#Leah'sHouse – February 11, 2018

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As the shuttle sets down just outside the Mercier residence and the doors slide open, Jasper continues to yammer on.

Jasper sighs loudly. "But wouldn't ya know it! Turns out I ain't been gainin' no weight! Just had a dang rock stuck in the sole of my shoe!" he says with a snicker, craning his neck to try and get a glimpse of Tara and Mendez from the pilot's seat.

Mendez is already disembarking before Jasper's words even leave his mouth, holding absolutely no interest in listening to the old man's stories. The shuttle lists slightly to the side as Mendez steps off. "Uh huh... That's great, Jasper." he says with just about as much disinterest as a person can pump into a grunt and a three word sentence. "See you tomorrow." he adds, not bothering to look back as he raises a gauntlet to wave the

old man off.

Jasper frowns, but he's quick to wipe it away with a friendly smile as he turns his attention to Tara. "You take care, Tara." he offers kindly with a quick touch of his index finger to the bill of his cap.

Tara gains a tiny smile, and after a moment's hesitation she lifts one hand slightly to give Jasper a small wave before following after Mendez. She's grown accustomed to him thanks to regular shuttle trips. She follows towards the house. Much snow has piled up over the course of the snowstorm that's plagued Freedom Falls.

Mendez has maintained the path to the house throughout the snowstorm without being asked to do so, which Francois has been silently appreciative of as he's not the spry young chicken he once was. He's also done his best to help around the house in whatever ways presented themself to him. Without Leah around, food has mostly been a 'eat when you want' ordeal outside of the first meal Francois made and a silent lunch shared in the

living room as the trio watched TV. Mendez isn't much for cooking- or perhaps simply doesn't feel comfortable doing so in someone else's house- and as such has mostly resorted to simple things like sandwiches. Though, whenever he makes himself something, he's been sure to make something for Tara and Francois as well, but it's quite unceremonious and without any expectations of a 'thank you'. Polar opposite to Leah, he's not

much for conversation. He has continued to follow the routine that's been set in stone since he first arrived at Leah's house. Wake up. Eat breakfast. Have an intense work out. Shower. Go to work. Come home. Change. Eat a meal. Watch TV until it's time for him to go to bed. Today is no different. And while Francois has assured Mendez that Leah wouldn't mind if he used her bed, the large man has remained adamant about

sleeping on the living room couch throughout his stay. He exits the bathroom dressed in a grey, sleeveless shirt and a pair of soft, baggy black comfortable pants for sleeping in while towing his wheeled armor crate behind him and sets it just beside the couch where it has remained. His sleeveless shirt gives a view of the tribal tattoos that nearly cover both arms to the wrist. His mohawk has been washed out and is now just

a poofy coif of black hair.

Francois is, as seems to be the case most nights, soundly asleep by the time the pair arrive home. While he always spends a lot of time in his room watching TV, this has increased since Leah's absense. It's not hard to see the concern on his face when he does make an appearance, but he tries to remain his lively, upbeat self as best as he can.

Tara has found many of her usual activites usurped by Mendez, to her confusion, but she's not one to voice it. She's done her best to cook, but unable to acquire the needed groceries for anything complicated on her own, it's been a limited effort. She's taken the opportunity to prepare sandwiches for herself and Mendez while he was showering, and she's sitting in the couch when he arrives from the bathroom, sandwiches on the

coffee table. She sits with an uncomfortable stiffness to her posture, back not against the backrest, and hands resting in her lap. The TV is off - she doesn't actually know how to work the controls.

Mendez gives a glance to the sandwich laid out for him, then to Tara, and offers an appreciative nod as he settles onto the couch. Not wanting to be too presumptuous, he still hasn't keyed his omni-tool in to work with the TV, so he reaches out for the remote on the coffee table. Before turning it on, however, he passes a look Tara's way. "TV?" he asks. It's almost as if he tries to limit his conversations to a single-digit number

of syllables.

Tara isn't exactly any more talkative than Mendez. But she's grown used to Leah's chatty presence. It's been comfortable. She talks enough for both of them. Listening she does well. Without Leah around, tense, uncertain silences have taken over. Mendez is a break in the routine, and a still-unfamiliar presence. An intimidating one, despite Leah's trust being placed in him. A nod is her response to the question.

Mendez returns the nod before turning the TV on. He's quick to adjust the volume to keep from waking Francois. Remote in one hand, he reaches for his sandwich and unattentively takes a big bite out of it as he searches through the channels before stopping on the UCC highlights. Silence aside from chewing and the sound of the television.

