One Year Later


brynn_icon.gif devon2_icon.gif emily_icon.gif geneva_icon.gif huruma_icon.gif joe_icon.gif silvia_icon.gif

Scene Title One Year Later
Synopsis So much can happen in a year, and there's still so much more yet to come.
Date September 11, 2019

The passage of time has its advantages. It allows old wounds to heal, for past transgressions to be overlooked or forgotten. It allows for new connections, a chance for change, and provides the ability for growth.

For friendships to take root, and blossom into something wonderful.

For Emily Epstein, as she looks down at the candles flickering atop birthday cake set on a bar table, one year has held more than she could possibly imagine. It's changed her more as a person than she thought possible, and let her know she doesn't have to be alone, not in anything. Even in this moment, she doesn't have to suffer bring center stage alone.

She elbows Geneva by her side, the corner of her mouth pulling back in the beginnings of a smile. "Ready?" she asks, brushing a lock of hair back behind her ear to keep it from hanging in her face. "One, two…"

Together, they blow out the candles over the cake.

Cat's Cradle

September 8, 2019

Emily oversees the cutting of the cake with fastidious precision, trying to make sure each piece comes out equally sized before it's transferred with variable levels of grace to paper plates. As serious as she looks going about the business, she's contented in her own way, wanting to make sure everyone gets a piece. "It's not like it's going to melt," she asides loudly, "But come grab some before we run out of space for plates, at least."

Cat's, in its base form, may be a bar- - but it's also one of those places that seem to just attract a certain crowd. A friend of a friend of a friend kind of place. So Huruma is not particularly puzzled over seeing a birthday there, and seeing that it's also someone she knows. She hasn't attempted to crash the party, so to speak, remaining lounging off in a corner of the bar, half-listening to whatever act is playing. Not all of them are good, but they don't need to be. Huruma isn't really here for the noise.

The less audible noise is a bit more her speed. Reading the room is always very literal, and for the time being Huruma seems content to just observe the easygoing double-birthday out of her peripheral vision. If she does notice anyone looking her way they're like to get a small nod of hello.

Usually she'd be tempted to go over, but- - something's different this time.

Brynn doesn't usually come to the Cradle. Aunt Eve is a little wacky and all, but generally… she's just not much of a club goer. On busy nights, there's too many people. On other nights, maybe just too many drugs. And technically she's underage still. But this is for Emily and for Gen, so she's not going to not be there.

Carrying her bag cross-body as usual, she's moving through the people hanging out, heading for the party. A little uneasy being in here — honestly, one never knows what's going to happen around Aunt Eve. Sometimes it's crazy and fun, other times it's just weird. And lately weird seems to be the order of the day. Gray eyes scanning the dark-ish interior, she's glad to spot the birthday girls. And she might take a little heat later for not spotting Aunt Stork in the booth until she's almost past her. A shy, delighted grin lights up the young woman's features and she waves hello to Huruma. Her steps falter — Aunt Stork looks a little… off. And worry puckers her brows a moment as she works on figuring out if Aunt Hooms wants to her ignore it or needs to be asked if she's okay.

Joe would so totally not ask, he'd just plop his butt right down and badger the imposing woman. Brynn's not so good at that.

She hadn’t really brought any attention to it, but Silvia had a small package that she quietly slipped in over by the cake—somewhere nearby but also not drawing too much attention to itself. Wrapped in brown paper and tied up with string, it was flat and about the size of a single sheet of paper, possibly supported by cardboard or something. Knowing Silvia, it was almost certainly some kind of piece of art.

She shuffles a bit over towards the plates to obtain some cake, then retreats back a little to watch. It’s not that she looks withdrawn or anything, in fact she looks quite cheerful, she’s just watching.

Forks, while not required for eating cake, definitely makes consuming the treat easier. Making sure each plate has one has become Devon’s job. Self-appointed as it is, he treats it with far more (feigned) seriousness than it deserves. The little plastic utensils are jabbed into each slice like miniature flagpoles rising up from frosting mountains. “I think there might be leftovers,” he asides to no one in particular. It's been mentioned a few times already, casual offhanded teasing that's followed by a look of (also feigned) innocence.

"Oh my god, there better not be," Emily says with too much seriousness in reply. Hers is actually meant, a nervous glance Devon's way before back down at the cake. "This thing was like sixty dollars, Dev— if there's leftovers I'm eating nothing but cake for breakfast, lunch and dinner 'til it's gone. No way is this thing going to waste."

