No Tea, All Ice Cream


emily_icon.gif finch_icon.gif huruma_icon.gif raquelle_icon.gif

Scene Title No Tea, All Ice Cream
Synopsis Raquelle Cambria offers therapy in the form of ice cream, a spa day, and endless encouragement.
Date January 11, 2020

Cambria Salon & Day Spa, Red Hook

It has been a heavy start to the year, and Raquelle has done what he can to keep up a good face. There are some days, however, he works extra hours at the Salon so he can forget that he even has emotions and to keep the leakage from impacting the other people in his household.

”I’ve had enough of danger

And people on the streets…”

The light is on at the Cambria Salon and Day Spa. Someone singing or playing George Michael music filtering out onto the street.

”I’m lookin’ out for angels

Just trying to find some peace…”

Floors have been swept. Stations have been cleaned. Equipment is being sterilized. It is late afternoon/evening and as always the door is left unlocked. There have just been a few upgrades…to the security systems but. As always, it is a haven for the tired, bored, or uncertain in Red Hook and a walk-in never gets turned away.

”Now I think it’s time

That you let me know…”

Dark purple, silver, highlights of white…staple of black. The floor and walls have abstract and beautiful designs and murals on them and there’s the sitting area with the double couches, love seat, and comfy chair…the 3 hair stations and front desk area. There is the nail area and the 2 backrooms as well.

”So if you love me!

Say you love me!”

At this time, Raquelle is standing with a broom like it is a microphone stand. The hairdresser wears a pair of fitted dark red jeans, red doc martins, black sweater and his hair is still the dark brown with highlights of auburn in it, worn carefully coiffed, and makeup on point as always. A glossy black nail taps against the broom.

He is alone. Okay. Don’t judge him.

“But if you don’t just leeeeeeeeeeeet me go…"

Back to the door, he sways slightly to an instrumental song playing on the radio as his guitar is propped up against the front desk. From the outside, it might sound like someone on the radio is singing. But. It is Raquelle with a cigarette tucked behind an ear as he sways and sings.

”Cause teacher…
There are things that I don’t want to learn..
And the last one I had…
Made me cry…”

The bell hanging from the door chimes, bringing with it a dichotomy of emotional states. Not just one person comes into the doorway, but two.

One is familiar, belonging to Emily Epstein. Her general heaviness is oppressive today, despite every attempt to fight it off. She's managed to shove it down and make it small, but something continues to rule her from the pit of her stomach, a small black hole filled with dense, unshakable worry that threatens to pull the rest of her state into it at any point. The smile she offers Raquelle is small as she enters, every effort made to be as kind to him as he is to her, always. "Hey there," she greets, voice soft. She's already sliding her creme peacoat off her shoulders, knowing already they'll be here a while.

"There's someone I wanted to introduce you to," she explains, intent on hanging up her coat on a rack near the door. She unloops a scarf from around her neck to keep it with the coat, revealing a horizontal slice of a scar that hasn't been there on any previous occasion.

Then there's the other figure that's with her: one bright in all the ways Emily is not, both internally and externally.

"She keeps trying to get me to eat my problems away with ice cream, and I couldn't help but think of you." Emily explains with a dry, almost nonexistent humor.

"It's not trying if you succeed," Finch pitches in from behind Emily's shoulder. She'd look almost shy if not for the fact that she slips sideways and immediately wanders forward, all wide eyes and wonder at the inside of the salon. Every shiny bit and pristine surface beamed at.

At her sides hang two big tubs of ice cream so big they almost look like real actual buckets, held firmly by flimsy plastic handles. Their labels, in similarly bright colors to how she's dressed, show the flavors to be vanilla caramel swirl and - of course - chocolate chip cookie dough, both of which Finch is equally excited about despite the fact that she is almost immediately distracted by a big mirror and bounces her yellow puffer jacketed self and her ice cream offerings over to it with a quiet exclamation of, "Gosh."

Smoothly spinning around to face the door as it opens, Raquelle’s singing trails off as he feels the aura of something …that tickles the back of his concern-o-meter. He smiles softly upon seeing Emily and is already making his way towards the front door as he leans the broom against a wall.

