Just A Knife


colette_icon.gif tasha_icon.gif

Scene Title Just A Knife
Synopsis Surprises of both the good and the bad kinds await Tasha when she finds Colette and she have the apartment to themselves.
Date July 15, 2010

Gun Hill Colette, Tasha and Tamara's Apartment

Sometimes, surprises are exactly what the world needs.

Sometimes, surprises need to be bright pink.

With the sun sunk down on the horizon and night having come to New York, the soft music filtering thorugh Colette Nichols' battered old paint-dappled boom-box resounds through the walls of her two bedroom apartment on the fourth floor of Gun Hill. The apartment, for the first time in several nights, is hers and hers alone, at least for the time being. That's one of the things about Tamara, she has the most miraculous sense of when would be appropriate for her to be around, when would be amusing for her to be around, and when would be appropriate to give her other roommates some space.

Waiting for Tasha to come home hasn't found Colette being idle though, and it's no small coincidence that she'd taken the day off from work for the time time since she got the job, while Tasha was called away on Ferryman errands for the majority of the day. It's also no small coincidence that the music from that stereo is coming from the bathroom.

Up on a step ladder, standing on bare toes, Colette squints at the corner where the bathroom wall meets the ceiling, a white paper mask covering her mouth and nose, hair now long enough to be tied back into a snub of a pony-tail. She's just finishing up the trim ont he ceiling, painting that precarious little edging area with the tip of a paintbrush, bubblegum pink paint dappled all over her white tanktop and cutoff jean short that — quite obviously — belong to Tasha.

More importantly, and perhaps better smelling than all the paint in the bathroom, is what's sitting on the coffee table in the kitchen. Boxes of Chinese takeout, a couple opened and looking ot have been rooted through, likely by Tamara on her way out.

Sometimes, surprises need to be just right.

The music masks the door being opened and shut; Tasha heads to the kitchenette, peering into the takeout containers and picking up a fork to spear a bit of orange chicken, popping it into her mouth before leaving the fork in the box. Next, a bottle of Sobe "Yumberry Pomegranate" is snagged from the refrigerator, the cap unscrewed so she can chase down the kitchen and restore the electrolytes stolen by a day of hard Ferry labor in New York humidity.

Finally she makes her way to the music and the bathroom, grinning up at Colette on the small ladder. "I think you missed a spot," Tasha says playfully, even as a drop of paint from the paintbrush Colette wields drips off and lands on Tasha's upturned face — right on the nose. "That's what I get for being freaking unoriginal in my cliched greeting…" the girl says with a laugh, reaching up to wipe her face and only succeeding in smearing the pink across the bridge of her nose.

Squeaking at the fact that Tasha now has a drop of bubblegum pink paint on her lips, Colette's face turns bright red. Twisting on the step ladder, she comes down with bouncing steps, laying the paintbrush on the up-ended lid balancing beside the sink on the countertop, then almost throws her arms around the brunette before realizing his streaked in tacky paint she is, grimacing and looking down at cracked paint on her hands.

"Sorry about that…" Colette offers in a small, shy voice, "I thought you'd be home later." Rubbing her hands on her hips, scraping wet paint off on the borrowed shorts, Colette takes a few sauntering steps forward, lightly tanned arms reaching out as she rests her palms on either side of Tasha's cheeks, then sweeps up onto her toes and presses a kiss to her forehead. "Surprise," Colette whispers, brushing her nose against Tasha's and streaking paint across it in like fashion.

"You and me and paint are dangerous," Tasha says with a grin. If she could pick a moment where she fell, it was probably that moment in Joseph's Grand Central Terminal, when Colette's wet paintbrush outlined a heart on her cheek. It took her more time than that to admit it, but that was the moment her heart was stolen, even as a heart was bestowed in acrylic paint.

Tasha tilts her chin to bring her lips to Colette's, her own tasting of the sweet fruity water drink she just sipped from. "No reason to be sorry. Coming in and seeing you in my too-short shorts is never a bad surprise. I'd say I'm just in time," she says playfully, fingers curling around the empty belt loops of those shorts. "Looks good. If, you know, pink." She grins. "So how's your day been?"

