Happy First


abby6_icon.gif huruma3_icon.gif nicole2_icon.gif quinn3_icon.gif

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Scene Title Happy First
Synopsis Ferry friends and family gather on blankets and grass for music and laughter to celebrate Kasha Beauchamp's first birthday.
Date May 31, 2011

Central Park

Central Park has been, and remains, a key attraction in New York City, both for tourists and local residents. Though slightly smaller, approximately 100 acres at its southern end scarred by and still recovering from the explosion, the vast northern regions of the park remain intact.

An array of paths and tracks wind their way through stands of trees and swathes of grass, frequented by joggers, bikers, dog-walkers, and horsemen alike. Flowerbeds, tended gardens, and sheltered conservatories provide a wide array of colorful plants; the sheer size of the park, along with a designated wildlife sanctuary add a wide variety of fauna to the park's visitor list. Several ponds and lakes, as well as the massive Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir, break up the expanses of green and growing things. There are roads, for those who prefer to drive through; numerous playgrounds for children dot the landscape.

Many are the people who come to the Park - painters, birdwatchers, musicians, and rock climbers. Others come for the shows; the New York Shakespeare Festival at the Delacorte Theater, the annual outdoor concert of the New York Philharmonic on the Great Lawn, the summer performances of the Metropolitan Opera, and many other smaller performing groups besides. They come to ice-skate on the rink, to ride on the Central Park Carousel, to view the many, many statues scattered about the park.

Some of the southern end of the park remains buried beneath rubble. Some of it still looks worn and torn, struggling to come back from the edge of destruction despite everything the crews of landscapers can do. The Wollman Rink has not been rebuilt; the Central Park Wildlife Center remains very much a work in progress, but is not wholly a loss. Someday, this portion of Central Park just might be restored fully to its prior state.

In a corner of central park, off the thoroughly beaten path or the regular traversing of the mounted police - or whomever else might be watching for terrorists that gather - is a small group. Innocent looking enough, adults with children, a couple blankets laid out, food of the store bought picnic variety spread across some of these blankets having a post-memorial weekday playgroup. Or party, depending if you get close enough. Members or guests of the Ferry who could leave Pollepel and come out for the day, enjoy civilisation briefly before returning back to it.

A cake in a box waits, with Kasha's name on it and a '1' candle as this is a celebration of the appointed birthday day, her first year of life and one of nearly 8 months for most of the people here, of roughing it in an abandoned castle.

There's no balloons, no party hats, nothing to really tell that it's a birthday for someone. Unless gifts were brought and even then, people were reminded, that it had to be small, and carryable. Kasha's exploring, getting all up in the business of the other kids who have come, using some of them to stand and look around, pink sundress, white cardigan and new shoes.

Quinn never passes up an opportunity to be around the kids, even ones she doesn't know particularly well, such as Kasha. She would be a bit nervous about being in the park - an open area - with people she knows are wanted, but to be entirely honest, she'd be surprised if a cop recognised anyone at a glance, and more so if they thought to break up what clearly a gathering of small children. So, here she is, a smile on her few face as she strums as quietly as she can at her guitar, brought to play a few children's songs before the end of the day, be it here or elsewhere.

She's dressed for the weather in a white button up shirt and a knee length straight black skirt, laughing a bit as she watches the small child in question. She was smart enough not to ride her scooter out here, and after her talk with Bella, she may not stick around too long just in case she's recognised, but for now? She's going to have fun with kids.

There are a few fold-out canvas chairs perched along the blankets spread out on early summer grass; Huruma is in one of them, leaning back into the fabric and confident that the metal rods that make it up will be able to hold her. With how she's been back and forth, she doesn't have too many nice things on the island to wear off of it. Sneakers, worn camouflage capris tied at the knee, and an olive tank-top, don't really result in fancy, but at least she has them, right? Even if they're probably from some poorly run surplus shop.

