𝗖𝗟𝗔𝗬𝗧𝗢𝗡 𝗦𝗧𝗘𝗜𝗡 & 𝗔𝗜𝗟𝗔 𝗔𝗧𝗟𝗘𝗢
Opening up her fridge with a groan she scanned the half-empty shelves for some eggs. Luckily she still had a few, along with some English muffins. She quickly snatched up a half-drank jug of OJ and two glasses, carrying all of her supplies in a delicate act of true dexterity. The apartment hall was quiet, but Stein’s room had some level of noise. He was talking to someone on the phone. Aila considered leaving him to his devices and skipping breakfast, but god only knew that if she didn’t get him going no one could.
So she balanced her variety of groceries on one arm, pinning them with her head while she snatched the spare key she kept in her inner jacket pocket. She deftly unlocked the door, but Stein didn’t seem to notice her entry. He continued on with his conversation, which at this point could’ve been clearer had Aila decided to focus – but she wasn’t one to pry. Besides Stein wasn’t the most fascinating, he was more… Comfy. Kind of like a nice old sofa you’ve had at your house for a few decades. He wasn’t going to blow anyone’s mind or anything – but he was dependable in a kind of way.
She snatched a recently cleaned frying pan from the drying rack and started the stove up, waiting for it to heat up. She scanned the apartment for any signs of… Well signs he needed more than she could offer. But he was generally pretty clean for a male cop who lived alone. But that was most likely habit at this point – for someone like him with habits like his. She was worried about the effect of the past little while. It was at that point she heard his voice raise and she perked up, out of habit. But at that point the stove had heated up enough, and they were had to get going to be on time.
Aila took an egg in each hand, expertly cracking two eggs at a time until four eggs sat in each corner of the frying pan, simmering and singing the bottom of the yolk. She could hear his footsteps at this point.
“Morning.” She called out to him, lifting a hand but not turning to meet his gaze. Her other hand was focused on making sure the eggs didn’t stick to the pan with a small spatula. “Help yourself to some OJ, breakfast will be ready soon.” She called out, rubbing her nose with her hand before turning back to glance at her… Friend?
Their relationship confused most, including Aila at times. He was something of a surrogate brother or father, but she wasn’t ready to face what that meant yet. So for now, friend is fine.
“It is morning, isn’t it?” Stein smiled at Aila, strolling into the kitchen with his tie noticeably crooked. His voice had a husky drawl to it, showing that he was indeed calm, regardless of his discussion with his deceased partner moments ago. The calm simply hid the fact that his mind continuously harbored on Coli’s words. Her words from today. Her words from yesterday. Her words from two weeks ago... Her words before she died. Even when she wasn’t around, she haunted him, for better or for worse. A curse and a blessing.
First, he couldn’t accept the fact that she died, right under his nose. Second, he couldn’t believe that someone would want to kill her. People may say she wasn’t murdered, but Stein was fully convinced someone did end her life and not the other way around. Colette was not that type of woman to run off and disappear without notice, or for that matter, to commit suicide. They might have little evidence, but with how bold and meddlesome she was when she could breathe, he had no doubt she was involved in something beyond her. Truthfully, he believed it was something related to ‘the Other’.
As of now though, it was a theory, he had no idea what happened to her and that feeling — the feeling of not knowing — infuriated him. Lastly, she came back out of the blue and he couldn’t comprehend the fact that she was once again back in his life. Daily, like the past, yet nothing like the past at all. She was dead and had limitations. All he could do was try his best to seek the answers she needed before she was gone, for good.
The thing is, did he want her gone for good?
Heading to his fridge, he opened it, but rather than get the orange juice out, he chose milk. Before he closed the fridge, he stared into it, at everything that was wrong with his life. Since he more often than not spent ungodly hours working, he had no need to stock up on food. Even if he did, the fridge itself was too small. Sure, he could afford a house at Avalon Point, but there was no need when his fridge embodied his current life. Empty. Not many mouths to feed, besides him and Aila.
If there was a fridge that had more food in it, it would be hers not his. He simply had nice kitchenware that she liked to use. Oh, and usually he left her money for groceries in the cookie jar that never had cookies in it. It was a fair bargain. As odd as it seemed, the way they did things worked for them. Rarely did he have visitors. The only person who outwardly visit(ed) him was Coli. Most people sought him out while he was on the job because rarely was he guaranteed to be home.
Unless, someone knew about his traditional shared breakfast with Aila, which was only known by a couple of coworkers since Stein took her to work. The question did come up. Either way, there have been times he headed to work early, before her, breaking the streak of together-breakfast. He would make amends by placing a pastry on her desk and providing lunch in the breakroom fridge ‘For Aila’.
Walking to the cabinet beside her, he grabbed a glass mug and poured the white liquid in it. This was their routine. He had forgotten when they hadn’t eaten breakfast together. Weird, how time flies. “Did you listen in to On The Edge? We’re going to have a phenomanal day today." He paused and scoffed to himself, "Good. I work better under stress.” Waiting for her response, he chugged the milk in a matter of seconds and then poured himself another glass. What? He liked milk.