“Well heey stranger.” He drawls softly as he comes forward for his hug and to take Emily’s coat. His blue gaze flicking to the second visitor and his eyebrows shoot up. His lips part and he blinks a few times before he just smiles brightly. Emily’s coat is draped over his arm as he moves over towards Finch. “I don’t even know what your name is tweety bird but welcome to Cambria’s Salon and Day Spa. I can tell you are a woman of good taste. I also solve most of my heart break with ice cream.”

There is a moment now as he flicks his eyes over to Emily. “Is this ‘Raq needs to cut a bitch’’ level Ice Cream or….just lets sit eat away the pain level Ice Cream?”

Emily accepts the huh rather than returning it, effort put on trying to keep what's bothering her to a manageably small size as long as possible. Raquelle's inquiry as to what's going on with her earns him a shake of her head. Her response is but a murmur, spoken in the interval Finch admires the broad mirror. "This is 'teach Emily how to cut a bitch', but we also don't know who needs cut yet. My sister is missing. We think she was kidnapped over her ability. I'm— I'm a lot things right now, Raquelle."

Her gaze flits to Finch. "She keeps trying to help, but this isn't something I can eat away." Though, Emily always says that and then ends up partaking anyway. "I need help. I don't want to break her with all this. She's—" God, how to describe Finch? "She's new to New York, new to a lot, and needs a network of good people. She's out here alone."

Lifting her voice, she puts effort into lightening her tone to something less solemn, hoping to snare wide-eyed Finch's attention in the process. "Raquelle, this is Eloise Finch. I don't know about her taste generally speaking, but she knows how to pick an ice cream."

Look, it's a sliver of positivity from her. Progress.

The moment Finch is addressed, she sends a bright smile over at Raquelle, letting her head drop to one side as she studies the man in front of her. There's a small, tiny moment where she stares hard into the side of Emily's head when the word 'bitch' reaches her ears, despite someone else having just said it moments before, but whatever concern was had is immediately whisked away by one of the buckets slipping suddenly from her grasp. "Aa!"

It's fine it's fine. It lands, perfectly fine, on the floor with a tunk, just in time for her introduction to be up. She lifts her face to look back to Raquelle, only mildly sheepishly. Gratefully, she says, "I've got a really good start though, with the people? Also," this is said a lot more seriously, brow knitting, "with the ice cream. Wait, is there a quiz?"

Raquelle has a lot of practice following two trains of thought from two different people about the same topic from different angles. He has two teenagers. So he just looks between Emily and Finch, back and forth and forth and back. There is a slow now, the concerned flick of an eyebrow, the soft ‘hmm’ of agreement and the suck of teeth that proceeds him deciding what to do.

“Emily darling…go have a seat.” He gestures towards the sitting area. “We’ll discuss bitch cutting techniques and loved ones. But I want you to just sit, take your shoes off, close your eyes and take 3 deep breaths. Can you do that for me?”

Then to Finch, there is a small smile and a nod. “A pleasure to meet you little birdie. Why don’t you go join Emily on the couch, and I’ll get bowls, spoons, cookies…blankets and nail polish.” He moves forward to take the bucket Finch is still holding and to reach down to pick the one that already was dropped up. “There’s no quiz. Yet.” He winks.

Did Raquelle mean literally slip off her shoes? Emily is almost certain, yet as she collapses into a seat with a vaguely disgruntled expression she just crosses her ankles while she slouches back into the couch. She makes it as far as closing her eyes, any breathing she does not nearly at the relaxing, meditative level requested of her.

Her humor returns some as she opens her eyes, looking over at Finch over-seriously. "There definitely will be," she stresses ominously. "Raquelle's pretty discerning." Her expression breaks with a small huff of a breath disguising a chuckle. Emily pats the spot on the couch next to her. "You'll pass, I'm sure."

Finch relinquishes the ice cream without question, offering the tub she's still holding forward on an outstretched arm. She absolutely is taking off her shoes, kicking a heel into each one as she slips them off and leaves them neatly near the entrance.

"I pass all the quizzes," she muses, while shrugging her jacket off and throwing a glance over her shoulder at Emily, "I haven't met a test I haven't beaten." She joins Emily on the couch, pulling her legs up onto it as she continues to look around and bumps a shoulder into her friend's. There's barely time for Raquelle to come back before she calls out, with awe in her voice and on her face both, "Do you own this whole place?"

