I'll Be Here


tasha_icon.gif vincent_icon.gif

Scene Title I'll Be Here
Synopsis A family-daughter reunion takes place on Pollepel Island. This one goes better than most for the Lazzaros.
Date November 21, 2010

Pollepel Island

It's mostly cloudy in New York, and so mostly cloudy on Pollepel. Light filters in through narrow windows in neutral slants of white and ash accordingly, fading into more oppressive shadow at an even gradient. Vincent is alone in his quarters for now, and has been for long enough to have unpacked his luggage.

And his guitar.

The latter is balanced black and white across his knees while he strums out the lead in to something that sounds remarkably like Green Day's Longview, notes falling at an unhurried half speed that does very little to lighten the prison cell ambiance his little room in the castle is saturated in. He's not paying very much attention to what he's playing either, trailing uneven towards the end only to pick up again somewhere at the middle, around the region his focus started to trip.

Every inch of the stonework here is immaculate. Cleaner than most of the other rooms, certainly. And there's a touch of sweat at the crewneck of his sweater, fitted charcoal ribbing decidedly ~stylish~ but a far cry from the formality of his usual wardrobe. Odds are this is the calm between spans of slightly more frenetic activity.

The starling that leads Tasha to the door flits away, and Tasha whispers softly, "Thank you." The teen then stands staring at the wood door, her ears catching the tune played on the guitar within, and she steps closer, her head tilting toward the door to catch the sound more fully. She chuckles softly. She didn't even know Vincent knew who Greenday were, and here he knows how to play one of her favorite songs.

She glances down at herself — nothing that should offend his sensibilities overly much, somber as the days after the 8th seem to require: black Doc Martens, black skinny jeans, a gray sweater beneath a gray and red plaid coat, and one of her ubiquitous scarves — blue, not red — around her throat. She looks clean and healthy in comparison to almost everyone else here — the only injury obvious is a bandaged hand.

It's this hand that lifts to knock on the door, and she moves her lips close to the seam where door meets doorjam, to murmur, "It's Tasha," in a voice that betrays her emotions.

It's odd, living in the most pimping pad you've ever had the pleasure of not — really living in for over a year and then moving into more Rapunzelesque digs. Cold, stony, confined. Kind of alien to the sensibilities of someone who's always been oriented in urban NYC, for all that the 'single living arrangement' thing feels pretty familiar.

Right hand stilled across the bridge, music sublimated as quickly as the rest of him tends to, he lifts his stare black to the door. A beat later he's shrugging out of the bass and crossing the few steps needed to pull the door open on freshly greased hinges, relief slacking some of the tension drawn tight around his eyes once he's had a chance to sweep a glance up and down her. No broken bones, gaping wounds or missing limbs.

At first glance he appears to be similarly fine when he says, "Hey," blue jeans and sweater and running shoes all in decent condition. Things tend to stay that way when you never wear them.

"Hey," she echoes, her dark eyes that are such a visual echo of his doing much the same, taking in first his face and then the rest of him, though she'd been told he was fine, that he was safe. Once all four limbs are accounted for, she suddenly steps forward, throwing her arms around his neck and sobbing; the tension of the past few days and the relief of seeing at least one of her parents alive, along with the fear and heartache of leaving Colette behind, all seem to splinter through that little bit of a hold she has on herself, shattering any sort of pretense of not caring, breaking any grudge she held in the past.

"I don't know where Mom is," she whispers, the guilt of having lost Joanna on the 8th evident in her trembling voice.

This must be a little like how that poor bastard in Alien felt when he leaned over that first egg. Only instead of arthropod rape goo he has tears damp through the bristle at his cheek and bony girl arms wrapped firm around his neck, the ridge of an old scar showing faint pink across his collarbone with a shift in sweater and a delayed lift of his arms to wrap her up in turn.

Hugs are okay. Sometimes. Especially when nobody is watching and he is more relieved to see her here and intact than he would like to admit.

