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Scene Title Constellations
Synopsis On her day before her administrative leave ends, Colette spends her morning with Tamara.
Date March 7, 2018


Dawn hasn't yet arrived. The light of early morning hours is reduced to the diffuse glow of street lights coming in through bedroom windows. A soft rain patters against glass, runs in snaking rivulets down the window panes and creates a muted white noise that fills the silence. The dark of the night is broken by the glow of a phone screen lighting up. One slim hand clutching it, checking the time.

4:14 am

A tired sigh is exhaled into a pillow case, the phone set down on the nightstand beside the bed, near a bracelet adorned with colorful stones that are — against all protests to the contrary — not actually a butterfly. Rolling over to her other side, Colette shifts bare shoulders under the soft fabric of the comforter, the whisper of cloth on skin joining the white noise of rain and wind.

She loops an arm around the warm midsection of the woman sleeping at her side, sidling up and pressing her face into the hair at the back of her head. One deep breath in through her nose, and Colette exhales a contented sigh. There's only one day left before she's to return to Rochester for her first week on after suspension. She can't sleep.

Instead, Colette winds her arm tightly around Tamara, pulling her close and taking in the smell of her hair and scalp. Fingers pluck at the stomach of Tamara’s shirt, insinuate themselves between fabric and skin to rest a bare hand on her stomach, the ring on that hand cool against warm skin. Alarms won't start going off for another hour and change yet, but she's not content to miss a moment of this day.

The future has never felt more uncertain, but right now that's further away. The moment in the present matters most to her, and she's content to spend it as close to the woman in her embrace as she can.

Sleep is an illusion, but after all these years, that comes as no surprise.

Slim fingers slide along Colette's hand, fit themselves into the spaces between hers. "You're supposed to be sleeping," Tamara murmurs, affectionate and amused rather than truly chiding. Her own eyes remain closed, her only motions the gentle rhythm of breathing, the soft brush of thumb along the edge of Colette's hand, a slight shift of her head in the direction of the woman behind her.

"Maybe you'd have to make it up later," is idle musing, companionable conversation, a recognition that sleep has fled from them both and won't be returning any time soon. Tamara's fingers fold over Colette's, squeeze lightly, then drift back along the length of her forearm in a slow, pensive way. They have time; the seer contemplates what they might do with it.

Abruptly, Tamara lifts the arm looped about her and wriggles out from beneath it, the sound of rustling sheets momentarily the loudest in the room. Her feet slide over the edge and to the floor, the blond turning to regard her partner with a small smile. She leans in for a brief kiss, fingers trailing back along the edge of Colette's cheek. "You could wait here," she murmurs, breath tickling skin.

Or not, as Tamara straightens, steps around the bed. Invitation, not directive.

The measures of comfort and familiarity found in one another have never truly answered some of the more mysterious aspects of who Tamara is, inside. For the first year they knew each other, the mystery of do prophets sleep? was never considered. But as they grew older together, the facts around the question became more clear, but all they ever did was illuminate a negative space, rather than fill anything in.

In the dimly lit room, Colette sees Tamara with unique clarity. Watches her from the bed, slowly propping up onto one elbow, an orange fox visible at her exposed shoulder. She runs a hand through dark hair, follows the seer’s barefoot movements through the room, taking the invitation gladly.

Full of nervous energy, Colette slouches back against the pillows, teeth toying at her bottom lip and thoughtfully contemplating following Tamara’s sight-line out of the room, but the unknown is a more tantalizing prospect. She settles in on her back, blankets up to her chin, one brow raised. Colette had opinions on how she’d spent the time, but she's more curious to see what the seer imagines. More curious in not knowing.

Tamara casts a smile over her shoulder as Colette stays put, and disappears out into the hall. The patter of rain against windows, the occasional rasp of wind against walls, covers over the sound of retreating footsteps. It can be inferred that the seer's feet take her upstairs, as storm-touched solitude stretches past seconds into minutes, and more than a handful of those. Long enough to whet curiosity, to sharpen it with contemplation of such possibilities as the seer might dream up.

In the end, the outcome is perhaps gratifyingly prosaic.

When Tamara reappears in the doorway, it's with a tray in hand. Two mugs form obvious contours above its profile; the much lower-set plate of sliced fruit — pear, strawberry, orange — is not evident until later. Padding over to the bed, she settles herself at its head, back to the headboard and legs stretched out across the sheets.

"It rained all day," she remarks, "except when it snowed."

The sound Colette makes when she sees what Tamara has returned with is somewhere between a soft laugh and an amused snort. Fingers creep up from around the comforter’s edge, draw it down and elicits Colette’s slow rise into a seated position. The blankets are shifted, enough to afford Tamara comfortable space, and Colette sidles up next to her.

She leans in, nose to Tamara’s temple, a brief kiss to the space of her cheek one beside her ear, then settles back against pillows again. “It's a good day to stay in, enjoy… everything. You.” Colette leans her head against Tamara, considers the slides of fruit on the plate and reaches for one of the mugs first. It's cradled in her hands, warmer than the crisp air outside of the blankets.

