Bound to Change


kincaid_icon.gif nicole2_icon.gif

Scene Title Bound to Change
Synopsis Nicole asks Kincaid for insight on the type of woman she was/will be. No one is surprised when all is not right in her world.
Date August 28, 2011

Solstice Condominiums: Nicole's Home

In the early side of evening, there's a soft, faint knock on the front door. It is almost barely there. Maybe a neighbor's door, from the softness of it, or someone moving furniture. The illusion is wiped away a moment later when the knock becomes more firm, more determined.

This had been a meeting Kincaid had avoided since just before New Year, for many rather silly reasons. His father had proposed to his grandmother on live television. Actually it seems less silly now that he justifies his avoidance. Though it may have been avoided longer than necessary.

It was easy to avoid lately— too much else on the mind.

As he waits after the knock, he looks down to examine his clothes, checking the lines and making sure nothing is wrinkled and everything is tucked in properly. By the time she makes it to the door she catches him red-handed, smoothing his shaggier than before hair back with a comb.

Nicole thought she may have imagined the knock at the door for a moment, looking up from the sink where she's up to her elbows in sudsy water. She withdraws one hand and grabs her drying cloth so she can turn the knob on the nearby iPod dock and silence the voice of the man in black.

She's listening for the second knock, turning her head toward the door when she's confirmed to have a visitor. She's still drying her hands when she opens the door and finds Kincaid on her stoop. She hadn't been expecting anybody, but it definitely hadn't been him.

"Hey…" Nicole pulls the door open wider and gestures for the man to step inside. "Come in, come in." The towel is used to dry a pale blue-purple coffee mug from the rack next to the sink. She doesn't ask him if he wants coffee. It's Kincaid.

"I'm glad you came by."

Almost as soon as he's caught red-handed adjusting his hair, Kincaid quickly makes the comb disappear into his dress jacket, which is much too heavy for this weather. But part of his nervous system control allows him to ignore the heat— at least to an extent.

"Hi," he says shyly, as he enters all straightened and trying to seem taller (mostly cause it makes his clothes look better if he doesn't slouch). In retrospect he had done this before, too. So it may not seem the least bit out of place.

"Oh, coffee, you read my mind," he says with a surprised but pleased tone. "Sorry I didn't come by earlier," he says in a polite apology, though doesn't follow it up with justifications. "It's been a while."

"Yes it has," Nicole agrees. "Did Lucille tell you I was hoping to see you?" She smiles faintly, holding the cup of coffee out for the man to take. "It's okay. I'm sure it's… awkward. I mean, especially given…" That his father proposed to her on her birthday on live television. Whoops. She shrugs her shoulders and sighs quietly. What can you do?

"She did, yeah," Kincaid admits with a return that that apologetic look for a moment. It has been a while since he'd been told and it still took him this long. It was awkward, though, which— she at least understands. "It's okay— the awkwardness. I mean things were bound to change when we…" He trails off. It's so hard to say the whole time travel thing.

"For all I know that actually could have happened in some way— you knowing him. Not something that is talked about with kids." Kids especially don't want to know who their parents are sleeping with, much less their grandparents.

"Brad and I never…" Nicole shakes her head, trying to be reassuring. "Not now, and… From my dreams, not then, either." Taking a seat at the kitchen island, she gestures for Kincaid to do the same, should he wish. "Can I ask you some questions about it? About me, really. I just… You can't blame me for being curious, can you?"

There's a small hesitation, perhaps from the embarassing topic. No matter how reassuring it might have been intended. "That saves some of the akwardness," Kincaid admits as he slides into the seat around the kitchen island, still doing his best to sit upright, and avoid putting his elbows on the counter even if he relaxes his arms there. "I'll tell you what I can, but there are probably some questions I don't know the answer to. I was only really met you about— when I was fifteen."

