Her Canvas


colette_icon.gif tasha_icon.gif

Scene Title Her Canvas
Synopsis To help Tasha de-stress from her encounter with her father, Colette takes her down to Grand Central to add her fish to Joseph's wall.
Date April 27, 2010

Grand Central Terminal

Laughter is the best medicine, to mend broken hearts, tender emotions, and the sore spots that a life in the world that was created with the bomb easily makes on two teenage girls. Laughter is, ultimately, the end result of a long and winding journey through the dark and lonely subway tunnels of Midtown. Guided only by one's naturally abundant light, Colette Nichols and Tasha Oliver made steady course into the heart of the Ferry's operations in New York City, Grand Central Station.

"Bitch!" From the way Colette shouts while giggling that, it would seem that she's on her way to finding something better than regret to hold on to. Dappled with orange and red paint on her nose, cheeks and across her tattered and old black hooded sweatshirt, Colette looks down at fresh paint spattered across her clothing. Old and worn jeans two sizes too big and held on with a belt she had to make an extra hole for because of how skinny she is, it's clear she's dressed for making a mess.

Face flushed and lips crooked into a smile, Colette holds a palette of acrylic paint with one hand and a brush brandished like a knife in the other towards the equally paint-spattered brunette across from her.

In the middle of grand central station is a wall, a once bare concrete wall that has since been covered with what most people would call graffiti. Some say Joseph Sumter started it out of boredom, others say as therapy, but grand central's fish tank painting is a collaborative piece given texture, color and life by every Ferrymen operative that visits it.

They'd agreed to work together, have Tasha paint her fish on the wall, next to where Colette pointed out her own, a neon green and purple blowfish making a very angry face. But somehow the pass-time of just unwinding and trying to de-stress turned into a slap fight with paintbrushes, and now Colette has a spot of blue on the tip of her nose that she's going cross-eyed trying to see.

Around the teens, Grand Central hums with life. Couriers bring supplies in from the Brick House still, refugees that were living there now moved here to the underground passages. It's made living arrangements tight, with the fold out cots filling up and storage spaces becoming crowded. Thankfully, having stayed down here as long as she has, Colette knows all the good — often times remote — places to stay.

But that's neither here nor there, right now. "I'll paint your whole face I swear!" Colette whoops out the words with a giggle, threatening the orange paint on the tip of her brush to Tasha. They've gotten about halfway done painting the Bostonian transplant's fish.

But Colette's smiling again, at least.

"You wouldn't!" Tasha protests before dipping her paintbrush into the paint once more, holding it up and getting her fingers wet with blue paint as she holds it like one might hold a spoon full of food at a food fight, ready to catapult the paint at Colette should she get closer.

In someone else's clothes Colette found for her, Tasha looks a bit like a waif, too-long pants cuffed three times over so she wouldn't trip on the hems. The sweatshirt and pants ensemble is likewise splattered, giving the grayed fabric some life, the colors almost neon against the dingy canvas. In some ways, the colorful paint could be seen like a metaphor for this moment — finding levity and humor and brightness out of the past difficult days — or even their friendship, born of strife and struggle.

One wouldn't know it, for the shrieks and giggles that come from the pair, getting looks of amusement by some of the volunteers and residents and perhaps some irritation by others with less of a sense of humor — or tolerance for high-pitched girly noises.

"Would you?" Tasha asks, a little more dubiously, backing up from the wall so that if they do attack one another, the fresco fish are safe from their warpath.

Lifting the brush again, Colette's nose wrinkles and brows furrow, and she takes one threatening step forward, then flick. Yes, she would. A glob of orange paint daubs not on Tasha's sweater, or her jeans, or the wall behind them. Instead the flicked paint goes in her hair and Colette's green eyes go wide with that revelation of an escalation of mess. So far they'd managed to avoid getting paint in each other's hair, but now, it may as well be war.

