Fresh Coats


delia_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif

Scene Title Fresh Coats
Synopsis Delia is entrusted with the clinic in the basement of Gun Hill.
Date September 9, 2010

Gun Hill

City's breaking down on a camel's back.~ They just have to go 'cause they don't know wack~

The sound of the radio drifts from the open apartment door on the first floor of the building. It's a little bit loud, but it's not too late in the evening. It wouldn't be much of a problem except for the horrible singing that's going along with it.

"Shukka shukka feel good~ Shukka shukka feel good~" Delia is alternately shaking her booty and fooling around with the paint roller/microphone in the middle of the bare apartment. She spins around once, leaving a circular drip of paint beads on the floor around her. They go unnoticed as she swipes the roller up and down the wall in a W pattern.

It's surprising that she hasn't gotten too many complaints yet. Then again, to any passersby, she's rather entertaining.

One such passerby lingers in the apartment's doorway, a slim silhouette in a short black skirt and pale blouse worn over a gray satin jacket with quarter-length sleeves and a sash that ties at the front. Smart black flats on a pair of small feet make very little sound, though Delilah isn't likely to hear the other woman's approach until she's already inside and observing her work from the shadow cast by the door, golden sunlight leaking in through the apartment's generous glass windows.

Eileen's clothes resemble the plumage of the little mockingbird perched on her shoulder, its feet hooked in the collar of her jacket, and maybe that's a coincidence — maybe it isn't. "Delia Ryans?" she asks in a voice loud enough to be heard over the music, but not to loud that she necessarily means to interrupt Delia's contribution to it.

The voice is loud enough to startle the tall redhead who easily dwarfs the petite brunette by almost a foot. A quick pivot of her feet leads to one shoe slipping in a few of those droplets of white paint and Delia Ryans nearly falls into an embarrasing split potition. Nearly. As it happens, the slick liquid runs out and her foot sticks to the floor at the last second. A little bit of fancy footwork later and Delia is upright and right as rain.

Blue eyes open to the size of teacups have an edge of fear in them until she sees exactly who is addressing her. A very cute little person, who is just as much girl as woman. "I uhm… yeah, hi! I'm Delia… are you here to look at the place? I— wait no. You're looking for me?" The paint roller lands a circular dab into the middle of Delia's chest when, by accident, the redhead uses it to point to herself.

The way the jacket fits suggests that Eileen isn't armed. Delia probably doesn't have to worry about blinking — if she closes her eyes, she won't be staring down the barrel of a pistol when she opens them again. The Englishwoman offers her a tight smile, lips dark, rather than a nod of her head, her brown-black hair twisted back into a knot held in place by a series of black pins that glitter under the fading light like the silver rings she wears on her fingers, or the rose-shaped broach fastened to her lapel.

It's a little disparaging, sometimes, to watch the fear bleed out of someone when they first get a look at her after hearing her voice, but she's made the way she was made, and there's no changing her shape. Only its superficial appearance. "I am," she says lightly. "I don't suppose you've had the opportunity to take a look at the basement?"

A puzzled expression crosses Delia's features as she slowly shakes her head, "Uhm. No, not really. I mean, I went down with my dad to check the water heater and the fuse boxes, so I know how to restart them in case— " Her voice drops in a crack and to cover, she clears her throat while putting her free hand in a fist to her mouth. "In case it goes out and he's not here."

There's a small upward twitch of the left side of the redhead's lips as the confused countenance washes away to a more curious one. A tick of one eyebrow invites the other woman to continue, though Delia's blue eyes drift toward the bird on her shoulder. "Is that real?"

In response, the mockingbird gives a flick of its wings that sends it sailing over Delia's head. A sharp turn steers it toward one of the windows, left open to help air out the paint fumes, where it alights on the sill and fans out its tail feathers as if to show the redhead that — yes — it very much is. One black eye twinkles in its socket.