Ice Cream is taken with a soft but happy laugh as Raquelle looks over his shoulder to make sure Emily is sitting. "Shoes. Off baby. You can't have a foot bath with your shoes on."

When the hair dresser returns he has a small cheap tray with three bowls with spoons, each one with 4 scoops in them, 2 of each flavor, and a chocolate chip cookie in each. That is settled down on the magazine/coffee table and he straightens up. "I just pay the bills. This place is a safe haven for all, so on paper I own it." He winks.

Emily’s brow angles in a disagreeable slant when Raquelle repeats himself, one without any real merit or force behind it. She relents with a put-upon sigh, leaning forward to worry off her shoes one by one, using her feet to free them before she sets them aside. By the time he comes back, she’s curled up with her feet tucked by her side, throw pillow huddled in her lap. A look is sent Finch’s way regarding the matter of tests, her hardened demeanor softening some. “I’m sure you haven’t,” she comments idly.

She lifts a hand to brush her hair back from her face, looking over the contents of the tray Raquelle brings back. It would appear the fight’s gone from her entirely at the moment, as she scoops up a bowl between both hands without any more fuss against it. She settles it down in her lap, looking up with a bit of a knowing edge to her gaze. “Don’t let him fool you—" Emily advises Finch with a lean into her shoulder. "This place wouldn’t look nearly as pretty or be half as welcoming without you in the building, Raquelle.”

Finch's look around and between Emily and Raquelle is one of contentment, especially once she's pulled a bowl of her own into her lap. She grabs the spoon and holds it up next to her head when she says, "It's so important, to feel like you've carved out a little spot, right? For yourself and f'r'th'rs." Whoops. She was still talking when she finds herself having used the spoon to shove some ice cream in her mouth instead, talking past it.

She might seem happy enough at the moment, but boy is it good she doesn't seem to get brainfreeze because a second spoonful follows the first almost without pause, with a third already on the way.

There is a moment where Raquelle holds up a one moment finger, but he’s speaking as he moves off to retrieve a couple of foot basins, putting in the appropriate lining as he works on filling them. “You are a baby angel Emmielove, kind of you to say. I have style and I know how to run my mouth so hey, use what you got.” Another wink and grin as he moves the first basin over to settle within foot range of Finch, and then he moves to work on the second.

“Alright, ya’ll are going to sit there, enjoy your ice cream, we’ll get you feet started and I’ll let you pick the color polish you want. And eventually…somebody will start talking about who we need to plot to cut.”

Second basin is brought over and he starts sprinkling stuff that smells good in each.

Hearing someone you know on the street typically leads to finding them; the crew in the salon are heard, certainly, but not in the mundane sense. With Red Hook being the district for doing one's business, you're bound to bump into someone. Huruma feels the nudge like a mental bumper car, briefly considering the source, direction, surrounding cars- - wow, that one is like looking in a sunlit mirror. The empath's mental sense blinks past it, and of course by now this has drawn her closer. Curiosity doesn't actually kill. Besides… she needs the distraction. This walk was all about getting some air, and somehow it's led her right to the doorstep.

Aforementioned door gives a chime when she opens it, slipping closed behind her before the winter cold comes rushing in.

"Cambria," Huruma's presence is already unmistakable, and her purr of the other empath's name only sets it. "Looking lovely as ever." Her coat is long and her boots only make it seem moreso; her sweater is belted over dark pants, tunic length and looking very warm. She is not one for the cold. Never really has been. For the girls, less of her attention finds them, a small, knowing smile curving at the two. Finch is an outlier, but she is also the one that gets a word. "My, you are a ray of sunshine, aren't you…?"

It's with resignation Emily daintily picks up a spoonful of ice cream, biting down on it so the spoon can't escape as she wriggles her legs free from under her. A strain of guilt works its way through her chest at all the considerations given their way. Raquelle was even bringing the spa right to them. She's tempted to argue back that he's far more than just a voice, but she knows he'll continue to downplay himself, and furthermore, she's currently plied with ice cream that keeps her from speaking.

