Closing In


colette_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title Closing In
Synopsis Colette and Ygraine discuss the events of the night before.
Date November 11, 2008

Le Rivage, Judah's Apartment

The tenant of this small studio could probably afford a larger space on his budget but, judging from the unique style of his decor, seems like the type of person who would rather spend his money on other things. Several Ansel Adams prints in black and white are positioned strategically throughout the room, stark against the studio's walls which have been painted a light beige colour to lend the area just a hint of warmth. Through the use of furniture and built-in shelving units, the apartment has been divided into three distinct sections: one for cooking and eating, one for relaxing, and one for sleeping.

The kitchen is a barebones affair with outdated tile floors that contrast with the stainless steel appliances and glass backsplash. It also contains a tiny eat-in nook with a circular table, two matching chairs and a plain white tablecloth held in place by a potted jade plant at the center of the arrangement.

The living area consists of a dark leather couch, a matching armchair, a zen-style coffee table that sits a mere foot off the ground and — the centerpiece of the apartment — an entire wall of bookshelves that house several hundred different titles ranging from such classics as Crime and Punishment, Heart of Darkness and The Turn of the Screw to more modern titles like Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. More prominent, though, is the tenant's varied collection of nonfiction which includes works on forensic studies, criminal psychology, philosophy and even indoor botany. On the coffee table rests a copy of The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb, but why this particular title is on display is anyone's guess.

//The bedroom area is separated from the rest of the studio by a low wall and a series of thick black curtains designed to block out the light streaming in from the apartments untreated bay windows. Even at night, the area is unusually bright thanks to the placement of a street lamp directly outside this street-level unit. The bed itself is a twin-sized platform dressed in crisp white sheets and a down comforter for warmth. //

The bay windows open out to a small patio completely enclosed by wrought-iron bars designed to prevent and unwanted guests from visiting the premises when the tenant is out, and while this gives it the appearance of a prison, the effect is lessened somewhat by swaths of ivy and a meticulously-cared for succulent garden.

From out in the hall, it's clear enough to tell that Judah is likely not home in apartment 109. There's a pulsing thump of music that could be heard the moment Ygraine stepped out of the elevator. It is mixed with the sounds of muffled string instruments and vocals that can't quite be heard. Though there's something else joining what is clearly the sound of the music, slightly off-key singing and the droning noise of a vacuume almost completely drowned out by how loud the music is.

Closing in, I hope that you make it. Closing in, I hope that you find, your way.

Closer to the door now, the music seems to pick up, easier to hear, though the off-key additions to the singing still sounds distant, along with the noise of the vacuume. The bass-beat of the song pulses and thumps through the walls, the radio turned up far too loud.

Frame by frame, red-speed ahead. A city dissolving, the threat of your love in the headlights.

Ygraine eyes the door in mild, amused disbelief, then tries ringing the bell. And knocking. Then ringing again. Not that she expects a response before the vacuum or the music shut off….

Is it safe now? Will your arms be open? I'll just have to kiss you… try and stop me!

The sound of knocking, and then the ringing of the doorbell warrants the vacuume being turned off. But the music stays on, though it is lacking its off-key accompaniment. A few moments pass, and it's the additional knocking and ringing of the buzzer that warrants the hurried sound of footsteps rushing over to the door.

Closing in, I hope that you make it. Closing in, I hope that you find your way.

The door opens, hastily, and stops with an abrupt jerk of the chain on the door, as the bellowing sound of the music blares out into the hall. Standing with wide, mis-matched eyes, Colette stares up at Ygraine with a look of confusion and disbelief on her face, dark hair matted down against her head, sweating a little.

Closing in, it's all that I love in the whole world. Closing in, please be there, please be there.

The girl turns bright red, a large smile creeping up on her face moments before she just slams the door shut, muffling the music for a moment before the very faint sounds of a chain jingling and rattling sound out behind the door, heralding it opening again. Though this time, the door opens fully to reveal Colette's crooked smile. The sleevess and dark shirt she wears darkened in a few spots with sweat, "O-Oh! H-hey, um…" Her face brightens a bit in color.