Breaking down in fitful giggles, Colette knows she's int rouble as she starts to backpedal, smile wide and goofy, bubbling giggle hyperactively rising up from within her as she uses the palette as a makeshift shield, trying to curl up into a ball as she backs away, the paint on the palette running together and dripping off the bottom in blurred smears where her borrowed sneakers smudge through it.

"I suddender, I— " Colette keeps laughing as she shrieks, "I surrender!" There's a smile on her face Tasha hasn't had the opportunity to see yet, and in this moment of goofy light-heartedness a side of her that's more her age. An eighteen year old girl shouldn't need to know what it feels like getting shot in a bullet-proof vest, she should be laughing, smiling and making an idiot of herself like she is right now.

"I surrendeeeer!" This is the first time since Colette's joined the Ferrymen, that she's actually felt as young as she really is. She's experencing her youth out of order.

"Oh no you din't…" The catch-phrase sounds completely foreign coming out of her mouth, as Tasha's blue-painted fingers go to touch her hair — without thinking. The petite girl's dark eyes peer upward in a comical caricature as if she could see what a mess she's made, and she brings her hand down to stare at it — the orange on the blue already mixing into an especially attractive puce.

"I… am an idiot," Tasha announces, laughing and shaking her head before she looks back up to Colette trying to wave a proverbial white flag in surrender. But all's fair in love and war.

Without warning, she flicks the paint at her adversary, a streak of blue slashing down the other's torso, bisecting her in a splattered line of speckles and dots.

Squeaking noisily, Colette drops the palette and— disappears.

The wooden palette clatters to the concrete floor and wobbles around in the time it takes for Colette to look like a mistake on someone's canvas that had paint thinner thrown on it. She just bleeds away, peeling from reality into something entirely unseen. There's a few telltale signs of her movement, a footprint in paint that she tracks behind herself, but by the time Colette's made that mistake, she's already right where she wants to be.

Giggling is not the best thing to do when hiding, and when Colette loops an arm around Tasha's waist invisibly, the shorter brunette is tugged back against a paint smeared sweater and she can feel Colette's hand at her stomach, see the imprint of it but not see it. Though what else she can feel is the touch of a thin paintbrush's bristles on her cheek very purposefully.

It's hard to mistake the shape of a heart when it's painted, two curved lines locked together just so. That's exactly what gets painted small and in thin outline on Tasha's cheek, a little sideways orange heart. Slowly, Colette starts to fade back into view, hand at Tasha's sweater first, then the one holding the brush; color, contrast and volume all come back next one after the other. The giggling though stays about the same, if it's not somewhat hushed and bashful at this point.

The squeak gets a snort from Tasha before Colette fades from view. "You —" Tasha says, eyes sweeping the area as she turns in a slow circle. "Cheaterface." But the giggling gives the hider away, and it's just when she hears the other when she is pulled against her. An "ooh" is sighed out as Tasha glances down at that hand on her waist — her lips part as if to say something before the wet bristles are touching her cheek. A slight shiver runs through her — after all, it's cold in the tunnels, and the paint is wet.

"I'm telling," Tasha says in a mock childlike voice. "Do I look like a canvas, missy?"

Tasha's drawn enough hearts in her time, like all little girls, to figure out the symbol traced in orange paint on her face and she laughs, a little weakly. The hand not holding the paintbrush reaches for the hand on her sweater, blue paint streaking Colette's fingers as Tasha's fingers interlace with them.

Teeth toy with Colette's lower lip, and she sways to the side playfully, as if suddenly leading Tasha in a dance number that only goes two steps. "I hadn't even thought about that," Colette notes with a wrinkle of her nose and a giggle, resting her head against Tasha's as her fingers curl with the ones laced between her own. Colette's other hand brings the paintbrush up again, drawing another little heart on the side of her neck, this one smaller.

"You could— " Mustering up the courage to actually say the things she means, Colette's voice hitches in her throat ever so briefly. "You could… you know, be a pretty cute canvas." The teen's arm around Tasha's waist squeezes gently in an embrace, and Colette lets the bristles of the brush lower. "Really, really cute canvas."

