My Girlfriend, Who Lives In Canada


colette3_icon.gif vincent_icon.gif

With an appearance by…


Scene Title My Girlfriend, Who Lives in Canada
Synopsis Tasha's father confronts Colette after her arrival in Canada.
Date January 9, 2012

Montreal, Canada

In a length of hallway designated as a waiting area on whatever floor this is on whatever day, a man in a fleece jacket is ticking his way through a series of fresh consent forms on his feet. He’s compact after the fashion of a staffordshire terrier, dense with posture and purpose in something as simple as filling out hospital paperwork.

He’s shaved bald, hard in the jaw, and about a minute into his second review of pages 1 through 4 when another figure in the hallway fixes his attention up and aside.

His eyes are dark under his brows — nearly black — scabbed hide around the left side of his neck offset by an older scar chipped in over his right ear. Vincent Lazzaro was a former agent of the government who spent time on Pollepel in the weeks before it fell to that same government. He was never especially welcome or well-liked.

He was never especially sorry about it, either.

Now he’s looking at Tamara the way a dog might look at a bobcat of comparable size, clipboard and pen stayed idle in his hands. Not sure if he’s seeing what he thinks he’s seeing — not sure if he should round on her, or raise an alarm.

In the moment, he opens by dropping his clipboard aside into an unoccupied chair.

The door to Tasha’s room opens with the trail of quiet conversation spilling out from within. A nurse who had entered some minutes ago holds the door open with one arm, pushed to the side to allow someone past. It's not his daughter. The bobcat is a bobcat.

When Colette Nichols slouches her way out of Tasha’s room, eyes puffy with familiar redness and equally familiar dark circles, she looks over her shoulder with a pensive expression. The nurse raises her brows, expectantly, and Colette continues her way out into the hall but doesn't stray far.

“Mister Lazarro,” the Nurse calls in a clipped manner as to express what the hell is this as politely as possible. She has a hand at the back of Colette’s unzippered winter coat, urging her forward even as the blind-eyed girl watches the floor. “She was asleep in your daughter’s room, she said she's with you?” Why isn't she checked in is also expectantly implied in the sharp uptick at the end of her sentence.

Dark brows furrowed, Colette looks up and over to Vincent with an expression that is both guilty and pleading. Her lips press together, nervously, waiting to see how this particular ruse shakes out.

Tamara leans with her back against one of the passageway's walls, her eyes closed, her posture nonchalant. Almost nonchalant. There's a subtle stiffness in her shoulders, a hint of tension in the lines of her expression. Not the kind that speaks of nerves, anxiety; from the outside, the simplest conclusion to draw is that she has a headache. Still, one blue eye cracks open to meet Vincent's look, and the seeress bestows upon him a wan but sincere smile, a cheerful wiggle of fingers.

He may be uncertain; the seer is not.

As Colette is rousted from Tasha's room, Tamara closes her eyes again and settles back against the wall, making no move to interfere on anyone's side in the little confrontation. On that note, too, she seems to be entirely unconcerned.

Whatever Vincent’s next step might have been, it’s cut off short by Tamara wiggling her fingers at him. He sinks back on his heels. The hood of his brows chafes into an incredulous knit, tension winding up the backs of his arms. Excuse

The door to Tasha’s room opens. A stick figure in a parka is ushered out and looks at him. Pathetically.


Vincent takes a mental step back and pumps the brakes on any more Ferrypeople popping out from behind furniture with a raised hand, flat, resigned, too worn down for a spark at his temper to find dry kindling. Ok. Not a big deal.

“She’s mine,” he confirms, one he’s convinced himself he has the strength of will to contend with whatever this is without making anyone go aggle aggle. “I’ll deal with her.” One last glance spared to Tamara, he holds that same hand out to Colette, like he’s collecting a twelve-year-old caught texting in an exam. Come over here and confess your teenager crimes.

“I'll bring a form up in a minute, if you could just sign her in,” the nurse notes without noticing Tamara isn't supposed to be there. The seer’s position is — unexpectedly — exactly out of the nurse’s eye-line as she gathers herself and steps away from Colette.

That young woman tiredly walks over to Vincent, shoulders hunched, jacket unzipped, and hands tucked into the pockets of her coat. “Thanks,” is quietly offered, until the nurse is out of earshot. Colette’s look is conspiratorial, briefly, watching the nurse depart.

When she turns blind eyes up to Vincent, her brows briefly crease together as if she can well and truly see him, and is trying to figure him out. “Thanks for saving her,” is more heartfelt, left to linger in the air before she speaks again.

“S’just us,” Colette mumbles, inclining her head toward Tamara. “Would've been here sooner, but— it took a while t’travel.” Teeth draw at her lower lip, eyes cast down and to the side. When she meets(?) Vincent’s state again it's with visible, unvoiced concern. But she'd personally enacted that Proclaimers song. The concern seems legitimate.

“Thank you.” Truly.