What are you like? Where did you get to? Nowhere, no nothing. Didn't hold me for any longer.

She grimaces, then holds u one finger, rushing back into the apartment after waving a hand for Ygraine to follow her inside, rushing towards a stereo recessed into a book-case.

Ygraine does follow, mostly successful in her efforts not to laugh - though she's grinning very broadly. Having closed the door behind her to spare the neighbours at least a little of the excess volume, she's more than a touch relieved to see her young hostess heading so urgently for the stereo.

Did you walk for the fear of love? Or don't you believe enough? Well I'll cover both of —

The music is paused with a flick of a button, and Colette turns around, short of breath with a broad smile spread from ear to ear. She leans forward, resting her hands on her knees and lets out a ragged laugh, grinning broadly before standing up straight. On the floor near the kitchenette, there's some broken glass and a small vacuume. "H-hey…" She says with that crooked smile still on her lips, one hand running through sweaty hair to sweep it back and away from her face. Without bangs covering her forehead, she almost looks like a totally different person; older, more mature.

"S-sorry about the, um, noise…" Her eyes divert over to the broken glass, then back to Ygraine, nose wrinkling. "I — I was exercising, and um, I — I knocked over a cup, and…" That hand holding her hair back slides back further, letting her bangs fall forward again as she scratches at the back of her head. "W-what, um, brings you down here?"

Ygraine cocks her head, then offers a gentler smile. "I thought I'd come down and say hi, to be honest. See how you were doing. Though I didn't expect to hear your music in the elevator, I admit…."

Colette's grin turns a bit wry, as she circles around the sofa and up towards the kitchenette. "Oh um, y-yeah I guess it was a bit loud. Ah, I sort've got carried away I guess… I do that when I get all exercisey." Her nose wrinkles once more, and the girl drops down into a crouch, picking up a small plastic dust-pan and hand broom, crawling over to the broken glass, sweeping it up with soft clinking and clattering noises. Though, reconsidering something said, her eyes flit back up to Ygraine.

"I — I guess Jennifer told you about last night?" One dark brow rises up over her blinded eye, and her gaze turns back down towards the shattered glass in the dustpan, continuing to sweep up the mess. "I um, I hope I wasn't too much of a bother — I mean, it — She was nice to invite me in like that."

Ygraine shakes her head, propping her rump against the couch as she watches Colette sweep up. "No. Don't be daft. I'm glad the two of you know each other - and she told me that the laptop I saw you with _was_ a… gift from her. If you ever want to drop by, feel free. Please."

Smirking slightly, she rises back up to her feet, listening to Ygraine with her head tilted to the side. As Colette turns towards the tall and narrow trash bin she pauses, "I — Yeah that… that's what I was trying to ask you about the other day, if she had told you." The girl smiles, though unseen with her back turned as it is. "I wasn't sure if you knew, and… and I was afraid that it might get her in trouble." Her shoulders slouch a little, "I'm pretty good at getting people in trouble…" The young girl's voice fades off a bit at the end there as she steps down on a level at the bottom of the barrel, flipping the top open to sweep the broken glass into the trash noisily. "I — Yeah, she… she gave me that laptop, sort've as a bribe, not a gift. S-so I wouldn't rat her out." Her brows furrow together, "I wouldn't do that. She… she didn't need to…"

Ygraine frowns worriedly. "Who do you think you've been getting into trouble, Colette? Not Jennifer, I hope? Or Tamara?" She stops herself somewhat abruptly, before she adds any further names, settling instead for looking concerned and waiting.

Colette looks back to Ygraine rather quickly, "W-Oh, no no!" She squeaks out those words, raising the dust-pn and brush as she ducks her head down, "N-no I — I'd never get Jennifer in trouble, I just… I… guess Jennifer didn't tell you about what happened last night? Before, um, before she ran into me?" An awkward look crosses Colette's face as she sets the two distracting things in her hands down on the nearby countertop. "I just — I said some stupid stuff, and…" Her arms fold across her chest, "…and I didn't mean to."

