Fixer Uppers


colette_icon.gif nicole_icon.gif

Scene Title Fixer Uppers
Synopsis On her last night of administrative leave from Wolfhound, Colette and Nicole bond over the trajectory of their lives.
Date March 7th, 2018

Once upon a time, Brooklyn was a borough that had a fancy restaurant on every corner. You could find a five star eatery by throwing a rock. In the aftermath of the war, the options are significantly more limited. In the wake of a food shortage, that number drops to something near infinitely small.

Hours after the opening of the Eric Doyle Memorial Library, Colette Demsky made plans to take her sister out on the town. Five different restaurants, all closed, and the evening wound on. Insistent that they go out and spend a night together, Colette opted to take Nicole to the one place she both knew would be open, and both could relax in.

Now, tucked together in a leather-upholstered booth bordered on one side by a glittering curtain, Colette sits back with a gin and tonic in one hand, lit by blue and Violet light that turns to shades of lavender and burgundy around her shadowed jawline. A low cut black dress intended for a classy dinner has turned more attention-getting than she'd intended, tattoos visible up both arms and butterfly wings visible below her collar bone.

Slanting a look over to her sister, Colette raises her glass amid the thumbing, bass-filled electronic music as an equally tattooed woman walks by with a tray of drinks in hand, and little else. “I promised you a fun night, and I always deliver!” Colette says as she leans in to whisper to Nicole.

It's Colette’s last night in the Safe Zone for a while, and she’s going to make sure Nicole enjoys every minute of it.

Little Darlings

Nicole snorts and shakes her head, wrapping an arm around her sister’s shoulders to draw her in for a squeeze. “And here I thought I would take you to your first one of these,” she teases, pressing a kiss to Colette’s dark hair. This is a totally normal activity for totally normal sisters.

“If I’d known this was where we’d end up, though, I’d have slutted up way more.” At least she didn’t wear a sweater like she initially planned. She’s not wearing blue for a change, either, but her favorite color of green. The color her sisters eyes used to be.

Cracking a smile, Colette slants a look down at Nicole and then back up again. “My first?” One dark brow rises slowly. “Sis, I work with a bunch of ex-military dudes and— fun women? This isn't my first strip club.” Remaining leaning against Nicole, Colette takes another sip from her drink.

“But look,” Colette eyes Nicole’s drink, “I would've loved to see you and the beeb tonight, but I've been doing a lot of family stuff this last week. I've got a killer day ahead of me tomorrow in the worst way possible so…” dark brows rise, “I plan on a noon start to my day, so— I know it's a work night for you, so we’ll go until you've gotta be responsible.”

Slouching away from Nicole, Colette tips back her drink again. “Give me some good news,” she waves one hand in a slow circle. “All the good news. Now.”

“Oh, I had no doubt this is not your first time at one of these places.” Nicole grins and sips at her drink. “But, since it’s your first time with me, that still means it’s special.” She snickers and rests her cheek against the top of Colette’s head for a moment. Their relationship now is better than it ever was in the past, and it’s been wonderful. But the past still informs who they are, and so… Here they are, having fun at a strip club.

Hmm is a thoughtful hum against the younger woman’s crown. “Good news, huh? Well, for starters, I texted my boss about ten minutes ago to say I won’t be in tomorrow, and Ben is going to pick up Pippa tonight.” So, no responsibilities. “Your youngest niece is confirmed to be the cutest little girl on the entire planet and I’m pretty sure she’s going to grow up to marry Jonah Whitney.” If their mothers get any say in it, maybe. “Your oldest niece ties you for most beautiful woman on the entire planet, and she’s in a stable relationship and her wife is adorable.

Yes. Over the years, Nicole has become such a mom. But the way she glances over now and again to eye the woman on stage shows she’s still got her wild side. “Let’s see. Whaaaat else?” Older sister nudges younger in the ribs gently.

“Sis is buying tonight.”

