniest bit of apology for that. She tries to hide her wince as she lifts her foot onto the chair across from her and then pulls up the hem of her skirt high enough to let him see the wound, acting quite put upon all the while. "It's none of your business what I was doing out, and I think we both prefer it that way," she points out in a tense tone.

Ashley raises a brow at Tamara's sudden snark, though he doesn't comment on it. He instead goes into full-on medical mode, putting her leg over his shoulder slightly enough so that he can see her knee and keep it elevated. "It's looking better than I'd expected. The scar might not be so bad after all. You're definitely swollen though. Let's keep this leg elevated for a while, if you can find it in your heart to stay inside the apartment all day with me again. I know it must be terrifically boring and all, considering the adventures you get yourself into out there…" Hey, if she can give attitude, she can take it, right?

"I told you it was fine," Tamara points out wearily. She had no way of knowing, but she enjoys it when chance proves her right. She's a little distracted then, trying not to wince too much as he pokes around at her injury. "Being bored has nothing to do with it. I'm not a child looking for entertainment," she informs him. "I have … things to do. How much longer until I can use it?" There is something she needs to do sooner than later, and that sort of shows in her impatience. "It has nothing to do with you," she adds as an afterthought.

"You've been using it. It looks like you can use it just fine." Ashley says to her in response, before undraping her leg from his shoulder. He moves to pull another chair up underneath of Tamara's legs before he moves to the refrigerator to fetch her a bottle of water, putting it beside her on the kitchen table. "If you're not a child then don't act like one. You should know by now that when a doctor tells you to do something, no matter how boring it is, you do it." Ashley sits down across from her. There's no venom in his voice. It's just matter of fact.

"How much longer until I'm allowed to use it?" Tamara clarifies, still finding the whole thing a bit ridiculous. "I'm not acting like a child. You're acting like my-" She cuts herself off there abruptly, reaching out to snatch up the bottle of water with something that almost seems like anger. It's certainly more emotion than most ever get to see out of the cool and collected blonde. "It's not like walking around is going to kill me, so right now, it beats the alternative," she goes on after taking a swig of water.

"Tomorrow." Ashley says to her, watching her. He seems to be oblivious to Tamara's anger — or he chooses perhaps wisely to ignore it. "I care about you, Tamara. That's all. Maybe it's something foreign and new to you, someone else caring about you, but I do. I don't want anything to happen to you. And… whatever this thing is that you've gotten yourself mixed up in is… I'm smart enough to know it's dangerous and that you're too stubborn to back down from it. I'm just… I'm a little scared. For you."

"Tomorrow," Tamara replies, considering that, before she concedes with a little sigh. "Fine." She isn't going to promise or, hell, even come right out and say it, but it seems she's agreed to stay put for at least one night. As he speaks, she studies her water bottle, reading the percentages of various minerals that have been added to it. "I have it under control. Or I will, as soon as I can actually move again," she begins, before finally looking over at him. "You hardly know me," she points out.

Ashley rolls his shoulders in a shrug. "I'm a doctor of psychology. I might know you a little better than you think." He pauses at her. "It's been a long time since I've had anyone in my life in even a friendly capacity, Tamara. I… can you just let me have this?" He asks her, somewhat seriously. He stares down at the table. "I think that we're alike in that we don't let people get too close. I don't know if I want you close yet or not. But the more I think about it, the more I like the idea. And if you don't feel that same way, then fine. Tell me now so that we can stop here."

"People only know what I want them to know," Tamara insists, although that might be an effort more to convince or assure herself than trying to convince him of that fact. When he goes on, though, she lets out a little sigh, and then gives a conceding nod, agreeing to let him have it. She sets the bottle back on the table, deftly balancing it on one edge with nothing more than her index finger, her gaze remaining locked on it again. She opens her mouth to say something, but can't bring herself to deny feeling the same way. "Letting people get too close is dangerous," she finally says after a long moment.

