How can you have any pudding if you don't eat yer meat? (private)

Dinner at the Emilianos was always a unique affair, with four (five, with the Jiro) occasionally conflicting and always individual tastes to see to. Octavia wouldn't eat cooked meat and Loretta honestly didn't care for it either. The men, though, would probably want the option and might enjoy what the Americans (of which she was supposedly one, now, she must remember) called 'sides'.

At least everyone could tolerate eating out of doors - Loretta would have gone stir crazy with all those people crammed in around a conventional table. And bless Tobi for not caring either way - indoors, outdoors, raw, cooked, it was all the same to him, or so he claimed. Such a good son, so easy to get along with.

Walking out into the courtyard, she stepped onto the raised terrace and took a final look at the arrangements. A round brazier stood in the center, where those who were so inclined could cook their food, and cushions were scattered around it. Plates were set on three low, round tables arranged around the fire. Covered bowls of steamed rice and plates of salmon steaks rested on each table, with a bowl of Asian salad in the center. Bamboo curtains blocked out the wind. No one would mind the slight chill; it was by no means extreme and the fire would serve to warm them up.

Wanting to add a finishing touch, she neatly added a small centerpiece to each table, pushing the bowls of salad slightly to one side to make room. Simple ferns and wildflowers tied with flat ribbon, but the look was, Loretta thought, a pleasing one.

Vaughn Emiliano 15 years ago
Vaughn slid off the tie that he had loosened ages ago. Running a hand through his already tousled hair, he set aside the latest bit of information and paperwork that had arrived with the newest batch of VR. A glance at the clock on the wall told him that he was almost late for dinner. Loretta would kill him if he left her alone with the kids.

Sighing, he stood up and made his way back to the hospital. Coming to his and Etta's private floor, he went to his room and divested the rest of the monkey suit for something more comfortable. The faded jeans and black tee shirt felt so much better that Vaughn felt his mood brighten considerably. He was almost looking forward to socializing with his family.

Making his way to the outdoor eating area that his wife had set up, he could smell the small fire that was burning before opening the door. He stood for a moment in the entrance way and watched Etta as she finished the last of her preparations. She was so precise, a trait that he had not noticed until long after they were married. It made him smile a bit sadly and he pushed his thoughts aside before they soured his good mood.

Walking over to Loretta, he slid an arm around her waist and gave her a light kiss on the cheek.

"It looks delicious."Â?

Vaughn stepped back and took in the view from their courtyard,filling his lungs with the cool night air.
Loretta Emiliano 15 years ago
Loretta paused only for a moment at her husband’s arrival before continuing with what she was doing, seeing no reason to let him interrupt her in her task. It was not until he touched her that she acknowledged his presence.

“I attempted to move beyond ‘satisfactory’,” she said in response to his compliment, without a trace of a smile. In spite of her dry reply and unyielding figure, though, she was both flattered and a little thrown by the Sarkis’s affection. He was so difficult to understand.

“The children will be here soon; they’ll be bringing the wine.”

That would go nicely with the meal and perhaps it would, for some people, render the evening a bit more bearable.

Without noticing it, she had curved herself to fit Vaughn’s embrace and was flush against him. She sighed and pulled away, turning back to go in the house.

Feeling some odd need to explain her strained mood, she paused on her way inside and turned back to her husband.

“Thanos will be joining us.”

She looked back to the settings, feeling a moment of smug satisfaction at the idea of the Jiro being the odd man out. Then it occurred to her that her husband might prefer to share a table with Thanos rather than her; she felt a sick wave of disgusted jealousy at that and turned abruptly into the house without another word.
Octavia Emiliano 15 years ago
Octavia trudged up the stairs like she was walking to a murder trial with all the evidence stacked against her. Why did her mother invite her to these travesties of family bonding? It was not like they were going to get along. An argument would ensue and one or the both of them would probably storm off before blood shed occurred; either that or one of the men would have to step in. There were times when she wished the Savia would just be a little more open and simply say outright that she didn't want her daughter to come.

She gave her brother one last scowl before entering their parent's private floor. The dinner would be set up outside and Tavi wasted no time in moving towards the doors. There was no reason to start the evening off with an argument about the two of them being late....all her fault, of course.