Including when the salon gets another visitor. Emily looks up with a distance to her affect at first, one that vanishes on seeing who it is. Her brow arches, her expression saying what she doesn't herself. Oh. Surprise. Something else shifts under the surface. A thread of confusion. Hope, maybe? Only for a second before being dashed by tempered expectations. After all, what was the likelihood Huruma would have any news about Nathalie?

She plucks the spoon from her mouth. "Huruma, this is Finch," Emily explains, sullen still for all her attempts to lift her voice.

There is a look of concern that's formed on Finch's face at the mention of cutting people, eyebrows crumpling toward each other as she shoves yet another spoonful of ice cream into her face.

But before she can give voice to worry, Huruma enters her periphery and she turns her head to look at the woman with visible awe immediately widening her eyes. Once her ice cream is worked down, she smiles, both hands pressing down on an ankle so as to prop herself up at the perceived compliment. Damn right she's a ray of sunshine. So much so, in fact, that to an empath, it might smack a little of overcompensation. A solid foundation laid over troubled waters. "Nice to meet you, Huruma!" She beams before rattling off, "Wow you're beautiful."

She looks to Emily with eyebrows raised as if to say, 'Right?' but ends up leaning into her friend's shoulder to whisper, "Real quick, what's a footbath for?"

“Well hello to the other person I’d willing offer my crown and call The Queen.” Raquelle straightens up as he dries off his hands and smiles softly making his way towards Huruma, holding out his hands to take her coat if it is offered. “You are looking as regally gorgeous as usual. Come, sit, join us we have troubled spirits and ice cream.”

A glance over to Emily and Finch. “Socks off, feet in water ladies!” He instructs with a small shake of his head and a small chuckle.

Overcompensation or not, Huruma seems drawn in by the bubbliness on its own, unsurprisingly. Though she's come into the salon, it's not exactly for services; she is just here. She does that. The tall woman coils down onto a chair against the nearby wall, coat put aside, now facing the pair getting ordered about.

"Oh, a sweet little bird." Emily could use one of those. Huruma hooks one leg over the other and gives Raquelle a small wag of hand, elbow perched on chair. "I will get there eventually. You will see." One could argue that she is nearly already. There is an underlying tension in her attempts to relax, though her air of patience seems to hold fast. "I know you want to ask," Huruma's pale eyes find Emily with a gentler sweep. "Nothing yet, zaza. I wish there were."

Emily tries her best to keep her disappointment from showing, but it flickers visibly in her gaze before she looks down and away. "It's a part of the experience, Finch," she asides to the girl next to her, attempting to temporarily put aside her worries with the hope they'll be easier to bear on the next pass. "It's relaxing, then we'll get our toes painted." Apparently, anyway. She's not going to question Raquelle's prescribed treatment plan here.

She sets about completing her ordered tasks, slipping feet into the warm water. The fucking advantages of Red Hook, man. Ice cream, constant electricity, running centralized water…

"How are you, anyway?" Emily asks Huruma, glancing up. Mildly, she shares, "We were getting ready to talk about the best ways to hurt whoever took Nathalie, when we find them."

Finch's look of confusion persists, but whatever her hangups might be, she's not letting them keep her from working off her socks and tucking them under her knee before she does exactly as she's told. She's a guest, after all!

There's a brief sympathetic furrowing of her brow at Huruma's words to Emily, though the full weight of the subject escapes her - evident in the fact that she seems, for a moment, just happy to shove her feet into the water and right down into the basin, looking up to Raquelle as if to check if she's doing it right.

It's just in time for her conversation to be steered back to hurting people again, which pulls her shoulders up as if by invisible strings while she bites the inside of her cheek.

Raquelle chuckles softly, sliding a clean chair to drape Huruma’s coat over before he’s returning to the girls and the start of their pedicure with a caddy of nail polish, setting it down between them to pick at their leisure.

Bustling around, and listening the hairdresser glances over to Finch with a thoughtful expression and he gives her an encouraging nod. That blue gaze flicks between Emily and Finch and then back over to Huruma before landing back between the first from the Ice Cream party.

“Let's focus on solving for the fact that something is wrong, and then…maybe, decide if it is a cuttable offense darlings. There’s nothing like taking off your earrings for a fight and then having to find a mirror to put them back on straight because there really wasn’t a fight to be had.”