"Funny. The most dangerous thing about me is… nothing." He seems to realize that he's the most beige person on the planet. He watches Tamara for a long moment or two before he looks down at the tabletop, then back up to her. "Can I tell you something?" He asks her, with a serious edge in his voice. Not that Ashley has ever been anything less than serious the whole they've 'known' each other.

"I know," Tamara replies about his lack of danger, but she says it with a little smile - can't help herself, truth be told. She likes the fact that he's not dangerous, and is only just beginning to realize that herself. She only looks up from her water when he asks her that so serious question. "I'm pretty sure you can tell me anything. I'm not about to stop you," she replies in a casual tone, although she watches him closely and curiously now.

Ashley doesn't lean back in his chair to relax. He only sits upright more stiffly, clasping his hands in front of him on the table before he begins. "I had a wife once. I won't get into details. You can assume that 'love of my life' applies. She died after our son was born. It was hard to feel anything again after that. I was a bad father. I neglected my son in favor of my work because he reminded me so much of his mother. He had that same spark, that same defiance." He pauses. "And now he's dead too. Eighteen and dead… just another wasted life that I was too stupid to insert myself into when I should have. I loved him…" Ashley trails off there, obviously wanting to get personal without getting too personal. He reaches up to rub at the bridge of his nose in sometihng like exasperation or frustration. "I don't know what I'm trying to say right now except for that… I haven't even had someone to talk to in so long. I guess when it gets right down to it, I don't care what you're into. I just want to know you."

Tamara listens as he speaks, watching him and then looking down at the table, her focus still on him, but finding it a little much to maintain eye contact while he pours out his heart. He's hardly the first man to do that, but it seems different this time, somehow. And not only because she wasn't actually angling for it to happen. "I'm sorry. That you lost them. I know that … can't have been easy," she replies in a quiet tone. She stops fussing with the water bottle now, instead draping her arm across the table towards him, palm up, in either an offer or request for a bit of physical contact. "There are a lot of things I can't or won't tell you. But at least I'm being honest about that. It is sort of a big step for me." She gives a little smile with that, trying to lighten things a little.

"It wasn't easy…" Ashley agrees, though judging from the tone of his voice, that seems to be a major understatement. He puts his hand atop of hers, giving it a squeeze. "I don't know why I told you that save for the fact that I haven't been able to tell anyone in so long. It's not something I like to revisit, as you can imagine. But I appreciate that you listened… that's all I really needed, I guess." He smiles shakily at the blonde sitting across the table from him. "And I appreciate your honesty, no matter how vague it is." It's his attempt at a joke now.

"Whatever you want to tell me, you can. You don't need to have any reason why," Tamara informs him with a gentler smile. "Anything you want to say, anything you want to do… That's how I live my life, and I think it would do you some good too. You'll find it's very liberating once you begin." She strokes her thumb lightly over the back of his hand - an idle gesture perhaps, but she's well aware that she's doing it. "Anyway, I'm glad it helped. I always listen. I just don't always heed." She's honest on that front too. His joke broadens her smile. "Yes, I'm annoyingly good at being vague, aren't I."

"Yes, you are." Ashley simply says to her before he stands up from the table and breaks their hand contact, though not abruptly. It just seemed the natural thing to do. "It's liberating once you begin, I'm sure, but I'll bet it's also a slippery slope, you know. I can't get too crazy or else I risk losing my entire stuffy identity." Ashley says, reaching down to give Tamara's hand a brief squeeze so that she'll know her contact wasn't unwanted. "Feel like ordering in from somewhere? I know a great Thai place."

Tamara seems oddly pleased that he agrees about her annoying way of being vague. "If there is anyone capable of unstuffing you, Ashley, it will be me," she informs him, allowing that sentence to be just as suggestive as it wants to be. She allows it to linger for a moment, but doesn't push further than that. "If you want to eat, I think we'd better. I have mastered many arts, but neither grocery shopping nor cooking is amongst them."

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