Cooing softly into the kiss, Colette lazilt drapes her forearms over Tasha's shoulders, then settles down on her heels again as she allows herself to be tugged closer, still cautious about getting paint all over Tasha's cleaner cothing, however. "C'mon, let's go have some dinner, then you can tell me how awesome I am for paintin' all this myself…" Dark brows rising in a playful waggle, Colette leans in to press a kiss to Tasha's cheek before gently brushing her hand over the brunette's stomach and slipping past her, out of the bathroom and down the short length of hall towards the livingroom.

"I spent all day sleeping— and then a little bit painting," and judging from the bounce in Colette's barefooted step down the hall, she's needed that day of getting rest after how hard she's been working. "I got some Lo Mein and General Tso's Chicken, an' you know the usual rangoons and pork friend rice an' stuff." Stepping to the doorway to the livingroom, Colette leans out back into the hall, offering a hand for Tasha to take.

"You are awesome for so many reasons, the least of which, but still admirable, is the painting of the bathroom all by yourself," Tasha says with a grin, taking the hand that is held out to her, fingers interlacing with Colette's. "I'm glad you got a day off to yourself. You needed to sleep. And it's good I wasn't here." The implication being, of course, that then she wouldn't have slept.

"The bathroom looks great. We should go to a flea market or something this weekend and find the most garishly girly pictures and knick-knacks to put in there. Maybe we can find a Hello Kitty in a tutu toothbrush holder or something," Tasha says playfully, yawning a little since she worked all day for once, running supplies in the humid heat. She reaches down to pet Jupiter where he lies in the corner before settling into the couch with the cartons of food.

Smiling coyly at the compliments, Colette bites down gently on her lower lip and takes a few steps around the coffee table before settling down on the sofa beside Tasha, regarding the brunette through the ragged fringe of dark lashes before leaning over to brush her lips across Tasha's cheek. "I'm up to three viceo casettes now for my little project…" Colette quietly comments, leaning forward to pick up one of the unopened chinese food boxes. These are the kind wrapped closed with twine, not the little handy folding tops and aluminum tabs.

After a moment of biting and tugging at the string, Colette finally huffs out a breath and sets down the box, then leans over to hwere one of her tall boots are sitting under the coffee table, snapping a metal fastner on something open, before withdrawing a familiar looking curved knife from the side of her boot, a short, hook-like thing with a round finger hole in the grip.

While Colette is cutting the string from the box open, smiling proudly to herself as she sets the knife down on the coffee table with a clunk. It just so happens to be the bloody knife from Tasha's vision.

"Three? How many people is that?" Tasha says, smiling in encouragement, though inwardly she feels a pang in her stomach at just the mention of the visions. No one has come to ask for hers — she wonders if Colette told them not to — given who she gave the task to — and she knows Colette won't make her voice hers, since it would be redundant anyway. They saw the same thing.


Her dark eyes glance down as that knife gets pulled from the boot, and her lips part, no words coming out. She jumps up, stumbling over Colette's feet as she moves to grab the knife, then hurries to the front door, finding her flip flops and stepping into them.

"We need to get rid of this. Right now. Come on. We're going to … I don't know. Somewhere no one will find it. Like… like in the river or something," she rambles, glancing back and waiting for Colette to follow.

Sucking in a sharp breath when she sees Tasha coming for the knife, Colette tenses up and easily lets it be taken fromher, if only out of fear of accidentially hurting the younger girl with it. Wide, mismatched eyes stare warily across the room as Tasha stands at that door, looking back to the chinese foot with a whimper before she pushes up off of the couch. "H— Hey you… c'mon what're you doing that's my knife!" Whining like girl much younger than she is, Colette's bare feet pad across the apartment towards the door.

"Brian gave that t'me, you can't just— " Colette huffs a frustrated breath, not quite yet understanding. "If you don't like knives in the house I can like, put it up on top of the refrigerator or… or down in Lynette's where I put my handgun." There's a furrow of the teen's brows as she carefully steps over, reaching out and lightly resting one hand on the back of Tasha's that grips the knife.

"What's the matter?" Colette's tone of voice and expression both conveys that anxious expression that she wears whenever she feels like she's done something wrong.

Don't make me say it. Tasha stares at the door until she feels that hand touching the back of hers. She turns, careful that the knife doesn't touch any part of Colette accidentally. She looks into Colette's eyes, and the turmoil and fear are wrought upon her features, brows knit together and dark eyes pleading. She gives a shake of her head, then glances down at the knife, hating the look of it in her hand, her mind replaying the vision, seeing it dripping in blood, falling on the asphalt between Colette and Tamara.