Grinning broadly, Colette snakes an arm around Nicole’s back and her gaze is ephemeral. Blind eyes are unfocused and staring into the middle distance, but Nicole knows Colette could be looking anywhere. Whether it's at her sister or the stage is a mystery she chooses not to answer.

“I absolutely am buying tonight, because I too am an adult with a stable relationship,” Colette proudly notes with another sip on her drink. “You know — and I'm gonna sound like a complete ass here — but I have not talked to Ingrid for more than ten minutes before. That had to have been like seven years ago, too, at a Council meeting.”

Looking a bit guilty, Colette slouches just a little. “She kinda intimidates me, somehow? Like, we’re family and we've barely talked. Fuck, she's queer as hell too, like— I feel like so should invite her and her wife over for dinner sometime. You know?”

“I’m not going to argue with you. If you want to flaunt your wealth and your stable relationship, you can go ahead and pay for drinks tonight. But I’m gonna rack up a hell of a tab,” Nicole warns, leaning in to rub noses briefly. This is like it used to be when they were much younger.

Well, there were fewer naked or half-naked women around. But the togetherness part is like it was.

Nicole shakes her head and sets her drink down to run the fingers of her free hand through her long, dark hair. “She’s a sweet girl.” And most people wouldn’t call Ingrid intimidating, but, “I know exactly what you mean, though. I… I’m so proud of her and I really love her in my way, but I am terrible about reaching out to her. I am so scared. Her mother, the person I was supposed to be… She wasn’t great.” Not the monster Nicole always feared she’d turn out to be, but she didn’t do her child any favors. She carries a lot of guilt with her for action she hasn’t taken, because she knows she might yet.

A forced smile. “But enough about that. We’re talking about good things, right? Ingrid is great. You let me know the next time you’re in town, and we’ll do a family dinner for us girls.” Nicole makes a show of counting on her fingers exactly how many that entails. Seven? Seven sounds right. “God. I still can’t believe you have two partners, and I can’t even get a pity fuck on Valentine’s Day.” Faintly glowing blue eyes roll with faux indignation.

Sis,” Colette’s brows raise, “look. I've been telling you for years that you're looking in the wrong places. I know when you were happiest when you were younger, and that's when we lived together. There weren't really a lot of guys around.” The expression Colette makes is something of a smile, but a little more serious.

“I— had a really hard time accepting who I was at first. I mean, I fucking thought I had to tell you I was gay, like it was some kind of huge secret or something.” Colette bubbles with laughter at the absurdity of that. “But look, far as I know — and correct me if I'm wrong — but you've never even dated another woman before. It doesn't define who you are, s’not gonna suddenly change anything. But, I'm sure there's a lady out there who'd love you as much as mine love me.”

That comes with a kiss to Nicole’s brow. “You're a powerful, lightning-throwing ex war hero who has the President’s phone number.” Colette places a hand to one of her ears. “Do you hear that?” She squints. “It's the sound of panties dropping across the city.”

In the years they've been sisters, Nicole has never seen Colette this comfortable in her own skin and with who she is. Between her partners, her squad, and her reforged relationship with Nicole, Colette has come into her own as an adult. She's also ark a colossal smartass.

“I dated plenty of women!” Nicole insists with a how did you not know that expression. “In college.” She looks away, “I mean, if we’re counting buying them a drink and then taking them to my office at the student union and banging on my desk. That’s dating, right?” And then never call them back. She makes an oops face and looks slightly sheepish. “I //might/ have been the person they told cautionary tales about.”

So, no, that’s not dating.

When Colette talks her up, Nicole laughs. “Oh yeah. There’s nothing intimidating about that description. This is literally why I have trouble getting dates, ‘Letty.” But she is right about one thing - women are way more likely to be attracted to that kind of power than men.