"What am I like where you come from? I know what I see of myself in my dreams is an incomplete image." But Nicole doesn't like what she's seen, for the most part. "Are we close?" She'd like that. It would bring her some small measure of comfort, and it shows in her eyes and the way she half-smiles hopefully.

"No, not really," Kincaid admits with a grimace. "I only really got to spend a little time with you before— before…" He trails off, obviously hesitating in case this is a particular point of 'history' that the woman doesn't know.

"You left the Ferry and didn't keep very strong ties with them. I didn't really see you much after that, until recently— recently being not long before we left. You… were rather reclusive."

That's when he breaks down and asks what has been going through his head since he started, "How much do you know so far? By this point I'm sure you know a lot, but…" No one wants to be the one who says 'oh yeah your husband died'.

Nicole regrets not pouring a coffee for herself all of a sudden, lacking in something to wrap her fingers around. So she slides out of her seat again and moves to rectify the situation. "I know about Ben and I. I… dreamt of the day he died." She trails off for a moment, and the sound of dark coffee splashing into her mug keeps the silence from becoming oppressive. "I know I didn't take it well. I know that the Ferry came to mine and Ingrid's rescue after our community was attacked."

If he knows the story of what happened to her (will happen? would have happened?) that night, then he understands the suddenly haunted quality to her speech. "I know enough to know that I'm not very well-liked by Ingrid's friends." Absently, one hand comes up to touch gingerly at her brow.

"I don't think Ingrid herself likes me that much." The sad admission may make Nicole look more like the woman from his own time. Full of guilt and sadness.

Almost as soon as she stands, Kincaid does as well. Perhaps an attempt at politeness, but he follows her with dark eyes, looking as if he may want to touch her upper arm. He doesn't. "Ingrid loves you," he says almost immediately after her guilt and sad confession. "But I don't think she wants you to go through what you went through— she wants you to have a better life than you did. There's a lot that should have gone differently."

Like what happened to make her eyes so haunted, probably.

"The world we grew up in was far crueler to more than it was kind to. Ryans had only brought me into the Ferry not long before he died, but what I had seen of you— you were happy together. And losing him… It was hard for you."

There's a wan smile from Nicole in response to Kincaid's assurances and insights. "Ben and I are happy now. With any luck, we'll be happy together for many years to come." And if not… Then fate is cruel.

"We're getting married, he and I. I want to tell Ingrid, but she doesn't want to talk to me." She pauses, and reclaims her seat at the island, setting her coffee on the shining countertop but not relinquishing her white-knuckle grip about the mug. "I have so much I want to tell her. I don't know if you kids can ever go back to where you're from, but… I want the chance to be a better mother to her than that other me was. I can see it when she looks at me that I screwed up."

Nicole hangs her head and stares down into her darkened reflection, "I harbour so much guilt for something I haven't even done. I'm so proud of her. She deserves to know that."

The first exaggerated drink on his coffee finally happens at the mention of being able to go back. Kincaid stays silent in the moments that follow, as if savoring the coffee that she's given him, before he finally sits back down, a lot closer to her than before. So that he can put a hand on her back in a one touch hug. "You should tell her that you're proud of her. No matter what happened— that's always a good thing to know— to hear. I'm not sure how she'd handle you and her dad getting together ten years early— but… it's better than the alternative, I guess."

Nicole's appreciative for Kincaid's touch, some of the tension in her easing and she lifts her head. "I want to. She just… The last time I saw her, she said she had nothing to say to me and she ran." A heavy sigh. "I'm sorry. This isn't your problem. I just… I want her to know that I want another chance."

Though they aren't biologically related, Nicole's eyes are a bit like the man's she looks into in that their hue is chameleonic due to their respective abilities. Hers are brighter than they otherwise would be. "There's a lot happening now that I don't think Ingrid will be… uncomfortable with." She groans, eyes sliding shut. "God, I'm a terrible mother already."

"Keep saying you are and no one will be able to convince you otherwise," Kincaid says simply, offering a half-sided smile. It almost looks like his father's for a moment, a hint of something trained about it. Like he learned how to smile before he understood why he was supposed to. Even if he's genuine about it, it still carries the practicedness.