She slowly slides to a sitting position, her back against the front door, and Tasha sets the knife down on the floor. She trembles slightly and looks away, a tear sliding down her cheek as her chin lifts slightly and jaw setting. Don't make me say it.

Whining immediately on seeing Tasha sinking down, Colette sinks down onto her knees, now heedless of the paint on her own clothing as she leans in and presses a hand to Tasha's cheek, brushing the tears away from beneath one of her eyes, head shaking slowly. "I— I'm sorry," Colette squeaks, looking down to the knife and then back up to Tasha, failing to understand. "Wh— Whatever I did I— I'm sorry! I… I wanted this to be a happy night alone, I— I didn't— I…"

One hand trembling, Colette reaches down to take the knife away from Tasha, gently, and sets it down on the floor away from them. An arm slides around Tasha's back, and Colette creeps over to draw the brunette into her arms, trying to figure out how to make everything better when she's not even sure what's wrong to begin with.

"I— I love you…" Colette whispers against Tasha's still tear-stained cheek, as if that would make everything better again, "I— I'm sorry please— t— tell me what's wrong. Please, I'm sorry."

The only thing worse than feeling afraid — terrified — by that knife is the feeling of guilt for making Colette feel bad about it. Tasha tries to laugh but it comes out more as a sob as her arms go around Colette's and she buries her face into the other's neck, hot tears on bare skin. "You didn't do anything wrong, you didn't, don't apologize," she whispers, her breath coming in hitches. The crying grows worse because she can't lie to Colette, and the knowledge that she has to explain brings more tears, more sobs.

"It … It looks like the knife I s-saw in … on that d-day," she finally manages, not wanting to say the word vision, trying to find distance, even linguistic, between what she saw and any sort of possible future.

She swallows, and bumps her head against Colette's. "If we get rid of it…" Then it can't happen. Simple as that.

Fingers curl into the fabric of Tasha's shirt, and Colette closes her eyes when she hears the explanation, curling her arms around Tasha's small frame, one hand resting at the back of the brunette's head, lips pressed to her cheek a tangle of arms and tears. Breathing warmly against Tasha's cheek, Colette presses a single kiss there, then looks down to the knife on the floor, her head shaking slowly before she looks up to Tasha. "Okay," is all Colette needs to say before she curls her arms around Tasha again, cradling her close and letting her nose brush and stroke against the side of the girl's cheek and up into her hair, "okay," is whispered again, just to be certain.

It's in this embrace that Colette grows silent and scared, her arms trembling where she holds Tasha, not from anything as simple as the chill air of the apartment but from that inexplicable anxiety building up in her chest over the vision she'd been trying so hard to block out, the vision she'd broken down crying on film trying to explain in a message to Cardinal on one of those tapes.

"Come on…" Colette whispers softly, making a gently suggestive tugging motion beneath Tasha's arms, "We're only a couple blocks from the Bronx river… we can head to the park and just— we can get rid of it."

There's yet another sharp inhalation of breath and another exhalation of a long shaking sigh before Tasha nods her head, hugging Colette tightly and kissing her cheek. She lets Colette pull her up, her bare legs unfolding as she slides back up the door. "I'm sorry I scared you," she whispers. "I … it was just…" she shakes her head. The knife terrifies her.

She glances at it on the ground, not wanting to touch it again but at the same time, can she expect Colette to have to carry it? "Hold on."

Tasha heads to the bedroom, finding a cheap drawstring "gym bag," Adidas printed on it, a give away with a pair of tennis shoes sometime in her more athletic past. She also grabs an old paint-splattered t-shirt. Returning to the door, she wraps the knife in the shirt and puts the bundle in the pack. "We can find a rock or a brick or something to weigh it down more," she adds. The law-abiding citizen that Tasha is at heart feels a bit guilty throwing a knife into a river where someone might find it. Someone dangerous. But it's better than leaving it where Tamara can find it. Even if part of her doesn't believe they are the same Tasha, Colette, and Tamara that she saw in the vision. Too much has already been altered.

Or so she can hope.

