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Summary:
June 26 2014: It's visiting night again as Jericho stops by Anabeth O'Neal's apartment to check on her and put some security measures in place. Seems she has a new social worker…

O'Neal Residence

Cluttered at the best of times, this is one of those places that one day aspires to be merely run down.


Characters

NPCs

  • Anabeth O'Neal - Emitted by deadzone
  • Julie the Social Worker - Emitted by deadzone

Mood Music:
[*None]


Nancy has been away for almost a month now. Jericho Trent, as he promised, has been visiting her mother every couple of days to take care of her. Her case worker has been not the best, seeming burned out more than anything. She comes by every third day, twice a week, but she doesn't stay for as long as she is supposed to and doesn't do half the stuff she should be. So, it may come as a surprise when Jericho comes to visit Anabeth and there is a woman that isn't her case worker there. She is puttering about the kitchen area as Anabeth is grumbling.

"No Anabeth, no booze. You can grumble all you like, but it's not going to help with your recovery."

*

Oh that's gonna go over well. Jericho hadn't tried to stop her because the steady level of buzzed seemed to him to be a bit more healthy than a few days of dry followed by a liver-slaying binge. He's in his usual 'reformed gang banger' getup that he often wears when he's coming over here. New social worker, eh? That's… interesting. He knocks as he usually does.

"Anabeth? It's Jeremy. Mind if I come in?" He's already got his connection going again. New social worker probably needs to be looked up, just to be thorough.

*

The new social worker looks to the door as it opens with the knock, arching a brow. "Can I help you," she asks, seeming friendly enough. This is different from the last worker, who would use Jericho's visits as a chance for a smoke break.

"Jeremy?" she repeats. "You're a friend of Ana's?"

"That's AnaBETH, you whiskey boggartin' whore!"

The case worker turns, not looking angry or offended but understanding. "I'm sorry, Anabeth. I shouldn't have shortened your name like that without your permission. I'm sorry, Jeremy. She's mad at me because I won't let her drink while I'm here. I'm sure she can survive for 6 hours twice a week."

She shakes her head and turns to the sink to finish the dishes. The old care worker never did the dishes!!

*

Huh. So far so good, though, yes, the old worker never did the dishes. "I've been visiting her yeah." He offers a smile.

"Anabeth?" He peeks in the door. Usually, he likes being given permission to come in. Though he's come in anyway on one or two occasions when it hasn't been forthcoming. He can already tell she's not likely to be in a good mood. Likely brain damage that Seraph had told him about aside, habitual alcoholics usually don't appreciate this kind of thing.

"You doin' okay today?"

*

And no, Anabeth is not appreciating this kind of thing. "No I'm not okay! This new worker won't let me drink, or smoke, and she keeps tryin' ta clean my place! Ya stay out of my room, you tea-totalling HARPY!!"

Once again the new worker doesn't let the sharp tang of Anabeth's words get to her. She comes over to the door instead and invites Jeremy in.

"How do you know Anabeth," asks the new worker. It sounds friendly enough, but it is likely also to find out more about the visitor. Is he a threat? Is he actually a friend?

*

"I'm her neighbor." It's naturally something he's had to answer on occasion before. Like when the old social worker was around though she wasn't quite so… peppy.

"I just… you know, didn't like seeing her situation. I live alone so I have time on my hands. Didn't seem right to leave her just sittin' alone the whole time, you know?"

That last part is true, so far as it goes. He's worried, now both for Anabeth's sake and Nancy's sake what might happen. Stories like this don't often have happy endings where Hydra is concerned. He'd like this one to have one, if it can. And he promised Nancy. Jericho Trent keeps his promises.

*

The worker goes back to finish the dishes as Anabeth is grumpily flipping through the channels. She doesn't seem too happy with what is happening on her favourite game shows, because she starts yelling at that now too.

"One Dollar! You stupid bint! Listen! One Dollar!! Are you crazy! There is no way that is worth $825!"

The case worker smiles at Jeremy. "I'm Julie. Anabeth's old worker moved, so she is not working this area anymore. So, a neighbor? Which suite?" Once again, she makes it seem like she is just asking for curiosity, though any good care worker would be wanting to know about the environment their charge is living in.

*

"Nineteen A, just up the hall a bit."

He's given a bit of thought to this. The place was vacant so he set up a dummy lease under the name Jeremy Trevor. He didn't mind setting up the account especially after he found out how decent a man Giuseppe is. Since he's over every couple of days, it's easy to place cursory evidence of the place being lived in. Mail, lights, radio, TV. Pretty easy to control stuff like that remotely. If anyone ever… broke in though… they might be able to tell that no one actually lives there. Just too many little things missing that Jeri doesn't have time for.

