It Made You Dangerous


bella_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title It Made You Dangerous
Synopsis Turns out there's some things that seriously rattle Tamara's composure. Bella is one of them.
Date August 2, 2009

Belvedere Castle

Attached to Belevedere Castle is a short granite walkway terminating in a square pavilion. Its rooftop is red and white striped, the colors long since faded to dullness by sun and weather; wooden latticework defines a series of arches along its perimeter, through which can be seen Turtle Pond in one direction, the small castle itself overlooking that pond, and a swathe of woodlands on the other side.

It was just cloudy earlier, warm, sticky-humid; that kind of oppressive atmosphere that encourages most people to remain inside. It was just cloudy until a matter of seconds ago, when the early afternoon sky decided to open up and let rain fall to earth. Now there are even fewer people out in the park, most of those who were having found a convenient shelter; a few stubborn diehards are moving through the downpour regardless. The smart ones brought umbrellas.

Tamara has an umbrella, a bright red one, but it sits closed on one of the pavilion's benches. The girl herself is just beside, arms crossed over the low stone wall, gaze turned towards the pond. Turtles don't care about the rain and do actually live in the pond, but the reeds and irises currently mask any such from view. There's not much to see, except drops striking the water's surface. Tamara herself is dressed in a violet tanktop and black jeans, her hair bound in a braid that looks like it's been neglected for some time; frazzled and fussy around the edges, from the long blond strands gradually working their way loose here and there. There's small splatters of dried mud around the hems of her jeans, very visible against the black surface, and her sneakers have definitely seen better times.

She tries very hard not to look over her shoulder, but not even the sybil can avoid that entirely. Prescience has its drawbacks as well as its benefits.

Fewer people in the park means more park for the brave visitors, and this is a much preferred circumstance for Isabella Sheridan, who likes a sense of privacy even in wide open public places. This is part of why she doesn't go out more often. But the cantankerous clouds and their sullen rain present an opportunity for the woman, and so after donning the least ridiculous raincoat she can find and taking an umbrella in hand, she winds her way into Central Park, her purse slung over her shoulder, a notebook peeking out. That smell of rainfall and earth mingling drift up to her nostrils, evoking no specific memories, but some deeper ethos from childhood. It both pleases and slightly unnerves her.

With the park so empty, and strange chemicals firing in her brain in the face of aroma, she can't help but notice with an omenic sort of 'huh?' as she spots bright red of Tamara's umbrella and, shortly after, the semi-furtive glance. Working for the Company hasn't given her agent-level paranoia, but she's still naturally suspicious; they practically consider it a career skill. But her response to strangeness is curiosity, and when the path she's on forks, she takes the one that'll lead her to the benches and the red umbrella.

Tamara doesn't have to look to know Bella is approaching the pavilion. She does it anyway, watching the woman's approach sidelong, the sort of wary gaze a cat gives to some completely foreign object planted in the middle of its space. What is this? Why is it here? What do I do about it? The girl doesn't actually move, although the tension in her posture would like to; after a long moment, she averts her gaze, looking back down at the ripples in the pool. Most people find them soothing. Tamara's brows furrow, and in the end she closes her eyes, rubbing at the middle of her forehead.

Foreknowledge isn't soothing, nor does ignorance lead to a troubled mind, so it is with minimal trepidation that the one who doesn't see this coming, Bella, moves towards the pavillion. She's within feet of its shelter when she dips her umbrella, a classic New York emergency black, and folds it, getting a fair few droplets of rain, darkening the red of her hair, before she steps into shelter. Tamara… she looks so young up close. Bella feels immediately more at ease. She smiles at the young woman. "In need of some company?"

That sidelong look again, the girl not turning now, but glancing at Bella out of the corner of her eye. "No…" she replies, the contrainess of an adolescent — though there's something seeming younger still about her actual tone of voice. "There's lots of company," Tamara asserts. She doesn't now look back away from Bella, although she doesn't look any more directly at the woman either, warily shy.