Vincent addresses the nurse over Colette’s head, and watches her go in weary silence, that quiet thanks let to fall unfielded between them. He does put a hand on Colette’s shoulder, as much to hold her in place as it is to sell the illusion.

“She’s my daughter,” he tells her, by way of a you’re welcome, once the coast is clear. Matter-of-fact. No venom in it — no implied blame or responsibility. Tasha chose the Ferry. He knows this, logically, bitter emotional exhaustion shaded in harsh around his eyes and in the prickle of unkempt whiskers under his neck.

“How did you find us?”

Of all his concerns, this one is the most pressing — so much so that he’s game to resolve it in the middle of this hallway, with his grasp j u s t firm enough to keep her facing him.

“Tamara knew,” is Colette’s simple answer. “It's… what she does. She knows.” Dark brows relax, and Colette huffs out a small breath. The guardedness she feels she should have around Vincent is as absent as the snow from her boots now. Not after what she saw and heard in that room.

“No one else knows,” Colette adds after a long moment of thought. “I'm here because… we promised t’take care of each other.” Blind eyes cast aside, lips purse in thought. “S’what you do for the people you love.”

Those blind eyes track over to Vincent’s feet, can't quite meet his hematite-dark eyes. “I… don't think many other people made it.” She hopes she's wrong. Her tone is asking for challenge. For Vincent to tell a better ending to the story.

Someone who just “knows” things would’ve rated higher on Lazzaro’s list of problems than it does now — he looks past Colette to Tamara, measuring in a silence that feels calculating. No one else knows. He looks back to Colette.

“You do understand that part of the reason I brought her up here was so that no one would know.”

Just putting that out there. Right between them. Where it can’t be skirted around by eyes cloudy or clear. It’s one of those ‘no ones’ that doesn’t sound to have any kind of exception clause written into it for girlfriends, nevermind the strange omniscient girlfriends of girlfriends. That he can’t find it in himself to be terse about it is telling. They’re already here.

“A few people made it into trucks. Heller was waiting to ambush us at the cache.” And also, while they’re on the subject of survival odds: “It’s good to see you, Colette.”

He says so in earnest, plain through his resignation at her bounding after them like a lost puppy.

Colette manages to somehow look smaller after Vincent explains the ambush, shoulders hunched forward and a guilty expression swimming across her face. “M’sorry I wasn't there…” It's hard to tell if she blames herself for Tasha’s condition, but she's a kid. So. Probably.

“I— I don't…” Discussing what happened on Pollepel Island, nearly a month now after the fact, still feels raw. “We escaped with Epstein. A couple others. Some little kid. I— the tugboats were blown up I think. I— I could h-hear explosions. The— birds.” Swallowing audibly, Colette lifts a shaky hand up to press her sleeve to the corner of her eyes.

“I think Eileen’s dead. Maybe everyone else.” Colette just doesn't know. Whatever she turns over in her head next brings her blind eyes back up to Vincent from the floor, lets her finally look him in the eye. “M’glad you're ok. You mean so much t’her.” That last part has a strangled quality to it, and Colette’s not far off from an embarrassing amount of public crying if she keeps on that conversational path.

Avi Epstein? Yikes.

A furrow at Vincent’s brow doesn’t have much to tell, past a stab of uncertainty for the state of affairs laid out by Colette. Hard to say if it’s better or worse than he feared. There’s been a lot of bad news, lately.

“Barbara might have made it out. She was with Edgar and his wife. A few of the time travelers.” Because that’s just a thing that’s happened and is a part of his reality, now. “Jolene, Ingrid. Some brick shithouse of a ginger with a katana.”

With tears on the radar, he draws her into him as a matter of course, sides huffed out against the start of a sigh. Hugs are easier when they interrupt the flow of otherwise uncomfortable conversation, and afford him a glimpse of privacy in a swallowing clamp of his jaw over her shoulder. Also when they’re a function of responsibility.

Part of the job. Whatever that job is anymore. Fortunately Tasha waking up was the inspiration he needed to take a shower this morning.

“We’ll have to figure out a way to get in touch with them.”

There’s a reflexive tension when Colette is drawn into the embrace, a stillness that comes next like a woodland creature trying to play dead in the face of a predator. The way her brows scrunch up, eyes go distant, and she just kind of goes vacant doesn’t look like it’s something to do with being awkward around Vincent, past relations or not. It takes a moment for Colette to accept the embrace, to not disassociate at the touch. Vincent’s seen the look before, abuse survivors, trauma victims, it’s hard to pin down what part of life that all may’ve come from.

When she does relax, and it comes slowly, Colette reciprocates the embrace and buries her face in Vincent’s chest. Weeks of worry and stress come out of her as very respectfully stifled bubbles of sobs against his chest. Though she’s not a teenager anymore, she feels like a tiny child in his arms, small and in need of protection more so than the headstrong child-terrorist he’d seen around his daughter. Shoulders jerking with each intake of breath, Colette nods in belated response to Vincent’s assertion of getting in touch with them.

