Benches Are For Sharing


colette_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title Benches Are For Sharing
Synopsis On the eve of her 27th birthday, Colette is gifted something unexpected.
Date October 30, 2018

The sun's gone down, the colors of its passing long since leached from the sky. The garden outside is draped in shadow; though the sky above is clear, it's several hours yet before the moon will rise, and no light from the street seeps past the row of houses lining it. On another night, light from Tamara's own room might supply a narrow band of illumination through its back window and glass door; here and now, only the bedside lamp is turned on, at its dimmest setting. Tamara herself stands just past the open exterior door, feet bare upon concrete patio, dressed for bed rather than the evening's chill yet seeming untouched by the cool air.

Dark it may be, but it's early yet for sleep, perhaps especially for one who sleeps only fitfully at best. And yet there's no surprise to finding her so, not for the one who comes looking.

Colette’s emergence from the back door into the garden isn't a surprise, regardless of precognitive sight; she’s had a hard time sleeping as of late. Rather than winding down for the night, she's waking up from an awkwardly late nap. As she steps out into the garden, her attention turns up to the faintly shimmering curtains of green and turquoise light hanging over the city, brows furrowed and their wavering patterns reflected mutedly in her glassy-white eyes.

Clutched at Colette’s chest against the soft wool of her sweater in the memory book laden with photographs and other ephemera that she'd gotten Tamara for her birthday. It was left resting on her chest when she'd woken up as a subtle sign of intent.

“I wish you could see what this looks like the way I do,” Colette says softly to both announce her presence and muse about the aurora's ethereal splendor. As she comes up beside Tamara, her attention veers downward and she adds, “you really should have socks on…”

Tamara turns her head just enough to catch Colette in the periphery of her view, gaze tracing the profile of the photokinetic's fascination with the heavens. The seeress smiles, soft and pleasant — a smile that only broadens as absent rue shades straightaway into resigned admonishment. "Nothing bit," she states by way of disagreement, bumping her shoulder against the brunette's. "And no rabbits eating eggs, either," is added earnestly. Perhaps just a bit too earnestly.

Pivoting, Tamara loops her arm through Colette's, fingers interlacing with her free hand, and never mind that they're now facing in opposite directions. She leans her cheek against her partner's shoulder for a moment, then remarks, "You watched from the balcony, later."

Colette sighs comfortably at the affirmation. “I think I did,” she agrees, in such a way as one agrees with the future. She squeezes Tamara’s hand firmly, letting her head alight to the side to rest against the seer’s head. There’s a stillness in Colette that hasn’t been there in years, though facing the other way as Tamara is, it seems as though Colette’s always had that handle on herself and her demons. The near proximity of that change sitting just out of her frame of view.

After a moment of silent appreciation and no small shortage of feigned understanding, Colette finally relents with a wrinkle of her nose and turns her face toward Tamara, breathing in the scent of her scalp as she asks, “…Rabbit eggs?” She needn’t clarify that rabbits are mammals, but for whatever it’s worth the metaphor and symbolism is lost on her tonight.

Quiet hovers around them, breaths slipping past uncounted. A hint of a smile curves the seer's lips, beyond the scope of Colette's resting view. A smile that strengthens when the brunette speaks, fleeting glimpse of cheer through a haze of loose blonde hair.

Rather than answer, Tamara only laughs, and leads the way inside.

Inside, Misty perks up from where she's curled on her bed, lifting her head to give the two women a quizzical look accompanied by a welcoming thump of her tail. The dog doesn't otherwise stir, but seems inclined to remain where she is, soon returning her chin to its resting place on her paws. Which is not to say she isn't paying attention, however uncomprehending it may be of anything beyond the broadest of strokes.

Still holding Colette's hand, Tamara pads on quiet feet over to the bedside, dropping to sit on it with a muted creak of perturbed springs. Somewhere in the midst of that motion, she slips free the bracelet on her partner's wrist, holding it up before her to watch the play of lamplight on faceted glass. Blue eyes slant sidewise towards Colette, prior mirth supplanted by more somber affection. "I gave this to you," patently isn't memory, but rather its shadow, reflected back from words unspoken and used to open a different path in their place.