The black umbrella joins its sibling, coming to rest on the bench next to Tamara's. She moves over to the stone wall, setting a hand lightly on it, applying a moment of pressure in order to push herself into a sit. She keeps just the edge of her butt propped, so as not to risk getting hit with runoff. "Yes, but not a lot worth sharing." Her smile is slightly sly. "At least I don't imagine you think so."

Umbrella or no umbrella, Tamara slides down the bench as Bella settles into her seat on the wall, putting as much distance between the two of them as the piece of furniture allows. She looks away, down the path, as if someone else might come. No one does.

She listens, of course. In more ways than one, potential outcomes balanced against one another, the cost of leaving now — which affects more than just Bella and Tamara — versus staying here. It's hard to do today; today, the sybil's mantle fits poorly, and Tamara's skin is simply that of a teenaged girl whose thoughts aren't always the most clear. Apprehension brings its own clouds, too.

Blue eyes, not quite present and focused, shift to regard Bella a little more directly. "Maybe you only think you're imagining." Context implies that's a counter, a retort, but what it's supposed to convey… "What did you share?"

"I work with people professionally," Bella says, with the matter of factness that only comes from telling a complete stranger things, "Which means I get about as much socialization as I can handle just doing my job. Companionship has to be a real treat to be bearable," she crosses her legs, turning towards Tamara, pale eyes considering, "Think I'm imagining, though? Are you a student?" It seems like a non sequitur, but Bella's mind works in mysterious ways.

Recognizing non-sequiturs requires linear logic; Tamara doesn't bat an eyelash at that. She doesn't relax any, either. "A student," she echoes, testing the phrase, tasting it. Apparently something about it is distracting, the girl looking out towards the rain-misted woodlands, down towards one bare shoulder, down further yet to the dirt-splattered sneakers that swing idly back and forth perhaps half an inch above the stone-tiled floor. "Everyone's a student somewhere. Not many students here, just turtles, and they're not talking."

Upon those remarks, Tamara pulls her lower lip between her teeth, eyeing Bella in the fashion of someone who thinks they may've said something they shouldn't have.

Okay, so this girl's crazy, Bella conjectures, taking a fairly small hop to conclusions. That's fine. Bella's seen more crazies than most, by a long margin, and been in conversation with many of them. She tilts her head, her gaze suddenly becoming considering, sort of clinical yet friendly. "When do the turtles talk? I wouldn't want to miss that…" she offers. There is something vaguely coaxing in her voice, a gentle curiosity that belies the sharpness of her interest.

The teen folds her hands in her lap, fingers soon beginning to pick restlessly at the hem of her tanktop. There aren't any loose threads yet, but there may well be soon if she keeps it up for long. Looks away from Bella, at the arches, the shades of gray obscuring the sky, the speckled granite of the wall and floor. Everywhere else but at Bella, in fact. "I don't think they do; they just don't. It didn't matter anyway. There's a lot of park and people. Park people, too. Couldn't hear anything around them and the rain."

"What if we got closer to them?" Bella suggests, pleasantly enough, taking the 'talking turtles' statement at face value for now. Yeah, probably not a student. Then again, NYU can work their kids crazy sometimes… Bella's seen it. "We've both umbrellas. We can see what the turtles are burbling."

Tamara wraps her arms about herself, drawing back a bit. As if she weren't already as far away from Bella as she can be without actually getting up. "I don't want to," the girl states, tone that of dully mulish stubbornness. Her gaze flits to the umbrellas, a line creasing Tamara's brow as she regards the black-and-red pair — rather as if both were unfamiliar things, and not just one of them.

"Then we don't have to," Bella says, acquiescing without hint of sore feelings. "But do you mind if I ask why you don't want to?" She's shifted from interested to intrigued, much due to the fact she hasn't the first idea what is going on in Tamara's mind. Schizophrenic subtype, or related disorder? If only she could get closer to note if the girl practices basic hygiene… But that might be a wee bit socially awkward.

Possibilities shift in a way that's hard to miss, and the girl abruptly hops to her feet, moving around behind the bench. She looks out at the path leading away from Belvedere Castle; slowly pans her gaze back until it rests on Bella again, wary, wild-shy. "I don't want to," she says again. "It was a bad idea. The mirror doesn't like you." Again the glance downslope, as if waiting for something; as if that waiting might be the reason the girl hasn't outright bolted yet.