The weather is heated again today, though not as much as the nineties the couple days before. Huruma watches Kasha with some of the other kids, a half-filled bottle of water swinging idly from her hand. "This makes me feel absolutely tame, by comparison." Gets muttered to whoever is listening, as she takes the pair of black glasses on her shirt to put them back over her eyes. "I feel like a sore thumb." Or you know, just a little bit grumpy.

Nicole wasn't invited to this party, so she isn't here for the party. But like the gathered Ferrymen, she's off the beaten path to avoid unwanted attention. She's been to visit the memorial set up in Central Park with pictures and letters to the lost in Midtown. Her face is still on there. A photograph so faded that it's unrecognisable now. She's tacked a green ribbon to the board. A signal to Colette that she wants to meet.

There hasn't been a response so far. There won't be again. She doesn't want to go home to her empty condo just yet. The gathering of people picnicking on blankets catches the politico's attention, but she initially gives them a wide berth. Until she recognises a the singing voice. And the face it belongs to. Just as Robyn Quinn feared might happen, but not by anyone she actually has to fear.

And so, Nicole Nichols approaches. Cautiously. A bottle of Vitamin Water is held loosely between two fingers by the ridge where the cap screws onto the neck. Its translucent burgundy colour seems to almost purposely complement the raspberry colour of her halter top. She's opted for shorts today, her BlackBerry in one back pocket, and an new pack of menthols in the other. When she feels she's close enough, she raises her hand to wave.

"You're fine. If you like, I can break out the cake and have Kasha smear some all over your face" The white and pink confection stowed away under a seat where it can't get walked all over or smashed. Abby falls quiet after though, so she can enjoy the music that Quinn is providing with a smile. Entertainment that others would have to pay money for, but for them, it's free. Abby slouches in her seat, for at least t his hour, her mind will be on the party, the other kids of varying ages who are here and keeping an eye out for someone she hopes will show up. She's checking her phone at least for a text message. It's then that she spies Nicole, watches the woman wave to Quinn and cocks her head to the side, trying to figure out who it is.

Quinn doesn't notice the figure waving at her, instead caught up in playing her quiet children's songs for those gathered around her, a smile angled towards Abby. It's when Abby tilts her head, that Quinn's attention finally moves over to Nicole, an eyebrow quirked as the music suddenly comes to a stop, a surprised look forming on her face as she registers the interloper.

"Nicole!" she replies excitedly, hoping up to her feet with arms open and a guitar hanging in front of her. "What are you doin' out this way?" Careful move through the small group, she makes her way over to Nicole and wraps arms around her in a probably expected hug. "I've been meanin' t' call you, you know. Since, you know, we never got back t' each other about stuff after the last little big, uh, thing." Dream. Whatever. Vague words exchanged even though Quinn's pretty sure everyone there knows what's up.

Turning back to the others, Quinn steps back towards Abby and Hooms waving a hand dismissively back in Nicole's direction. "She's cool," she insists. "Meet Nicole Nichols, if you guys haven't already."

"Pink isn't my color." Huruma scoffs, rolling her head back to expose the length of her neck. Her feet are propped one over the over, the laces of her sizeable tennis shoes half undone. One of the munchkins was untying them earlier, and she hasn't the heart to retie them yet. Her eyes are drawn steadily outside the group towards the woman that approaches with a rather calm wave to the guitarist. For Abby and herself, the moment is spent in mutually similar thought.

Huruma visibly sinks back, whatever small tenseness leaving her when Quinn moves to meet Nicole. She seems okay with the encounter, and Quinn's judgment on this new face. Her name sounds familiar, though only in that way one feels they should know it and don't.

Rather than verbalize any of this, Huruma raises the hand not holding onto her water to offer Nicole a short gesture of greeting, also preferring to see if Abby vocalizes first.

Nicole returns Quinn's hug warmly, careful not to smoosh the guitar. She'd feel bad if she broke one of its strings or something. "Good to see you, Quinn," she returns. Then, quieter in the woman's ear she asks, "Is that Robert Caliban's wife over there?" She'd heard the rumours. (About Abby's affiliations, not the state of the Calibans' marriage.) Drawing back, she leaves one hand on the musician's shoulder for a moment before she shifts her smile around to Abigail and Huruma.

