On The One Hand

Participants:

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Also Featuring:

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Scene Title On The One Hand
Synopsis Colette goes to see one of the few people she might be able to turn to after making a difficult decision.
Date February 22, 2009

Thomas Jefferson Trailer Park

Before the bomb, this was Thomas Jefferson Park. Some of it still is, stretches of grass and trees that far fewer people visit than once did.

Some of it is not.

Faced with the sheer number of people displaced from their homes after the bomb, but too stubborn - or without the means - to move from Manhattan, this is one of the many places the city and various federal agencies have given over to shelter the refugees. As such, what was once meticulously maintained greensward has been turned into dirt road and trailer lots. The grass has been worn thin by the repetitive passing of hundreds of feet. Trailers sit all but side-by-side, with room only for a car and perhaps a few chairs to be parked in between. Younger children run around underfoot, seemingly undeterred from their games; older ones might slink behind the trailers with hungry eyes, resentful of those who have more, while the adults seem more heart-weary and worn-down than not. These are the people who have nowhere else to go; some have jobs, but many do not, surviving on as little as possible. Alcohol and drugs are common; so is suicide, for those who have passed from desperation into surrender.


The thin rattle of knuckles on a trailer door come long after the sun has set. It's a miserable day, both from the snow falling and having to come home to this cramped trailer day in and day out. With a tired sigh, Trent Daselles closes his cell phone and lays it on the table, rising up from the small breakfast nook in the trailer, bringing his bottle of beer with him. The pistol tucked into the back of his jeans, that's an extra precaution.

"What." It's not so much a question as the door swings open, more of a growled warning to back the hell away from his place of residence. But all of that vitrol fades away when — for the second time in as many months — Colette Nichols is the young girl that he finds on the doorstep on his home. Trent's brows furrow, eyes widening, and he reaches out even as she begins to talk, grabbing her by the collar of her jacket to yank her into the trailer, slamming the door shut behind once she's inside.

"T-Tre — " One hand slaps over her mouth, and the light-haired young man leans to peer out the small, curtained window on the trailer door. Colette freezes at the hand clasped there, and seeing nothing, Trent moves his hand away from her mouth, bringing it to his lips to make that silent shh of a gesture.

He moves across the trailer with a creak and clunk of the small confines, quickly turning on his radio to an AM news broadcast, cranking the volume as he turns back to Colette. "What the hell are you doing here?" His eyes are wide, the expression on Trent's face a frantic one, "Jesus — " His mouth curves into a frown, moving away from Colette as his fingers run through his hair, "Jesus Christ why are you here?"

Colette chokes back the obviously emotional and confused reaction to Trent's demeanor, trying to move to the door, only to find him reach out and take her hand, forcefully, giving it a strong squeeze. "You shouldn't be here, Colette. You — " Seeing the look of fear in her eyes, he lets go of her hand, raising both of his as he backs away from her. Noticing now, her backpack and messenger bag, he gives her a scrutinizing and rather expectant stare.

"I ran away from home, alright." It sounds so much more childish when she says it that way, and the words that spill out of her mouth make Trent's head swim with confusion. Before he can even parse those ridiculous words, she's talking again. "I — I thought I could, I — maybe stay here for a night, I — "

"No." He couldn't be any more emphatic, "No way, no how. No, no you can't." He brings that bottle of beer up to his lips again, taking a long draw off of it before looking back to the young girl. "Jesus Christ, do you have any idea — " Pacing back and forth, Trent comes to stop by the table where he left his cell phone, looking down at it for a moment before looking back to Colette. "Look, it's not safe for you to be here, okay? I — There's shit about you — I — I had no idea who your sister was."

Colette's eyes snap wide, moouth hanging open, "W-what the fuck does that have to do with anything!?" She shouts over the radio, one hand flailing wildly, "How do you even know anything about my sister?" She steps over to Trent, dropping her backpack with a loud, heavy thunk to the linoleum floor.

"Fuck, fuck," Trent smooth his hand over his hair, pointing with one finger at Colette, the remainder of that hand holding the bottle of beer. "Kid, please, look I — when I met you I had no idea the shit you were involved in." His dark brows scrunch together, "Look, you sister's — it's complicated. There's people out there though, really fucking bad people, and they're looking for you, and I — " Colette notices an array of other beer bottles scattered around his sink, and her mismatched gaze flicks from them to Trent.