She lays aside the whip-cream assaulted knife, licking the side of her finger to rid it of some stray icing. Her gaze catches on Brynn in particular, brow jumping up. Waving her hand to get her attention, she gestures in a universally understood query toward the bounty on the table. Does she want some. Her head cocks just so, invitingly. You know you want to! she encourages her in silence. Emily even smiles, little more than a quirk of her lip to it, but it's a real one nonetheless. Her gaze catches on something near Brynn, spotting Huruma.

With internal effort, she lets her smile remain just a moment past when it's felt, and then she's letting her gaze continue to roam, focusing more on the people she expected to be here.

"Hey," she asides to Silvia, voice quiet even as it carries the gap between them. "I'm glad you could make it out for a bit. Would you want to take some back with you?"

Huruma has her head leaning on linked hands, watchful and still even as Brynn falters in her walk to send her a silent hello. Ah, didn't move, but she got spotted. The girl's small wave recieves a small one in return, though Huruma doesn't completely disentangle her hands doing so. Doesn't keep Emily from noticing her too, it seems. At least she seem taken in by Devon and whatever they're saying to one another.

The dark woman shifts her attention back to Brynn, finally dropping hands and letting them ease into signing back. Huruma's cant signing is a little rusty, but it serves. She smiles teasingly. Whose birthday? Emily's? I think she has cake for you.

Silvia gives a small smile towards Emily as she glances towards the rest of the cake. “Pretty sure I’d be the best sister ever if I brought some of that home with me and my parents would just love some sugared up kids.” She glances around for a moment before she gestures vaguely towards the packaged package.

“I, uh, made you something. You can open it whenever.”

The smile Brynn offered Huruma widens and she nods, signing back. Yes, Emily's. Gen's too. It's been a whole year since we absorbed Ems! She's thoroughly amused that Em still thinks she's not one of the Kids. A shrug accompanies it along with the rolled eyes that say what're you gonna do?

Gray eyes search the tall woman's face seeking… something. There's genuine concern for the fact that Huruma doesn't seem quite herself. But she isn't exactly the older woman's confidante and simply signs with clear affection, It's really good to see you. She lingers another moment and then simply brushes her hand on Huruma's shoulder as she heads for the party and waves a greeting at all of the others present.

Happy assimilation anniversary on this lovely birthday, Emily, Brynn teases.

“It’s not like you’ll have to eat it all by yourself.” Devon tips a faint smile in Emily’s direction before nudging some already laden plates of cake nearer to the edge of the table. All the better to entice people to take some. Like Brynn and Silvia. As they’re coming nearer to the table he grins at each in turn and goes so far as to hold servings out for the taking. It’s harder to decline when it’s being physically handed to you, after all.

“I’ll make sure there’s some saved for them,” he says to Silvia. Then adds a second later, “For Joe and Lance also, if they don’t show up.”


Though rather loud, this stray syllable from Geneva had been addressed to nobody in particular, trailing off into empty air long after she had finished blowing out the candles on the cake alongside Emily. Straight after that, she had straightened herself with some rigidity. Absently brushed a strand of blonde hair off her forehead, as though shooing off a gnat in irritation.

But so far she hasn't otherwise moved at all, aside from narrowing her eyes as though surveying something and letting her glance rest on Huruma's lean, dark shape in the corner for several moments. There is a quagmire of strong emotions sifting not far beneath the undercurrent of her appearance, Huruma can feel, as is normal for her— but today, they are harder to define than they usually are.

"Yo, thanks for showing up, guys." This is definitely to Devon, Brynn, and Sylvia, and there is appreciation in Gene's voice to a degree that connotes surprise, or similar. She cracks a wry smile at those nearest her, too. "Don't save too much. If they don't show up in time for cake, it’s their fucking loss, yeah?"

You make it sound like it was against her will. Huruma quips back to Brynn, a small curve to her mouth; the touch to her shoulder has a brush of fingers in return overtop, a brief and shared moment, punctuated by an affirming nod. Good to see you too, little bean.

Geneva and her apparent muddied emotions is picked out of the lineup in no time, especially given that Huruma just heard it was a twofer party for the kids. The young woman's squinty survey of the room gets a sleepily cat-like look when it grazes past Huruma. Readily looking away, Huruma takes a moment to return affections to what's left of a drink on her table, for the time being allowing the gaggle their space. She can go and give a real hello in a few, right?

