Do More Than Hope


bryan_icon.gif colette_icon.gif

Scene Title Do More Than Hope
Synopsis Visiting a public library, Colette meets a familiar stranger, and a philosophical conversation ensues.
Date September 23rd

Hudson Park Public Library

It is a shame that New York's massive library on Fifth Avenue is now reduced to rubble, but there are plenty of other libraries in the city to satisfy the needs of its citizenry. Not that too many of them are still taking time out of their busy and chaotic lives to dip in and pick up some nighttime reading material nowadays, but still — such places exist for those who care to utilize them.

This Tuesday afternoon, the library isn't too busy. The crowds of kids looking for a safe place to hang out and surf without filters or parental controls haven't hit the computer labs yet, nor have their more studious peers, though both groups are more than likely on their way. Dressed in a pair of dark jeans and a beige turtleneck to fight back against the bitter mid-September air, Bryan Buckley lounges in one of the more comfortable chairs in one of the library's many reading 'nooks.' On his lap is a copy of Venomous Snakes of North America, and he looks thoroughly absorbed in an article opposite a full-page photograph of a Timber Rattlesnake.

There's something to be said for a change of scenery at times, and while this library is one familiar to the dark-haired girl shouldering her way inside, it's also a welcome change from the same four walls of the apartment she's been cooped up in the last few weeks. She's among the crowd of early-arrival students, just withdrawing the red hood from her sweater, fingers raking through her messy and dark hair as she pauses to browse empty seats at the computer terminals. Noticing that most of the spots are unoccupied, the girl begins something of a daily ritual for her as she moves over to the front desk. Bryan's focus, lost on the topic of his erstwhile venomous kin fails to notice exactly what the girl does, and who she's speaking to — that being everyone.

She shuffles from person to person, keeping her voice down as she does. Politely disturbing them from their reading or from their work, beginning with the clerk at the desk and then making her way from nook to nook. Her voice begins to become more prominent as she makes her way down the row Bryan is seated in, nearly twenty minutes after her inauspicious arrival. "Excuse me," A quiet, hesitant voice, followed by the feeling of a light hand on his shoulder, "Um, do you have a moment, sir?"

It takes some time for Bryan to pull his dark eyes up from his book to look at the teenager, not because the entry on the eastern rattlesnake is that interesting, but because anyone speaking to, and especially touching him in a library is quite surprising.

His stony face softens only slightly with a lift of his eyebrows. "May I help you, young lady?" he asks in a drab, flat tone of voice. This had better be good. The way he speaks is also strange, should Colette care to notice such things. While moving his mouth to make the words, Bryan does his best to

Offering Bryan a lopsided smile, the girl reaches up to brush one hand thorugh her hair, revealing that opposite of the green eye he could see, the other is a milky-white and blinded shade. "Um, yeah, well — " She laughs awkwardly, the hand on his shoulder moving off, then into one pocket of her all-too-large jeans. "I hope?" There's something of a hesitance there, as if she isn't expecting much. "Have…" Something crinkles in her pocket, and the girl lifts up a burned and wrinkled piece of photograph paper, holding it out to Bryan, "Have you seen this woman before?" Colette's brows raise, teeth tugging idly on her lower lip.

The photograph shows a dark-haired woman in her mid to late twenties, seated at a table in a black dress with dark hair tied back into a bun. Her expression is remarkably awkward looking, as if she didn't want her picture taken, or perhaps was trying not to laugh.

Her name's Nicole," Colette's eyes downcast as she speaks, "Nicole Nichols." Her parents must have been fond of alliteration. "She went missing on November seventh, two-thousand and six." Finally looking back up, she motions with the picture again, imploring it to be closely looked at. "Just — Have you ever seen her before? I…" She hesitates, then reiterates in a quiet voice, "Ever?"

There are plenty of people who lost friends and family members after the bomb, and with this particular young's woman date of last known location being the day before the devastating event took place, there isn't much hope, as far as Bryan can see, that she is still alive.

Still, he isn't /that/ cold.

"No, I'm sorry," he says after studying the photograph for about a minute, looking just as long at the obscured man beside her as the girl herself. "I haven't seen her. Have you filed a missing person's report?" Not that it would do any good, what with all the police and various other agencies have on their hands already. "Or a private investigator?"

Colette's brow furrows, and she nods her head slowly, sliding the photo back into her pocket. "Yeah, I filed one…" She affords the stranger a disaffected smile, out of courtesy more than anything. She looks back up at the second mention, and momentarily a thoughtful look dawns on her face, and she looks back to the library entrance, and then back again. "I… haven't done that, though." Her lips purse, and her hand finds another piece of paper in her pocket, rolling her thumb over Brett's card.

Looking back up, Colette's eyes wander over the stranger again, then a smile starts to creep up across her lips, "I… totally forgot all about his card!" She exclaims in a confusing manner, as if Bryan should know exactly what she's talking about. "Ha!" Colette hops back a step, pulling out a business card and kisses the back of it, "Thanks uh — " She pauses, tilting her head to the side, "Oh, uh," Her free hand shoots out, and the girl's mood quickly leaps from quiet and reserved to energetic and outgoing, "Colette." She explains, as if that solves everything, "Nichols, of course." Of course.