"As well as can be expected. I had some time… felt you girls in here…" Seemed a better idea than trudging back to wherever she was headed. It's warmer here, besides. "Aie, It may well be." Huruma tips a look to Raquelle as she says this, more of a gentle aside than anything. So he can get a better sense of the scale, perhaps.

"Still, " her lips are in a curved smile when she looks from him to Finch, eyes roving briefly to Emily, a note of understanding in the look. "Your friend here seems discomforted by the talk…"

Which is the whole reason Emily brought her here in the first place, the young woman reminds herself. She had wanted to endeavor to not bring Finch down with all of this, but for her, it's all-encompassing. Her gaze flits away from Huruma, avoiding meeting the look directly even as she acknowledges it. Instead, she leans forward, plucking a color from the caddy. The carmine red she pulls glimmers as she rolls it into her palm, closing her hand around it. She hadn't looked for more than a second, not appearing to have considered the color at all.

In the lean, her sleeve pulls back to reveal the top of a tattoo on the inside of her forearm. It's non-distinct from the bit that can be seen— two red lines outlined in a thin black.

Maybe the color had been a conscious decision after all.

In the meantime, her heel bounces almost imperceptibly in the warm water, salts shifting underfoot. What to change the topic to? It takes her a second, but she turns her head slightly to Finch. "I don't think I asked you—" (although she definitely had on an earlier date) "how are you getting along with everyone? Is everything okay living with the Lighthouse?"

Finch is just in the middle of a deep breath and working another big mouthful of ice cream down when she finds herself frowning at Huruma's words, confusion, surprise and apology flashing on her face and within her mind like a slot machine gone rogue.

"Mmnh!" It's a squeak of a complaint that leaves her when she finally settles on a fourth option: startled determination. She pushes her shoulders back down, sets the spoon back in her bowl, and takes a deep breath. "Yeah, um!" She turns her attention down to the caddy as well, walking fingertips along colors. Boop boop boop. Maybe a green!

"It's been really good. I've been trying to help out when I can, everyone's been so sweet." And yet, there's something else there, something of a hidden disquiet despite the bright, growing smile. "It's a belonging, right? The feeling of it. It's nice and you bet your butt I'm not leaving before I find some way to repay you all for your kindne- aHA!"

LIME GREEN. Perfect. Finch scoops it up and looks to Raquelle again, delighted by this option.

There is a moment where Raquelle looks at the polish that Emily selects and his eyebrows raise a fraction before he glances over to Huruma with concern and then looks back to Emily with a small nod. “I have some lipstick I just got in, haven’t opened yet…would go perfect with this darling.”

The hairdresser takes his time in accepting the nail polish from Finch with a soft but happy sounding laugh of approval. Raquelle sets it aside and then settles back as he listens and looks from woman to woman with a thoughtful expression, listening closely.

"The Lighthouse? Did they pick you up too?" Huruma asks, amusement spilling into her features with a little smirk. "I heard they got a new place… some old brick building, wasn't it?" She arches a brow to Emily.

"Finch, there's no leaving the Lighthouse once you're in." She decides to break it to the girl gently, still smirking, a laugh puffing out with her breath. "Those kids—" Still kids to her, for now. Huruma lifts one hand in a mock-claw, hand flexing just so. "They will put their sweet little kitten claws in you. They make a habit of it."

"And you can tell them to fuck off when you've had enough," Emily interjects, smooth and low but emphatic about this. "Because they'll keep being nice, for forever, but if you decide you're ready to take the leap and start a new adventure, you shouldn't feel held back. Like you owe anything, okay?" She scoops up another bite of ice cream, gesturing with it as she delicately balances the bowl between her knees. "It's just who they are. It's not a game of kindness and repayment."

She lifts her shoulders in an idle, involuntary shrug afterward, trying to dial back the force of it with a physical caving in. Emily sticks the spoon back in the bowl before setting it aside, finally offering the bottle of polish out to Raquelle. "That's kind of you to offer, but I think that'd be a bit strong for me." The deep red is already a stretch for her, but with winter, it's not like she's wearing sandals anyway. It's definitely more something just for her.

She squints after, thoughtful. "Wait, Finch— you've never done this before?" Emily asks before she thinks better of prodding into it. "You've really never gone out to have your nails done before? Not even before?" Before the war, and all.