Breathing in deeply, Colette stares at the bracelet with momentary tension. Ever since getting it back, ever since Pollepel she's kept that piece of jewelry fast on her wrist. It survived a civil war, it survived her time in Wolfhound, and she feels somehow intrinsically wrong without it on. But it's in the safest hands it could be.

“You did,” Colette says softly, setting the memory journal down beside herself on the bed. There's puzzlement shown in the crease of her brows, in the silent part of her lips, in the words almost said and the ones that are. “It's… always reminded me of you. Us. It's kept me going… when I thought I couldn't anymore.”

Colette lifts a hand to lay atop Tamara’s leg. “And it's absolutely a butterfly.” It's not, but in her heart it is.

An affectionate smile is cast towards the brunette, one that renders no judgment on the rightness of the bracelet's representation. Then Tamara turns her gaze down, looking on as she fastens it around her own right wrist.

"It was mine first," is an admission both soft and somber, weighted with gravitas to match the personal significance those four words carry — for her, and even more so for Colette. That can only be memory speaking, though Tamara does not lift her gaze, does not reveal the telltale sign of mental shift. Instead, she brushes fingers across the planes and angles of the rhinestones, slowly tracing their contours.

"I was wearing it the day I… ran." A day more complicated than that word implies, but not truly part of this tale. "I wore it almost every day, before. After…" Letting her unornamented hand fall to her lap, Tamara turns dark eyes to Colette, smiling crookedly. "After, I put it away a while."

Until she didn't. Until she passed it on, instead.

Watching Tamara clasp the bracelet around her own wrist, Colette’s expression shifts in numerous, subtle ways. Her expressive brows tell most of the story, while more vacant eyes see things in other ways and opt not to express. “You…” she isn't sure how to finish that sentence, and there's nary a fork where she does. Certainty rests behind her uncertainty, in as much as this moment reflects it back to her.

“Where did— ” No. Colette stops herself, maybe that isn't the question to ask. “H-How… How’d you get it?” Her brows are furrowed now, trying to discern symbolic meaning behind even the most mundane of gestures, like a prophet divining the formations of birds or their entrails for truth. Just like the prophets, she doesn't find anything she didn't put there herself.

Colette reaches out to rest a hand on Tamara’s unornamented one. She squeezes that hand, gently, and waits with rapt anticipation for this unexpected story’s continuation.

Turning her hand over under Colette's touch, Tamara folds fingers around hers. "Marcus gave it to me," she answers, looking back to the glittering object in question. "For my thirteenth birthday. Because a teenager should have something grown-up." There's a distinctly facetious lilt beneath the solemnity of the tale, a fond smile curving her lips in profile.

A moment of silence follows, Tamara leaning comfortably against her partner. A moment of silence, and a moment of ghosts, other words not spoken nonetheless hanging palpable in the air around them.

Finally, Tamara draws in a long, slow breath that hints at weariness commensurate with the darkness outside though not the clock hour, then slips her hand free. Confident movements release the bracelet from her wrist and return it to its place encircling Colette's.

"And then, I gave it to you. Ten years ago," she adds, seer's gaze meeting sightless eyes.

Marcus’ name is nearly reiterated, but Colette has more pressing things on her mind. Tears have welled up in Colette’s eyes. Her hand is trembling when the bracelet is returned, but this moment — however fleeting — of absolute clarity is beyond anything she expected or experienced. Blinking away fat tears that dribble down her cheeks, she raises both hands the moment the bracelet is returned and presses them to either side of Tamara’s face, making absolutely certain the seeing is looking squarely at her.

I love you,” Colette exhales as though the words were held like a breath. They come with a kiss, pressing and urgent, almost hurried in its intensity. One of her hands slips to the back of Tamara’s neck and she leans into the seer, light-level in the room unconsciously brightening as though a dimmer switch were turned.