Opening the doors to the courtyard area, she could see her father looking off into the distance. There were many times when she wondered just what it was he thought about in those moments. Octavia set the wine bottle down on the table and then walked over to stand quietly next to him.

If there was one person in the world who could bring her to speechlessness it was Vaughn Emiliano, enigmatic Sarkis of the Vyusher R'asa, her father.
Tobi Emiliano 15 years ago
Tobi gave a little encouraging smile as he loafed down the hall to his parent’s place, but he didn’t think she saw. He didn’t guess the odds of moms and Tavi getting along were so hot to begin with but they still dropped a notch more when his sister turned and scowled.

Well, screw it. Why everyone couldn’t just shut up and eat their food at these things he had no idea. Still, he trudged along after his twin and hoped, in his own indifferent way, for the best.

Tavi was carrying the wine, mostly because she’d picked it out and Tobi thought it might be good if she got credit for it. If it were up to him they’d all be drinking Boon’s Farm or T-Bird out of brown paper bags; he was neither picky nor particularly classy.

They made their way out to the patio, where his father was standing – he waved and muttered a ‘hey, pops,’ that he didn’t think Vaughn heard. His mother was nowhere in sight. Dad and Tavi seemed content to just stand around looking at the trees (or so he assumed) but Tobi was antsy within moments. Would it be totally rude to check his email? Probably, he guessed; still, he had his PDA with him just in case there was a slow moment. Heh, a slow moment at the Emilianos – not bloody likely, but it could and did happen occasionally - usually when mom was out of the room.

After another second of standing around, he flopped down on a cushion by the little table he’d share with Tavi (unless she decided to sit with Thanos) and pulled out his Palm, quite easily giving in to temptation in the end.
Vaughn Emiliano 15 years ago
Vaughn felt stirrings of lust arrise as Loretta's body melded with his. His wife was always so vital and full of life; it was an infectious energy that most people reacted to in one form or another. He seemed to be one of the few souls able remain completely himself in the strong presence of the Savia but being this close and even his will started to break down. With his arms wrapped around her and Etta's earthy but feminine scent surrounding him even Vaughn succumbed to the most basic of urges to take, possess, and protect, not that his wife ever seemed to want any of those least not from him.

They had parted seemingly of mutual accord. Vaughn could feel her behind him as he took in the scenery below. She was like the last ray of sunshine warming his back and as she moved further away Etta took that warmth with her.

The Jiro's arrival suggested the reason for her mood but also explained the extra effort she was going through to make dinner a perfect scene of R'asa family life. She disliked Thanos and never seemed to fully approve of the idea of the Nothos as the Jiro. It had taken many long nights of discussion to convince her that the man, despite his less than auspicious birth, was the best person for the position. Sometimes he thought it was a miracle that she had agreed at all. Yet the two did manage to work together far better than Vaughn would have expected. Tonight though would be a display of all the things that Thanos did not have, a family, a wife, and a set place in the order of things. Vaughn felt pity for his friend and hoped that Nachton would bring good things for the Jiro; perhaps the stability of location would help him settle down and find someone to start a family with.

His own family made an appearance. The door opened and he heard someone approach, Tavi by the lighter step. Tobi gave him a greeting that would be considered disrespectful in most households of the R'asa but he knew that his son meant it in his own light hearted way. He did not turn around immediately when Tavi came to stand beside him, enjoying the peace of the moment. In a perfect world he could be the father she deserved and in a perfect world she would be the daughter that he always wanted.

Turning around, he took in both of the children. His son had gone back to one of his pieces of technology and was absorbed into whatever fascinating bit of drivel could be mined from the thing. Vaughn sighed and smiled at Tavi.

"I am sure Thanos will be here shortly and then we may sit down to eat."Â?
Loretta Emiliano 15 years ago
Loretta turned her head to one side, examining her profile in the mirror with a critical eye. She had pulled back her hair, lending a severe quality to her features, and was now trying to secure a loose strand with a pin.