Ygraine sighs softly, studying Colette in silence for some few moments, before she moves to sit properly on the couch. "C'mere, you. Take a seat and tell me about it, if you want to. But before you do - Jennifer didn't give _me_ any indication the laptop was a bribe. I think you have it because she likes you."

The younger girl raises her brows, enough so that they disappear behind the cage of her bangs. Her head tilts to one side, and she starts to circle around to the sofa. "I — It was something stupid…" Then, more quietly, "I guess." Her approach only comes so far, moving to settle down on the arm of the sofa opposite of where Ygraine sits, the leather creaking beneath her as she does. One leg is folded up beneath the girl, and she folds her hands in her lap as she talks. "I — I don't know if you heard, but Trent got hurt on the night of the election. We were down in Chinatown, and… and some Evolved girl, she like, poisoned him or something. I dunno, it all happened so fast…" There's a frightened timber in Colette's tone of voice. "He got really badly hurt, and this girl she… she comes out of nowhere, and she saved his life. Like, with her bare hands. Some.. some kind've magic touch." Her fingers wiggle demonstratively.

"A-anyway…" Eyes divert down to her leg that is left to dangle, curling and uncurling the toes on her bare foot. "Trent knew her, she works… worked, at a diner in the city. S-so… so I… I thought maybe she could help Judah. I… I kind've talked to her about it, and I guess she was scared of like, people knowing what she could do. A bunch of her friends got all upset at me, n'then like, she showed up at the church and was all, no I won't help you." Colette's head lowers some, "I threatened to turn her in if she didn't help me. I — I was upset, a-and scared, and… and I just wanted to help Judah, but…" One hand moves up to cover her face as she strains out a sigh. "I didn't mean it. But — But she doesn't know that. I… I think I ruined her life. I don't — She…" Colette sighs again, then slumps down off of the arm of the sofa to land on the cushions of the couch. "I screwed up."

Ygraine part-turns, drawing one leg up onto the sofa, booted foot dangling over the edge, as she listens to Colette, a slight frown of concentration creasing her brow. "Oh, Colette", she says, her words half a sigh, sorrowful rather than castigating. "People have to be so careful, these days. And… I doubt you've ruined her life. Not unless something's happened to draw the authorities to her, but… she can't have been pleased. Or happy."

Rather cautiously, she reaches over, attempting to lightly rest a hand on the younger woman's shoulder. "You did screw up. And if you ever do it again, I'll be angry. But I honestly don't think you meant any harm. You're just… it's part of what I was trying to help you to see, when last we talked. That… well. People are scared of the Evolved, because they're scared of what "they" might do to "us". But in reality, virtually every single Evolved must be terrified of what might happen to them. I know you're scared, and I know it's genuine… but you're far from the only person frightened by the situation. And while "normal" people are scared of what some rogue Evolved might do, the Evolved are scared by the whole government and what the political classes and security agencies have already begun doing. This whole country's swimming in fear, Colette."

She doesn't shy away from the touch, but she doesn't lean into it either. "You sound like Trent…" Colette says a bit ruefully, managing a faint smile as her eyes drift over to focus on Ygraine. "I — I think she quiet her job — Abby." One hand comes up to rub over her face, pinching two fingers at the bridge of her nose as she sulks forward some. "She's probably too afraid that I did turn her in, I — I can't…" There's a frustrated noise, and Colette leans back, staring up at the ceiling. "Jennifer said she was going to try and help, but I don't know how much she can really do. I don't think she even knows her, not that it'll be easy to find her now that I spooked the poor girl…"

Ygraine laughs softly, squeezing once, before withdrawing her possibly-unwelcome hand. "Jennifer's a resourceful girl", she says with a fond little half-smile. "If she says that she can help, there's a good chance that she _can_. As for sounding like Trent - I can't really comment too much on that. My one encounter with him was when he wanted to show you the "Fortis et Liber" video. But… from what you said at St John's, you've had a bit of a falling out with him. I hope you don't have one with me."