Huruma earns a studious look from Finch, who does not look surprised so much as somewhat guiltily amused. Bright-eyed and naive she might be, but she's got it all figured out. Probably. Either way, she's confident enough to just give one big NOD in agreement. On the subject of repayment, she simply says, "Oh I know, but I'll find a way."

Emily's next question gives her a moment's pause, her lips pressing into a thin line as she hums a note in idle thought before answering, "Before coming here? There wasn't a place for it, or a lotta downtime. Y'know, outside of communal recreation with Father Rivera."

As she talks, she pushes some of the remaining ice cream in her bowl around, before looking up at Emily with a quickly blossoming smile that does not appropriately communicate underlying reservations about this particular subject. A trickle of doubt from a tipped source quickly righted. "But that was with, like, the whole town, almost, so… so this is nice! Right? New things."

Raquelle sets out some towels and settles back for a moment with his own bowl of ice cream. He pauses to hold the bowl up towards Huruma. "Care for a bowl? Tweety Bird brought plenty."

Then there is a small smile at Emily's assertiveness, some pride there but a flicker of concern in his mind. His lashes do flutter as he processes what Finch just said.

Brain screeches to a halt, then rewinds and he takes a deep breath, lips parting and as he cannot decide on the right question to ask. Because to blurt out 'what the fuck is communnal recreation' might scare her away.

So…very gently he asks. "Baby. Oh precious baby bird. What. What things happened during communal um recreation?" Because his imagination is too wild to trust.

Naturally, Huruma seems to have the same squinty reaction as Raquelle, though she lacks a voice in it.

"The kids had nothing except one another. Let them spoil you. It will be fine." Repaying them, she implies, simply comes by being around. Huruma straightens in her seat, holding up a passive hand in 'no thank you' at the other empath's offer.

"Were you a part of a church community?" Huruma is a little more direct, though her tone is much like Raquelle's. She's been around plenty of missionaries in her time, and that doesn't help.

New things indeed. The empath in the room can more keenly sense Emily's tumult in pressing for more details, a smile flashed in return despite the conflict in deciding how to answer. The questions by others relieve her of some of the burden. "This is nice," is all she manages to agree for the moment.

Distracted, she turns back to Huruma. "Yeah— they converted an old firehouse. The boys love the pole in it. Brynn had them call it the Lanthorn. It's another lighthouse term."

"Oh nonono!" Finch answers Huruma all too eagerly and brightly, before reaching forward to plop her hands on her knees and peer at one of her feet as she lifts it out of the water. As if it will have changed, somehow. Or maybe just to feign a casual attitude as she breathes out a laugh and says, "Father Rivera lets you believe what you want to believe, so long you contribute. The church building is — it was only for gathering, really. Speeches and stuff, the long talks."

Plopping her foot back into the water, she ignores the way her voice quietens a little against her will, and the inklings of discomfort that trying to brush this all aside as normal provide. "I mean, I know you don't, like, have the communal stuff here, but. California's different, right. I mean more, like, swimming and things. Activities near the walls. Supervised in case of…" She looks to Emily, then to Raquelle, Huruma, and back down again. "Y'know. Danger."

Spoonful of quickly melting but still delicious goodness is consumed as Raquelle nods a bit to both Huruma and Emily, at their responses and comments. He then blinks a few more times as he watches Finch. The hairdresser is quiet before letting out a soft ‘hm’.

“I’m glad that Father Rivera and whoever was helping him, had safety in mind so that your bright sunshiney little behind could come in here and shine all over my shop.” Raquelle winks and then sets his bowl aside to move to check on Emily’s feet, towel at the ready as he gestures for her to lift a foot. “We do have community events baby. And if you have any ideas for some fun stuff for people to do together, you just let me know. I’ll see who I can speak to about that.”

A new lighthouse? Huruma does not bother hiding the small curve on her lips, pleased to hear about it.

"I see." Huruma studies Finch a little while longer, mulling over possibilities. Perhaps a community of necessity. Preppers were more and more common in the time leading up to the war, and so many people went off the grid. While Raquelle gives her the lowdown on Safe Zone events, it allows Huruma more time to peel back the corners of mental pages which make up one Eloise Finch; a silent incursion, though not a waist deep one. Skimming the titles of chapters, so to speak.