She heard the door open and paused with her hand halfway to her head, listening. The children were here, then. Frowning, she wondered if Tobi would seek her out. When he was younger he would come straight to her, nevermind if she was getting ready or terribly busy, but she didn't mind his company while she fixed her hair and picked out her clothes. He didn't come, though. Since his andre he had grown more distant, too old to sit on his mother's bed and watch in fascination while she combed her hair and spoke of inconsequentials. He clung to Octavia now. This disturbed her - her son needed a wife, not a sister. Not Octavia.

Of course, he would always need his mother.

Sighing, she jabbed the pin into her hair and left the bedroom, walking out onto the patio and smiling effortlessly. Tobi was fooling with his little computer, but looked up when she stepped through the sliding glass door. She bent over and gave him a little motherly kiss on the forehead before turning to her husband and Octavia.

"Octavia. Don't you look...vivid." She concluded with an absent smile, beyond wondering why Tavi insisted on coloring her hair so loudly. Not everyone could be a natural beauty and compensating with garish hair colors seemed an exercise in futility, but arguing about it was, she had discovered, equally futile. That didn't mean she could let it pass without saying anything though.
Octavia Emiliano 15 years ago
Tavi enjoyed the quiet moment of connection with her father; the silence seemed to bring them together as they looked out over the grounds. It was broken when Vaughn turned around and did not acknowledge her at all. The feeling of togetherness was fake, all in her mind, and he was simply ignoring her like he did when he turned back towards the table. In all fairness he ignored Tobi also but her brother was oblivious with his head bent over an electronic gadget. She was there, right there next to him! Could he not have at least said hello?

He spoke about Thanos coming and then they could all eat as if that news was so important that it usurped the need for greetings. Perhaps her father was as thrilled to be spending time with his family as she was. All of that was his own fault as far as she was concerned. They raised her to be this way and if they didn't like it then too damn bad. Tavi answered with a sulky apathetic shrug despite looking forward to seeing Thanos.

She was about to go sit next to her brother when her mother came in. Loretta always looked so put together, perfect. Tavi had this vision of her being a house wife in the 50's doing the daily chores while wearing a dress and pearls. The idea was ridiculous for more than one reason and she had to fight back a snort of laughter at her own inward humor.

It burst forth in as something caught between a laugh and a cough when her mother pronounced her appearance as 'vivid'. Why, yes, Mrs Cleaver, I suppose you find it very shocking. That she was a disappointment to Loretta as well as Vaughn was a fact that she rarely escaped from.

Tavi gave her mother the biggest widest fake smile that she could manage and said with sugary sweetness.

"Why, thank you, I do try."Â?

Done with the family banter for the moment, she trudged over to where her brother was sitting and flopped down next to Tobi.
Tobi Emiliano 15 years ago
Tobi made the obligatory gestures of frantically wiping off his face and whining (mah-OM!) when Loretta kissed his cheek, though of course he didn’t really mind. Thinking he should probably put the palm away, he clicked on a few more things and briefly skimmed them before finally shutting down.

He wished he had stayed plugged in, though, when mom made her little snippy remark to Tavi. Geez, were they starting already? Eh, maybe not – Tavi wasn’t feeding her like she sometimes did and had apparently brought her sense of humor tonight. That was good – he wasn’t much for keeping the peace and generally just tried to tune out the arguments. What did dad do? Tobi gave a mental shrug at that thought – who knew what was going through the Sarkis’s head? Instead of brooding about it any more, he scooted over a little so he wasn’t taking up all of Tavi’s leg room.

“Hey, check out the wine,” he said, in a half hearted effort to steer the conversation toward the positive. Of course, he was guessing they were all hosed if Thanos turned out to be late - then mom would be pissed and Tavi would be tense and dad...well he would still be dad, there was that at least.
Vaughn Emiliano 15 years ago
Vaughn watched his family in silence. Tavi moved away from him with a tense posture and he knew that he had done one more thing to fail her hopes. One day she would understand that he simply could not be the father that she wanted him to be. Tobi was the only one that appeared totally unaffected by their family situation and he sometimes wondered just how the boy came by that amazing power of indifference. Was it feigned or real? Sometimes it seemed to be one and sometimes the other.