Colette sniffles slightly, then looks up at that comment, shaking her head slowly, "N-no I — Trent and I — It's not like that. I'm not upset at you Ygraine, you've never given me reason to be." The girl smiles, somewhat awkwardly, then looks down to stare into her lap, wringing her hands together. "I might've been too hard on him anyway, I… I dunno." Chewing on the inside of her cheek, Colette lifts her eyes upt o look at Ygraine again, her brows furrowed together. "M'lucky to have a friend like you, actually. I can't really say I have a whole lot of people I could say that to…" Her gaze begins to waver, then freezes for a moment before flicking back to the Briton. "Y-Ygraine, do… Can I ask youo something personal? J-just between you n'me?"

Ygraine's expression flickers at various points between touched, pleased, concerned, and finally encouraging. "I… sure. Yes. Thank you, by the way. I'm glad you feel you can trust me. But yes, you can ask. If the question's not mine to answer, I might not be able to give you one… but I'll certainly listen."

"Um, I — I've only really directly told one other person this before, but — um…" Colette looks down at her lap, fingers wringing together as her head cants to the side. "I… I wanted your advice on, um, on how to… to tell someone you care about them." Teeth tug at Colette's lower lip, anxiously. The words don't come out quite right. "I mean, um… it — It's not something I've ever done before, and… she — I mean, I just — I'm not sure if…" Both of the girl's hands come up and cover her face as she exhales a deep, heavy sigh to try and straighten her twisted tongue. "I kinda'-sorta asked Jennifer yesterday, about how you and her, um… got together, and… it… um, it wasn't quite what I expected. I — " She briefly glances over to Ygraine, "I need some advice?" Her voice is small, and meek.

Ygraine blushes a bit, cheeks quickly tinging pink as she chuckles self-consciously. "Ahhh. Yeah. I'm no expert. But… sure. I can try. Ummmm. First things first - before you try being honest with her, be honest with yourself. That was by FAR the biggest hurdle for me. Jennifer's my first girlfriend, 'cause "normal" people aren't interested in their own sex, and I was normal, so… guys only! Figure out… figure out what you want. And why. And why _this_ person feels right to you. If you know that, and have it sorted out as well as you can manage in your own head, you might have some idea how to tell _them_ what's going on…"

There's a look in Colette's eyes, distant and unfocused as they are, that seems to acknowledge what Ygraine says on a more than surface level. She nods, in understanding, looking to the side, then back towards Ygraine, her own face displaying much of that self-conscious flushing, but enough to spread to redden her ears and feather down her neck. She smiles, awkwardly, "I… I never thought about it that way. I — I've never tried to really think on why I feel the way I do about her."

Colette's lower lip is drawn between her teeth, and her eyes drift over to the coffee table absently. "I — Telling her, though… I'm not sure anyone will have advice on how to do that." She smiles, her eyes closing, "I told her I loved her, once. She… she smiled, and she said it was in your shadows." A laugh escapes her lips, and Colette draws her knees up to her chest, arms wrapping around them as her bare feet press down into the soft leather cushions. "I don't know if she understood just how much I meant that…"

Ygraine sighs softly, then nods gently - and does scoot a bit closer on the sofa. "I thought it was Tamara", she says quietly. "And… I don't pretend to understand her. But I think I understand _enough_ to follow at least part of the meaning in what she says. She's only wholly lost me once, and I managed to figure out some of what she'd meant when I asked a question to clarify…. I… she knows you care about her. Deeply. Whether she knows that you want her to be more than a very dear friend, I don't know. I've barely seen the two of you together. But it's clear that… for all the fractures in her world, she trusts you. And for me, trust is the key to love. The absolute foundation of it. Without trust, there's only desire, or admiration. With trust… you can put your soul in someone's care."

