Forever Ago


colette_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title Forever Ago
Synopsis …and yet the moment Colette sees Tamara, it feels like they've only been apart for a day.
Date December 20, 2009

Long Island City

As the song goes, the weather outside is frightful.

The blizzard bearing down on New York City may finally be tapering off, but the heavy snowfall that was dumped on the city has turned it into the likeness of a ghost town. Streets are devoid of cars all across Manhattan and Long Island, street lights glow yellow against the white of the snow, Christmasy greens and reds from traffic lights add to the mix, something between holiday spirit and jaundice in the color choices.

Just after sundown it's a particularly desolate stretch of road on the shore of the East River in Long Island City that finds one very defiant person braving the cold. Far beyond the chain-link and razorwire fences surrounding the old terra-cotta factory, in the dimly lit cellar hole stairwell that serves as the entrance to the Brick House, Colette Nichols assumes that she may be the only person for miles.

It's not the truth, but it feels like it, especially today.

With her black denim jacket not nearly thick enough for this weather, it's left to a familiar powder-blue scarf wound around her neck to truly keep her warm. Standing in the deep stairwell that descends towards the basement door, she's spared the frigid winds, left only with the icy prickling of snow drifting from above. Also keeping her warm is the orange glow of an ember at the end of a cigarette pinched between her fingers and held fast at her lips.

Tired looking green eyes stare blankly at the frost-dappled concrete wall in front of her, one knee bent from her positioning on the stairs, smoke and steam issuing out of her nostrils in equal parts as she exhales a breath. One year almost looks like it's aged Colette three. From the stresses of everything following the Pinehearst incident, the teen has been forced to do a great deal of growing up. A year ago, she would have never believed she'd be where she is now.

A year ago that feels like forever ago.

The scarf isn't enough, shelter from the wind or no.

So the winter-weight, powder-blue coat folded around Colette's shoulders decrees, speaking louder than words in the stead of the young woman whose hands tuck it into place. Tamara even looks the part of a woman today, and not a rootless child — well, if her loose and unkempt hair is ignored, its rough fringe decidedly due for a shearing. She wears black pants and an aqua-colored blouse just barely visible at the throat of her brown and ivory coat; but it's the touch of eyeliner that is well and truly discordant with the seeress' typical appearance. That might even be a subtle shade of lipstick, or at least gloss, coloring her lips rather than the effects of being out in the cold for who knows how long.

"You never come home," Tamara murmurs at the younger teen's ear, a soft and gentle chide; the tone she uses is not the voice of the sybil. Tonight, it seems, her power's grip is light.

The smile, however, is Tamara through and through: the awareness of the seer, the lighter-hearted amusement of the girl. "But then you couldn't do that there." Smoking at home? Forget heaven — Judah forbids.

Surprise is expressed entirely by a sharply drawn in breath and a surprised loss of motor skills; the end result is Colette's cigarette falling from her fingers into the snow on the stairs at her feet. It is extinguished with a hiss. When Colette turns, her eyes are wide and already she's completely forgotten whatever worry it was painted across her face. Whispered voice is all it takes to recognize the person behind her, and she takes not a single moment to even realize the difference before she's nearly shrugging the coat off from having spun around and thrown her arms around the well-missed sybil.

Eyes shut, cheeks warmer than they were a moment ago and fingers slipping thorugh cold and snow-flecked locks of blonde hair, Colette rises up on the toes of her boots, nose to nose with Tamara, only hesitating the moment the taste and texture of lip gloss breaks her out of a greeting warm enough to melt all of New York's snow if it was shared with the city.

Settling down on her heels, she looks up to Tamara with wide eyes, leaning back enough to take it all in, but keeping her arms draped over the blonde's shoulders. Colette's lips part in silent surprise, soon to curl into a smile before she winds those arms tighter around Tamara and pulls her into a firm embrace. While Tamara tastes of lip-gloss, Colette's breath is a much less favorable ash tray; Not quite complementary.

"Oh my God I missed you so much…" Colette murmurs, letting her forehead rest against Tamara's, one hand finding the back of her neck, the other arm just draped around her midsection. "Wh— what're you doing out here?" It's a ridiculous question to expect an answer for, but it helps hide the fact that she didn't address the fact that she's away from home more often than not.

The older girl smiles against Colette's lips, seeing the jolt of her surprise; and also seeing it in truth, possibility become actuality. Her fingers fuss with the coat they re-drape around her companion, flattening the collar and straightening out a wrinkle; and then her arms fold around Colette, one hand's cold fingers sliding between locks of dark hair. "Silly question," Tamara answers, smile stretching into an affectionate grin. "Silly girl."

Which allows Colette to fill in the blank any way she likes, but of course — why else would Tamara be out here?

Then again, why is she wearing makeup?