While Nicole is bursting with pride for the woman her baby sister has become, it still can’t quite overpower her melancholy streak. “I don’t have good luck with love.” A faraway sort of expression settles in for a moment. Thinking about Allen Rickham still hurts like hell after all these years. “But!” Again, there’s that smile that Colette knows isn’t real. “I have you,” she squeezes her sister a little tighter, “I have my daughters…” Her head tilts to the side as she looks at the younger woman out of the corner of her eye with grin that’s more genuine, in that it’s wicked. “I have my vibrator. What more does a girl really need?”

Nicole chuckles. They’re a matched set, these two. “You ever see John Logan anymore? He and I used to hang out at his club like this…”

Tipping her gin and tonic up to finish it, Colette motions to one of the passing waitresses to get a refill for her and Nicole. “I saw John a couple weeks ago at his— antique store?” She sounds so incredulous. “He's doing really good, I bought a camera for Tasha, we chatted some. He tried to sell me guns. You know, same old.” Then, brows furrowed she notes. “He— is dating my boss. They're adorable together, and though I told him he should look you up I will roll you up in a carpet and leave you in the Hudson River if you get between them. She's like a hedgehog, very hard to love.”

The music is loud enough. Colette is certain Hana couldn't hear that on any tapped microphone. There is still, though, just a tiny bit of fear that maybe she could.

“That said, I'm going to find a girlfriend for you and you're gonna let your sister get you a date.” Colette raises her brows and seems certain of that. “You're like— so fucking sweet and dedicated and— ” she cuts herself off and just smiles. “And I love you, and I'm always gonna be in your corner. Because you’ve always been in mine.”

Resting her head against Nicole’s, Colette closes her eyes. “Most of my female friends are my age so, uh, I might take a bit to figure that out. But I swear to god it’ll happen.” As their drinks come back, Colette leans across Nicole and takes hers, then settles back in her seat squarely at her side, arm never leaving Nicole’s waist.

“You're the best sister I could've ever hoped for.” Colette makes sure she's making eye contact — as much as she can — when she says that. It's important. “I've never thought otherwise.”

Maybe she thinks she’s being funny, but it feels like a knife in the heart to be told that Logan’s seeing someone else, and that Colette not only thinks they’re adorable, but that she shouldn’t get between them. She may be drunk, but Nicole is also a politician. She knows never to let them see her bleed, and that goes for her sister.

“Just remember, Sissy,” she says gently, “it takes two to tango. I’m not saying I’m out to sabotage anybody, because I’m not. But if that little party gets broken up? It’s because one of them wanted to break it up.” And Nicole doesn’t see Logan as the commitment type. All she needs to do, theoretically, is wait and watch for the signs of smoke.

I’m always gonna be in your corner goes a long way toward icing the burn Colette just left her with, and Nicole smiles. “Well, I dated your friend Sable for a hot minute,” is something she never meant to actually admit to ever, and that shows on her face in the form of a grimace. “I— It was just the once. It wasn’t right.”

Oh, thank goodness. There’s more alcohol to drown that embarrassment in. Nicole drains her first drink in one smooth motion, holding up one finger to stop the waitress. “I need two shots of tequila, please.” Because Colette is buying and Nicole isn’t working tomorrow and she can pretend for a good 9 or 10 hours that she’s not a mother of a six-year-old.

Nicole brings her hand up to rest on Colette’s cheek, smiling fondly with a slightly glassy quality to her eyes. “I love you. So, so much.” Her fingers slide into her hair and she presses a kiss against the corner of her mouth.

Blind eyes downcast, cheeks flush, and Colette looks up to Nicole with a crooked smile. “You— Sable?” Blind eyes are wide but she's smiling, not freaking out. “Ok, fair admission, when I was still trying to figure out my relationships Sable and I— almost— very nearly had a thing. I can't imagine how that would've turned out, especially since…” Adel. Oh god. Adel can never know.

Partially choking on her drink, Colette cracks a smile and slants another look at Nicole. “You're literally the worst, too. But you know,” dark brows raise, “it's been years. Personally? Wherever Sable is, if she isn't some big fucking rock star in Canada or something… I think you two’d be great for each other.” There's no teasing there, it's honest. “She's fiery, creative, huge heart. She'd put up with your assortment of shit?” That's teasing. “And she's great with kids. Also apparently a good mom too.”