"He can absolutely hook you up with community, little darling." Sounds like the empath approves of this one, at her words. "He's on the local council. Pulling strings, moving hearts, all the lovely bits. Isn't that right?"

All Emily can do is listen at first, lest she say or do something off the cuff that's less than respectful. That'd not be the best way to reward Finch for opening up.

But holy shit is she glad the other girl is away from wherever the hell this was. California, clearly, but no part of California she'd ever heard of.

She follows Raquelle's silent request without delay, glancing back over at Finch. "It's— a little similar in a way, isn't it, how the Safe Zone has walls? Fences, really, but…" Emily tips a shoulder in a shrug as she tries to find some way to make Finch feel less awkward.

Yeah, where she came from was fucking weird, but she didn't want her to feel weird because of it.

"Yeah, everything's just… bigger," Finch answers, her eyes wide over a playful widening of her smile, as though the word itself instills awe. "And harder to keep track of, and there's… you know. Electronics and…"

She cuts herself off, and though her expression shows nothing but appreciation for what's here and not her previous home, Huruma in particular can feel the draw still present within her to return. One does not need to dig deep to find the greedy hands of longing for times past, even if uncertainty clings to it like mud. Needing to know better, but not feeling it just yet. Much more pressing right now, anyway, is her delight at being indulged to do good!

"I've been trying to think of a way to help with how the immigrant camp is moving to Staten Island!" she tells Raquelle, bouncing up in her seat as she watches with interest. "But I don't really have any, like, real good ideas for that yet. Maybe what I need is to know who's on my side! Oh! Would you like to help, too?"

She looks over to Huruma, expectant and hopeful.

“Mmm, I don’t know about all of that. I mean, I did use all my lovely bits to snag my fiance, but mostly it was my charming personality, natural sass and stubborn ass that got me on that council.” Raquelle drawls softly in response as he gently dries Emily’s feet with a fluffy towel, apply some type of pedicure oil as the next part of the treatment and letting them rest against the towel.

Then he’s over to Finch’s bowl with a quirk of an eyebrow and a soft smile to Emily and Huruma not only at their contributions to what could’ve been an awkward situation but their encouragement of the bright spirit in his shop. He gestures for her to lift her feet out of the foot bath and he nods slowly in agreement. “That is a good thing to think of. Again, you need help I think all of us in this shop would be willing.”

Something tells Huruma that it was more stubborn sass and natural ass, but to each their own. She just gives Raquelle a small laugh, tipping her head to Finch and resting her elbow on her chair, jaw leant against hand.

"While I may not be able to help with the groundwork, I am sure that adjustments like that may need a touch of grease." What she means is certainly more clear when she makes the universal gesture for cash. Makes everything move even now. Huruma glances up and over to Emily, then Raquelle. They might be better suited than her, these days especially. "And I do not entirely agree with the moving an entire community to a recently contested territory. Been there, seen that."

Oh shit, says the look in Emily's eyes as Finch looks hopefully toward Huruma. The young blonde sits more upright in her seat, lips tightly pressed to avoid smiling. That'd be a rude, right?

Finch means well, at least, and with it not being directed at her for once— for a moment Emily forgets about her troubles, nose twinging as she tries hard not to chuckle.

"I hadn't heard they were moving Settler's Park?" she voices out loud, squinting thoughtfully. "Though… honestly, it'd not surprise me. Temp housing is meant to be temp housing…" One hand climbs to rub at the side of her neck, subconsciously massaging around the scar on the right side. "Last time I was out there, everything looked seriously worn down. That place has been up too long."

Her brow furrows for a moment in thought at Huruma's gesture of her hand. "Yeah… money's probably needed to do anything worthwhile…" Emily tsks thoughtfully, turning toward Finch. "You heard of that charity group, the Hands of Mary? I bet you they'd be just as interested in you are on the topic. They've been doing outreach stuff… soup kitchens, and so on, for…" Her brow lifts in idle surprise. "I guess it's been over a year now, since I've been seeing their posters around."