The seeress isn't usually one to remain still for long, and now is no exception to the rule; fingertips glide over the arc of Colette's cheekbone, brush down her cheek. "Silly girl," Tamara repeats, more softly this time. "Always borrowing trouble." Her eyes smile, nonetheless, affectionately tolerant; she could hardly expect Colette to be otherwise, after all. Stepping backwards, her hand drops to take Colette's, tugging gently. "Put your coat on." And let's go.

The softness in Colette's expression hasn't been there for a long time, not honestly. It's a small miracle that one person can brush away a year's worth of growing up in a matter of a single touch of her hand, bring back the youthful, hopeful smile that a girl Colette's age should have. There's a great breadth of emotion behind the smile she gives, the look in her eyes and the hesitant quality of it, the way someone smiles at a movie, something that's only half real. It takes Colette a moment to be grounded in the reality of this moment; something that normally she's on the other end of.

Unable to vocalize anythng other than a goofy half-breathed laugh at the touch to her cheek, Colette's expression is a mix of dumbfounded contentment and puppydog pliability the likes of which only Tamara seems to be able to elicit in the girl; when she says jump, Colette asks to which end of the horizon. Putting on a jacket, that's a much easier task. Quickly sliding her arms into the sleeves and zippering up the front, Colette is quick to do exactly as asked.

One single moment's hesitation is afforded when her hand is taken and tugged, green eyes focused back at the door. Andy had told her to 'hold down the fort' and keep an eye on things, but Kaylee's there she can handle it. Besides, she can convince herself that whatever happens was supposed to happen; she doesn't argue with Tamara.

It's a terrible and poorly considered idea to.

So the moment after her hand is tugged, her cold fingers lace between Tamara's, and she's following the sybil back up the stairs and away from the door to the safehouse.

The seeress waits, balance centered over the balls of her feet as Colette looks back; waiting on the edge of a figurative seat for the younger girl to make her decision. Quicksilver flash of an approving smile when Colette chooses to follow — and then it's pell-mell down the street, snow or no snow. It helps, in fact, compared with the ice that would be the most likely alternative.

There's a car waiting around a couple corners, on one of the streets city workers made some attempt to clear; red taillights vibrant in the city night, dark blue paint more closely resembling brown in the haze of orange streetlamp glow. Its exhaust lofts towards the sky in a plume made visible by bitter cold air.

The man in the front left seat, disinclined to be disturbed when Tamara slides into the backseat without so much as a knock on the window beforehand, is a familiar face; known from days at St. John's, and again at Summer Meadows, he offers Colette a conspirator's smile in the rear view mirror and no particular answers. His role is to drive; pulling out from the curb, drive he does.

Were it any other strange car that Colette were to be forcibly dragged into, there simply may be more resistance. Dragged out like this though and by one particular girl, she's perfectly content to follow the trail of reckless abandon to wherever it leads. Admittedly, however, there is some uncertainty lacing itself into her features once she's secured in the back seat of the car and it's in motion; the origin of that uncertainty being that Tamara looks all dressed up, and Colette looks like she rolled out of a laundry hapmer.

"Um," Green eyes have been assessing the streets as they go by in silence for a while now, somewhat locked on her own muted reflection in the glass. "I— are we going somewhere?" The obvious implications of going somewhere where we should be dressed up may be lost on Tamara, or maybe they're not, and that's part of her amusement.

Smoothing one hand over her disheveled hair, Colette looks away from the window and to the blonde at her side, scooting a bit closer across the back seat towards her, one arm slipped around Tamara's waist. "Cause, like, I— haven't showered since I got to the Brick House yesterday." There's a nervous tug at her bottom lip, "I just— figured I'd be inside all day and… I mean, _ slept in these clothes…" She glances down at what is mostly covered by that heavy blue jacket she now wears. Then, looking back up to Tamara, Colette offers a lopsided smile. "None of that matters, does it?" She finally asks without really expecting an answer, her tone of voice a mixture of rueful amusement layer over far more honest contentment at the company she's keeping.

Sitting with her shoulder against Colette's, Tamara looks over at her and smiles crookedly. "If it matters, then it matters. To you," the girl adds, as clarification. Blue eyes tilt up towards the hand on her hair, and that smile becomes even more lopsided. "I guess maybe I do too. But it's just hair." Dismissed accordingly; even now, the seeress isn't one to be self-conscious about her own appearance.

Maybe it does matter, when the blocks they start to drive through, however slowly, begin to look familiar; where familiar has more to do with home than with simple prior presence in, even at this hour and in this weather, with a relative dearth of other vehicles on the roads. "Don't worry," Tamara murmurs against Colette's dark hair. "He isn't home yet."

Apparently there is a first stop here.