Walks over by Anabeth and crouches down, watching Julie from her perspective. "Nice to meet you. Awful nice of you to do those." Now he's testing a bit.

*

Anabeth glowers at the TV, ignoring her new worker. She sits there, fuming in silence, clicking the remote to find something that she deems suitable.

Julie chuckles softly. "It's nice to meet you too. Do what? The dishes? Well, we're supposed to do whatever is needed to help out the people in our care. Talk to them, get them out to do their shopping, help them pay their bills. Normally, we didn't have to do much with Anabeth. Her daughter used to live here. But she ran off a month ago without warning. Didn't call to tell her mother she was in Europe for the summer till last week." Julie frowns at this, seeming not too impressed that someone would do that to another person.

*

Jericho's covered for Nancy in the past. It hasn't helped with Anabeth because, well, Anabeth is Anabeth. She's paranoid and has latched onto the notion that Nancy is the source of her issues. Most days. The good ones are very, very far between.

"Europe? Wonder why she went there?" is all he says. Thanks to Orman and talking to Nancy regularly, he's already got a pretty good notion that's not the case. He does his best not to smile, covering it with a thoughtful frown instead.

"Want help cleaning up? That's what I used to do anyway." Without waiting for her to say yes or no, he starts to get things a bit organized… and look for a good place to plant bugs. He needs this place under watch now with the news Paul gave him.

*

Julie takes a deep breath, maintaining her smile. "Something about a working vacation through one of her professors at Juilliard. She's a cellist."

Anabeth scowls. "She makes noise. Sounds like screaming cats." She flips through the channels, grumbling.

Julie finishes the dishes and smiles to Jeremy, beckoning him over. "I would love a bit of help." When Jericho gets closer, she whispers to him. "Could you keep her busy while I just do a quick tidy of her room. I think she's been leaving food in there.'

*

Jericho quirks an eyebrow. "Sure if you'd like though she'll probably stay glued to the TV. I could help if you like." He whispers back. "Be in and out before she can notice. If she were to."

He gives her a knowing smile. He's used that trick a few times himself. This Julie seems like a really nice, dedicated social worker. Jericho, on the other hand, is a suspicious jerk so that sets him to wondering: why."

*

Julie smiles and rests a hand on Jericho's arm. "Thanks. You're a sweetheart. She gets very aggressive, but I'm sure you already know that. And her room seems to be a very sore spot for her."

She excuses herself, saying she's just going to powder her nose. Anabeth glares at her and snort with derision.

"Who even says that anymore?" she asks Jerry as Julie leaves down the hall. "Powder her nose? She means she needs ta go ta the CAN!" she yells after the social worker. Anabeth slumps in her chair.

*

Hmmmm. Could be nothing. The lady seems nice enough. Got an odd… feeling to her somehow. He helps tidy up the clutter a bit in the front room.

"She been treatin' you okay, Anabeth?" 'Jeremy' asks.

Might as well take the opportunity while he can and she's not there. He's also feeling around for good places to plant bugs. Under tables are good, or amid things that never get moved or checked or cleaned. He's also looking for a couple likely plants for tracking devices. Just in case. He'd want something Anabeth is never without and isn't likely to get taken away from her. Or drank.

*

While Julie is gone and 'Jeremy' is looking for a good place to put a bug, he finds something interesting in the houseplant by the window. Well, first off, it's not a real plant. Not really surprising. But what is surprising is in the fake moss at the base of the plant is a tiny little bug, smaller then a watch battery. As for putting a trace, perhaps Anabeth's bathrobe or her flask inside the pocket of said bathrobe.

*

The plant's the perfect place to… okay, thaaaaaats alarming. There are only so many people to who would bug Anabeth's house. The police are out. He knows for a fact there aren't any outstanding warrants for either Anabeth (not that'd they'd need bugs to find her) or Nancy. That leaves someone who is not the authorities. Given that Nancy and Anabeth never involved themselves with the criminal underworld that narrows down the list of likely suspects down a lot.

Hydra.

This immediately brings up a number of questions. First: Who. His background check into Julie is running but hasn't turned up anything so far. And it wouldn't be hard to break in here and put this here. So that's a bust for the moment. Second: what does he do? He could destroy the bug but that would tip off the owners that it'd been found. They'd probably just replace it and since he doesn't know how they got it here in the first place, that seems not very useful. He wonders… is this a transmitting or recording bug. If the former, he may be able to just listen in on what whomever else is hearing. If the latter… maybe he can copy the recording.