"They're-" Finch starts, her hopeful look somewhat lessened by now, though when she turns her gaze downward her smile at Raquelle remains no less warm. She takes a deep breath, and then says, "Hands of Mary, I've been meaning to go check them out, but I think, in a weird way, them being organised is what kept me from, y'know. Actually taking the first step."

There's more discomfort there, this time quite visibly in the way she fidgets with the socks stuffed under her legs and breathes a somewhat forced laugh, joking quietly, "You're all doing a very good indirect job reminding me I should probably go in for another therapy session."

Ever the professional, Raquelle has Finch’s feet dried off and prepped before moving back to Emily’s toes to begin applying her selected polish color, his head cocks to the side thoughtfully at the idea of moving entire communities and he gives a small shake of his head. “Well, you got a sugar mama over there now willing to make it rain on a good cause if it will help it move forward. I have a program where people go help people who can’t really help themselves or need help with day to day stuff like laundry, cleaning, watching babies, or house repair stuff…having meals prepared.”

He lets his gift wrap around his words as he feels in that vague niggling in the back of his mind of the hint of discomfort there, reassurance coloring his words as he lets a sense of well being seep into his tone, as he tsks softly and looks up at Finch. “You find something that you want to do, and do it. I’ve got your back baby.” A pause. “Also, talking to folks is a good way of getting your thoughts in order.”

"Sugar mama?" Huruma winces with a touch of exaggeration, at least for the girls' benefit. She lets Raquelle say his piece, though; it sounds a lot more up Finch's little alley. She's from some kind of- - commune- - so He'll know what to do with her. He always does.

Emily knows Huruma enough now to see where her interest is pointed, even if not obvious; at the moment it angles at the hairdresser, an angled lean of head and a slight pinning of her eyes as she puts her psychic nose to what courses with his words. It is a small thing that he does for her, yet speaks a volume more.

"Sounds like he could hook you up with some purpose, to me…" Huruma taps at the edge of her nose, a small wink. "Or at least something to do which isn't causing trouble with the Lighthouse kids." Never.

"Organised is a pretty strong word for it…" Emily opines as gently as she can. "They're still a volunteer group." Raquelle's offer, as always, sounds personable, though. Smaller-scale, if Finch was still concerned. Now she does smile, small but pleased. "It sounds like you've got some options."

It's only then she notices Huruma's lingering attention on Raquelle rather than the girls, her gaze flickering for a moment in a rapid, internal removal of rose-colored lenses. Had he…?

She'd not noticed, if he had. Huh. is as much as she allows herself. She grabs a hold of her emotional state and stills it rather than letting surprise and any other successive emotions take hold. Emily blinks once, her expression settling back to the previous ease. "Don't say things like that," she teases Finch lightly. It might be accompanied by rubbing if she weren't worried about disturbing Raquelle and getting red polish where it didn't belong. "You're going to end up very directly reminding me I haven't been at all recently."

She had a good series of excuses. The holidays, of course. But now it was a new year, and those 'reasons' ran out. Perhaps she could use it now more than even before, but she somehow doubts anyone, no matter how well-meaning, will have answers that could help her right now.

Not unless those answers included where Nathalie was, and if she was safe.

"This is better than therapy anyway." Finch decides, sitting just ever so slightly taller as she shoots a glance to Emily. Her very serious brow knitting and chin UP in defiance do more than just hint that she's probably just joking, but at least that shows she's comfortable enough to do so, now.

It helps, maybe, that she's utterly oblivious to all the extra feeling-adjacent activity that's going on in the room, seemingly just happy to be here and to watch Raquelle do what he does. Maybe ignorance really is bliss. "Options are the best. I'll be showing up on your doorstep with ideas in no time, just you watch." With a wrinkle of her nose, she exclaims in a slight but delighted correction, "Just the world watch!" YEAH.

Raquelle settles back on his heels for a moment as he toys with the bottle of polish he has ready for Finch, after finishing with Emily’s new pretty toe nails. His blue gaze slowly travels from one person to the other, a sweeping gaze one could say and a small smile shifts into a full on grin. An eyebrow raises a fraction as he nods slowly. “Spa days were the original therapy, I am convinced. But still go to your therapist. And then come and see me. I always have ice cream.”

There is a long lingering look and a wistful smile. “Just…the world watch indeed baby. Just the world watch.”

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