She has no idea what he's talking about.

The stunned, silent look on her eyes only grows, turning to frustration, anger, rage, everything bottled up from having to leave Judah behind comes boiling to the surface as she lunges at Trent, pounding one fist into his chest before shoving him back into the kitchen sink with her small, thin frame, "What the fuck do you know about my sister!?" He voice cracks, fingers curling into Trent's shirt as she struggles to move him around.

Wincing, slamming into the sink, Trent shuffles bottles around with his weight, and he grabs Colette's wrist, wrenching her back and away from him before pushing her towards the breakfast nook, shoving her down into the seat in such a way that the trailer shakes slightly. "Calm the fuck down!" He roars out, pointing one finger down at her as the bottle of beer fizzes in his hand. She's never really heard Trent raise his voice this much, not this angrily. Tears well up in her eyes, mixtures of confused and scared emotions all welling up at once.

"Fuck!" Trent reiterates, pacing away from Colette to throw the beer bottle into the sink with a loud clunk. "I — I don't know anything about your sister I just — " He rubs one hand ove rhis mouth, turning to look back at Colette. "Your sister was involved in some heavy shit. I work for some people — bad, dangerous people. I — " He can't tell her what he does, not what he really does anyway.

Sinking back into the seat she was shoved in, all of this comes as a bit too much to Colette. Her teeth squeeze down on her lower lip, eyes wide as she watches Trent pace back and forth across the interior of the trailer, finally stopping as he begins to calm down. "There's people looking for you, really, really fucking dangerous people. I reported in to them when you told me about your ability, I — I had no idea they were watching you already, I — " No matter how many times he rubs his face, he can't make that sour, guilty expression go away.

"W-who — " The words are tiny at first, "Who the fuck are you?" Colette spits out, curling up in the booth, eyes wide. All she knows is that Grace and Trent are acquaintances, that he volunteers at a soup kitchen. Trent's explanation may be a little lacking in that regard.

"I cant — " He glances to the radio, then back to Colette, "You need to get out of here, out of Manhattan." Quickly, the young man rushes over to snatch up his phone, "I'm going to call Grace, have her come pick you up. She'll — " Probably kill Trent if he has to explain what's actually going on. Or feed him to Scott, either seems like a frightening prospect at the moment. "Fuck." Staring down at the phone, Trent leans against the countertop, and Colette is just dumbstruck with confused fear.

She scoots — ever so slightly — across the bench seat, looking up in the dim light to the young man holding the phone, "Trent… you— you're scaring me." His blue eyes dart up from the phone, making hesitant contact with her half-blinded stare.

"Why the fuck did you leave Demsky? Jesus — he was — " Trent rubs the heel of his palm at his forehead, "You've got to get out of here, they know we know each other," pocketing the phone, Trent moves over to the door, gathering up her backpack. "Look, I'm sorry — I — " None of this is going to make sense to her. "The people I work for know your sister, Nicole. Something was happening, I — I'm not sure what. The night the bomb went and fucked everything up. They didn't tell me what when I asked, but they know you, they've been looking for you."

"Who!?" Colette spits out, climbing out of the seat, stomping her foot on the tile floor, "Who, who the fuck is looking for me? Why? I'm just a kid!" Trent's brows lower, eyes narrowed, and then he just holds out her backpack, breathing in a slow, ragged breath.

"Terrible, dangerous people. Look, Colette…" Expression softening, Trent's eyes downcast to the floor of his trailer, "I don't — the more I tell you the worse off you'll be. But, these people they — they have me spying on good people. People I thought were — dangerous, I — I don't know."

She doesn't take the backpack, not yet anyway. She just stares at Trent, trying to put the pieces of all of these puzzles together. Ever since she met Tamara, things have been orbiting Colette, strings and threads of some larger, bigger event that is so far out of her control tat it dwarfs the young girl. But now she's been presented with so many jagged, sharp corners of this puzzle it's hard not to cut her hands on them whenever she does something.

Conrad died to destroy a power plant, Ygraine was with him and fought for her life, Elisabeth — a cop — was somehow involved in all of this. Her sister Nicole appears after years of being gone, with no memory of who she is and fabricated memories of a life she never lived. Teorodo Laudani, a man Colette hardly knows, seems to willing to help train and educate her — and now Trent — now this.