It wasn't really until they crossed the Queensboro bridge and got back to Manhattan that Colette started to get nervous, but once the neighborhood around Le Rivage starts to come up, she stiffens a little in her seat, hands folded together and wringing awkwardly. A furtive glance is afforded to Tamara, brows furrowed, and she relaxes just a little at the mention of Judah not being home; one less thing to have to explain to him than why does she reek of cigarettes.

When the car comes to a halt, Colette doesn't wait for Tamara to open the door, she's out of the car and on the side of the street, holding the door open in a way that implies politeness more than haste, she can at least try to play one side of the relationship role, even if the gender lines aren't exactly there. Standing there with one hand on the top of the open door, Colette offers a hand down in for Tamara, even if her eyes are focused back on Le Rivage. Just when she thought she had the night figured out, that goes right out the window.

Accepting the proffered hand, Tamara steps out of the car and casts a smile at Colette; for all that the younger girl may not see it, her attention being elsewhere. Her fingers tighten gently, the better to summon attention back — politeness, after all, includes such things. The smile remains as the seeress starts up the stairs, leads Colette inside, to the door of the apartment they at least sometimes share.

It's practically Tamara's job to keep Colette guessing. For now, though, she just shoos her inside. "You go get ready. I will wait." A beat's pause. "But keep the coat."

Oh god. Colette's expression couldn't sink down much further at the notion of needing to get ready. Confusion swims and dances with anxiety, noticing how well-dressed Tamara is. But all of that is quickly zippered up as the teen's back straightens and one quick squeeze of Tamara's hand is offered. A nervous and slightly curious stare is offered to Tamara, tempered but an anxious but trusting smile. There's no real need to confirm the request, no real need to say she'll be down as fast as she can, Tamara already knows exactly when she'll be back.

By the time she's disappeared from the car and gone up the steps into the apartment building, the snow has finally stopped falling. A few tiny flakes fall from the blackened skies overhead, catching the light of street lamps and lit windows of the apartment buildings. It's not exactly a short stop here, it never is when a teenager is trying to get ready for something, especially where self-image is concerned.

Close to fourty minutes after she went upstairs, Colette comes back down with thundering footfalls on the snow-shrouded steps. She immediately slips, skids and somehow manages to stay upright— largely as Tamara saw she would— which is likely the only reason Tamara's still waiting in the car and not there to catch her. Colette's shoes aren't really suited for cold weather, nor is the skirt she wears, even of the black tights look somewhat warm. Only that large blue winter coat is keeping her warm now, and when she gets into the car, it's obvious she's made a strong attempt at getting her hair in some semblance of order.

Sliding in to the back seat, she's already hastily spitting out apologies. "S— sorry I took so long, oh my god I thought it wasn't nearly that long!" She doesn't need to apologize, and yet, there she is doing it anyway in stammering quality. Checking her hair in the rear-view mirror with a duck of her head, she turns to look at Tamara, brows furrowed, one hand adjusting the silver hair-pin that keeps her bangs ut of her face.

"Where are we going?" Colette asks in a hushed voice, tugging at the right sleeve of her jacket, awkwardly trying to keep it from hooking on the very familiar gemstone butterfly bracelet she's wearing on her wrist.

The sybil's soft laughter starts almost before Colette's apologies do; her lopsided smile and a gentle tap of fingertips against the younger girl's cheek remind her to think about who you're talking to. "Was it so long?" she asks, words conversational rather than admonishing; she's genuinely curious of Colette's perceptions, there. How well she'll remember them later…

"You will see," Tamara promises with a faintly mischievous smile, leaning over to fix the cuff of Colette's jacket for her. Deft fingers settle it into place where it won't disturb the bracelet, and when they withdraw the seeress gives her companion a mildly pointed look: now don't mess with it!

The driver pulls out, going to what is evidently a predetermined destination — and he isn't saying any more than Tamara.

The neighborhood of SoHo is a familiar one once the streets and buildings begin rolling by. Out the water-dappled rear window of the car, Colette's eyes are transfixed on her side of the street, watching the scant few cars on the roar slip and slide past. A plow truck moving down the other side of the street flashes its yellow strobing lights in pulsing rhythm through the car as it passes. "So… this place…" Colette leans back in her seat, turning to face Tamara with an uncertain expression. But before she can really vocalize her uncertainty, there's something far more pressing being said by the driver.

"Ladies," there's a quirk of his brow, "we're here."

Colette jerks forward, both of her hands on the back of the passenger seat as she peers out the window, then the other side of the car, then out the front, leaning between the two front seats. "Where— what's— " On the outside, the destination looks unremarkable behind the snow bank that trims the curb. The car pulls up close enough to show the twin red parasols outside the front doors, each hung heavy with snow. A pair of glass doors are closed to keep in the heat, and beyond it thatch and wood doors more fitting of a bungalow are visible beyond. Screen printed on the glass doors is the simple designation; "The Sounds of Brazil."