“I'm… going to go to see what Tasha wants to do today; a little time for just the two of us,” Colette confirms the possibility to Tamara, which path today is on for them. “Seeing Nicole tonight,” is also confirmed, though the night won't end up where Colette expects that one to. “This morning, I wanted to be about you.”

Unwinding one hand from her mug, Colette lays a brief touch down on Tamara’s forearm. Gives it a gentle squeeze as she sips at her coffee. “A few years ago,” Colette begins, “we were at Judah’s,” she turns her face just enough to brush a kiss at Tamara’s cheek on that name’s mention. “Just a little under eight years ago. I was looking for an apartment, because… I wanted us to have our own place to live.”

Sipping her coffee, Colette squeezes Tamara’s hand again slowly. “You surprised me, wrapped me up in a blanket and dragged me into the couch. We talked, well— I talked a lot, you listened.” Blind eyes flutter shut, but Colette still watches her. “I asked you something, a question I thought about while I was laying in bed this morning.”

“I asked you what you wanted,” Colette opens her eyes again, squeezing Tamara’s hand firmly this time. “You said you wanted time. Moment by moment,” her brows furrow, recalling a phrase she's never forgotten in all these years. “Spring flowers, summer sun, the colored leaves and powdered snow. The breeze beneath the trees, sand's grit and fire's crackle."

Then, after a beat. “Shelter, and understanding.” Colette’s expression shifts into a gentle smile at that, bringing up the past in ways that feel important now. Eight years later, and in the most literal sense those things have come to pass. “And I told you in response, you can stay there.” There, here, the spaces in between. “And that… I'd try to understand.”

Nearly ten years on, she's done more than try.

Leaning her shoulder against Colette's, Tamara rests her hands lightly on the edge of the tray, one folded over the other. She reaches for neither fruit nor cocoa — coffee being one of the relatively few consumables the seer consistently avoids — but instead maintains attention on her partner, head turned just slightly towards her. Listening, her hand turns to catch Colette's, returning a squeeze more lightly; otherwise, she waits with characteristic patience as the discourse runs its length.

The tale of past events is as a curiosity, intriguing but unfamiliar in its specifics. The seer's own words repeated back to her — those spark a hint of something that isn't quite recognition. There's familiar undercurrents in the phrases, vestiges of the symbols that shaped them, shadows of the environment that evoked them. A subtext that resonates with the woman who hears them now.

Leaning more firmly into Colette, Tamara rests her head against her shoulder, interlacing fingers. She lifts their joined hands just slightly, the ring she wears glimmering faintly in the dim illumination seeping in from outside. "Yes," she says at last, with that inflection that is more than mere assent, that grants to the single syllable a far richer weight of approbation. "Ten years," the seer murmurs, for all that she can't count them; that phrase has its resonances, too, for the woman beside her.

"And you'll be thinking?" she prompts, slanting a look up at Colette in the edge of her view.

“More than I have before,” Colette agrees with a hint of ruefulness in her tone, a tinge of regret for things already behind the seer. But she lets it pass, brings their linked hands to her mouth to kiss the ring she’d given her, an affirmation of promise. Then, turning just enough to brush her lips against Tamara’s brow she adds, “Thinking before I act, and… always, thinking of you.” Eyes close, that kiss again. “Always thinking of you.”

The affirmation turns to a playful smile, coffee lifted and Colette takes another sip before settling it down on the tray. “Can’t promise about thinking before I speak, though,” comes with a more playful smile and a raise of her brows at Tamara. “I’ll always be me,” she admits reaching across the tray to nearly grab a slice of orange, then at the last minute grabs one of the strawberries. Then, rather than bringing it over to herself, she offers it out to Tamara with a flush of color over her cheeks. Little, simple things like this slipped by Colette during the war and her war-like youth, simple intimate moments once out of reach, now laid out in bounty.

But something comes to mind, in this moment. “Is… there anything you’ve ever wanted to know about us, or about me, that you don’t?” Or can’t remember is implied. “I know that stuff — the past’s — important t’me, but…” Colette reaches for her coffee again, a pensive expression cast to the seer.

Straightening as Colette sets her mug down, Tamara echoes her smile, and shakes her head slightly — in agreement with the can't, rather than in any semblance of negation or censure. She glances briefly sidelong at Colette, then dips her head and takes the strawberry in her teeth, removing it neatly from Colette's grasp. Leaning back, Tamara hooks her free hand around her own mug, lifting it from the tray as Colette resumes speaking.

It's a question that takes some thinking for the seer, one she mulls over with the accompaniment of cocoa. Though her considerations are less of want and more the underpinnings of the question… with a hefty dose of what she thinks important to convey.

At last, Tamara takes a last sip and sets the mug aside, shifting her weight and twisting around to more fully face Colette. Her free hand reaches up to frame her partner's face, index finger beside her eye, thumb at the inside of her cheekbone. "I know you," the seer says, soft but emphatic, gaze intent upon Colette's blind eyes. There's a change in her tone, also, a switch from the relaxed, personal speech that so often characterizes her discourse at home — shedding slipperiness of tense, tempering her tendency to shorthand.

