colette_icon.gif jacob_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title Collision
Synopsis Fate and Take Out Chinese Food go hand in hand as Colette is spared a painful encounter with Jacob by her mysterious benefactor.
Date August 28, 2008


Though it's less than two miles square, Chinatown is home to some quarter of a million residents. Cramped, ancient tenements are the norm, though the fourty-four story Confucious Plaza standing at the corner of Bowery and Division does boast luxurious accommodations by comparison. Mulberry Street, Canal Street, and East Broadway are home to streetside green grocers and fishmongers, and Canal Street also boasts an impressive array of Chinese jewelry shops.

There is nothing - nothing - better than having Chinese food. When the deliveryman failed to show at his office (read: was more than ten minutes late), Jacob took it upon himself to go straight to the source. He's taking the turns in the streets through Chinatown rather badly in his convertible, one hand on the steering wheel while the other navigates kung pao chicken from the white carton planted on the seat between his knees to his lips, aided with perfect chopstick technique. He's not looking where he's going with all that much detail, and with the top down he's somewhat distracted by all the sights, sounds, and especially the smells of the surrounding area. This could all be considered to be Judah Demsky's fault. Jacob wouldn't have been so agitated if the detective hadn't come along and bugged him. Still, he's got his happy ending—and it tastes like really delicious chicken.

The term 'Dog Days of Summer' was a Greek invention, most people don't know that. It refered, originally, to the star Sirius, the brightest star in the heavens aside from the sun. In more contemporary times, however, it was a cultural synonym for 'God Damned Hot'. Today was a Dog Day, and it both looked and felt like it on the streets of New York. Between the haze of exhaust, the crowds of bodies choking the streets, and the way the bright mid-day sun glared off of the windows of highrise buildings drove home this fact. Relief from the heat was a luxury for those able to afford it, which left the vast majority of the unfortunate citizens of New York clinging to the one tried and true relief from summer heat—a cracked open fire hydrant.

Now, most times that sort've cold blast of water is welcomed on days like today, but that's usually when you know it's coming. It was the high-pitched shriek followed by a creative string of profanity that indicated that Colette Nichols had no idea the hydrant she was walking past was about to be opened, and even less desire to have actually gotten herself drenched by it. Stumbling away from the white spray of water, the young girl shook her arms violently, spraying water on the sidewalk as a handful of shirtless kids laughed at what was quite obviously, to them, a hillarious accident. "Son of a bitch!" She shook her arms again, then unwrapped the black hoodie she had tied around her waist by the sleeves, wiping at her face with a dry portion of the otherwise sopping wet article of clothing. "Go to hell you little bastards!" She yelled back, glaring over her shoulder as the kids rushed into the spray of the hydrant, laughing still while a handful of adults watched on with mirthful smiles.

Trying to dry the water off of her face, Colette walked out off of the sidewalk with the cool mist of the opened hydrant still spraying on her back as the local children began playing in it to cool off. Several things were compounding the upcoming intercession of fate; Colette's loss of peripheral vision due to her blinded right eye, the water in her eyes and noise of an opened hydrant and screaming kids, and—much like yesterday—Chinese food.

As she neared the middle of the crosswalk, Colette failed to hear the roar of an approaching engine, failed to look up in time. Colette had failed to do a lot of things in her life, and were it not for Chinese food, ironicly, she wouldn't have even been on this street corner on this day…

Blonde hair much more tangled than it was yesterday, to the eye of the one who saw her, it doesn't look like Tamara has changed her clothes in the intervening day. She comes up on Colette's right side—not that it makes a difference, with the water clouding the younger girl's sight. Either way, Tamara would have passed unseen; the right is just the closer. The lavender towel in her hands is probably newer than the teen's green knit shirt and worn jeans; it is folded around Colette's shoulders along with Tamara's arms, and the older girl leans back against Colette's forward motion. Not hard enough to pull them both back; the intent is just to prevent that next step. "Wait," is the one thing she says, the word breathless and muted, spoken only as an afterthought.

Oh, wait. That light is red. Jacob only just manages to notice it at the last second, along with the two girls who seem intent on walking with a favorable signal. The squeal of the Lexus' protesting tires and the smell of burning rubber hit the air as the lawyer rams his foot down onto the brake, the tail end of the car spinning a foot or so out towards the side, only just missing tapping the rear door of a parked cab. The front bumper of the Lexus comes to a halt less than six inches away from the girls - in front of them. Had Colette taken that step, there would have been quite a bit of blood on the ground. As it is, there is now kung pao chicken on the dashboard and on Jacob's trousers. He is not happy about that.