"I'll try to talk to her. But you have to— it's difficult for us. I thought it would be easy, getting to know my parents. But it's… difficult. It's not that you need a second chance. You still need a first chance. You shouldn't let what you became there do more than… advise you on what to do in the future. And what not to do."

"I can't undo the scars I've already inflicted on her. I know that. I just want her to know… That her mother used to be better." Nicole recalls vividly the screaming, crying mess she was on the kitchen floor after she was told her husband was dead. She remembers telling her little girl to hide and not come out for anyone.

She remembers doing it in her present life, and it brings with it a sense of doom. A hand flutters to her stomach and Nicole stands up from her chair again. "Excuse me just a minute… I think I'm going to be sick." Being that the kitchen sink, full of soap and dishes, is not an option, she makes a quick stagger for the bathroom.

The quick stagger for the bathroom is not made alone. Kincaid stops long enough for there to be noticable hesitancy. Some people prefer to lose their lunch alone, some people like to have company. Sadly he doesn't know her well enough to know what kind of person she is— but he seems to decide to follow.

Even if he stops at the doorframe, looking in, "Is there anything you need, Nicole?"

It's by the grace of whatever higher power there is that she gets the lid to the toilet flipped up before she drops to her knees and starts retching up the contents of her stomach. Nicole's trembling and leaning over the bowl after she's finished heaving, tears streaming down her face. At least her hair's short enough that it doesn't get in the way. "Water," she whispers. "I'd like some water, please."

"Right," Kincaid says, a chiding sound to his voice. Self-chiding. He should have grabbed an empty glass on his way. Then it would save him turning around and going to the kitchen at a quick pace, grabbing a clean cup, filling it quickly with cool water from the tap, and then hurrying back. As he offers it out, he averts his eyes a little, toward the cup itself.

Fortunately Nicole's got the lid back down by the time he returns, to better sprawl weakly across it. She'll reach for the handle in a minute or two. After she's washed the burning away from her throat.

"I know in the future," she begins quietly, staring off unfocused at the wall with her cheek resting against the white plastic lid, "that my sister is still part of my life. Do you know where she is?" Nicole's voice trembles as she admits, "I need my sister."

"I'm sorry, I don't know. But Colette was a big part of the Ferry when I come from, so I'm sure that she will be back," Kincaid says, trying to sound reassuring as he pulls down a towel and wets a corner of it so that he can hold it out to her. To go along with the cup of water. To clean off her face.

"Your sister will be back." Someday. Though obviously not today. Or any day that he can tell her for sure. Knowing a future isn't the same as knowing the future.

Nicole accepts the towel, wiping her face before she finally drags herself up to her feet again and flushes the toilet. "Fuck." She takes the time to move to the sink and wash and dry her hands.

Colour's returning to her face again, and she smiles weakly to Kincaid. "Look at you. Looking after me." She reaches out to rest a hand on his cheek. "I'm proud of you too, you should know. Clever boy."

This time the smile doesn't seem at all practiced. It almost seems shy for a moment. Kincaid looks back up to meet her color-changing eyes with his own, before he reached up to touch the hand on his cheek. "That means a lot to me, too." Though he doesn't quite say why. "Do you need company for tonight?" he asks after a moment, letting his hand drop as he steps back. "I have a bag downstairs in my car with some things— so I can stay the night."

One thing he knew about the old her— she needed company. A lot.

Nicole nods her head after only a moment's hesitation. "Yes. Thank you. I would like that very much. I'll finish the dishes and I'll make up some of my famous pot pies." There's something conspiratorial about the glint in her eye, and she curls her mouth into a smirk, gently shooing him out of the bathroom. "I hope they're famous where you come from. If not, they will be."

She's happy. Genuinely happy. A sight rarely seen in the old Nicole he knows. "Go on then. We'll make it a slumber party."

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