Colette doesn't directly answer Ygraine, or anything she says, but after a moment the reason why is clear enough. The girl blinks her eyes, trying to turn her head away to prevent Ygraine from seeing her cry. It's a few, brief dribbling tears that roll down from her eyelids after having welled up in a vain attempt to stay them. She sniffles, closing her eyes and wiping her cheeks on the backs of her arms, "T-thank you." Her jaw trembles slightly, stiffened and tensed to try and keep it from trembling again. Her eyes close fully, and she hugs her arms around her legs again, "I — T-thank you, so much." They're not tears of sadness, not even in the slightest. It's quite evident that what Ygraine's said to Colette has been both profound, and needed. Something that resonates with the young girl.

Ygraine lets out a long, shuddering sigh, having been more than a little worried that she had in fact said utterly the wrong thing. "You're welcome", she manages after recovering her breath. "I… Colette. It's scary. I was about to say "you've no idea", but you have a very good idea of how scared I was before I dared to say anything to Jennifer. But… she'd trusted me. I felt I could trust her. I… revealed some of what might be worst about me, and she just smiled and… kept on trusting me. So I put my faith in her, enough to let her know how I felt."

Nodding slowly, Colette manages a bit of a smile, "There's some… some things I guess, that…" She sighs slightly through her nose. "I don't know if Tamara even feels that way, a-about anyone… or if she even understands." The girl's arms hugs her legs a bit tighter. "You can't tell anyone I said this." Colette's eyes dart up to Ygraine, "B-but… Tamara has a problem." Her eyes waver, then drift down to the small divide in the sofa between she and the Brit, "She — She can't remember the past. I — She forgets things she says to me, a week or so after I say them. She… she barely remembers her family, her life before the bomb. I… she can't look back, to see what's happened before. S-so… so I'm afraid she'll… I…" Her chin rests on her knees, "I'm afraid she might forget about me."

Ygraine frowns deeply, closing her eyes for a few moments. "That… fits", she says softly. "Mmm, yes. That _does_ fit." Refocusing upon Colette, she quirks a gentle, sad little smile. "I might get hit by a bus tomorrow. Jennifer might take a bump on the head and forget me. There are always risks, in dealing with everyone. The risks with Tamara are just… more noticable. Maybe more likely. But not… worse. Not unless I'm very mistaken about her. I… she's broken, Colette. But that doesn't mean that… I'm broken. Less badly, or at least less obviously, than Tamara, but that hasn't stopped Jennifer putting her trust in me. Even when I finally got around to trying to make clear to her how bad it was - she just… accepted me. I _can't_ promise that it'll be all right. But I do think she's worth the risk, for you."

Looking back up to Ygraine, Colette manages a more honest smile, nodding slowly as she leans to the side, resting her head on the Briton's shoulder, knees still pulled up to her chest. Her eyes close, a faint smile curled up on her lips as she speaks, with a much more relaxed and soothed tone of voice, "I… I think she — I know, I know she's worth the risk…" Her cheek brushes against Ygraine's shoulder, eyes uplifting to get a good look at her profile. "Because I know, with her, what she says is true… and I know she'd never hurt me." Her eyes close again, nose lightly pressing to Ygraine's shoulder as her head turns a little. "Thank you, Ygraine…"

Ygraine gently embraces Colette. "A word of warning - I… when I first heard it said, it didn't make sense to me. But.. it's come to mean more to me as time's gone by. Friends _aren't_ the people who never hurt you. They're the ones you know you can forgive if or when they _do_ hurt you. Loving Tamara, whether or not she becomes "your girl", is almost certainly going to hurt, Colette. And she… she almost certainly _will_ do things that upset you, cause you pain. Don't expect her to be perfect. Love her for who she is, and who she can be."

There's a nod, imperceptable save for the feeling of her nose's movement against Ygraine's shoulder, "It already hurts," she says in a soft and quiet voice, "but I'll never let that stop me." She slips an arm around behind Ygraine, squeezing the older woman tightly. She's needed this comforting, this reassurance to settle herself. "I'm hardly perfect either… and she accepts that." There's a faint, weak sound in the back of her throat, "And I'll never stop loving her for that."

November 11th: Gifts
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