Ochre and Clay


benji_icon.gif nora_icon.gif

Scene Title Ochre and Clay
Synopsis Nora and Benji discuss Calvin during a quiet moment and a manicure.
Date December 27, 2010

Pollepel Island

Only one of them needs the candle guttering low, wobbling reflections on the gathered pool of wax. It's early enough that dwindling sunshine is still pressing in through the high windows of the dining hall, giving just enough clarity to justify Benji's task, which is defined in Nora's hand resting lax in his own, her fingers positioned in a splay against his knuckles. Every now and then, he makes a small sound of his tongue against his teeth in quiet reprimand at the state the blind woman has allowed her nails to get into, but there's really only so much complaint he could vocalise. They're blunt in their pragmatism.

The label on the vial proclaims the rich, metallic colour to be Sienna, and they don't flatter her so much as it gives them both something to do, Benji carefully applying a thin layer of the paint to each cap of thin bone on the ends of her digits, the reek of chemical quick to fill the immediate area.

"I was going to give these to Ingrid," he's saying of the nail polish, back straightening as he dips brush into vial, continues to apply the careful strokes. "But in all the excitement between the gala and getting home again, I completely forgot. And who knows when we'll see them again."

Even when she could see, Nora favored short nails to long, not being the most "girly" of girls even on her best of days, and given the fact that her hobbies aren't the sort that allow for the maintenance of such vanity. Her fine-boned hands still bear the scars of their night out, a few small nicks from the shattered glass on the backs and the wrists, though not quite as bad as the one on her shoulder or her cheek — though those too are superficial and unlikely to scar, thanks to first aid administered at Calvin's apartment.

"Was she there, somewhere, do you think?" she asks. "What color is it, anyway?" Not that it matters much to her — she trusts his aesthetics more than her own, and she can't see it to complain if it looks horrible with her skin tone.

Benji shrugs without affecting the movement and steadiness of his hands, and only thinks to vocalise it after a second with, "I don't know." Cool in the already chilly air, Benji gently blows air against her shining nails, shifting as he angles to finish with her thumb, applying the glossy liquid. "It's sienna. Ochre and clay. The pigment that cavemen would paint cavewomen with, war colours of the earth. Or, you know. The Sally Hansen interpretation of such notions." Another stream of cool air, before her hand is released.

"Be careful while it's wet," he reminds her, going to push brush back into vial, twisting the cap closed and sneaking a glance at her out the corner of his eye. It's convenient, that she's blind, and that she probably doesn't have to read sympathy or pity in low looks and glances. As long as he can keep it out of his already pared down voice. "It looks nice on you.

"Have you talked to him since?" There's a click as glass vials are collected together, to slip into the pockets of the loose woolen jacket he wears. "Calvin?"

Nora manages to only smirk slightly rather than snort at his explanation of the colors. "Ochre?" she echoes. "I think all that is a fancy word for brown, right? Or maybe rust. In which case, it probably suits me." She's a practical girl, and knows her dark hair and dark eyes are hardly the most coveted hues for either feature — and she doesn't particularly care.

"Thanks for doing them," she adds, wiggling her fingers and carefully placing a hand on each of her knees to keep them safe while they dry. She shakes her head finally to the question. "We don't touch base every night. I listen, for anyone, but usually it's quiet."

Smile goes unreceived by her, but the small chuckle that goes with it is just audible at the edges of Nora's hearing, Benji leaning his elbows against table edge and absently pulling the candle closer to himself. Brown indeed. Or rust. He runs one slightly ragged-edged thumb nail into the soft sides of the candle, carving a fidgeting path and feeling the warmth of the flickering flame on the backs of his knuckles. His own shallow wounds are on their way to healing, with a slightly scabbled scrape more visible on his face than the more major cuts on arms and chest.

"No, not every night," he agrees, picking flakes of wax. His voice remains hesitant, as if talking around something else. "I was just concerned. Someone like him, we weren't really meant to be seen with. Certainly, he shouldn't have crossed paths with the likes of anyone on this island. They're so… twitchy."

Her brows dip to convey her worry as well. "Yeah. It was probably dumb of us to go, but I certainly didn't think about Brian being there — just because he can be more than one place, who'd expect him there?" Nora exhales with some irritation, the puff of air lifting a strand of her hair from her face before it falls once more across her eyes.

"We should maybe figure out something to tell them if they ask. I can't think of a way to explain how to explain why we'd know him, can you?" she adds, more uncertainly.

"I'll take care of it," is spoken wearily enough. Maybe a little dismissive in the inherent way that adults can be with those younger than themselves, or even men and women, but designed, in the end, to reassure. Counter her uncertainty with some solid annunciation, even if it's near whispered in candle light and said with distraction. "I don't think we did anything wrong, really— nothing to concern them, unless Calvin tips his hand and I'm not— "

Benji catches his words in his throat, clears it delicately. "I don't know him as well as I'd like to. Maybe you should check up on him soon." He distributes a shard of clear wax into the burning range of the modest flame, allowing it to melt into the pool. Studies his own nails to clean them out. "And let me know how he is? It's just easier— "

"Yeah," Nora agrees, stretching out one socked foot to nudge his leg, knowing if she uses her hands she'll get admonished for potentially smudging wet nails. "I can do that. I'll check tonight. And it's easy enough. If he doesn't call me, he still usually listens, I think. Every time I've called him, he's picked up anyway. At the designated time, anyway."

She hasn't called every night — not even every other night, but the few times she has, he's been there. "Anything in particular, or just the usual 'hey how's it going' kinda stuff?" she asks. "He might not tell me everything, though, not if he thinks it'd worry me." She wrinkles her nose at that.

The nudge is returned with gentle affection, and an indecisive sigh follows her question, Benji setting about tugging his sleeves completely to his wrists and locking his hands together once done. "'How's it going' sounds perfect," he assures warmly, eyes half-hooded where he studies the flame-lit grain of the dining table. "His work, perhaps, but no need to give him a third degree.

"Show me your hands, now." His own go out, then, to guide her's into sight.

Nora's hands leave her knees, fingers splayed and wiggling playfully before finding his. "Got it. I'll save the Spanish Inquisition for Howard the next time he does something stupid," she says teasingly.

"Which should be any minute now. I think we're overdue." She flashes a grin, dark eyes sparkling with both candlelight and mirth.

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