He gave Etta a hard look at her comment towards Octavia but refrained from comment. Their daughter was perfectly capable of returning the verbal slings and arrows that his wife threw. It was perhaps one thing that they could claim their parenthood had brought her.

Taking a seat on one of the cushions with a space for his wife on one side and the Jiro on the other, Vaughn turned his attention to the wine that his son pointed out. It was a particularly excellent red wine and one that he personally preferred. His gaze lifted to Tavi; he knew she was responsible for choosing it.
Loretta Emiliano 15 years ago
What on earth was wrong with the girl? Loretta raised one critical eyebrow at Octavia’s sputtering antics, though for a split second she had thought Tavi was going to burst into tears at her disapproving remark. Where did such absurd thoughts come from? She hadn’t seen Tavi cry in…well, who remembered?

“Yes, you certainly do.”

Everyone in the family was here now, and the children were settled – as far as Loretta was concerned they could go ahead and get started if not for her husband’s declaration that they would wait for Thanos. Who was, by her definition, late. –Why- had Tobi invited him?

Well, there was nothing she could do about it now, unless she wanted to blatantly contradict Vaughn. In spite of her contrary and oftentimes confrontational nature, that was something she rarely did, particularly in front of others. Thanos was hardly worth the argument in any case.

She turned her attention to the wine at Tobi’s comment, grateful for the distraction. Her son seemed proud of the choice and she supposed he had reason to be – it was a good wine.

“That’s very nice, dear,” she murmured, still looking down at the bottle. After another brooding moment, she looked up and favored him with a slight smile before walking around the brazier to join her husband. She sat between Tobi and Vaughn, content to avoid a place next to Thanos even if she didn’t quite acknowledge that her husband had arranged things that way. How very charming – she was between her two favorite men.
Tobi Emiliano 15 years ago
Tobi looked from Loretta to Tavi to Vaughn, checking to see if anyone was paying attention to him. When it became clear that no one was, he carefully slid his hand underneath the lids covering the large bowl of rice and took a generous handful, cramming it quickly into his mouth.

A man’s gotta eat, after all. Couldn’t expect him to sit around chatting while there was food on the table.

His mom took a look at the wine, but instead of thanking Tavi, she seemed to think –he- had something to do with it. Crap, that sucked.

“’s ‘Avi’s…”

Deciding he should swallow his stolen food before trying to talk, he chewed as quickly as possible, grateful that Loretta hadn’t looked up yet.

“Tavi picked it out.”

His sister, for whatever reason, ended up taking a lot of crap from his mom sometimes and he thought it would be nice if she got a little acknowledgement as well, even over just a bottle of wine.
Octavia Emiliano 15 years ago
Tavi continued to give her mother and icy smile and retorted.

"So nice of you to notice."Â?

Her brother tried to deflect the rising heat in his usual manner, 'Oh, look Elvis!"Â? and it seemed that Loretta took the bait. Of course she automatically assumed that Tobi was the dutiful child who picked the wine out and thought to bringt it.

Her brother, who was sneaking into the rice, stood up for her at least. That was something in her eyes, especially when it would have been so easy for him to keep quiet and take credit. Besides who could be mad at a chipmunk faced rice bandit that was about to get caught for talking with his mouth full; she had to bite her lip to keep from laughing.

Octavia flashed a big grin and looked over at her father, gesturing with her hands in the hopes of keeping the attention of both parental units focused on her.

"Well you know, I knew that Dad liked it and I thought it was an easy favorite. That's all. Its no biggie."Â?

She gave Tobi a cut it out look and then found one of the straps on her jacket extremely interesting.
Thanos 15 years ago
Thanos stubbed out his cigarette and turned off the fans in his office, not wanting to leave them running unattended while he went out. This would likely be his last nicotine fix for the evening, at least until he left the Emilianos, and even though it meant an extra five minutes he thought it was well worth it. Hopefully the brisk walk over to the residence would help air out the smell, though he knew it would still be evident. He wouldn’t smoke in front of them, and they would only have to bear the scent a little – that was, he thought, a fair enough compromise.