“Yeah,” is her non-committal response. She doesn’t seem to be in a hurry to be anywhere but here, for the moment. Leaning away just a little, Colette scrubs at her eyes with the end of a sleeve, drying her face and nose before looking up at Vincent. She’s still jittering with emotions, jaw trembling, but she’s trying either not to embarrass herself or him. This close its hard to imagine anyone seeing her as anything but a child, hard to imagine the kind of person that puts children like this up against a wall. Or on their knees in a barn.

“Is she gonna be ok?” It’s the million-dollar question Colette doesn’t know how Vincent will answer. The blonde seer behind her had her own responses, but sometimes Tamara’s answers can be hard for Colette to get her arms around. Right now, she’s hoping Vincent either has hard facts, or comfortable lies.

He’s felt it as much as he’s seen it — the yoke of his arm around her shoulders not so rigid that she can’t twist free, should she feel the need — let off a little, even, after its initial nudge. The implications of her resistance are something he can worry about later. There’s a practiced quality to his patience, embrace worn into muscle memory rarely utilized these last few years. He waits until the buckle of her first sob against him to bring his second arm up, and holds her there.

Let it all out, sister.

The nurse bustles back up around the corner somewhere in this, and Vincent tips his head to the chair playing host to his other clipboard. This is his life now: seventy war daughters and their paperwork.

From the underside of Lazzaro’s rough-shaven jaw, his hierarchy of needs worn down to survival and worry, it doesn’t seem like there’s any threat of embarrassment in the shadows around his eyes or the pin of his ears. The fleece of his jacket might be blotted dark where her tears have soaked in, but he doesn’t look down to check. This is as good a time for a solid cry as any.

“I thought she was dead,” he confesses, in earnest, low-key against jittering upset. “Yesterday she woke up and she asked me about her girlfriend.”

It could be worse, is what he means, without much in the way of platitude or promise.

“Do you have somewhere to stay?”

Tasha’s first words in waking up bring another bubbled-hiccup of a sob from Colette, without even really addressing anything else. But the toothy, awkward and ugly crying smile she offers in response is at least a change of emotions even if the response is the same. The nurse wes the scene, laying the paperwork down and unaware as Tamara shifts her posture and moves to lean against the other side of the hall just as the nurse turns around. Missing her again entirely.

“We just got here,” is Colette’s somewhat helpless answer to Vincent. It's as much of a no as it is a outlook hazy, try again later from a Magic 8-Ball. Scrubbing the sleeve of her jacket at her eyes, Colette does her level best to clean herself up and slowly extricate herself from the embrace, if only because she looks a little embarrassed for herself.

Once she's less teary-eyed and snotty, Colette looks down at the floor. “Can't leave her again. Promised, like, we'd help her when she's recovering.” Then, looking up to Vincent and making as much eye contact as someone who appears blind can, she takes one of his large, calloused hands in one of hers.

“Tamara said she'll be ok.” There's an affirmative tone to Colette’s small, mumbly voice. Certainty, shared for him. Because, as much as she never thought she would, she cares about Vincent. “She never says something in absolutes,” is impressed in addendum. “Just that one thing.”

Maybe it's a lie, too. Maybe the kind lie they both need. Or, as unlikely as it sounds, maybe miracles do sometimes happen.

Now Vincent does get uncomfortable — with his hand caught up in the earliest stages of a step backwards to retrieve the clipboard. He stops and looks down to Colette, dark eyes overshadowed by an uneasy furrow between his brows. The start of a thick scar up the back his arm winds down into a more discreet crag over the bones of his wrist.

As many run ins as he’s had now with purveyors of the future, the intrusion of their visions into his personal bubble of heavily enforced normalcy continues to be met with some resistance.

“Okay,” he hears himself say.

And he squeezes back at her grip, reassurance that he absolutely believes her channeled through less convincing eye(?) contact in turn. It’ll give him something to think about, later. When he’s alone.

In this moment, he glances warily after the last trace he caught of Tamara.

“I have a hotel room around the block. I can get you a key card.”

Nodding repeatedly, in slow succession, Colette seems momentarily overwrought with emotion again. She dries her eyes, thankful for the offer of somewhere to stay from a man she hardly knows. She realizes the significance, even if she doesn’t voice it. The silent acceptance and appreciation plays on her puffy, red, and kind of snotty features. “Thanks,” is raspy and whispered.

It takes Colette a while to find her voice, to get words to come naturally. But in the end she chooses something simple. “You’re… a really good person.” Colette isn’t sure if Vincent realizes that himself, doesn’t need to know one way or the other. Sometimes, it just needs to be said. In her slouched posture and tired eyes, he can see her appreciation. See that it was said not as a revelation, but an affirmation.

“We’re all in the same boat now.”

No person in the world will ever know if the pun is intended — Lazzaro claps his free hand over Colette’s shoulder, reassuring at a slant that’s miles more cavalier than he feels. Maybe Tamara knows.

Mostly he feels exhausted.

He’s not much taller than her, one last hard, bolstering thump receding into a step back for the clipboards he was attempting to escape to before.

“I’ll take care of it.”

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