|Location||Open Hands - Mutant Town|
|Summary||Lexie's gonna be one.|
| Open Hands consists of two adjacent row houses purchased at auction from the city. Repaired but hardly refurbished, their continued existence is a constant uphill battle. Their insides have been converted to suit every purpose, not the least of which being beds and living spaces for mutants in need.
The main building boasts a wide array of pre-owned books, video games, and a donated ping-pong table. Daily activities include yoga, career coaching, group therapy and crisis counseling as well as many other wholesome distractions.Non-prescription drug use and the consumption of alcohol on-grounds is strictly prohibited. Meal times and curfews are more loosely enforced by fellow residents and volunteers, as well as the community chore list.
A few of the kids at Open Hands showed an interest in what Max was doing when he was working on fixing up the damage to Open Hands, once upon a time, and when he got back from space he tentatively offered to help give lessons on how to do useful handy things like basic repairs, drywall, and simple carpentry. Today's project is just finishing up -- Maxim and three of the teenagers are cleaning up, carrying their projects inside from working in the hot summer evening. The project appears to have been little three shelf bookcases, now painted in wild crazy colors, and Maxim has a few splatters of bright paint on his shirt -- and a wide grin of satisfaction as he wipes his hands on a rag, watching the kids disappear inside. Job well done, apparently.
And there's Alexandra, waiting outside in a cute little romper getup, a belt cinched at her waist. It's summer and it's hot. Her hair is twisted into a side pony-tail, dense with curls. She watches Maxim from behind her sunglasses. "Hey there," she calls over, voice dripping with flirtation. She shifts her weight, casually hipshot. "You build bookshelves here often?"
"Hello, miss," Maxim swipes a forearm across his forehead, attempting to look casual and cool and failing chiefly due to having swiped a purple stripe across his forehead. "Da, I am carpenter. I have excellent wood."
"Ooh, do you." Lexie sashays closer (to the mutant youth halfway house) as she slowly lifts the sunglasses from her face to tuck in her hair. "That sounds pretty promising. Looks like you've got a bit too much paint, though."
Maxim snorts softly, "We finished making shelves yesterday, so today, we decorate. I think the young ones enjoy making thing their own, because the world has taken much from them. Some of them have good eyes, too." He looks down at her, grin broadening, "You look so pretty. I want to take bite."
"I," Lexie says, tone turning a bit wry, "am not edible. Although I'm probably not as toxic as it'd be if I tried licking off that paint. Those bookshelves were truly heinous, by the way." But she's smiling as she says it with warm humor.
"Eh, they are happy. I am no judge of style," Maxim shrugs and rubs the back of his neck awkwardly, grinning. "It is non-toxic paint. I am careful with safety, you know this!" His brows lower for a moment as he watches her, then adds, "I think you are edible. Very tasty too."
"I mean, obviously when I say 'heinous,' it's a good thing." Because that makes sense. Lexie tosses her hair and catches her bottom lip between her teeth as she looks up at him. "Again, still not going to be up for you trying to eat me."
"Ah, well, maybe instead I will feed you. Do you want to get something to eat, iskra? My treat. I had good night at car service, passenger left me big tip for carrying his luggage." Maxim bends over and fetches a water bottle and towel and starts scrubbing some of the paint from his hands.
"Did you bend over real slow when you picked it up?" Lexie asks, waggling her eyebrows a bit. "I /am/ hungry, but I'm also hot, and also you /look/ really hot, so I'm kind of conflicted." She watches Maxim scrub paint of his hands, chewing on her lip again.
"We could get take-out?" Maxim didn't bend over slowly, because it honestly didn't occur to him, but at her gaze he takes an extra moment to flex ever-so-slightly for her benefit. "This sounds good to me -- I am hot and sweaty. A shower would be heaven."
"We do have a lodger currently installed on the sofa," Lexie warns him with a wrinkle of her nose. "Well, I don't know if he's on the sofa /right this second/, but. Ooh, I want /gazpacho/, let's go to that soup place on the way home."
"That sounds very good," Maxim folds the towel up and tosses it into the bag of tools he's brought with them, bending over SLOWLY to pick it up, then crooks his paint-free arm toward her in an offer. "What lodger is this? Your brother?"