Sometimes just the mere attribution of the name Nichols brings out the similarities between Nicole and her sister. Her eyes are blue, where Colette's are green (at least one of them is), but they have the same dark hair (though Nicole's has blue undertones dyed into hers) and the same shape of face. The same slight build. The same smile.

The name ticks over in her head, rolling through her head. Affiliates it with Colette. Affiliates it with the person that Benjamin Ryans spoke about in the council. It's another two minutes before she registers where she's seen the woman and is stiffening in her seat. She can't hear Nicole's question, but she knows where she's seen her and is on guard.

Sorta wants to get off the chair and go grab Kasha and haul her back. "She works with my.. former husband." Hushed words shared between Huruma as the black emotional level of her being rises just a bit and anxiety sinks it's claws in. "I don't know what she's doing here." Which earns a lift of Abigail's chin upwards in a greeting, hand closing around the Sierra Mist can in her hand.

For Quinn's part, she doesn't seem to notice the sudden anxiety. "Something like that?" is offered back to Nicole, quietly. Quinn doesn't always keep track of that kind of thing - Abby is Abby, and Quinn doesn't really pay attention to her marital status. She only barely even remembers that the woman is married sometimes. "So, what brings you out here?" Quinn asks Nicole as she takes her seat again, pulling the guitar in her lap, before angling a look over towards Abby.

"I don't know if Lynette ever told you guys, but Nicole's…" she looks around, and her voice lowers dramatically as she leans over. "joining up." Leaning back, her smile returns. "Alright. does anyone have a request? Or should I just wing it on somethin'? Huruma, do you have any suggestions?"

Huruma feels the differences when they come from Abby, tilting her head when she makes the notation. The dark woman grinds her jaw for a few passing seconds, but otherwise stays quiet on the matter of where Nicole works, because there is always a better question. Her feet uncross, planting themselves in the grass.

"It doesn'feel like she is up to anything." She does feel the need to let Abby know this, watching the two talk from behind her sunglasses. "I take it she must have just seen miss Quinn an'decided t'say hello." A pause, and Huruma is sitting up at what Quinn says, left to examine Nicole more closely than before.

She almost doesn't catch the question, looking between them before realizing it was indeed meant for her. "Mm?" Right. Huruma tries to recall the last song she heard on the radio, for the sake of not being slow. "Simple Man? …If you know it?" She twists open the lid to her water bottle as she asks.

"Just leaving a message for 'Letty," Nicole answers easily. "Felt like getting away from people, and happened on you guys instead." She tilts her head to one side, briefly sliding her hand down to Quinn's forearm and squeezing. "I have so much to tell you."

She follows after as Quinn rejoins the gathering, but doesn't presume to sit down and join them. Nicole stays standing, posture loose and neutral, flicking a smile Abby's direction. "You're Abigail, aren't you? It's nice to meet you."

The children are oblivious to the ongoings, some of the adults as well, getting out the fodder needed to start making bubbles, one of the older kids helping Kasha stand - wobbly as she may be - and reach for them. Abigail just nods her head to Nicole. "Abigail Beauchamp. You worked for Robert, or for his boss, something like that. You were with him at d'Sarthe's last year" She interacted with so few of Caliban's co-workers. "We're just having a party for my daughter. She's turned one, you're welcome to stay for some cake if you like." Trying to play nice, be nice. "This is Huruma, her godmother." A few others names tossed out.

"I'm Kasha's private entertainment," Quinn quips, her joking way of sounding as important as everyone else. The mention of leaving a message for Colette darkens Quinn's expression a bit - and then it lights back up. "I have a message for you t' leave her!" she says excitedly. "Later, though." She refrains from adding maybe one that'll get her to come home, that just gets everyone's hopes too much, as much as Quinn wishes it were true. Having a lot to tell Quinn, though, gets a bit of an eyebrow raise.