She can't help it if she cries.

It's just so much to take in at once.

"Oh — J-Jesus — fuck come on stop," Trent lowers the bag, looking over to a newspaper lying on the kitchen counter. His brows furrow, teeth tugging for a moment on his lower lip before snatching it up off of the countertop. "Here," he slaps her shoulder with the rolled up newspaper, "Stop crying, pull yourself up, dust yourself off, and move." Not quite Grace, but Trent perhaps got the same lecture from her in the past.

Embarrassed by her own inability to handle emotions and stress, Colette covers her face with one hand, swallowing shakily as she tries to focus down through blurry vision at the newspaper on her shoulder. Part of the headline, "// GHTHOUSE SHEL //" catches her eyes, but she doesn't quite put it together until Trent unrolls the copy of the New York Times.

"There's a place on Staten Island," He can't believe he's sending her there, "It's called the Lighthouse. It's — fuck, some halfway house for wayward teens, but it's not run by the state." He folds the paper back around, showing a photograph of a young man, a woman with large, dark glasses, and a dog. "His name's Brian, Brian Fulk," Trent's finger taps the man in the photograph. "He works for some people — good people. He's a friend of Teo."

Teo, how does this all keep coming back to him?

"I'll give you some money, there's a guy I know who does ferrying out to the island." Trent's hand shaking pulls a wallet out of his pocket, removing a wad of bills out, counting them at first before just spluttering a curse under his breath and slapping the contents of his wallet in Colette's hand, rolling her fingers around the money. "Head out there, find the Lighthouse. The address is in this article — don't talk to anyone until you get there. Just, lay low there for a while — get out of sight." Looking out the front window of his trailer again, Trent picks up Colette's backpack by the strap, offering it out to her again.

Dumbstruck and confused, Colette shakily takes the backpack, pulling it over her shoulder before letting the newspaper crinkle between tightly grasped fingers. "Just get out of Manhattan, I — Judah'll be fine, everyone'll be fine. You just — I don't want you getting caught by these people. The less you know the better — just — just get out to Staten Island and find Brian — "

it clicks.

Brian Fulk, the guy from the soup kitchen, the one Trent was arguing with about the pro-evolved video. How does all of this connect, how do all of these people fit together? "Okay." It's not calmness that keeps her voice so steady, more shell shock than anything. The young girl squeezes the money in her hand, tucking it down into the pocket of her jeans, looking up at Trent with wide eyes.

"You… probably won't see me again for a while," Trent mutters, slapping a hand on Colette's shoulder, "Go on, get out of here. If — " The words said by so many others who have disappeared out of her life, "If I find out anything about your sister, I swear, I'll find you and let you know."

Trembling, Colette nods her head, fingers curled as close to fists as she can make them. With her eyes focused up on Trent, she thinks back to how she hoped this meeting would go, and it's absolutely no where near the way it did. "Trent, I — " There's no words, nothing to explain how she feels. She's not even sure how she feels — gratitude, sickness, fear, hope — it's all one gray blur right now.

"Just go. Just — " Trent smiles faintly, reaching behind the girl to open the door, "Just go and don't look back." Staring at Trent, trying to hide the stupid desire to just break down in a sobbing heap right here on his trailer stoop, Colette slowly nods. She affords her friend, one of the few she really has, a hesitant smile before stepping down out of the trailer. She watches, wordlessly, as he closes the door and slouches away, coming to lean against the back of the bench seat in the trailer's kitchen.

Even with Colette gone, there's no peace. Not when his cell phone vibrates across the table, stirring him from the flood of emotions and conflicting loyalties that bleed through his usually stoic expression. When his eyes focus down on the screen, lit up and displaying the caller ID, his stomach sinks and that wave of nausea from when he saw Colette comes back.

On the one hand, maybe he read the number wrong. His jaw tenses, reaching down to pick up the phone and flip it open, looking at the name displayed on the top of the screen.

On the other hand…

Goodman, Roger


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February 21st: In Other Words, Miss You
Previously in this storyline…
Whatever The Case May Be

Next in this storyline…
Hunter and Hunter

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February 21st: Qui Es In Caelis
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