Post by Joey Wheeler D11M [Tom] on Aug 30, 2020 1:17:32 GMT -5
Carter's been talking about going to visit Aranica all day. A constant reminder of the joyfulness he used to remember his son being, smiles and laughs burnt onto his lips. Recovering from the pain of the eightieth slowly, but surely. All of the signs makes him feel more confident in running again for mayor. Being able to see his son be so openly happy was a gift given back to him after all these stressful years of heartache and grief. It's how he agreed to stop his campaign trail for a night at Aranica Petros' home, the victor who Carter's clung to with respect.
It was never surprising to learn about his son and the victor's friendship. Aranica Petros has been in Jaime Laws' life for quite a long time, remembering the years when they were much much younger and he had been much more of a loud obnoxious boy with cards and muscles from the hard work his pops used to make him do. Never quite far apart, Aranica and him had known of one another and he'd known of what happened when she was much younger, reaped into the games following Arbor Halt, coming out someone else entirely, but the same girl was there if he stared for long enough.
Every time he had seen her over the years, he never forgot of the memories of those past, but that's all they ever were. Memories of a childhood long past, but he's proud of Carter to cling to someone who held so much respect in the district. It's when he's sitting at a table watching Aranica preparing a meal and hearing Carter gasp at the fact one of Ara's rabbits has been following him around the room that he lets himself step up and offer a hand to Aranica.
"Is there anything I can help with? I'm not much of a chef, but I can at least chop things and stir pots if needed."
Milestones slip by when you see a person often enough, and Carter slid from teenager to adult so smoothly that it rarely strikes Aranica as strange to think of him as the latter—incredible, always, and every time she hugs him she finds a moment to feel newly grateful he's alive, but it doesn't jar her the way seeing Kieran once a year always would. Seeing Jaime—not just in passing or on stage, but at her dining table—is another story. One moment, she feels the weight of every year, every month, every milestone and calamity since their school days; the next, she feels her timeline the way her rock might, like it was barely a blink ago that he was the rowdy-but-kind classmate who helped a confused-but-bubbly new girl feel welcome.
Even back then, things changed fast and hard, avalanche more than erosion; she remembers wanting to befriend him—to throw herself into befriending everyone she could—that first year at school, but she came back the next year half a ghost. And it's been a long time, for both of them. They've both raised children, both grieved children, both in their own ways tried to hold the weight of caring for a District. But they're still here and still themselves, after everything. She's not surprised in the least when Jaime steps into the kitchen to offer help, and her smile then is as easy as any from when she was twelve.
"I'm babysitting more than cooking at this point," she says, which is true; the stew has been simmering since before Jaime and Carter arrived. "If you insist, you can take over stirring while I start the rice—" she taps the wooden spoon against the side of the pot so it doesn't drip, then offers the end of the handle to him— "but mostly? You can remind me whether you like tea and tell me how your day has been."
Post by Joey Wheeler D11M [Tom] on Aug 30, 2020 14:16:37 GMT -5
"I'm babysitting more than cooking at this point," Aranica moves around with the same pleasantness he remembers her for, the same girl who wanted to be everyone's friend and then came back haunted by the games. Jaime had watched them back then, remembering the way Aranica Petros had torn through the arena and knowing things were going to be different from that day on. "If you insist, you can take over stirring while I start the rice—" She taps the spoon to the side of the pot as he smiles, taking it from her and slowly stirring the stew in the way his mother used to ask him to do as a teenager. Memories of cooking with his mother, who had passed years ago flashing through his mind as Aranica continues to move about, words on her lips that makes him smile back.
"but mostly? You can remind me whether you like tea and tell me how your day has been."
His day has been a lot, even with it being a break from all of the campaigning. Carter's been dying to get him to go with him for dinner at Aranica's place after finding his old school photos. Elections were rough, but he's found himself happier than he's ben in a long while. Carter's started to feel more and more like the person he once knew and growing into the spot of an adult with opinions and beliefs. All of it had been so sudden for him, watching his children grow older and older, until they were no longer children and could think for themselves. Some days, he missed the times where Carter was just a kid and he could show him a magic trick, smile at the amusement on his son's face, but being able to see Carter smile again was worth all the hardships in the world.
"Tea is good." A smile as he continues to stir the pot, not looking up from the stew, letting the aroma fill his senses. "My day has been better than the last few. Election season is always a lot for anyone, but my family's been under the microscope for a long time already." Eyes glance up as he smiles to her, letting himself take in the scene and fill his mind with memories. Carter in the background laughs at something, which in turn makes Jaime smile a little more as he continues stirring the stew once more.
"He's doing better too. Smiling more than he has in the past few years."