Come To Terms



Scene Title Come To Terms
Synopsis Colette struggles with her fear after the PARIAH attack on the Financial District.
Date November 17, 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The kitchen is a barebones affair with outdated tile floors that contrast with the stainless steel appliances and glass backsplash.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.

It's the second time since the explosion that she's broken down crying.

There's no comfort in knowing that the place you call home, your shelter from the outside world is about as safe and protecting as a wet paper bag. The rumbling and shaking from PARIAH's attack on the financial district proved to Colette Nichols that there is no real safety, only the illusion of it.

For a full day all she's done is sit curled up on Judah's black leather sofa, staring at the television as coverage of the bombing is flashed across every single channel. She's watched views of the building from several different angles, seen expert analysis of the explosives that were used, seen comparison footage to the day following the nuclear explosion in Manhattan two years ago.

She's just stared vacantly at the television, unable to move, unable to think. Every so often, though, tears will well up in her eyes when she thinks about moving, thinks about going outside. All she does is hug her legs to her chest tighter, pressing her mouth down against the back of her knees so that Judah's sleeping form in the other room doesn't have to hear the pathetic sounds of her whimpering and sobbing. It's the least she can do.

It's hard to say what was worse, the struggle to get to sleep once the terror had finally drained every last ounce of strength from her fragile form, or the sinking feeling of abandonment she felt when Tamara was gone upon waking up. Normally, she can handle this, she can cope with the other girl's strange behavior, her whimsical nature and sporadic appearances. But after what happened, ater her security was challenged in the way it was, all she wanted to do was curl up and be held by someone she trusts.

Now she doesn't even have that. So it's the television that keeps her company, the sights and sounds all eventually beginning to blur together, one commentator's voice blending into the next, one shot of burning wrechage from the building blurring into another, and then another, and then —

Setting her laptop aside, Colette rests her head down on the arm of the sofa. Her eyes drift closed for a moment, but not quite long enough for her to stay asleep. Her fingers curl around the reciever of the portable phone she keeps held to her chest. Eyes dip down to the monochromatic screen, checking the time — 11:54pm. Nicole's never this late.

Feeling her eyes about to fall shut again, she struggles to keep them open. Sitting upright, her arms stretch up over her head, phone still held in one hand as her mouth opens wide into a tired yawn, back arching as the girl leans to one side. "Mmnh, stupid." She mumbles to herself, glancing down at the phone again to check the time once more — 11:55pm. She can't stop checking the clock.

Finally in a fit of frustration, Colette swings her legs off of the sofa, socked feet striking the wood floor, fingers coling around the elastic bang of her ducky pajamas, pulling them up from their slight sag. The girl wanders into the kitchenette, cracking open the refrigerator as she leans in, brushing her bangs back from her face as hungry eyes survey a few white paper boxes of leftover chinese food. Her eyes drift out of the refrigerator, to the clock on the stove — 11:57pm. She curses at herself for being so anxious, that felt like at least ten minutes.

"Fine." She huffs out, starting to dial on the phone quickly. She knows Nicole's number by heart, quickly running her fingers over the buttons and then pulls the reciever up to her ear. Teeth tug on her lower lip at the hollow sound of the ringing, one socked foot coming to rest over the other as her toes curl and uncurl against the floor. "Pick uuup…" Her eyes wander to the clock on the stove again — 11:59pm.

"Hey, this is Nicole. You know what to do. — beep"

Click. She slams the phone down on the countertop, best not to leave more than eleven messages. Her eyes roll back as she falls over to slump against the refrigerator lazily, "Call me back, come on… come on…" Her eyes settle on the black plastic of the phone on the counter, waiting, hoping, willing that phone to just ring.

It doesn't.

Her eyes divert over to the clock on the stove again — 11:59pm. It's almost midnight, and in the living room, she can hear the echoing voice of Jay Leno blaring out of the television. With a sigh, she pushes herself off of the refrigerator and cracks it open again, leaning over to peer inside as the light inside the refrigerator flickers and

— Colette's lower jaw trembles slightly, her eyes closing as she curls up just a little bit tighter on Judah's couch. Her soft, muffled whimpering strains out through her nose against the soft fabric of her jeans. With a shifting of her weight, she slides to the side, then falls down to land on her shoulder on the sofa, legs still curled up to her chest, trying to hide her reddened and tear-streaked face against her knees. She doesn't want to fall asleep again.

She doesn't want to forget everything again.

But she just can't come to terms.

Not again.

November 17th: Twice Bitten

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

November 17th: Ken and Barbie's Big Night Out
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