"Not what made you," Tamara continues, letting her hand trail down until it comes to rest, fingers splayed across collarbones, framing the hollow of Colette's throat. "Not the why. But who you are… who is in everything you do," she says, partial echo of Colette's own preceding statements.

"Everything you might do. The blank spaces of what you will not do. What you smile at, laugh at, cry for, rage over. All these things like stars in the sky." Her hand lifts, finger brushing against Colette's lips. "I don't see the stars, really, not that many of them. Just little glimmers, but the spaces between make a picture. Add up enough, and they fill in — lines sketched, grouped together, curving into patterns, painted in colors."

"That picture is you," Tamara concludes softly, leaning in nose to nose, sliding her hand back along the line of Colette's jaw, fingers threading through her hair, "and I know it very well."

There's a clunk when Colette hastily settles down her coffee on the tray, misjudging it's placement by an inch. It doesn't matter. Her now freed hand comes up to gently cup the side of Tamara’s face, a thumb gently stroking over her cheek. Colette’s eyes take on that recognizable mist of emotion, brows lifted just so in the complex expression of adoration and surprise her partner often elicits from her.

Colette leans in, brushing a gentle and loving kiss across Tamara’s lips, and though it ends she doesn't pull away. “The picture’s you, too.” The words are so softly said, passed through a smile and felt against skin moreso than heard. Colette closes her eyes, a soft noise in the back of her throat the most sound she can muster as the swelling feeling in her chest grows. She is rendered speechless as she thinks about those words again, tries to commit them to memory as she had so many other phrases and symbols before.

You,” Colette finally manages to say with an overwhelmed smile at the thoughtfulness and beauty of the notion. “You made me.” It may sound like hyperbole, but so much of who Colette became as a woman was because of Tamara’s influence. It shows in her face, the appreciation and admiration. Also in the surprise and rapt fascination in the most beautiful way to describe the entirety of a person.

Colette presses another kiss to Tamara’s lips, strawberry and chocolate reminders of this moment. “Maybe not all of me,” she admits, “but the good parts? I don't want to know the person I’d become without you.” Her hand moves down, palm resting over where that butterfly tattoo mirrors her own, fingers at Tamara’s collar. “And thankfully, I won't ever have to.”

"No, you won't," Tamara affirms, softly. By extension, neither will she. Closing her eyes, the seer breathes out, leans her forehead against Colette's. She lets that moment stretch, a moment of silent communion, microcosm of warmth and breath and mutual appreciation wrapped in the soft susurrus of falling rain.

Then Tamara straightens and settles back, rearranging herself into her former position at her partner's side. She picks up that slice of orange skipped over previously, holds it out for Colette, casts the water-streaked window beyond her a contemplative look. "Not a good morning for gardening," she muses. Although the seer will make her way out there eventually, irrespective of the rain; it doesn't actually bother her much, nor interfere with the planting of seeds. "Too long a day to start in the rain."

The breath of hanging silence after, as Tamara wraps both hands around her mug and sips at the cocoa within, is a prompt, or an invitation. An echo clearly discernible despite not being given voice, question turned back towards its asker in habitual fashion. One with layers: the option to take the digression offered, or to leave it by the conversational wayside. Setting the mug aside and wrapping one arm around her partner's shoulders, the seer presses a light kiss to her temple, and…

…doesn't actually wait for an answer as her fingers tickle down Colette's side.

Half a slice of orange still pinched between teeth and lips, Colette makes a soft noise in the back of her throat at the touch, quickly swallowing the rest of the fruit as cheeks flush with color and eyes reflexively flutter shut. She breathes in deeply through her nose, exhales the scent of citrus in a breathy sigh, and turns toward Tamara. One of her arms hooks around the seer’s waist, carefully pulls her close with fingers hooking in fabric.

The noise that escapes Colette rests somewhere between where laughs and sighs meet, comes with a broad smile as her nose finds the crook of Tamara’s jaw. Words needn't be a part of this conversation, one tended by things much less ephemeral. Fingertips heated from a warm mug feel cooler skin, a colder nose bushes across a cheek, warm lips mix orange and chocolate in a kiss.

“The day doesn't need to start yet,” Colette whispers in an agreement of sorts. She breathes in deeply, traces fingertips over the curve where stomach meets hip, reintroduces fingertips to the tug of elastic and the texture of cotton. The day starts when she gets out of the bed, and there isn't a fork in the river to lead to where that happens today. She’ll join her in the garden, though. Later, when the day is longer and they’ll be soaked through and through by the rain. The three of them will warm up inside after. But now isn't then. Those choices haven't been made. Different ones have, elicited by a featherlight tickle.

"No," Tamara murmurs, breath to breath, skin to skin; her fingers drift up, twine in Colette's hair. "It doesn't."

The tray is moved aside, deposited on the nightstand. The fruit will keep, and if coffee and chocolate will have both gone cold by they time they're taken up again — well, it wouldn't be the only time that's happened.

From any perspective.

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