Given the late notice he didn’t think he would be expected to bring anything, but he thought a gesture of goodwill might go over well with the Savia in particular. Under his arm was a bowl of mixed berries and sliced peaches. He would freely admit that he hadn’t obtained the fruit himself, but he –had- sent a lackey out to get only the best. Not all that easy of a task considering the season but he’d been impressed with the underling’s offerings. And if he were impressed that might mean Loretta would be satisfied.

He’d been told countless times that he could simply come in when invited for dinner, but habit forced him to give a warning knock first. The door was, as expected, unlocked, and he made his way out to the patio with growing concern.

Damn. He’d thought he might have at the very least beat Tobi and assumed the more responsible and mature Tavi must have dragged him out on time. Really, he should have known the twins would arrive together – strength in numbers after all – but he never liked arriving dead last.

Nodding to Vaughn, he remained standing for the formalities.

“Good evening Sarkis. Savia.” His smile grew more genuine as he turned to Tavi. “You’re looking well, Tavi…” He peered around the brazier to where Tobi was apparently trying to slump behind the table. “Tobi…” Oh, he had a mouth full of food.

“I hope you haven’t been waiting too long,” he said with a trace of irony meant for the male half of the Emiliano twins. He could see, though, that even if he had only been a hair behind the children, that was a hair too long. Loretta had been especially venomous that afternoon and he supposed she still wasn’t finished yet. He didn’t bother trying to fathom the reasons for her hostility this time – he knew from experience that he would know exactly what her problem was when she was good and ready for him to know.
Vaughn Emiliano 15 years ago
Vaughn watched the verbal sparring between his wife and daughter without comment. So far it was relatively calm; no one was yelling,nothing had been thrown, no one had stormed out. Tobi made a try to diffuse the situation with a distraction and for now it seemed to be working. He raised his eyebrows a little at Etta for her assumptions though he was hardly surprised. In the meantime, his son was indulging in the rise bowl; the fresh steamed aroma that escaped the lidded container once the seal was broken was a sensory beacon to a hungry man. Vaughn had no cause to reprimand Tobi but he did find it interesting that Tavi chose to try to cover for him. The children's relationship was as strong as ever; their andre had not changed it.

"It is a wonderful wine."Â?

He turned and gave Tavi a nod of approval before looking up to greet their guest. The Jiro had arrived and bearing gifts. Fighting down a sneeze at the smell of fruity smoke, Vaughn smiled and gestured to the remaining seat next to him.

"Welcome, Thanos. Not at all."Â?
Loretta Emiliano 15 years ago
She really shouldn’t continue rewarding Tavi’s bids for attention – ironically, it was when her daughter sarcastically thanked her for noticing that she came to this conclusion. The constant jumping up and down, screaming ‘notice me, notice me,’ from coloring her hair to her ridiculous clothing, really wasn’t good for the child, or her own sanity.

Everyone else, of course, still felt the need to pander to the silly girl’s every mood. Loretta was practiced enough to avoid rolling her eyes at the way the men bent over backwards to ensure she got full credit for choosing the wine.

She was saved from further exercises in self-restraint by Thanos’s arrival. Raising her eyebrows coolly, she gave the practically required passive aggressive response to his greeting.

“How good of you to finally join us.” She gestured to the last empty seat. “Do. SIT.” The last was practically barked – in contrast, she spoke with saccharine sweetness when she continued. “All ready for your trip?”

It was only because she was watching Tobi out of the corner of her eye, wanting to see how he acted around Thanos, that she noticed his guilty expression. Curiosity burned in her chest; what were the Jiro and her son –up- to?

Well, she would find out in good time. For now, there was dinner on the table and a bottle of ‘very good wine’ to be drunk.
Tobi Emiliano 15 years ago
Tobi looked down in mock admonishment brought on by his sister’s dirty look, though he was honestly feeling oddly brought down by this whole exchange. Tavi just had to push, always needing to get the last word when it would be so much easier to just let it go. Yeah, Mom started shit often enough, but it took two to tango and it seemed as though his sister preferred to escalate things rather than trying to get through the night peacefully. That wasn’t really what was bothering him though – it was just more of the same, reassuring almost in its continuity.