Taking her seat back, fingers strum across the strings for a moment. "She's adorable, Abby. I can't believe it took me this long t' meet her, she's absolutely precious." And then she begins to play - albeit somewhat poorly - Simple Man. She doesn't sing, though. "It's nice t' have so many friendly faces out here today. Great day for it."

It still feels weird. Having her own kids call her 'mother', and Abby call her even just a 'godmother', it comes as an always idle prick in the back of her head. Yeah, they really say it, and they really mean it too. Huruma takes a drink of the water, watching Nicole, the least familiar, with an intensely watchful gaze.

"God knows w'don'want t'give th'kids too much cake." Just imagine the sounds of little feet, up and down and climbing on the walls. Not the most annoying sound, no, but still. "More for us, hm?" Huruma offers up a small smile at this. "It is not raining, I think you mean." Is aimed at Quinn. Spring was incredibly wet, even in the city.

Nicole's smile doesn't falter for a moment when Abby introduces herself by her maiden name. Either the news doesn't come as a shock, she assumes she didn't change her name, or she's just got a good poker face. "Oh, yes. I did see you there. You were blonde then, right? I knew there was something!" Only once she's invited does she settle down on piece of blanket, and confirm, "I work for the Linderman Group, yes."

Her gaze drifts to Huruma, smile no less bright for her than it was for Abigail. "A pleasure, Huruma." Then her attention turns to the little birthday girl, "Ah, she's beautiful, Ms. Beauchamp. Look at those pretty blue eyes!" Quietly she giggles, obviously fond of babies. Some of her enthusiasm dims when Quinn mentions leaving a note for her sister, because she also doesn't believe it will bring her home.

Still is, somewhat when she take soff her ballcap, the blonde roots painfully obvious. "I was, I thought I'd take a touir as a Brunette for a bit" And by Nicole's actions, she's certain, for now, that Raith hadn't gotten around to offing her husband yet. Or there's be likely condolences set. "I'm going to deal with the cake" Said to everyone, letting Huruma vegetate to her music and Nicole to join in the social scene that is this little affair. There will be a boat to get everyone to tonight and back to the Island. Abby will stick in town a few days at least.

"It's not raining, there's no snow jult melting, there's no any a' that stupid crap," Quinn replies with a laugh, still strumming out the song for a moment, before she stops - more because she doesn't really know the rest of the song than anything else. "Cake sounds absolutely amazin' right now," she notes, leaning forward bit as she looks over at the kids that have no wandered away from around her. "Kasha's wonderful. Don't tell Lance, but she's my favourite of the kids." Now she is, at least. "I almost went that d'Sarthe's party, with my ex. I'm rather glad I didn't end up making it out there, all things considered, but it sounded like things at least started out alright that night."

Huruma won't mind looking after the hayseed if she needs to; after a nod in return to Nicole, her watchful eye does wander over to Kasha. The bubbles are an amazing affair, and one of the kids manages to be able to make some absurdly large ones that dandle about in the air. "Let us hope that it does not get terribly hot. Best not tempt fate."

"Kasha-" Huruma leans forward in her seat, gesturing at the older child beside the baby to lead her over. "-give her over here. My lap is too empty…" Meaning that she just wants some kid time for herself; Huruma doesn't say she needs it, though Abby can hear it in her words.

The opening at d'Sarthe's was the first time Nicole tried her hand at playing assassin, so to speak. At Robert Caliban's behest, for Kain Zarek's incompetence. It prompts her to insist, "It wasn't really that great a party." But she doesn't say that Quinn didn't miss much.

The smile vanishes from Nicole's face, a sorrow filling her up. It doesn't show in her face other than in sudden woolgathering and that absence of previous elation, looking more serene than saddened.

"Well, now that you've said it, you've jinxed us all. 90s for the rest of the month, and I blame you!" Quinn points a finger with mocking accusation, before lowering it at Kasha. "You'll keep things cool, right Kasha? Maybe you'll manifest as an ice manipulator at a young age. That'd be handy." And quite the mess to clean up, too.