"SOBs!?" Colette wheels around in her seat, green eyes wide, apparently she's heard of the place. "Oh man you— " confusion sets in, she can't really understand why Tamara would take her to a place like this, why it would matter, and for a moment her mind is awash with conspiratorial theories; perhaps they need to meet someone here to put them on the course of—

No, wait, it's almost Christmas.

This isn't some sort of temporal obligation, this is a gift.

Biting down on her lower lip, Colette lets out a soft sound, the smile on her face looks torn between emotions; all positive but some overwhelmingly so. In the year and change she's known Tamara, the two of them have never been able to share a moment together like this, never been able to even have the facsimile of normality in their lives for more than a fleeting moment. As she pushes that back door open, stepping out onto the curb, Colette swallows noisily, blinking back what can't be anything other than tears from her eyes, pale hand held out. Sure, they'll have to scale the short snow bank to get inside, but for this moment, Colette would scale a mountain.

The answer is self-evident; she need only wait for Colette to work it out.

Tamara is nothing if not patient.

She watches the younger girl's actions, reactions, expressions; what might be said, and finally isn't, but even silence can say a lot. A hint of a smile curves her lips as Colette thinks matters through. If that smile doesn't quite alleviate the shadows in Tamara's eyes… well, such is part and parcel of keeping the company of a seer.

Blue eyes look to the rearview mirror, meeting the driver's gaze; Tamara nods once, and he nods in return. Then she turns back to Colette, reaching out to accept the offered hand; keeps hold of her companion's fingers as they trudge through the snow towards the building's glass doors. Inside is warmer; more than warm enough to allow for the shedding of coats at the coatroom after Tamara has turned over the tickets she obtained some time ago.

At this point, the seeress looks sidelong to Colette, that smile taking on just a bit of a smug inflection. Not that she didn't know this would be a complete and total surprise — some things really are as good as certain — but that doesn't make Tamara any less satisfied with the outcome.

"You're welcome."

It's a small wonder that Colette even had the ability to remove her jacket, given how dumbfounded she is by this entire situation. Of course Tamara has tickets, of course the driver was in on this, of course she managed to get tickets for one of the most stylish and packed dancing clubs in all of New York, of course she picked it on the one night it isn't entirely crowded because of the largest blizzard in years.

Of course.

"Th— " Colette's starting to get her words back, "Th— " the rest of thank you isn't vocalized, and admittedly words do have less of an impact than actions with Tamara, but that's not really so much Colette's focus as throwing her arms around the blonde, swinging her weight to one side in a spin and then promptly refreshing what was once a taste of ashtray with something a bit more pepperminty.

"I love you." Those words are more important than thank you, at least to Colette. They're whispered against the side of Tamara's cheek, more felt than heard, warm breath and moving lips, a cold nose pressed to warm skin. Skinny arms squeeze around the sybil's shoulders, and when Colette leans back to look at her, that emotional look in her eyes has washed away a year of worried. The happiness won't last, it never really can, but in the here and now where Colette and Tamara are reunited for the time being, this is all that matters.

Swallowing back her emotions, Colette reaches out and takes one of Tamara's hands in hers, squeezing it firmly as she looks deeper into the club, towards the tall faux-wood pillars and the black lacquered tables, then out to the black and white chekered dance floor and the stage beyond where a DJ is spinning an ecclectic mix of electronic beat and textured world music in some urban-native hybrid pulse.

What comes next isn't quite a Merry Christmas from Colette, but rather a tug, a smile and a shake of her head. "Can you dance?" She asks with an overwhelmed smile, blinking back that very same emotion that wells up in her eyes. Sure, the answer to the question isn't important, because Colette couldn't dance to save her life.

But she's going to anyway.

She leans her cheek against Colette's, closing her eyes through the embrace. She doesn't speak a reply, but then that isn't unusual; brushes her fingers through the younger girl's hair instead, pushing it back from where the spin tossed it over her face. That Tamara's hair is equally askew, she doesn't address.

Her own gaze follows Colette's, taking in the environment that she has already seen, and yet which is completely novel; tilts her head to listen to the music, its ebb and flow unfolding before her perceptions. The tug at her hand draws Tamara's attention back to the immediate moment; the sybil determines the answer to her question, but it's the girl's affectionate levity that shapes her expression, smile stretching slowly into a faint grin.

What is dancing, but movement in time?

Tamara presses a kiss against the hair at Colette's temple, curve of her lips brushing against the edge of her ear. No more than a whisper: "I can dance better than you."

Still holding Colette's hand, Tamara steps back, grinning towards the younger girl.

Go ahead, prove me wrong. Bet you can't.

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