Watching Tasha coming back with the bag, Colette bobs her head down into a nod, teeth tugging at her lower lip as she steps closer to her, lifting up a hand to rest on Tasha's shoulder, squeezing gently. "Gonna' borrow your shoes…" the teen whispers in a hushed tone of voice, brows furrowed and nose wrinkling as she looks down to the bag, then leans in and rsts her forehead against Tasha's, letting an arm slide around her waist. "I'm sorry, I didn't know…"

Leaning away slowly, Colette moves over to where Tasha's low-top Converse are tucked by the door, sliding her feet into them and not bothering to lace them up. Turning to look over to Tasha, she nods once, worriedly, then moves to the door and cracks it open, glancing out into the hall to see who's there. After a moment of quiet thought, Colette pushes the door shut again and looks back to Tasha, brows furrowed.

"This is ridiculous," Colette finally says with her eyes shut, "it— it's just a knife." Hands curling closed and mismatched eyes opening, Colette looks over her shoulder from where she's braced against the door, head shaking slowly as she watches Tasha. "We— no. I— throwing that knife away would've been like cutting Tamara out've my life. I— I'm not— going to do this again."

Jaw trembling, only now does Colette look on the verge of tears. "I'm— not gonna'— be afraid of things, not gonna' let fear tell me what t'do."

The turnabout has Tasha glancing up from the bag she holds in her hands, a confused look on her face. She glances back down, something of a scowl screwing up all of her features, the look confused and hurt tumbled together. "The knife is just a thing, a dangerous thing. It's… it's not a symbol of her or your relationship, the good stuff with her. Throwing it away isn't throwing her out of your life. It's… it's getting rid of something that could be d-dangerous," she murmurs.

"If it's because Brian gave it to you — maybe if I ask, he'll g-give you a new one, a d-different one…" Tasha isn't sure she likes that idea either, but it's not like Tamara wouldn't be able to find a knife if she wanted to find a knife. The kitchen, for instance, is full of them. Surely Judah has some in his home. A knife isn't the issue.

This knife is the issue.

She swallows, bringing her eyes up again to meet Colette's. The knife already feels like it's cutting, tearing Colette away from her, even as she faces her at that moment.

Her eyes swim with tears and Colette's face blurs as Tasha hands her the bag. "It's just a knife," she whispers, before heading back to the living room to sink onto the couch.

Blinking her eyes a few times just to fend off her own tears, Colette looks down to the bag in her hand, then haphazardly tosses it onto the floor beside the apartment door. Shaking her head, Colette stares down at it, then looks back up to Tasha, silent and still where she stands by the door. Black brows furrow together, Colette's chin tilts down and she lifts one paint-crusted hand to grind the heel of her palm against her forehead as she breathes out a slow sigh.

By the time she's walking again, Colette's posture isn't any less tense, but on her approach to the sofa there's something softer in her expression. "It's not gonna' happen," Colette insists, sinking down onto the couch beside Tasha, sliding an arm behind her back to pull the brunette close, another hand finding one of Tasha's to squeeze, fingers laced together.

"We already changed it," Colette insists, shaking her head slowly and leaning against the brunette. Colette's lips press against Tasha's temple, her nose brushing through dark hair while warm breaths punctuate every word. "It's not the knife that hurt me… and that's not gonna' happen now, it's not." Squeezing Tasha tightly, Colette presses her lips to the younger girl's cheek, exhaling another warm breath through her nose. "I //love you/… we're— not gonna' let this run our lives. We're not."

For a moment — just for the smallest, most minute, most infinitesimal of moments — it feels to Tasha like Colette made a choice, and that she wasn't it. Then reason and logic and Colette's voice whispering in her ear, along with the need to believe those words, make Tasha nod in agreement, traitorous to that small broken corner of her heart.

"You're right."

She does believe they've changed the path already — but that small part of her whispers that it's only wishful thinking. That the knife is important. That if that knife is gone, then the future she saw on June 10th cannot be.

"It's just a thing. It's just a knife. It's not important," Tasha murmurs, turning so her lips move against Colette's as she speaks. "I love you, too." She pauses, closing her eyes as she rests her forehead against Colette's.

Another tear slips down her cheek — the broken corner of her heart having its say in that silent act.

"I'm sorry. It was … dumb. I overreacted. It's just a knife," Tasha murmurs again. Rationality over emotion. A Lazzaro, a Renard, through and through.