With a sigh he puts the bug back and looks for a much/much better hiding place for his own bug while he feels the bug out with his cyberware. Then, before Julie can return, he decides maybe to trace both the bathrobe… and the flask.

"Here… Anabeth, take a sip before she gets back." He says, kneeling down and unscrewing the cap of the flask for her. "Maybe help with the worm feeling a bit." Plop. The tracker is magnetic, so hopefully she won't swallow it. The other he conceals in the robe's fuzz.

*

Anabeth scowls as she takes the flask and turns it upside down to show how empty it is.

"She empties it when she gets here and then puts all my bottles up on the top shelf, where I can't get them."

She shoves the empty flask back into her pocket and looks puzzled, taking out a business card from her pocket. She turns it over, looking at it, confused. Dr. DiLucci is written on one side, along with the clinic he works at.

Over in the hall, Julie seems to be taking an awfully long time getting the dishes out of Anabeth's room. 'Jeremy' finds the perfect place for a couple of bugs, considering the state of the place. Julie may clean, but dusting doesn't seem to be something she does, or at least has gotten to yet.

*

Damn it. Jer'd really like to know what she's doing in there. He glances down at the card and smiles. Perfect. He was worried about how to take care of Anabeth when he inevitably had to take a trip to run Mark down.

"Do you remember meeting him?" He says, kneeling down next to the chair again. "Doctor DiLucci that is?"

He'd heard about it from the man himself. He's quite sure if he asked him to make a few house calls while he was away, Angelo would do it. Not only that, but if he did the paperwork right, there wouldn't be anything that any government hack could do about it.

A frown crosses his face as he looks up. "The hell is she doing up there?" He says mostly to himself.

*

Anabeth looks at the card. 'Jeremy' knows how bad her memory is. Half the time she doesn't even remember who he is and she sees him twice a week. She presses a hand to her head and shakes it, starting to shiver.

"I … I don't. Should I?" She pats 'Jeremy' on the cheek, trying to smile at him.

"Why do you come here? You're so nice to me. Did I know you? Are you… family?" She looks confused, her eyes pleading for something to make sense.

But the mutter catches her attention. She looks up to the hall and then stands up. "What's she doing?" She starts shuffling towards the hall. "Get out of my room! What are you doing in my room!!"

She starts to scream, rushing to her door when the bathroom door opens, the end of the flush sounding. "I'm not in your room, Anabeth. Please calm down."

*

Jericho can't help but smile a little as Anabeth rushes off. "Sort of, Ananbeth." He says, shaking his head a little, knowing not only can she not hear, but the thought will have been completely driven from her head by the time she gets back. "Sort of."

He strolls back there, wanting to see what if he can get any clues about what she was cleaning. Anabeth is a bit of mess it's true but for some reason he's still kind of suspicious about this sweet, kind, seemingly perfect social worker. He's gonna stay until she leaves, at least, for sure. Probably long enough to make sure Anabeth gets into bed okay, as he usually does, before his HUD starts scrolling Nan texts.

*

Anabeth opens the door to her room, peering into it. Okay, that room is a mess. Clutter on top of schmutz on top of a general untidiness. Seems that Nancy wasn't allowed in there either. Anabeth's eyes scour the room like a hawk, suspicious. She glares at Julie as she closes the door. "You don't go in there. Ever!"

Julie holds up her hands to show they are empty. "I would never dream of it, Anabeth. That is your personal space. Are you hungry? Would you like me to make you some dinner?"

Anabeth will have none of it. "NO! Jeremy makes me dinner when he's here! You go! He's my boy! My good boy!" She starts to crumple on the floor now, sobbing about 'Jeremy' being her boy.

Julie rushes over to help her up. "Of course he is. Look how well he takes care of you." Julie looks to 'Jeremy', shrugging apologetically.

"Who is Jeremy, Anabeth?" "Him? He's my son. Or he will be. Guiseppe says he's going to marry my little girl. My little Nancy. She's going to be famous someday. You'll see. You'll see. Her with her cat wailing."

*

Jericho's eyebrow quirks but he covers it. That… You know he tells Nan most everything that happens where her mother is concerned because it's her mother and she deserves to know. He skips over the hurtful things for the most part. She doesn't need to hear them anymore than she has already. This? He's kinda on the fence about if he'll mention that or not. He kneels down next to Anabeth and takes her arm to help Julie help her up. Well, if she'll get up.