A look over to Nicole, and Quinn can sort of tell the downturn in mood, though she's not entirely sure of it. She leans over, jabbing the woman with her elbow. "You think? Ah, well, whatever. Gone and past now. Come on, know any songs? You can sing for the kids while I play. It'll be fun."

"Nineties are nothing." Huruma sticks her chin in the air a bit, returning the finger with a mildly threatening look, equally comical. "Try one-hundred ten on, and then we'll talk." She reaches out to pick up Kasha when the other child pulls her over, propping the babe on her knee and eliciting a preemptive mumbling of 'Uma' from her, followed by something else that sounds like a tale in babble. Huruma's eyes behind the glasses watch Nicole over the little blonde head, catching onto the passing melancholy.

"I'm sure you know better children's songs than I do." Huruma offers that much for Nicole, next. "I don'know many in English."

Nicole looks up when Quinn nudges her. "Huh? Oh. Uhm. Do you know Dancing in the Street?" She's quick to offer another smirk then. I totally wasn't just indulging in that gloom I'm increasingly known for. Uh-uh. "I'm incredibly unhip sometimes," she assures Huruma. "I never learned many children's songs. Maybe some Beatles?"

"I think I can do Dancing in the Street. But…" Quinn sits up a bit, adjusting the the guitar in her lap as she begins to strum. "Beatles, I can definitely do. I don't really know many more children's songs than what I've already played t' be entirely honest." She looks over at Huruma, a bit disbelievingly. "A hundred and ten?! You've got t' be fec—" A pause, eyes angled down at the young girl. "You've got t' be kiddin' me. I can't handle that. Ever. Nope, I'm going back t' Ireland if it gets that hot."

"You an'me both." Huruma smiles, but it is far more sheepish than before- almost a little grimace, even. "I'ave no idea what people listen to, these days. A couple things that get caught in my ears, maybe…" Other than that, Nicole isn't the only one that is unhip to children. "We can be unhip all that we please." Which is what she eventually decides upon.

"Yes, one-hundred ten. I am from Africa, and, barring stereotypes, th'heat index is fact, not fiction.." Huruma smiles, her smooth voice trailing off as Kasha reaches up to pluck the glasses off of her face, leaving her pale eyes to the light. Kasha then proceeds to try and put them on her own face. It doesn't pan out well.

"Yeah, if they'll even let you on a plane," Nicole scoffs. "Da-rrrn TSA." Smooth. Good catch, Nichols. "I'll just hide indoors with my air conditioning and a margarita." She scoots a little closer to Quinn to hear the guitar better. "Okay. Pick a song and let's do this. Hopefully no one feels the need to cover their ears."

Finally, Nicole can begin to see what drew Colette to the Ferry Network. If this is part of what it means to be a member, it's worth a little civil disobedience. (Or terrorism, but let's not go splitting hairs here.)

"I'll just fly outta Canada if they won't." That does cause Quinn to grimace a bit - she had forgotten about that little worry, and how it might apply to her. "I'm not going t' let stupid biased rules keep me from getting home t' see my dad and birthplace. Besides, if we don't do it in Boston, Elaine an' I might have our wedding out there. Or our honeymoon or something. Either way, they better let us f-ffflippin' fly." Quinn shrugs a bit, watching for a moment as Abby passes out cake. She's not going to lie, she's eager for a piece, even if she could probably get some for free by going to see Elaine at Oh So Sweet.

Ceasing her idle strumming, Quinn smirks as she sits up a bit, and begins to play. "This always sounds a bit off acoustic, but I'm sure everyone knows it…" And with that, she begins to sing, smiling as she looks between the other two women and the baby.

What would you think if I sang out of tune

Would you stand up and walk out on me?

Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song

And I'll try not to sing out of key

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends

Mmm, I get high with a little help from my friends

Mmm, gonna try with a little help from my friends

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