"I haven't had the pleasure of meeting your father yet," Eileen says, "but I've heard you're studying to be a nurse and have some experience working at some of the local hospitals in their emergency rooms. Is that true?"

Delia instinctively ducks when the bird flies over her and her head turns to follow its path through the air, staring in wonder as it comes back to roost. "Whoah…" she breathes softly, marvelling at what she assumes is the immense training that the bird must have had. She snaps to attention after a a brief respite and focuses entirely on Eileen again, her eyes brightening at the question posed.

"Yeah!" The rather excited answer is accompanied by a bright smile on her face. "I mean, yeah, I've got the credits to take the boards for an RN. I was going for my bachelor's so I could go to med school, but well.." Her voice dies out again and the smile wanes.

"We've all had to make some sacrifices." Eileen slips one hand into the pocket of her coat and rests the other at the hollow of her throat, elbow bent and the tips of her fingers curled. Her gaze is steady, but focused somewhere past Delia rather than studying her face or the rueful shape her mouth takes when that smile fades. The mockingbird, on the other hand, remains attentive, its eyes sharp and the motions of its head and neck precise, tracking her movements.

"We used to have a doctor who operated a clinic out of the basement," she explains. "She passed away very recently, so our network's been a little short-handed. I know you and your family are guests here, and it's presumptuous of me to even ask, but I was wondering if you'd be willing to fill in while we look for a replacement. We'll provide you with any supplies you may need."

"Would I?!" The large breath that escapes the tall woman is quickly followed by the return of the brilliant smile. "Are you serious? Because this is some kind of cruel joke if you're not, Ma'am." By Delia's delighted demeanor it's not hard to guess that she doesn't think it's a joke at all.

After clearing her throat into her fist again, she reaches down to gently place the roller into the paint pan and wipes both hands off onto her jeans. "I'm sorry about your doctor though, but I'd be really happy to help out in your clinic. I'd probably do better at that than being a handyman."

The mockingbird seems to share in Delia's excitement, its ink-dipped wings all aflutter. Eileen's expression is much more temperate, though not unkind. A hint of a smile is more visible in her eyes than it is on her mouth, and she lowers the hand at her throat. She cocks her wrist and the mockingbird leaps off the sill into the air with an electric crackle of feathers dangerously close to Delia's ear as it's summoned back. "Either Lynette or Toby should have a second set of keys," means yes, I am. Very serious.

"Making one won't be any trouble if they don't. It's not much, mind. A few extra cots, questionable lighting, but it isn't legal either. Most of your patients are going to be unregistered, and the nature of their injuries are usually the sort that prompt unwanted questions from the authorities, which is why they'll be brought to you. If this is something you're uncomfortable with, it's best that we talk about it now rather than later."

The bird has Delia ducking wildly to the side as it brushes a little too close, nearly knocking her off balance. A small laugh of nervousness bubbles up from her and with rather jerky movements, she straightens up to her full height. "O-okay, I'll get the keys and set up… see what's down there, what I need." Her lower lip is caught between her teeth and nibbled on with a quick chatter.

Listening carefully, she furrows her eyebrows and purses her lips a little in concern. A slow tilt of her head indicates that it might not be exactly what one might be worried about normally. "No, I'm not worried about if they're not registered if they're not worried that I'm not licensed. So, gunshots, stab wounds, things that wouldn't be caused by a normal weapon? If they're not registered, they'd probably be safer if they just came for everything they needed, colds… whatever, wouldn't it? I mean, since the hospitals test automatically."

Eileen tucks her chin into a nod as she transfers the mockingbird from its perch on her wrist to a higher one on her shoulder. "Our network has a limited amount of H5N10 vaccine as well," she says. "You'll be expected to administer it on request and treat any patients who are already exhibiting symptoms— which may mean you'll be asked to visit other safehouses in the interest of keeping Gun Hill as safe as it can be. We haven't had an outbreak here yet.

"I expect you and I are of the same mind when I say that it's going to be your responsibility to keep it that way."

