Altair lights a cigarette as Mero gets to the parking lot. "Hi. Got this far already?"
Merope looks distressed. "Where did you get to? We've been scouring the building, no sign. How does someone with a gunshot wound to the head just... disappear?"
Altair "You looked on the wrong place."
Merope "Yeah? Any ideas on the right place?" Merope scowls at him. "She can't have got far. She was unconscious a few minutes ago..."
Altair "She was stealing from the nurse's. First thing you do upon waking up is looking for clothes." He nods, offering her a cigarette, smiling as she scowls. "Relax. She is... she seemed fine. Talkative. Alert. Sarcastic, even."
Merope "You... you SAW her?"
Altair shakes his head MOST emphatically, with a big grin on his face! "Nope! Never."
Merope stares at him for a second, perplexed, and then gives up. She looks away, over the parking lot and brushes a few strands of hair from her face.
Altair "I did TALK to her, though." He lies down the hood of a car, watching the clouds.
Mese snaps her around, annoyed. "So she called you, is that what you're saying?"
Antares Across the parking lot, a truck pulls in briefly with a little screech of tires, and Antares climbs out with a wave, swaying against the door briefly to say something before waving the truck off in another wide arc of unsteady driving. She starts across the parking lot, slowly, looking up at the hospital.
Altair "No. I found her swiping some clothes for herself. So, I talked to her. I did not see her, though." He nods as if that made PERFECT sense. "Your friend... she's alive. And 'well'. So just calm down. No use worrying about it anymore... she just needs some time."
Merope "...Is this some translation thing? You talked to her but didn't see her? I swear, Altair, if you don't.... ohdamnit'sAntares.."
Altair gets up from the hood of the car, looking at Antares with half-closed eyes. "Yo, bambina! Don't bother."
Altair "Your friend's gone."
Merope "Damnit, Altair!"
Antares "Hey, kids." Her eyes drift over to Altair. "'Zat so." She looks better than earlier in some ways, dressed in her evening formal wear of tight ripped jeans and tank top with the omnipresent army jacket. As she gets closer, the smell of pot becomes obvious.
Merope "She's not dead, she's just missing!"
Altair "She decided to take a hike, yeah."
Altair inhales deeply. "Aaaah. Not-good-at-all-stuff."
Merope wrinkles her nose.
Antares Her eyes slew back to Merope, and she's about to say something when Altair cuts in. "A hike."
Merope "She... um... she seems to have got out of bed, somehow. Which is good, I guess, int hat she's conscious, but we don't know where she's got to..."
Merope "The hospital are looking, they'll probably get the cops involved.... Furud went off to search somewhere, I don't know.."
Altair "Won't matter. She won't be found 'till she wants to be found."
Antares wiggles her hand in agreement to Altair, eyes still fixed on Merope. "Pretty lively for a headshot."
Merope frowns, lookign between the two of them. "Aren't you worried? I mean, what if she got up because she wanted to..."
Antares "Why are you pretending you care?" she interrupts Merope, leaning closer to eye her curiously.
Merope "Of course I care! She's my friend! She's one of my BEST friends!"
Antares "Yeah, I can see that. I guess she's trendy, now."
Merope "What? No, it's not like that, I've known her for years, in middle school we were...."
Altair watches them, cigarette on his lips, gaze going back and forth. "She cares about YOU."
Antares shifts her eyes to Altair. "What's your stake, rich boy? Looking for another car to crash?"
Altair "Bad timing, actually. Thought I'd tell you she's ok."
Altair leans closer, "YOU were about to cry over her, when we met."
Merope bites her lip as they talk, alternating between checking her phone and casting worried glances at Antares.
Antares "Sure was," she's agreeing calmly to Altair.
Antares "What's got your panties in a bunch, Mero? You just said she's fine."
Merope "No, Altair thinks she's fine."
Altair puts a hand on her phone, obscuring it. Gentle. "She is. And YOU need to calm down."
Antares "Guarantee you're not gonna find her by staring at me."
Altair "You're not gonna find her by staring at anytihng. And even if you do, Mero, what'll you do? Cry to her? Y'all need as much time to unwind as she does. If you met her just now, you'd just make her feel WORSE."
Merope flicks her eyes nervously between them, taken aback. "I was going to call Furud." she says, watching Antares carefully when she says the name.
Antares "Heh," she says to Altair's summary. She looks at Merope a little confused. "You need his number or something?"
Merope Caught, Merope looks sharply away. "No, I have it."
Merope "Look, maybe I should go home, lie down..."
Antares "O... kay." She thinks about that for a second. "You need help dialing or something?"
Antares shrugs at Altair with a vague what's up with her? look.
Altair shrugs. Women "Do you want a ride, Mero?"
Merope "No, I'll.. I'll walk. Just... call me if you hear anything...."
Merope casts another worried glance back at the pair, and then strides off down the parking lot, dialing as she goes.
Altair sits on the hood of the car again. "Still got some on you? She REALLY needs some."
Antares snorts a laugh. "Her? Please." She leans against the car hood, still distantly contemplating the building.
Altair "An. Ta. Res. That's a star."
Antares "Yep, the one for Antara the Lion. Also means 'against Mars,' which is great if you want to name your kid something that says she'll pick a fight with anything."
Altair laughs, looking up at the sky. "Worked like a charm"
Antares "That's my dad, real fuckin' smart." She looks over at Altair. "Why are you here, really? Lonely?"
Altair "Was just about leaving when I met the two of them and got dragged into this whole mess. Thought it'd be good to wait for Mero here and tell her Maia was alright... and that's the thanks I get." He sighs theatrically. "Life's never fair."
Antares "Maybe," she says. "Ever stop to wonder if everyone is really getting exactly what they deserve, all the time?"
Altair "And what did they DO to deserve... that?" He waves. To the hospital, to the city, to Merope.
Antares shrugs. "Everybody's guilty for something." She smirks over at him, fleetingly. "You wanted me to stop bullshitting you, but you're up to your eyes in it."
Altair laughs. "Clever. But if _I_ got what I deserved, I'd be dead by now."
Altair "I screwed up alot, Antares. That's why I got Maia."
Altair "Like knows like."
Antares "Maybe you are. I spent eight hours on a bus once next to a guy who thought he was in purgatory, that everyone except him was dead and they just didn't know it." She hoists herself to sit back on the hood proper, tilting back to look up at the sky.
Altair pulls himself up on a sitting position and sneaks a look down her top "You're a damn fine sight for purgatory."
Antares leans forward a bit, as if aware of his glance, but the look she casts his way is so profoundly cynical that it turns the little flirtation into something entirely less comforting. "That's what the boys say when they want to fuck the bad girls. Keep going, and points for the accent."
Altair "REALLY bad." He grins. "They told me I got lucky on the lockers, with you."
Antares "Funny, they told me the same thing--I hear your family can buy and sell mine. Is that your thing, slumming?" She half-smiles herself, a little opaque and distant like all her expressions tonight.
Altair "It's hard to slum with a goddess." He says, deadpan.
Antares "Oh, that's solid, we're back on track. Tell me how I'm special now, and that you feel like you know me even though we just met, and then try to put your hand on my ass--I think that's how this one goes."
Altair "God forbid," he shakes his head, "Kiss comes first, if you have any class."
Antares "Who do I know with class? I only date assholes." Her smile up at the stars turns a little sad. "Too bad it was such lousy weed. Being stoned makes a great excuse for not giving a shit about anything."
Altair "Well, I happen to qualify." He grins, then takes her hand, "Come on, I happen to know where to find the GOOD stuff."