"Mmnh, this is such a—" Colette was still complaining as she continued to walk, lowering that soaked hoodie from her face—she just had no luck keeping that clean, did she? She didn't see Tamara's approach, she didn't notice the girl at all before she fels arms around her shoulders and cloth folding with it, dry and warm. Her eyes snapped open as she looked up, not quite catching Tamara's face but seeing the wind-tossed blonde hair and catching the smell of flowers. She froze, half out of Tamara's request, half out of something else. Colette stuttered, "W-b-but—" Then the sound of screeching brakes caused her to flinch, looking up just in time to see that Lexus come screeching through the intersection, losing control of its rear end. Colette's arms reflexively wrapped around Tamara's shoulders, mimicing the other girl's motions as she pulled her close and took a step back, even if the nearby car was already ground to a halt.

"Jesus christ!" Colette's fingers curled into the fabric of Tamara's shirt and her whole body was shaking—she was almost hit by a car. "Jesus Christ!" It was about all she could say, and as loudly as she could possibly say it, unable to move from where she was standing. Behind Jacob's Lexus, a line of cars laid on their horns as the light turned green, and several other vehicles in the adjacent lanes began passing by him, turning right onto another street. Some of the crowd on the sidewalks were watching by now; the screeching tires, the shouting. None of them were moving to help, not yet at least, but they sure did want to see if anyone got hurt.

Dark eyes close as the car screeches to an ungraceful halt, physical sight not being necessary. Tamara just needs to stand still, and so she does. That part is easy. It's the after that's not. As if nothing at all had just occurred—no near-miss by a fast-moving and lethal object, no blaring horns and vulturous onlookers—she soon steps slightly away from Colette, letting one of her arms drop. Tamara doesn't let go, since the younger girl (probably) won't, but looks around her at the driver of the Lexus. The very displeased driver of the Lexus. Okay, come on; let's get this over with so we can all go home. Or somewhere, anyway.

That very displeased driver is very soon standing up in his car as much as he can, lifted with one hand on the seat divider and the other on the edge of his windshield. "Hey!" Jacob looks very angry indeed, his face turning slightly red. His car was put in danger by two stupid kids. "Watch where you're bloody walking, you nearly hit my car!" Because that is absolutely the worst thing that could have resulted due to a collision of car and kid. It doesn't really help his mood that traffic is beginning to divert around him, each car moving horrifyingly close to the precious Lexus as they squeeze by.

Colette was speechless, standing there, all but frozen save for the constant trembling of her body. As Tamara unfolded one arm from around her, Colette looked to the girl in her arms, seeing her eyes closed. She swallowed, dryly, immediately blinking back tears that came from the absolute shock of almost being run over by a speeding car. She looked up the second time a British accent struck her ears, and she looked like a dumbfounded wild animal; eyes wide and mouth slightly agape.

When the much older Jacob Brent began shouting, something in Colette seemed to be struck by his demeanor, appearance and mannerisms, the way he looked and sounded when irate. The girl didn't respond the way one might imagine, instead of indignance and anger, she recoiled and lowered her head. Colette nodded once, as if in supplication of the irate driver, and her arms very slowly slid down from around Tamara's shoulders, and for some reason she was trembling even more so now. She slid out from that one arm Tamara had around her, though the towel clung to her wet shirt enough not to fall as she moved a few steps back and away. "I'm sorry," she mumbled as she moved, nodding once more.

Dark eyes watch Colette's retreat, and Tamara smiles, faint and rueful. She steps forward to set a hand on the younger girl's shoulder, lips hovering briefly by her ear. "Don't be sorry." One more step carries her just into the edge of the road, the pocket of stillness formed by the stationary Lexus. "Take your chicken and go," the older teen says. The words are carefully formed and spoken, the spaces between them just that bit longer than they should be. "You could have been bloody." Turning away from the Lexus, Tamara hooks one of Colette's arms, apparently intending to walk them both away from the street.

The deferent attitude taken by Colette seems to cool off some of Jacob's rage, and he sinks back into his seat with a growl. A quick survey of the damage confirms that the car needs to be taken to a professional cleaner. Kung pao chicken can be so difficult about coming out of leather. He puts the machine into drive again, then starts to angle his car into a better position. Time to rejoin the lifeblood of the city.

The whisper was exactly what it took to snap Colette out of whatever had come over her—that touch of the present. She blinked her eyes closed, and the tears that had welled up in her eyes spilled down her cheeks in a pair of dribbling trails. She drew in a ragged breath, looking up and over Tamara's shoulder to Jacob—and he was Jacob, that was what was important. "You stupid son of a bitch!" She growled out angry, thoughtless words, "That's right get back in your car!" Colette was just about to step forward, brandishing a fist in the air as if she were going to have a boxing match with an automobile, her face turning even more red than it had been, when Tamara hooked her arm around the younger girl's. Colette faltered, looking to her side to Tamara, then back over to the kung-pao-spattered district attorney. Whatever other choice profanities she was preparing to lob were quelled by Tamara's suggestion, and only a stern glare accompanied her shaking fist falling down to her side, fingers unrelenting in that balled-up gesture of her anger and frustration. It hadn't dawned on her at all, not now, exactly what had just happened. Not the actual significance of it anyway.