"I think you cry every time you see me," is dry without really being an accusation, his voice kept low against her to keep it from carrying. "Your mother is fine." Probably. He hasn't actually, you know. Been able to speak with her. "She was in the hospital for bulletwounds but she's been released. No complications."

"Maybe," is sniffled against his sweater before she relents and steps back, dark eyes full of tears as she stares up at him. "I'm so glad you're okay," she adds. At least these are happy tears, unlike the last.

"She's — she's okay? She was shot? How do you — how do you know? What hospital? Who did she get released to?" A volley of questions fly out of her mouth, though Tasha has the sense to whisper. Her face is pale, worried for Joanna, though there's something of a relief of tension at the same time — clearly she'd thought the worst for the past several days, assumed her mother was dead, and because she had abandoned her.

She trembles, and turns away, tears welling up and spilling over again. "Does she hate me?" she whispers — strange to ask Vincent this of Joanna in a twisted role reversal.

"I'm fine," isn't quite the truth, but the stitches in his side aren't prominant enough to prickle at his sweater and he's on enough medication not to care overmuch if the injury pulls or hitches or cramps. There's certainly no flinching before, after or during the hug, save maybe for a downward twitch at his brow once he's all the way upright again. Hardly enough to register.

"Well," he says, more hesitant at the question of her okayness, "I mean. …She was shot. Pretty seriously, I think. They had her at St. Luke's." Laid back in a resigned kind've way in turn, Lazzaro itches at his collar and glances back into his room. It is still small. Definitely too small to hide easily from Tasha's penchant for really awkward questions, even if she isn't facing him.

"I haven't — actually spoken with her. Should she have a reason to?"

Tasha's head bows and she stares at her feet; the relief of a moment ago is gone, and instead the burden of guilt presses down on her small frame. Narrow shoulders hunch, her hand comes to her mouth to chew at her thumbnail in her age-old habit that neither Vincent nor Joanna have ever been able to break her from.

"I … I left her. I saw T-Tamara, and I jumped out of the car because it was like my v-vision, and I had to try to stop Tamara, and … I thought Mom would follow me or — or that I'd find her, but Tamara was hurt and my phone didn't work when I called for Mom …"

Both hands come up to cover her face; her shoulders rock with the silent sobs. "It's my fault."

…Who? Some two or three steps behind the latest updates from Tasha's social life, Vincent's left to look uncomfortably puzzled at her back, well-muscled shoulders sloped and hands open slack at his sides.

"…Weren't you with Colette, before?" is not — strictly relevant. Strictly. But for whatever reason he seems to think it'll help with the context and so — indirectly. Everything else. Or. Ok, no. He dismisses his own prying interest with a nevermind lift of his right hand, already more tired now than he was when she knocked on the door.

"You probably shouldn't have left her," is the most fatherly thing he can think to say, then, regardless of his understanding of the totality of the situation. "Contact the hospital. Tell them who you are. They should be able to provide you information about her release."

"Tamara is … she's our other roommate," Tasha says, evading the whole truth for simplicity's sake. The fact she made the wrong decision in his eyes just makes her bow her head lower, another sob, this one audible racking her small frame.

"I didn't think we'd get separated that long — there was fired, and Tamara was … Tamara was hurt, and the In-Institute truck was there, and she got… she was going to d-die and we had to let them find her or…"

Tasha's been holding it all in for so long for Colette's sake that now, in the privateness of this small room, but in the audience of her father, she finally breaks down. "They have her — and Mom almost died and now Colette's fifty miles away…" she whispers, somehow Colette being so distant is as bad as the other two in her mind, "and I think it's all my fault somehow. I could have stopped it, if I only made better decisions."

"Maybe," agreed after a pause that takes its time pooling everything in together, Vincent measures a look back at the laptop he has closed on his cot, DoEA seal still printed clear cut across the case. "To a degree. But probably not all of it. Unless you think you're God or. Any other equivalent omnescient deity of your choosing." In which case, the pair of them have more pressing concerns. Like whether or not the Ferry thought to rescue and/or kidnap a psychotherapist in the November 8 rush.