Perhaps she was a little too insistent? Bella purses her lips as she considers the sudden reaction. She shifts her legs, crossing them the other way and turning to compensate for Tamara's shift. "I'm sorry if I upset you," she says, dipping her head apologetically, "And I'm sorry I upset the mirror. I don't think I understand, is all. But I'd like to."

"No," Tamara agrees, denies, drawing out the single syllable into something more like two or three. She walks, paces, keeping well away from Bella's perch on the perimeter wall all the while; twists a bit of escaped hair in her fingers, back and forth. "Couldn't see through the shadows and the glass is broken, all in pieces. White eats everything and there's nothing left. Can't, won't."

Word salad, depressive imagery, agitated affect. Schizophrenia seems more and more likely. But, ungroomed as she may be, Tamara doesn't look dirty or unhealthy. Bella slips off of the stone wall and moves to the back of the bench, a hand resting there. Clozapine might help someone in this state. A less brutal medication to assist with the disorganized thinking. Of course, there's one form of self medication one often finds. "Do you smoke?" Bella inquires, apropos something she swears, "I could buy you a pack."

She moves back as Bella moves forward, keeping the distance between them. Raises the question of what Tamara would do when backed against the wall, but that's always a risky thing to attempt; cornered creatures are apt to bite. Eyes wide, she looks if anything afraid at Bella's suggestion; at the possibilities, however improbable in absolute terms, that come too readily to the fore. Her gaze has gone darker, pupils dilated too far for even the overcast, rainy day. "No!" Tamara retreats farther yet, reaching out without looking to lay a hand against one of the supporting pillars; despite the lack of an orienting glance, there's no question about where the pillar is, no seeking in her reach.

This is a hint that Bella, however astute she may be (or thinks she is) does not see for what it is. The gesture is noted, but it is something she chalks up to familiarity. Maybe this is a usual haunt; habitual behaviors are common at every point on the psychological spectrum. She halts in place as Tamara continues to exhibit less than trusting behavior. The psychiatrist pauses for a moment. "What're you afraid of?" she asks, rather simply. Who knows if she'll get an answer. At this point she hasn't much to lose.

The woman chooses to stop moving; Tamara remains frozen in place. "All the pieces falling," the girl replies softly. "Shadows blended together, not black, not gray, just white, all white. Stars don't show on white; lost, they were lost." She licks her lips, presses them together. "I don't want it. I don't want that."

Bella lifts her hands in a warding gesture, not directed at Tamara but rather whatever it is that's tormenting her. "Nothing will fall, nothing will be lost. See, we're under this roof. Even if something were to tumble, we'd be safe." Not precisely the logic Tamara's using, to be sure, but Bella is trying to communicate as best she can, translate her intentions into the language of disassociation.

The girl looks across the pavilion at the psychiatrist, her expression colored with sadness. "You can't see," Tamara says softly. "It made you safe. It made you dangerous." Seemingly contradictory statements — but only when interpreted one way. She sidesteps along the perimeter wall, never turning away from Bella; not until there is no wall at her back, and Tamara is free to run.

Bella folds her hands in front of her, a demure, harmless gesture. It's not likely to help, not at this point, but Bella firmly believes in getting that A for effort. "Can I at least ask your name?" she inquires. Bella gives it five to one odds against getting a nomenclatural answer, even worse chances of learning her real name.

The girl pauses in mid-turn, not quite glancing back towards Bella. She hangs there for a second, completely still; then finishes the turn and jogs down the path, giving the woman no answer at all.

It's still raining, but Tamara doesn't seem to even think about the umbrella she left behind.

Well, just in case they cross paths again… Bella leans over the bench and takes up the bright red umbrella, perusing it only once Tamara is more or less out of sight. A glance is still given to the direction of her flight. Something did not quite add up there. Something Bella cannot quite put her finger on but, having seen dozens of schizoform disorders… she is left with a sense that this was something apart.

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