As Tamara gave that ginger, guiding tug, Colette reluctantly complied, moving out of the street at the blonde's request. "Oh my God…" She looked down at her shaking hands, trying to hold them out as she walked, "Oh my god you saved my life." It wasn't going to be quite that severe, but for all Colette knew that was the end of her life right there. Tamara knew better, but she wasn't one to speak out of turn in that regard. "You… you saved my life." She finally looked up to Tamara — up to stormy blue eyes—then promptly looked down at the street, "…you saved my life." Those words were said in a more shocked, hushed tone, too shocked to ask the obvious question about yesterday.

Just as well Colette doesn't think to ask questions. Tamara keeps walking away from the street, and doesn't let go of the younger girl's arm. She doesn't seem to notice Colette's broken-record musings, or perhaps just doesn't deem them in need of reply. Closing her eyes again, or nearly, and ducking her head slightly, she moves down the sidewalk, past the knots of pedestrians returning to their own business now that the show is over. After a few steps, it seems her destination might be a bench tucked away in the lee of a building, one which looks like it was forgotten by the city planning people some time ago.

Given her current state of shock, Tamara could have led Colette right into the heart of midtown and she'd have not noticed. By the time the pair had made it over to the bench in the shadow of the nearby buildings, Colette started to get a hold of herself. The sound of the man that almost hit her peeling out caught her attention, and she glared at the vehicle as it sped away from the intersection. One last shiver ran through her body, and she managed to get the shaking somewhat under control. "T-Tamara," Her mismatched gaze drifted over to the older girl, "H-how—" She finally noticed the towel around her shoulders, darkened in some spots by the wetness of her t-shirt, "Y-you…" She stumbled for meaning, for explanation, and there was truly no way for Colette to rationalize what happened, aside from, "Y-you have awesome timing…"

Releasing Colette's arm, Tamara sits down in one corner of the bench, pulling her heels up to rest on the edge of the seat. The fracas at the street is no longer her concern, so the only thing she looks at is Colette — and that, briefly. Her blue eyes aren't quite focused, and the smile she gives the younger girl is just a little halting, weary, if nonetheless sincere. For the moment, Tamara doesn't speak, but closes her eyes, running her hands back through her hair.

"Thank you." It took her long enough to actually get those words out, and as Colette stood there at the side of the bench, she lifted her hands up to grasp the corners of the towel draped around her shoulders. There had been just enough chaos, confusion and instability in her life lately to have the last few days be a breaking point for her. She tugged at the corners of the towel, pulling it around herself like it was a blanket of some sort. She hadn't even noticed she left her hoodie lying on the side of the street from when she was nearly hit by the car. "T-thank you—for—I mean…" She swallowed again, harder this time, and edged over to the bench and sat down. Her hands rested on her knees, curling into the damp denim there as her eyes focused down on her shoes.

"T-the food, I mean, yesterday—the takeout." She looked up, and there she was on the verge of tears again, "Now this?" She blinked them back, shaking her head as she did while a nervous and shaky laugh slipped past her lips. "Y-you just—" She looked back over her shoulder to the street, then back to Tamara, "I coud've been killed, right there, a-and you…" Her hands trembled where they clutched at the loose fabric of her jeans. The towel slid a bit, then sloughed off her shoulder, landing on the bench in a crumpled heap. Colette's focus was taken to it, and she smiled awkwardly, "S-sorry about, ah, your… towel?" Mild suspicion mixed with confusion clouded the girl's expression.

Tamara is slow to respond, one hand returning to rest over her eyes, fingers rubbing slowly across their lids and the bridge of her nose. The other settles across the girl's knees as if forgotten. Fortunately, much of what Colette says can be classed as rambling; the fact that the older teen only hangs on to bits and pieces of it won't make too much difference. "Don't be sorry," she says again with that same deliberately careful and clear enunciation, not really aware of the repetition as such. Tamara rises in a swift motion, gaze flicking to the street nearby. "Don't forget your shirt," she adds, before giving Colette another brief smile. And then she turns away, begins to depart. Hopefully to stay gone this time, at least long enough for her own good…

As Tamara rose up, Colette did as well, reaching out for the girl with one shaking hand as the towel slumped over to fill the void where Colette was on the bench, "W-wait, why are—" Then her attention was caught by what the blonde said, and Colette turned to look back over her shoulder at the street where her black hoodie was laying in an ever-growing puddle of water from the opened hydrant. "Damnit!! Wait here, a sec, I'll—" As she turned to look back to Tamara, the girl was nowhere to be seen, and Colette was reaching out to open air. She stared, blankly, at the building across from the bench, her mouth partially open as her fingex flexed uselessly in the air. Colette wheeled around, looking from one side to another, but there was just a crowd of people passing by the street. She blinked, shaking her head and stumbled backwards, hitting her legs on the bench as she collapsed down into a seated position on it, looking down at the palm of her hand.

"Am… I going crazy?"

Collete:1, Death:0

August 28th: Here Be Dragons
August 28th: It Takes Two
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