"No: Ciel's." Lexie's smile is a little tense, but she does swat at his offered arm good-naturedly. SHE CAN WALK. "He -- I don't know, but I guess he doesn't really want to stay with his mom right now. Maybe I /should/ get my brother up here, though, because he kind of had the same sort of experience of like -- leaving here as a kid and coming back as an adult. I don't know. He doesn't believe you exist."
Maxim huffs at that, "I exist." Like -- that was a question? "Wait. This is boy we followed? Christian? Huh." He slants a look down and shoves his hands into his pockets as they walk, "Maybe your brother has some advice. That is very -- strange situation to be in, da?"
"Well, I said I had a seven foot Russian boyfriend and he didn't believe me." Lexie drops her sunglasses back down over her eyes. "Yeah. I mean, I sure have no idea. I feel like Tom's going to eventually become annoyed if I keep calling him for every lost soul, though."
"He should start business. 'Weird Mutant Shit Consultant'," Maxim makes air quotes, then adds, "I am not seven feet tall. I am only 6'9"."
"I'd say he's happy being semi-retired, but he's probably bored as shit," Lexie snorts. She angles in towards him to nudge him. "That's, like, /practically/ the same thing. Oh, and I also said you had super-strength. A seven foot Russian with super strength. And he didn't believe me! Also, he's a total mess. Like, literally making messes everywhere, being loud as fuck all the time."
"If he needs something to do, maybe he can come to Open Hands some day. We have many activities. And this way you would not have house guest under foot all day," Maxim suggests, before looping an arm around her to give her a quick squeeze -- affection and a promise of more when he's not so grungy.
"Maybe," Lexie says, although her voice is a touch skeptical. "It's like he doesn't even know how to exist in this world anymore. Making a racket in the bathroom. Not knowing how to open a milk carton. I don't even know."
Maxim shrugs, "It would keep him out of trouble, at least. Next week, we are making table. Maybe I can talk them out of painting it purple." He nudges her shoulder lightly, "What was it like? Where he was?"
"Cold," Lexie reports. "Like Ice Age kind of deal. I don't know, I haven't heard much about it, but I don't think they had coffee or milk cartons there."
"This is good supposition, if it was Ice Age. Cows do not do well on tundra. I know this, I am Russian," Maxim observes sagely.
"You say that about everything," Lexie complains, angling towards the little soup shop that's on the way home. (The gazpacho has been pretty popular during the hot months.) "I'm starting to think maybe you're not even Russian at all."
"Pssh. No one loves piroshki as much as I do if they are not Russian. This is fact. You can Boogle it." Maxim pronounces, holding the door open for Lexie and the four other people that follow her in because he's that guy who gets stuck holding doors because he won't /not/ hold doors for people.
"I love piroshki more than you," Lexie says, because how can she not with /that/ opening. She totally abandons him at the door, because otherwise she's going to lose her place in line and she's been dating him long enough to just not get into that argument full stop.
"I think you are a little Russian at heart," Maxim meets up with her in line, muttering to the people he sidles past, "Excuse, today it is my turn to buy dinner," and curiously nobody much picks a fight with the giant Russian who's craving soup.
"Um, no, I'm /Polish/, like that country that Russia /stole/ for the USSR. Also Irish, but you guys didn't try reaching /that/ far." Lexie glances back up at him as he steps up to her. "Either way, we have our /own/ dumplings."
"Eh, I imagine some Russian probably tried to conquer Ireland, but swimming has always been problematic for us," Maxim admits philosophically, "I like dumplings from all places. If you wrap in dough, I will eat."
"What about, like -- I dunno, pig's feet dumplings?" Lexie's voice holds a certain challenge -- or at least skepticism -- to it.
"Chewy but delicious," Maxim says steadily, studying the menu. "Do you think they will give me extra roll? Fruit soup is not so filling."
"Tomato's not -- okay, it /is/ a fruit, but gazpacho isn't a /fruit soup/." Lexie peers at him. "You wouldn't really eat pig's feet dumplings."
"Da, of course I would. I eat pickled pig feet sometimes. Dumpling just adds extra panache," Maxim looks down at her, blinking with total sincerity.