"You're the girl from the park," Bryan says thoughtfully, a close-mouthed smile easing onto his lips. "And it's no problem. Some might say that I was only sitting here reading today so that you could come up and ask me what you did so that I could remind you of that card in your pocket." He nods to the bit of paper as he mentions it, smirking slightly. "And so many others would say those first people are nutjobs."

Blinking, Colette looks up with her head cocked to the side. The girl raises one brow over her blinded eye, and then takes an anxious step back, "O-Oh!" There's an embarrassed look in her eyes, and she covers her mouth with the hand holding the business card. "Oh I — It the angry guy!" She cracks an anxious smile, "I ah…" Her untaken hand withdraws for a moment, fingers wiggling in a nervous gesture. "S-So ah, Mister Park Man," Well, not quite, "You this Zen all the time?" She tries not to look embarrassed, both at not having recognized him, and not having the foggiest idea of what his name is. She eyes the exit again, then looks back to Bryan with that almost-grimace she wears plastered across her face.

"Are you this jumpy?" Bryan retorts, tilting his head slightly as his eyes narrow further. He can't help but continue to smile as he closes his book, leaving a finger between the pages to mark his place, and nods toward a chair nearby. "You're in a public place, Miss. And I'm not as scary as I look." Nodding to the card again, he arches his brows in a gentle, questioning expression. "Who's your dick?"

"I'm not jumpy!" Colette retorts, puffing out her cheeks in response before they deflate as her lips purse, eyes flitting over to the chair. She looks back at Bryan, head still tilted to the side, though that mildly indignant look on her face has quickly faded. "You're not that scary lo — " She pales at his question, eyes growing wide and from the way her hand balls into a fist, it looks like she's just going to up and punch him in the side of the head — right in a public place — but then once she actually thinks about what he said, and feels that card-stock in her fist, she grimaces and plays off the gesture as stretching, reaching up with her other hand, then folding her hands behind her head.

"His name's Brett." Colette closes one eye, the other half-lidded as she gives that answer with a wrinkle of her nose, sauntering over to the chair. The girl flicks out one arm, swinging her hand remarkably close to Bryan's face as she then taps him on the tip of his nose with the business card. "Lookie."

Bryan doesn't move when his nose is flicked, but neither does his flinch. It's just a card, after all. He does lean back afterward in order to peer down at it. "Well," he says with a warmer version of that previous smile. "I couldn't give you the card of a better office. It would appear that more than one person has been in the right place at the right time — for your behalf, anyway. But Karma isn't Zen."

Bryan leans back further, sinking into his chair and regarding Colette with a lazy scrutiny. "You're still in school, aren't you? Who is she? Big sister?"

Colette's expression shifts slightly when Bryan mentions school, and Colette returns the card to her pocket lazily, finally slumping down into the chair with a soft thump. "Yeah," Her brow furrows for a moment in thought, and she looks back up to Bryan with that odd, mis-matched stare. "She went missing the day before the bomb-thing happened," His eyes cast to the side, looking at a book stuffed into the corner of the nook she's seated at, then back to Bryan again. "No calls, no nothin', she just… she was gone all day, right?" Colette's brow over her blind eye raises in regards to her rhetoric.

"And… I don't really remember much of what happened after that." Colette shrugs a shoulder, frowning, "I… woke up sometime in April, I think, in a hospital in Queens." The girl scowls for a moment, then looks back to Bryan. "I don't… really remember anything. I lived down in Midtown, with her. Our apartment was like, ground zero almost." She shakes her head slowly, "I was there, and then… I dunno. Paramedics found me in the street, s'what they told me." One finger motions to her blind eye, "Only souvenir of it I still have." There's an odd, bitter tone to her voice now, something uncharacteristically mature from that strange and goofy act she was putting on earlier.

"Count yourself lucky," Bryan says with a furrowed brow and down-turned lips. "A lot of people came out worse, or didn't come out at all." But there's little doubt Colette has heard similar speeches before. "As for your sister…you can still hope. But it might be a good idea to start entertaining other possibilities. Hope can delude, if clung to for too long. Unfortunately."

"I know," Colette's words come across in a tone perhas more in line with her youth, stubborn and childish. Her eyes divert from Bryan for a moment, as if to question herself why she was entertaining his company any further. Perhaps, somewhere inside, she feels guilty about what was said the last time. "I… I just can't give up, you know?" Her mis-matched eyes look back up to him. "I can't let her go, because… she's all I've ever had, until lately. She's all the family I've got left, and… I guess it makes it easier, to think that there's someone out there who still cares, right?" A meager smile crosses Colette's lips, and she curls her legs up in the chair, feet tucked close and arms wrapped around her legs. Her chin comes to rest on her knees as she continues. "This world's just… so screwed up, y'need to have some kind've hope, or what's the point?"

Almost like a shrink, Bryan focuses his eyes on a neutral point past the girl in the nearby chair, pushing out his lower lip and nodding. "I guess that would depend on what you have hope in. If you hope the world can come out ahead, become better, then I think you have something. Hope in smaller things, like being able to get home without getting stopped at a red light or being mugged, is something else. You don't have any control over things like that."