Joe is late. He didn't mean to be late, but he is definitely late. Late late late. But hey he's here! "Sorry I'm late!" He calls out as he comes sliding in the door of the Cradle. Literally sliding, he was running at full speed and slid in through the open door as another patron left. "It's a long story that… no one wants to hear." He flashes a grin at the gathered group and makes his way over towards Gene. Because she's getting a hug. "Happy Birthday Gene!"

Aaaand then an Emily. And she gets a hug too. He's getting better about respecting personal space. But not on people's birthday. No, they get hugs on their birthday. Joe steps back and then looks confused a moment, his eyes lifting towards the ceiling and lingering there. "What am I forgettiohgod the presents." He lets out a loooong sigh and smacks himself in the face with his palm. That pose is held for a few moments. "I'll get you both your gifts over the next couple days as I can. I forgot them. They're in my backpack at home. With my home work. And… I don't remember why I put them in there."

Joe lets out a quick snort and steps back, looking around the room. "Devon! Pearl! (Silvia) Aunt Stork! Brynn!" Yeah. Everyone gets hugs. At least this one isn't a tackle sort of hug Aunt Stork. Once hugs have been doled out to EVERYONE he will find somewhere to stand or sit where he's not in everyone's personal space. "Has it really been a year now since we badgered our way into your life Ems?" Joe asks looking a bit blown away by that fact.

Taking a piece of cake and plunking down next to Geneva after being tackle-hugged on her way from Aunt Stork's table, Brynn leans her head on her 'sister's' shoulder for a moment. Her silent way of saying where else would we be if you're letting us celebrate? Then she licks frosting off her fork because CAKE!

The cake is taken by Silvia as she glances about to the rest of the room and almost drops it in the whirlwind that is Joe’s hugs. Once she’s regained her senses, she looks back at the others. Devon, in particular. “Thanks for saving some cake, I’m sure my family appreciates it.” There’s a long pause. “It’s good to see you not dead.”

Because the last time she had actually seen him she was quite certain that he was. Or at least he looked it.

“Anyway,” Silvia clears her throat. “I’m glad there’s such a turnout. Birthdays are always fun.”

Emily doesn't hear Devon's comment at first, brow arching at Brynn and her congratulations on assimilation. A note of protest starts to form, uselessly, but she's caught in a hug before hands can form chiding words. "Oof," she groans, laying one hand on Joe's shoulder in a single, acknowledging pat. Always with the bearhug, him. "Nice to see you too. Don't— worry about a gift or anything. Just nice to see everyone."

And really, it was. Huruma's presence, finally noted, is met with equal surprise and a lift of her brow in acknowledgement. Well, hello.

She turns back to the conversation, signing along with a grudging pleasedness in saying, "Yeah, it's been that long. What's the saying? Years go faster the older you get?" Emily lets out a quiet scoff of amusement at it. They weren't that old yet. "But it was a long year, so I guess we're safe for now."

Though such assertions are always relative things.

If you pull back far enough, the world is a perilous contraption of constantly-moving parts, nearly all of which can lead to an abrupt end to a flourishing life. But it doesn’t take pulling back too far to find that peril, in fact it just requires looking beyond the windows of the bar, past the street lamp outside, and far across the street to where a small group of homeless people sit together on the stoop of a run-down tenement building. From the outside, it’s hard to tell that there’s a celebration going on inside the Cat’s cradle. It looks like just any other night. But not everyone is looking at the building so superficially.

“There?” One of the homeless people questions, plucking his cigarette from his lips with a shaky hand. There’s flecks of ashes in his scraggly beard, eyes sunken into dark pits that become ever more shadowed beneath the stoop light. Having smoked his cigarette down to the filter, the old man flicks it aside to bounce across the sidewalk with a few orange sparks following its path. The old man furrows his bushy brows, turning his attention from Cat’s Cradle to someone seated at his side.


“There,” his company for the evening attests, looking for recognition in Samson’s eyes and finding none. The old man exhales a weak, wheezing breath and turns to look back at the Cat’s Cradle. “Not directly,” she clarifies, sitting forward and resting her forearms on her knees, hands clasped together, “but eventually. It starts in there.”

Samson makes a noise in the back of his throat, sliding tongue across the inside of his cheek in contemplation. “Which one?” He asks, rolling forefingers and thumb together, to which the young woman at his side leans in and whispers a name into his ear, eliciting only the barest of nods in response. “If you’re lying,” Samson rasps back at her, his weary eyes narrowed, “I’ll be back for you.”

The blonde at Samson’s side smiles weakly, she already assumed as much. But sometimes, in order to set the right things in motion, you have to make a few mistakes along the way.

Her father taught her that.


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