"It wasn't dumb," Colette whispers, wrapping both of her arms around Tasha and dragging her down to lay by her side on the side, sliding one arm to rest a hand at the small of her back, the other arm tucked beneath Tasha's neck. "Don't you ever… ever say something like that," there's a kiss, gentle to her forehead, then the bridge of her nose, "you're tryin' to protect me… but it's okay, we'll be okay." Now Colette's lips find Tasha's, now she leans into the girl, heedless again of the paint now smudged on Tasha's clothing, so garishly pink in tiny smudges.

"I've got three casette tapes," Colette explains in a whisper against Tasha's lips, "five people on one, two on another, then one just because I forgot I'd taken the tape out. Sable's still recordin, and so's Ygraine… we're gonna figure out what happened, an' then we're gonna stop it." Squeezing her arm gently around Tasha, Colette's lips press up against her love's in gentle, nervous touches. "It's not gonna' happen… we're all happy, we— it's gonna' be different."

Lifting a hand up slowly, Colette brushes the back of her knuckles against Tasha's cheek. "We don't have t'throw it away, cause we don't need to, 'cause we're gonna beat it. I promise… m'not leavin' you, not now, not ever, nobody's gonna take me from my Tasha."

Her Tasha; Lovingly possessive.

That broken little corner now feels like a traitor to the rest of her. Tasha closes her eyes, letting the words wash over her like a warm blanket, wrapping her in affection and security and everything she could ever hope for. She takes a deep breath and lets out the sigh, concentrating on letting go of the doubt and the fear and just letting the good remain — an old drama exercise for pre-show stage fright. She opens her eyes again to gaze at Colette; the tears are gone but for a few small beads that cling to her thick lashes like tiny crystalline beads.

Finally — for the first time in so many long moments, Tasha smiles, a slow blooming flower of a smile that starts small and soon transforms her face. "You're right," she murmurs. This time, it doesn't sound hollow. "I know you're right. It can't happen." She tilts her face to kiss Colette again, both tasting of salt from Tasha's tears.

"I told you I was gonna' make this a happy night for the both've us," Colette whispers with a brush of her lips against Tasha's forehead, then a touch of their noses together, "we need a good night, all to ourselves…" and with a warm smile, Colette leans up against Tasha, breathily laughing as her lips trace soft kisses featherlight across one cheek.

"After all," Colette ontes in a quiet voice, "how often do we have the whole apartment to ourselves? How often can we make as much noise as we want?" Sure, it's suggestive, but there's been so few chances to be suggestive in the last few weeks. It's been all business, all work, all struggling almost since they moved in. Everyone deserves a day off.

"M'sorry, sorry I didn't notice… sorry I made you cry," Colette's hand delicately brushes across Tasha's cheek, fingertips stroking beneath one of her eyes. "Lemme' make it up to you, maybe… with dinner and doing all that painting in the bathroom for you?" There's a toothy smile, a bubbled up giggle and a wrinkle of her nose. "Ooh, already got that done, didn't I? How awesome's that?"

"So very awesome," Tasha says, tilting her chin up to kiss the hand that teases her cheek, "but not awesome enough to make up for making me cry… there are no rollover make-up points in the plan, ma'am, according to the contract. There are, however, make out points that are still valid for the …" Tasha pretends to flip a page, and then another, index finger zigzagging through the air as if to find a particular line in a book, "… next twelve hours."

She grins up at Colette. "Ooh, you better use those before they expire." With that, she leans into Colette, kissing her with a mix of playfulness, passion, and fierce need. The only way to push away those feelings of hurt and fear are with love and joy.

There's no way Colette could have known that this was how her night would go, no way she would've wanted most of this to happen. Tangled up in Tasha, smiling into each kiss, warm and feverish breaths meeting each touch of lips she has to be able to agree that out of all the ways the night could have ended, this isn't so bad. Behind each touch, each caress, behind each kiss there's a subtext of nervousness. Nothing she shares with Tasha, but nervousness enough about her own assertions that it haunts the back of her mind and distracts hands that should be distracted by much better things.

Colette had made a promise to Tasha tonight, that it wouldn't happen. That the future she'd seen, the future so many others had seen, wouldn't become a reality. There was no way of telling how she could do that, how close she even was to being able ot make that a possibility, but with each continued kiss she takes, with every moment she holds Tasha in her arms, Colette knows more and more than she must make good on the promise.

There'll be no letting her down, no more mistakes, just action. For tonight, at least, Colette can think about something other than the future, something other than the knife. It's action, certainly.

The much needed kind.

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