"So you say," Colette adds with something of a teasing smile, "I used to think the same thing, actually." Her eyes wander over to the book in the corner of the nook, "Then I met her." There's something of a gentle smile that crosses her lips, and Colette looks back up to Bryan again. "Now, I don't know, I've got a different type of hope. She's my guardian angel, you know?" It's uncertain if Colette is still talking about her sister, the tone doesn't seem indicative of it, "Saved my life, in more than one way. That kind've thing, it changed the way I looked at people…" Her eyes widen, as if remembering something, and Colette looks up from the floor to Bryan. "I'm sorry." She says quietly, managing a gentle smile, "For…" The girl dithers for a moment, awkwardly grinning, trying not to look like she has a hard time admitting being wrong. "That stuff I said back then, I… I really didn't mean it. Well," Her eyes close, "That's a lie," Then as she sighs they open slowly once more, "I meant it, but it was out of anger. S'not how I want things to happen, or how I feel…" It's a marked change in opinions, "They're not freaks, they're just like you and me." If only Colette had any idea how right she was.

Bryan shakes his head with a soft chuckle. "Don't worry about it," he says easily. "Everyone is entitled to their opinions, no matter how narrow-minded or offensive they may seem to someone else. If everyone thought the same things in the same way, we'd be a pretty boring species, don't you think?" The talk and tone concerning a guardian angel is either ignored or unnoticed.

"I dunno," Colette notes with her lips quirked to one side, her gaze unfocused, staring blankly at the book Bryan was reading, "I kind've think it'd be nice if everyone cared." Her brows tense and she looks back to him, "Maybe not all thinking the same thing, but…" She cracks a smile, "If everyone could just be on the same page for once," Then, that's joined by a snicker, "Heck, even reading the same book would be a good start!"

With a shake of her head, Colette squeezes her legs and lets out a quiet sigh. "You seemed kind've put-off," She notes, "That's the only reason I… You know, why I apologized. I kind've have a better perspective now, and… I felt really stupid for saying the things I did."

"Time heals all wounds, someone once said." Bryan chuckles then. "Maybe that's the book everyone ought to read, hm? Then again, I think Oprah's got the corner on that, and…well, don't get me started there." He glances at the spine of his own selection, then shakes his head. "Everyone sees the world in a different way. Different likes and dislikes. But maybe if we can focus on the ways in which we're alike, the ways in which we're connected, we'll all be better off. Do you take sociology?"

Colette listens, and for the first time it actually seems like she's paying attention as well when Bryan talks. Her eyes wander as he speaks, but there's an attentiveness to her. When she looks back at the question directed to her, she cants her head to the side, laying her cheek down on her knees, "I don't take anything, actually." There's embarrassment in her tone, words coming out a little mumbled. "I stopped going t'school. After the bomb, I mean… I just don't see the point. I can't like," She shrugs her shoulders, "I can't focus on stuff like that anymore, when the world's so screwed up. I dunno, my sister was huge into her education, she went to Columbia, struggled almost all of the time I knew her with that." For a moment, Colette seems to dig herself down into a rut of morose emotion, but she lightens at the end of her point, half-blind eyes focused back on Bryan. "I think life's a good teacher."

"To a degree," Bryan admits, letting his eyes settle back on Colette, though he's frowning again. He slips his hand out of his book in order to lace his fingers and rest the sides of his palms on top of the cover. "Especially if you are innately inquisitive. But you can't learn everything by doing. And most people need some sort of skill or training…some sort of education to improve the world. To…save it, you might say."

Bryan's smile returns then. He picks up his book and pushes himself to his feet, tucking it under his arm. "Now that is something you can do more than hope for."

There's a curiousness in her expression as she watches Bryan get up from his seat, tucking the book under his arm. Her eyes narrow, and she watches him from her seat, arms still wrapped around her legs. She's listening, for the first time in quite a long time, considering and evaluating by what he's saying. And, for the first time in a long time, someone who has something to say to Colette has managed to keep her attention from wandering.

"You never told me your name." She says in a quiet voice, still not moving from where she sits, eyes lazily half-lidded as she stares up at the stranger-come-aquaintence.

Giving out his habit isn't something that Bryan is used to, especially to strangers, and even more so to young, female strangers. He shakes his head, still smiling. "You can call me Ty." As in Tiresias, one of the only characters from Greek myth Bryan cared to keep in his memory. "Maybe if we run into each other again, I'll have the honor of giving you more direction, hm?

Colette quirks her lips into a smirk, "Maybe, Ty." Her eyes wander to the empty chair, then back again, "Maybe I'll have the honor." She adds with a teasing tone of voice, turning her head to rest her chin on her knees, hand smoving so she can look down at the piece of card-stock in her hands. She doesn't say goodbye, he doesn't seem the type to deal in them, and from what experiences Colette has had over the past few weeks, she has a feeling that if he's a person worth saying goodbye to — She'll be seeing him again soon enough.

September 23rd: Mud
September 23rd: Into the Dark
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