Tara has been missing the watching of silly soaps with Leah, that had quickly grown to a tradition of sorts, but bringing it up to Mendez hasn't even crossed her mind. So UCC it is. She looks for any indication of displeasure with the sandwich from Mendez. Finding none, she carefully lifts her own, taking a small bite, making sure not to spill any crumbs. She watches the violent display of the heavily armored combatants on the

screen, a faint frown etched into her face.

Mendez glances down at the sandwich in his hand as he leans in to take another bite. After carefully chewing, he gives a couple of nods to himself and looks over to Leah. "It's good." he decides, his attempt at providing a compliment. As he catches sight of the look on her face, he mistakenly attributes it to their encounter with Yan Sun. With more worry settling in. At first, he pushes it aside and looks back to the TV. But that

nagging guilt pokes at him. Leah trusted him to take care of Tara. "She's going to be fine." he assures Tara without looking to her, reaffirming previous statements he has made regarding Leah. "I know you're worried but-..." he nods a couple of times, "...Give it a few more days, little bird. She'll be back." A brief frown settles in, whether from the heavy hit that his favorite warrior took or due to having gone over his

allocated syllable limit is unclear.

((Looks over to Tara*))

Tara blinks, looking over at Mendez. She chews in silence, and at first it seems like she might speak... but no. A few small, subdued nods, and a downcast gaze.

Mendez remains silent for a few moments as he watches the highlights, taking Tara's silence as a sign that his attempt to reassure her wasn't so successful. As the discomfort continues to settle in, he gives a brief sigh and glances her way once again. "...There something you want to watch?" he asks plainly. If a nice lengthy talk of more than 15 whole words isn't enough to cheer her up, perhaps some TV channel bribery will do

the trick. "I can catch this shit anytime." he adds dismissively to the highlights to indicate that it wouldn't be interrupting his plans.

Tara seems a little caught off-guard by the question. Her gaze darts over to the screen, and then to Mendez, before going back to the table. There's a brief hint of indecision on her face, but she shakes her head. It's not her place.

Mendez blinks a couple of times, gaze remaining on Tara. "Gotta be something you like to watch, right?" he continues to press. "Floor is yours, little bird." he adds as he reaches out to extend the remote to her.

Tara 's discomfort seems to grow, and she fidgets with her hands. She makes no attempt to grab the remote, but eventually she speaks up. "The.. Bold & The Burdened?" she asks, her tone heistant as she looks over at Mendez.

Thiago brow furrows as he continues to look to Tara. "The Bold & The-..." he begins, his expression softening as a brief snort escapes him. "Leah got you hooked on that shit?" he asks, though there's an endearing quality to his voice as he looks back to the TV when she doesn't take the remote and begins to navigate the menu himself.

Tara seems to relax just a little. Her frown fades and for the briefest of moments a hint of a tiny smile tugs at her lips as she nods. She reaches for her sandwich and takes another small bite as Mendez navigates the menu.

Mendez gives a shake of his head, her reaction all but confirming his assumption. After navigating the menu for a moment, he once again furrows his brow. "Looks like she's got all of this weeks episodes queued up to watch when she gets home." he mutters allowed, narrowing his eyes as he leans forward to read a synopsis aloud. "With Amanda's life on the line and Cornelius nowhere to be found, Malelius is forced to come to the

rescue. Can he make it in time? Will this spell disaster for her marriage?" As he finishes reading, he slowwwwly cranes his neck to look back to Tara, deadpanning her. "I'm judging you." he says in his usual, emotionless tone. "Both of you."

((he mutters aloud*))

Tara 's gaze focuses on the screen. She seems to relax further, but Mendez' words cause her to voice a quiet "I like it...", a hint of a puzzled look on her face at his judgement. Her entire exposure to galactic culture has been through what Leah has introduced her to, and The Bold & The Burdened is just about the best entertainment she's ever witnessed in her life.

Mendez lets out a quiet snicker and gives a shake of his head. "Alright, then The Bold & The Burdened it is, little bird." he says as he turns the show on and sets the remote down on the coffee table. The tiniest hint of a smile remains on his face as he settles back into his seat and resumes eating his sandwich. Seeing Leah's influence on Tara after everything the girl has been through causes a bit of pride to swell in him for his

best friend. "I'm relying on you to let me know what in the hell is going on." he adds after finishing his bite. It's most likely meant to be lighthearted but, as usual, his tone makes it hard to tell.

Tara 's eyes widen, her mind going into overdrive as she scrambles to mentally prepare for answering any questions Mendez might have. Any intention of a lighthearted comment is lost on her.

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