"/Ew/. Please tell me you don't kiss me within, like -- 24 hours of doing that." Lexie frowns fiercely at him and his eating habits before stepping up to the counter to order like a giant tub of gazpacho. Most of that is for Maxim. (She asks for the extra roll.)
"I, uh," Maxim turns red, particularly around the neck, before muttering, "Well I won't /now/."
"Oh God. Ew." Lexie is wrinkling her nose most emphatically to hear about this. "That's, like -- pig's feet in /my/ mouth." She shoves at him a bit, partially for the pig's feet and partially to step up and pay since it's apparently his turn.
Maxim forgets to act like the pushing works for just a half a beat too long, before scooting forward and paying for the food, "Did you know that pig feet is how they made gelatin in old days? Before powder?"
"Well, then I guess it's a good thing it's not the old days," Lexie declares. "I don't like knowing where my ambiguous food comes from. Don't even talk to me about hot dogs."
Maxim looks like he's JUST about to say something but then stops and gathers up food instead, clearing his throat, "Okay. This I will not do."
"Good." Lexie actually steps up behind him and circles her arms about his waist, mashing her face against his back while he gathers up their dinner.
"Want a ride home, solnishko?" Maxim squeezes her hand with his free one, voice rumbly (since she has her face mashed and all). He doesn't say 'piggy back ride' given their recent topic of conversation.
"Nooooo, I can walk," Lexie says, but she does sigh it rather melodramatically. She even leads the way back out of the shop and towards her building. "So how are the -- uh. Homeless teenagers?"
"I like young ones. It is -- good to help," Maxim pauses in the middle there, making sure his answer is as accurate as possible. "I think maybe they like to learn from me a little, but this I cannot tell for certain."
Alexandra glances over at him, some question in her expression, but she shuffles it away for some other time. "I'm sure you've got a whole fanclub down there," she says instead. "If you need a popularity boost, I could always swing by."
Maxim looks down and laughs, "You would charm them, I think, but they are tough crowd. Good kids, though. You should come."
"Oh, let's be clear, I'd be showing up to be a teenage fantasy, not actually, like -- volunteer," Lexie just -- clarifies.
"Oh -- well, yes, you would be very good at this. May I suggest the little cut off shorts that go to about here...?" Maxim holds his hand at what can only be described as a perilous hemline.
"I'll definitely consider it. The point is to make you look super cool by having such a hot girlfriend." Lexie's face is Uber Serious as she says this. This is important. "That's what teenage boys respect."
"Oh!" Maxim's expression clears, then he laughs deeply, "On first day I picked up car for them -- little car, but," he shrugs his shoulders. "This I think would be even better than car." He leans down and drops a kiss onto her head, just near the ponytail.
"Maybe this time I can sit on the car while you pick it up," Lexie offers brightly.
"This would make good Christmas card picture," Maxim suggests, climbing the steps to the apartment building, arms full of soup.
"Ooh, good idea. I'll bring a Santa hat. If I can find one in August." Lexie starts up the stairs enthusiastically so that she'll at least make it a few flights before getting super annoyed at how many flights she has to walk.
Maxim asks as they climb, "I am thinking I should work on cardio more. Now that I am not fighting, I do not want to get soft. Maybe I should run up and down stairs carrying things, like in Rocky 42."
"I guess you could carry /me/ up the stairs, but that would probably be bad for /my/ cardio," Lexie says as she huffs.
"I could carry you down again and then you could climb up on your own?" Maxim offers, voice grave. He is not puffing, the asshole.
Lexie's puffing is /minimal/. She's in great shape, it's just a lot of stairs and she's going fast, okay!!! "I imagine you probably need something way heavier than me, anyways." Way heavier. WAY heavier, Maxim!! She digs for her keys as they reach the top floor and unlocks the apartment.
"Da, heavy weights would be best," Maxim follows her in, starting to set out the soup, and his fair skin turns red from the heat of the 7th floor in summer. "This building has bad climate control.""I mean, welcome to New York." Lexie putters around the kitchen for bowls and spoons and such, and soon they have all the fixings for downing their gallons of soup. That is, for Maxim to down gallons and Lexie to down a reasonable amount. And there are rolls. They will have a nice, cool dinner before they make a hot mess of Lexie's bedroom.