Delia's lips form a small 'o' and the breath that comes out is somewhere between a quick expulsion to calm nerves and a whistle. "Y-yeah, I can do that. Is there a way I can get to and from the other places without— " Her eyebrows furrow a little and upturn at the inner edges betraying a bit of worry. "Without risking being stopped by the police. Just because my dad, and… you know." She's assuming the woman knows, from what she's observed of the organization, it's a fair assumption to make.

"Thanks, thanks for this. Really. I'll do my best to not let you guys down. Before I do it, is it okay if I vaccinate myself? I haven't been yet, I sort of stayed away from flu victims." For other reasons than the obvious at the time.

"I can assign you an escort," Eileen offers. "We've got operatives for that, and if no one else is available then I'll speak with the head of Special Activities and make sure he sees that you get to wherever it is you need to go. Jensen Raith. I don't believe the two of you have been introduced yet, but considering the nature of his work— it's only a matter of time."

The mockingbird hunkers down on her shoulder and sinks its claws into the silky material of her jacket's collar, rocking its weight from matchstick foot to matchstick foot as it gets comfortable. "You'll be expected to have been vaccinated. Most of us with registration cards are."

Blinking rapidly, Delia shakes her head a couple of times. It's either in disbelief or in wonder at the enormous responsibility she was just handed. "Special Activities, Jensen Raith, okay. No, we haven't. I— wow." It's her turn to raise a hand to her neck, but the redhead isn't as graceful as Eileen, not by far. When her fingers curl, they itch at a spot on the side of her neck. Her fingernails drag three white lines of paint down her skin before the young woman realizes that it just doesn't feel right.

Lowering her hand, she spies the paint on her fingers and then self consciously uses her other, cleaner, one to rub at the spot. "I'll make sure to vaccinate right away, I should have had it done a while ago, I guess." There's no explanation to go with it, her experience as of late has been that the less said is usually the better.

The silence that follows — if it can be considered silence at all with the music still playing in the background — is the result of symptom of contemplation rather than hesitation. Eileen's mockingbird makes a thin, raspy sound at the back of its throat as she reaches into her jacket and slips fingers into one of its interior pockets, her head bowed. When it comes out again, she's cradling a watch attached to a long silver chain in her palm.

A deft, practiced gesture of her thumb snaps it open, and the mockingbird cranes its neck to inspect the glass face. "From what I've heard about your father," she says, "I'm surprised he didn't march you down to one of the clinics himself. Why wait so long?"

Her lips are pressed into a thin line and Delia's eyebrows knit together slightly as she looks down. When the line expands into a slight pucker, the hum of thought is quietly emitted. "We— Well, I didn't find out for sure that I was evolved until a few weeks before all of this." Shame colors her cheeks and nose a dull red and she keeps staring at her sneakers, not daring to look up at the other woman. "I was going through a— an ad-adjustment. We had problems."

Delia's hands slide into the pockets of her jeans and she finally lifts her chin enough to be able to stare at Eileen's shins. "I'm not proud and I'm not going to make excuses. I'll just, I'll do my best here." That's when her blue eyes meet the small woman's and then the bird's, like she's speaking to the both of them.

"As far as indiscretions go, I think you'll find that the Ferry's fairly forgiving." Snap goes the pocket watch. Eileen places it back in her jacket. "Your best is the most that anyone can ask. Believe me: as long as you make the effort, those who think less of you for who you are, where come from or what your family's gone through don't have an opinion the rest of us will be putting any faith in. We'll save that for you."

She starts to turn as if to go, the heel of one shoe held a fraction of an inch off the floor. "Is there anything else?"

"No Ma'am," is the quick reply and Delia leans down to grab the paint roller. "I'm going to finish painting up here… then I'll head down there and see what needs to be done." A flick of her wrist sets the roller moving before she turns back to the wall. Twisting her head back to watch Eileen over her shoulder she adds quickly, "Maybe I'll give the clinic a fresh coat too."

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