In Colette’s mind it's settled.

Nicole laughs, a squeaking sort of noise that she only makes when she’s drunk enough to loosen up that might. “Oh, Sissy, no. I would put such a cramp in her rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle.” But Sable does have the aesthetic Nicole used to sport in college. Back when she was apparently being a predatory lesbian. “She’d never be happy with someone like me now. That girl is a free spirit and cannot be tied down. I have deep roots.” She pats her cheek, “But it was a nice thought. I’m sure there are other women out there.”

As an addendum, “In my defense, the whole thing was her idea.” At least, that’s how Nicole remembers it.

“No, I need a Brad Russo type.” But not Brad Russo, because 1) he’s dating Peyton Whitney and 2) he’s also her daughter’s half-brother and that would be weird now. So, so weird. “Someone with a persona big enough to handle my career and can hold their own in politics. You find me someone like that, and we’re in business. Until then…” Nicole spreads her hand out in front of her. She doesn’t really have a witty follow-up for that, actually.

Her glass is brought to her lips for a long drink and set down again. “Besides, I don’t need a partner. It took me a long time to figure that out, but… I’m okay on my own, ‘Letty. Really.”

I'mstillhookingyouupwithSable.” Colette mumbles into her glass as she takes a sip, head wobbling from side to side subtly. But she briskly moves away from the topic now that she's got a course of action set in her mind. “But yeah like, you've got a family.” Half-lidded eyes regard Nicole side long. “You have like lunch with the President or some shit. That's amazing.

The earnest admiration Colette has for her sister is abundantly clear. “Honestly, I think the only reason I ever got my shit together is because I had you as an example. Y’know?” Then, quietly, Colette lifts up her right hand and shows a ring to Nicole. She's worn it for years. Weirdly shaped. Superbly important. “The two ladies who aren't here tonight thank you for raising me the way you did, ‘cause it turns out I'm not all bad.”

“I do not take lunch with Ra—” Nicole catches herself, holds up one finger and presses her lips together. “The President.” She isn’t that familiar. Honest. “I’m not amazing. I just… I work really fucking hard for what I have. And honestly? It’s not always good. There’s a lot of late nights and last-minute trips and missed milestones… And I love that chaos, but it’s not always fair to the people around me, y’know?” Luckily for her, the Ryans clan is an extended one, and Pippa is never left wanting for attention. Or supervision.

The ring is a fabulous distraction. Nicole takes Colette’s hand and brings it closer to her face to inspect it. It’s not necessary, she knows what the ring looks like. But all the better to press a kiss to her fingers, then lace them with hers.

“You’ve never been all bad, sweetie. Not ever.” Even at her most frustrating, Colette has always been the light of Nicole’s life. Her reason to carry on. The reason she worked so damn hard to climb so high and earn so much. To risk so much.

The tequila shots arrive and Nicole’s little reverie breaks. One small glass is picked up in each hand. “You want one, or are you sticking to clear liquor?” Of course she ordered herself two shots with the idea that she only might have to share.

Colette eyes the shots, but doesn't yet give her answer. “We both became work-a-holics too,” is said with a fond smile, not resentment. Their jobs are wildly divergent things, somehow overlapping in moments like these under violet and pink lights with alcohol. “Got that from you too,” and also a lot of internalized anger that comes through in her work, though that goes unsaid.

Hand in hand, Colette cracks a smile and leans to the side, bumping her shoulder into Nicole’s. “If I'm paying, I'm drinking,” comes right before she tips up her gin and tonic and drains it, then reaches for a shot glass, lifting it up in a clearly toasting gesture.

“To two damaged people, who fixed each other.” Colette waits for Nicole, then throws the shot back and slams it on the table.

To fixer-uppers.

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