“You amazing,” Colette exhales her words between moments of the kiss, “fantastic,” her eyes close, cheeks wet with tears, “unfathomable woman.” Her fingers curl in Tamara’s hair at the nape of her neck. Teeth tug at Tamara’s bottom lip. “You remember.

Even if for a moment, however fleeting.

Tamara's hands lift in kind, and yet not quite; where Colette's embrace, hers restrain, gently but adamantly pushing back. Not far, only enough.

There isn't time. Colette knows better — or will, when she's feeling less overwhelmingly sentimental.

The seer smiles wryly, affection laced with rue. "No," Tamara says, dropping one hand to tap fingertips against her partner's collarbone. "You do."

There are other things that could be spoken, but they remain corralled behind closed lips and the weariness that has begun to more visibly shade the woman's expression. A half-playful nudge disrupts Colette's perch on the bed before Tamara drops her own bare feet to the floor. "Don't chase ghosts so long you forget about the sky," is facetious and only a little chiding, spoken in a lilt that owes more to the seer's everyday manner than to the present darkness of her eyes.

The moment of clarity Tamara provides tempers Colette’s reaction, calms her feverish surprise. She closes her eyes in a purely reflexive gesture and exhales a held breath in a short, sharp sigh. “Right the… mirror only shows what it can reflect,” she says in imperfect reiteration of something Tamara once told her. Sliding her legs off of the bed, Colette moves to stand and keeps one of Tamara’s hands in hers, urging her up to join her.

“But… I never knew about your…” Colette stops herself, brows furrowed, lips parted in momentary uncertainty. “I find out,” she says with a crease of her brows, “about… your family. About…” For a moment, Colette’s posture tenses. How could she find out about something so personal as the sharing of a gift, especially from a family more than a decade dead. She puts that aside for now, affirming a squeeze of the hand she’s taken.

“I feel like all we ever give each other are puzzles,” Colette says in a playfully chiding voice. Tamara’s puzzles of the literal and opaque variety, Colette’s of a more emotionally-forged puzzle that is her very nature. Also the rings, she supposes.

Brushing her thumb against one of Tamara’s knuckles, she asks, “Do you have enough time to look at the stars with me?” There’s uncertainty there, in as much as anyone can be certain when it comes to Tamara’s ability. Some aspects of it, while predictable, still feel mysterious. “Before it's too late?” One last memory for the night.

Patting Colette's cheek with her free hand, Tamara smiles softly. She does not answer as to what may or may not be found; not with denial, not with confirmation. Which is not different, for the seer, than saying: you might.

The quip about puzzles elicits a grin bordering on cheeky. "It works, doesn't it?" Which statement elides a great deal, and yet… it's not entirely wrong. As fraught as their path has been, ten years is no small accomplishment.

"Only for a little bit," is a gift of another kind, in some sense a recompense for the puzzle she hadn't actually intended to present this eve. There is no mystery in walking out under the starlit sky, in sitting side by side to marvel at the ghostly ribbons of the aurora traversing the heavens, in sharing that moment of wonder and appreciation — for all that their perceptions of said moment differ greatly. But there is, nonetheless, one small mystery that adds itself to the tally: the question of just when it is Tamara falls asleep in her lean against Colette's shoulder, yielding to inevitability and to trust in the person who has seen her through such times since their very beginning.

Situated on the small wooden bench on the balcony, Colette has her eyes shut out of a sense of contentment, out of a sense of certainty. The aurora, the way she sees it, doesn’t require her eyes. It’s felt in every fiber of her being, in every single thread of her consciousness. But it isn’t the aurora that Colette is appreciating, but rather the subtle weight of Tamara’s head against her shoulder, the warmth of her proximity against the cold October night, and the memory of a single piece of wisdom once shared with Colette that feels just as appropriate today as it was a decade ago.

Benches are for sharing.

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