Colette's paint-smudged nose brushes against Tasha's temple, and it's a show of affection that Colette seems just a little nervous to make, testing the limits of what she can get away with and how better to express the way she feels for the other girl. In truth, she's still figuring out the latter part. "We should finish your fishie," Colette notes in a tiny, hushed tone of voice, then pokes her paint-smudged nose right in Tasha's ear.

The paintbrush against her neck brings a sharp intake of breath from the shorter girl, the bristles both cool and tickling and yet bringing a flush of warm heat to the skin — a pink shade that clashes with the acrylic orange. Her eyes close for a moment and her dark lashes flutter like moths against a light bulb. Her brown eyes fly open at the teasing of Colette's nose against her temple and then her ear, and she laughs, a low and breathless laugh.

"Fishie," Tasha echoes, before spinning quickly to face Colette, brandishing her paintbrush swiftly and dabbing Colette — right in the little hollow beneath her lower lip, and down her chin like a little Fu-Manchu beard. Brown eyes sparkling, she backs away, keeping her eyes full of Colette for a long, lingering moment before she moves back to the wall with the mural.

Squeaking out a laugh as the brush comes down her chin, Colette ducks her head, blush feathering down her neck from the redness of her face. She reaches up, smudging that blue with her thumb, green eyes following Tasha over to the mural as she shakes her head, laughing happily. Eventually Colette follows her, only after bending down to pick up the palette, walking up behind Tasha and offering it out silently as she leans her shoulder against the marginally younger girl.

Colette dips one index finger in the paint, sliding a streak of blue and orange together before creeping across the crumpled and paint-streaked canvas at the base of the mural. She croyches by Tasha's fish, just a face and one fin right now, and uses her finger to paint the outline of the back side in a swirling streak of orange and blue. Lips creep up into a smile, and as she turns there's a tug of her teeth on her lower lip.

It's haphazard, half finished and the back end is blend of garish colors. Colette sets the palette down, dark brows lifted, then drops her paint brush into it, sticking to the acrylic there, and rises up to walk towards Tasha.

She hasn't said anything, and continues not to when she just loops her arms around Tasha's shoulders, steps forward and holds her tightly, letting a messy hand track neon fingerprints at the base of her neck. Colette's nose touches Tasha's, and the teen breathes out a giggle, leaning to the side soe she's cheek to cheek with Tasha and they're both looking at the hastily finished fish. "Feelin' beter?" Colette asks softly.

Her eyes dipping as always when Colette comes in so close, nose to nose, then cheek to cheek, Tasha nods, one hand curling around Colette's waist; careful of the recently bruised ribs, she rests the hand on the other's far hip as they look at the fish. The orange heart painted on her cheek transfers a mirrored copy to Colette, though Tasha's eyes do not notice at first. Her eyes are looking at the fish near Colette's, and then all of the others swimming on the concrete wall — a school of Ferry fish. A family.

"Just don't tell anyone I'm an art student, okay?" Was an art student. "They'll be able to figure out why I dropped out." There's a flash of her quick grin before she turns to look at Colette. The grin softens, and she brings blue-stained fingers up to touch the orange heart mirroring her own on Colette's cheek.

There's a soft sound in the back of Colette's throat when she leans her head to the side, messy hair matting down with Tasha's and Colette snorts out a laugh as she watches the same scene of the fish. "Whenever I wonder about if the Ferry's doing something right… I come down here and look at Joseph's painting," Colette says quietly, "all the anonymous little fish, no single one would make the painting good on its own, it's only when you mix all'a the styles and colors together that it seems right…"

Tlting her head away from Tasha, Colette slants a look at her and squeezes gently with one arm. "I've said it before, and I'll say it to every single person a talk to… the Ferry's a family. I don't know what it's like back up north, but here…" Colette's lips creep into a bright smile, teeth tugging at her bottom lip before she looks back to the painting.

"Here we can all fit in."

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