Really, he was surprised to find that Dad’s praise bummed him a little. How hard would it have been to have picked out something of his own to bring so maybe pops would look his way too? Meh, too hard – he’d probably just fuck it up anyway. He wasn’t sure why he cared in the first place. And what right did he have to be jealous of his twin just because Dad and the Nothos Jiro liked her better? Pretty stupid thing to worry about by his reckoning. Thank the gods Thanos arrived before he could curl up in a ball emo style. That mental image amused him and he actually had a grin for the Jiro when he greeted him, though he still felt a little guilty for his own thoughts.

He ducked a little lower on his cushion when Mom commanded Thanos to sit. Yeesh, what was her problem tonight? He winced a little when he realized what must be wrong – she hadn’t wanted the Nothos there tonight and he’d gone and obliviously invited him anyway. Ooops. Well, whatever, Tavi would be happy to see him.

With that in mind, he managed a sincere (but entirely masculine!) nod in Thanos’s direction. He had managed to swallow all the rice without choking and so he was able to interject in the conversation before his mom could get too far into the work of tearing up the Jiro.

“Hey thanks for coming.”

He even managed another grin, figuring he didn’t have to like the guy to see his uses in making the family dynamic just a little more entertaining.

/ooc He mentioned that his nod was masculine because he was concerned that the gesture would make him appear gay. *rolls eyes* I called him a closet case and he (apparently picking up tricks from Thaddeus) threw a stuffed monkey at me.
Octavia Emiliano 15 years ago
Tavi gave her dad a shrug and a half smile that said 'it was nothing' and it seemed to her to be the truth. Her every effort was an uphill battle for even the tiniest bit of affection from her parents and yet it seemed that they were waiting with baited breath for her brother to even do the smallest thing in order to heap upon the praise.

Thanos came in to save them all from more lack luster conversation. She was not surprised that he was greeted without much warmth from her father and downright coolly from her mother. Did that woman like anyone?

She looked up and gave him a bright smile when he called her name. Sitting up a little straighter now that there was a reason to pay attention to the conversation, Tavi wondered if Thanos realized that he saved the evening, at least as far as she was concerned. She could give her brother a big embarrassing hug for asking the Jiro and risking their mother's displeasure.

"Hey!"Â? She processed what her mother had said and questioned. "You're going on a trip? You just got back."Â? Tavi couldn't help but shoot her father an accusatory glance figuring the whole errand boy routine was his idea.
Thanos 15 years ago
Thanos was used to getting a mixed reaction when he walked into a room – he’d spent too much time being controversial just by virtue of his position to expect any different – but he had no problem taking the worst with the best. Giving both kids a nod, he saved a slight twitch at the corner of his mouth for Tavi. The expression was what passed for a smile, at least for him. He was prepared for Loretta’s mood, as he didn’t expect it to have changed drastically since their brief meeting only a few hours ago, and gave her an apologetic bow, being careful not to appear sarcastic.

It was Tobi’s greeting that really surprised him – the kid had actually mustered up a little genuine civility there, though he played it off in his usual offhanded way. Was this a change of attitude or an act to suit his own sneaky little purposes?

What a weird guy.

He sat as ordered next to Vaughn, giving the Sarkis a friendly nod as he twisted his legs into something resembling comfort.

Maybe he overanalyzed people, but then, a Jiro had to pay attention. His position was a shade more tenuous, as it was so entirely subject to the Alphas’ whims, and it served him well to have a solid understanding of said whims.

In a way it was a relief that his sincere friendship with Tavi could exist without thought to political ground – the fact was that he lost it rather than gained it when it came to the Savia. She was worth understanding, not in the context of Vyusher R’asa politics, but for her own sake. She’d make a fine Savia one day, but he thought he might be the only one willing to put money on her rather than her idiot brother.

And the fact that she actually gave a damn about his comings and goings was just further proof that this friendship was its own reward. He gave a slight nod at Tavi’s question, refusing to give Loretta the satisfaction of looking her way.

“The Mormons have gone touchy,” he said by way of explanation. “and we want to make it clear that they’re a priority for us.” He smiled. “Or at least, their network is.”

He left out any mention of just –why- they had ‘gone touchy’, satisfying himself with the fact that the truth ought to be obvious to anyone paying attention.
Loretta Emiliano 14 years ago
Locked, to be continued at a later date.