"Learn from it. Either to make better decisions or to live with the consequences. Nobody's perfect. Other than me, obviously." Obviously. Thoughts already having slid somewhat sideways off the actual subject of his daughter standing right there, Vincent reaches automatically for his cigarettes.

Tasha shakes her head and turns back, hands hastily wiping the tears from her face. "I don't believe in God or any equivalent omniscient deity, for the record. I haven't for a long time, and if anything, this month just fucking seals the deal."

She swallows, her self pity finally fading, as she tries to make sense of the reality they're in. "So… what are you going to do, Dad? Stay here and be off grid?" It's weird to think of her father as a fugitive, her law-abiding father with all his utmost respect for the law. "I'll probably head back, m-maybe tomorrow so I can find out where M-mom is, but … I'll come back here, too. Can I … what can I do?"

It may be the first time she's offered him help since she was a little girl, volunteering to help wash his car or do yardwork or do anything he was doing, back when she was Daddy's Girl, so long ago.

"Oh," says Vincent. "Well," the lighter is out next, familiar flip easy from thumb to cigarette end with a click and scrape. "That's okay. Neither do I." In case she needed affirmation on that account.

Arguably, approval is something. Even if it's only approval of the firm belief that there is no God.

Nicotine relief released at a lingering sigh, he takes his time rolling the filter around in his mouth and then between his fingers before he answers he re: what in the fuck he intends to do with himself now, the truth leaking tell-tale through lengthening silence: He has no idea.

When he does answer, it's on the tale end of a fresh drag and a reach for bottled water he abandoned on a shelf earlier, cap untwisted and contents sloshed chilly but not particularly cold. "I have to stay. At least for a little while." Then he kind of laughs. More just a showing of his teeth that's quickly drowned out by a swig of water and a more solid shake of his head. "Just be careful."

The laugh worries her, though she smiles, and reaches to touch his arm lightly, then slides it down to grip his hand, her small hand squeezing in reassurance and sympathy, much as she's done so many times these past two weeks to Colette.

And probably to about the same level of effectiveness. Which is to say, none.

"I'm so glad you're okay," Tasha says again. "I'll stay at least until tomorrow. I'll come by and see you tomorrow, okay? I should … I should let you rest, and go find somewhere to sleep for the night."

Vincent's larger hand grasps in echo around hers in turn, automatically, naturally reassuring while he sets the water back down. Everything is fine. She is the one who is crying all over.

"Okay." Okay. Surely there is something else in here that he can occupy himself with. More pushups, or. The Entertainment section of the single newspaper he brought along. "I'm glad you're okay too. And — I'll be here."

Tasha squeezes his hand once more and takes a step toward the door, then hesitates, looking back.

"Or I could stay. If you want… you know. Company."

She's almost lost him one, two, now three times, though she's unaware of the third, of those stitches in his side hidden by his shirt. If she leaves the island, is there any guarantee she'll see him again? There's so much she doesn't know about him, so much he doesn't know about her.

Tasha chews her lip uncertainly, Colette's bad habit echoed on her face, then nods to the instrument set aside when she'd knocked.

"You could teach me to play."

It's something neutral, something that they can do, to be near one another and company to one another. Something to focus on besides the frightening future before them. Something that matters to them both, a common thread in their lives.

Generally fine without company of the sort he can't, in good conscience, order to bring him a latte, Vincent eyes her and the promise of her exit wordlessly for an awkward minute. Weighing. If he tells her to go away she will probably cry again.

Also he literally does not have anything better to do.

Cigarette passed back from hand to mouth, he rolls out a mild, "Alright," right sleeve tugged up a couple've sluggish inches before he leans to reach for the displaced guitar. "We'll have to do it without the amp." There are neighbors, and. He is already not their favorite, for some reason.

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