"I'll make dinner, Julie, it's fine." He says quietly. "I always did when your predecessor was here."

The famous bit though? Maybe Nan should hear that. He kind of hopes Julie brushes off the bit about Guiseppe… he didn't really say anything to the man, he just didn't argue with any assumptions he may have made. Though the assumption confuses him a bit, if he's honest. He's not really anyone's type, it's seemed in the past.

*

Together, Julie and 'Jeremy' get Anabeth back to her chair. "Thank you," Julie offers to him as he says he'll make dinner. She hugs and consoles Anabeth, stroking her hair.

"It's alright. He's making dinner, just the way you like it." Julie looks concerned now, going over to the table where Anabeth's medications are. She pours a glass of water and brings them to her. "Take these. They will make you feel better."

After medicating Anabeth, Julie comes close to Jeremy again. "Could you tell me what the case worker before me did, for my report? I'm starting to suspect I'm going to have to report her for neglicence in her work."

*

Jericho wonders about that really. The case worker prior was definitely burnt out and close mouthed but he feels sure she would have mentioned moving or vacations or reassignment.

"She'd come over for a few hours. Twice a week. There were, well, lots of things she didn't do. I'm afraid I don't have a whole lot of experience with social services." Which is true, up until recently. "So I just assumed that, you know, services like yours are always kind of overworked. That's why I came over to help with the dishes and dinners and such. I mean if neighbors won't do it, who will?"

He checks the freezer for some of the dinners he'd made and frozen. Ah. Enchiladas. Perfect. "Anabeth's a nice enough woman."

Sometimes. The times when she isn't are rough though she seems to have fewer episodes of objecting to his being around. He suspects the instances when she is less than nice are, increasingly, not really her fault.

*

Julie shakes her head and frowns. "This is a hard job. It takes its toll. The smart ones remember to take their vacation time, even if they don't think they really should. You need the break or you start losing the very reason you got into this in the first place."

She goes over to Anabeth again, talking with the woman with the mental illness and trying to console her. She points to the pictures on the wall, asking who the people in them are. One is a picture of Nancy as a young girl, her hair in braids, looking sweet and innocent and curious.

"She is," Julie agrees. "She just needs people to take care of her. That person *used* to be her daughter. How could she just leave like that?"

*

Jericho has seen that picture before, of course. It does make him chuckle a bit if only for the juxtaposition of who she is in that picture and who she was when she met her.

"Wish I could say Julie. People do all kinds of things for all kinds of reasons though."

He puts the enchiladas into the oven. Making the meals in advance and freezing them was a great idea. Pinterest what would we do without you? It's a good thing Jeri knows how to make one. I mean, not a gourmet chef by any means, but he doesn't burn water either. As he washes up a bit the soap and water makes his tracery 'tattoo's' gleam a bit. They don't look like prison tatts, thankfully, but they're most certainly unusual. He passes them off in this persona as just something he did once that he's not really proud of, like the whole gang thing in general.

"But they sometimes come back, you know. Doesn't make it any easier, y’know, but stuff changes, sometimes."

*

Julie sighs and nods her head. "You're right. I'm sorry. I just see Anabeth like this and I just don't see how someone could just abandon a loved one, even for a trip to Europe. But she is not me. My job is just to help as best as I can. And thank you."

She rubs at 'Jeremy's back, comforting, warm and friendly. "I don't normally stay during dinner, so I think I'll get going. Could you get me a glass of water though, I'm thirsty.

*

"Sure." He reaches up for the cabinet to get a tumbler and hits the faucet for cold water. "I mean you'd have to be inhuman not to feel a bit bad for Anabeth."

Well, if you didn't meet her on one of her bad days first. Then you'd have to be inhuman to put up with her. Nancy… still don't know how you did that. … … Why is this lady rubbing his back? It's not unpleasant feeling but at the same time the paranoid part of his brain kicks in and points out the last social worker wasn't nearly this touchy feely.

*

Julie takes the water with a smile and starts walking towards her purse. "Oh! Hold on, forgot something in the bathroom." She walks down the hall and soon returns with some plates and glasses, putting them in the sink. "My ill-gotten booty," she whispers to Jeremy with a smile and then shoulders her purse. "I'll be back on Monday, Anabeth."

Down on the street, as she exits the building, Julie makes a call on her cell phone. "Hi. Yes, everything is in place. She had a visitor. Jeremy from 19A in her building. Yeah, I put a trace on him as well and I have his prints on a glass. I will be in the office in an hour."


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