Aila watched Stein chug his glass of milk, he was a fiend for the stuff, this was clearly evidenced by his pouring of a second glass. She groaned at his mention of On the Edge. “I did have the pleasure to tuning into that particular broadcast,” she snapped her spatula against the countertop in frustration just enough to make a sharp ringing from the metal of the utensil. “I’m surprised you didn’t hear my reaction, honestly.” She noted sliding the spatula underneath two of the eggs and flipping them carefully so the yolk was slightly seared. She glanced over her shoulder, throwing her hair that had been resting in front of her shoulder back to being behind her and sighed.
“I’m not looking forward to today much.” She said in a rather dry tone trying to think of something else. “What’s your weekend looking like?” She asked, interested enough but also knowing Stein it was something along the lines of more work. While Aila would have to be interrogated to spill any beans on her own ideas for what might be fun this weekend, she did have something in mind.
She had a met a girl about her age not too long ago when she was working out, got her number – she figured she might dial it this weekend to see if she was free. Aila wasn’t one for superficiality but, well, Steph was a looker. “I’ve got… I’m probably going out for a meal at some point but that’s about it.” She said skillfully snatching the finished eggs onto two small plates and carrying them out towards the small table they always ate at. She looked at a newspaper with curiosity but given today’s broadcast she figured it would be more of the same.
Five tips to housetrain your werewolf and all that kind of shit. She slid Stein’s plate across to him while snatching up a two forks for the two of them. She grabbed two pieces of bread as well, smushing her eggs between them and taking a huge bite of the drippy mess that was her breakfast. “I mean, why can’t people just mind their own fuckin’ business with this shit anyway?” She forced out of her mouth in the middle of chewing her egg sandwich.
As she talked, Stein put away the container of milk. To her response of being surprised he didn't hear her reaction, he simply shrugged. Unbeknownst to the pup, he was distracted with a conversation with the dead. Taking his seat, at the table, he pulled out his phone to check his emails. His eyes naturally drifted to the 'draft' section where there was 1 email in it. Incomplete. For Blake Preston.
"My weekend?" He glanced up from his phone's screen, having read that he, along with his coworkers, were tasked with reopening cold cases. There was one cold case he cared about solving, that consumed his every thought. It wasn't like he had a ghost reminding him every day of it. "I'm going to revisit some old places." That he knew Coli liked. One being the Blue Haze. If there was one suspicious race that could've potentially killed his partner, it was witches. She took a strong liking to magic. Probably because it made her mundane human life less... mundane. He never understood the fascination, but then again, he never understood the fascination Reina had with werewolves.
He was going to explain further, that he had bumped into the Carmichaels, who he refuses to see for mourning counseling, even six months after Coli's disappearance they're still trying, but Aila's mind seemed to be elsewhere. Matilda Carmichael did slip in some food for thought, which inspired him to go down memory lane. She said something ambiguous that made him reflect on himself and consider how to find the answers he was seeking. It was like she knew he had a personal agenda and she wanted to give him some aid.
Not today, though. Tomorrow he would revisit all the places Coli loved. He would never be ready to reopen wounds but the fact of the matter was, the wounds were already open and they wouldn't close until he got to the bottom of this. "A meal?" His steady voice resonated in the kitchen. His eyes displayed intrigue, happy that Aila was taking initiative and enjoying her life. "In other words, Ms. Atleo, you got herself a date." Stein smirked at his beloved neighbor. His plate slid in front of him and like a solder in the army, Stein finished his eggs before Aila even sat down and looked at the newspaper. One day, he would die from eating like this. That day was hopefully not today.
He chuckled at her frustration while he wiped his lips on a napkin. Grabbing an apple from his fruit bowl, he tossed it up in the air, before rubbing it against his shirt, "Because we all have one common trait, Aila. We like to be in the know. It's in my job to know who is up to no good, it's in your job to know what the team is up to and how to address people when it comes to their new found knowledge of 'us'. People are curious. They don't like being in the dark. And for better or for worse, we have to deal with moderating — how they react — when they seek out more knowledge." Chomping into the apple, he took a moment to chew, before continuing, "By the way, Reid wants us to open up cold cases. See if they have anything to do with 'The Other'." Stein's last statement had heavy connotations behind it, because Aila would know of the one cold case they deliberately made sure he could not work on. The one case he cared about. The Cold Case of Colette Bonnet.
Aila yawned after taking one last bite of her sandwich. It was draining living in a world that was spouting off nonsense 24/7 but now all that nonsense was directed at her. It was the talk of the town and it was annoying as all hell.
That being said, she had a few things to be grateful for.
"Stein," Aila said glancing over at the stove's clock. "We have to head out, I don't think you'll be able to take your food with you so hurry up, okay?" She got up and stared rinsing off her plate and dishes. Stein was quick to finish as well, and soon enough the two were on their way to work, ready to confront the day. Or, as ready as they were going to be after a half-assed breakfast.