Please Stay


colette_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif

Scene Title Please Stay
Synopsis Tamara drops in upon Colette for the first time since her release from Bella's keeping.
Date February 23, 2010

Le Rivage: Judah's Apartment

The first noteworthy impression is that it's becoming distinctly cold.

Far colder than any apartment hooked into the building's central heating should be, which means someone left a window open. Or the patio doors — which of course means there must be someone else in the apartment to open these things in the first place. It's early for Judah to be home from work — and his entrance isn't usually so quiet as to pass beneath notice.

For all that, the apartment's main room is quiet, still; exactly as it was left after lunch and in Judah's absence; lit mostly by the gray light that filters through an overcast sky, clouds hanging heavy with snow they have yet to let fall. There's one difference — a small black jewelry box, sized to hold a ring, balanced on the corner of the coffee table nearest the bedroom doors. As unremarkable as the box is, it's also immediately, intimately, familiar.

The patio door is open, and the balcony beyond it occupied, although only the girl's profile is visible, her attention seemingly turned outwards. Tamara's dressed for the cold weather: olive scarf, dark blue sweater, black jeans and sneakers that probably used to be white. A very long time ago. She leans against the ivy-wreathed bars, Jupiter sitting at her feet with his head leaning against her knee, the better for Tamara's visible hand to scratch behind his ears.

It's her left hand, silver glinting in and out of view with the movements of her fingers.

The noise the rubber stopper of a cane makes on the floor is a subtle one, the scuff of Colette's bare feet against the frigidly cold wood floor less so. One hiss of confused breath is the only response the teen offers in return for the realization that the cold air has been flooding the apartment for who knows how long. Near the front door, she steps into a pair of brown slippers too big for her feet, then begins moving into the living room and around the sofa, her back too straight to be natural and one hand carefully balancing her weight on a wooden cane.

Coming past the coffee table, green eyes waver down on the box that had gone missing from her night stand. Throat hitching with a swallowed breath, Colette brings her jaws shut tightly, swallowing back an emotional sound. Her eyes flick out to view that silhouette visible through sheer curtains halfway covering the sliding door, to the chuffing breath of Jupiter out in the crusted snow on the patio.

Like being confronted with a ghost, Colette is rigid in her posture and frightened. Only on consideration of her particular class of phantasm does she take a few slippered steps forward, then begin creeping towards that open door. The more she can see of Tamara's figure on circling to the door, the larger her eyes become. Where normally she would run heedless of the danger to embrace the girl, there is now a wariness in her motions.

One scuffing step comes after the other, and by the time she's found herself standing in the threshold of that sliding door, looking out onto the patio, the cold stings at the water welling up in her eyes. A noisy swallow comes again as she sets the first slippered foot down on the icy snow with a crunch, reaching back to grab the door as she fully steps out.

The sliding door rumbles shut with a drag of Colette's hand, and her unadorned left one balances on the cane supporting her weight. "Whh— " She tries to speak, it comes out more as a cracking sound to her voice and an emotional waver that tightens her throat up and causes cold tears to finally dribble down her cheeks.

Jupiter looks queryingly up as the fingers in his fur still; she leaves them resting there, however, at least for the moment. The older girl turns her head just far enough to see Colette in the edge of her vision, the profile of her face sharp against the evergreen ivy's foliage. There's a reserve in her posture; no, more than that: an apprehension very nearly the mirror of Colette's own hesitance.

Unkempt hair slides down to half-obscure Tamara's features, but she pays it no heed at all. Her attention is entirely centered elsewhere, on the newest arrival to the patio. She doesn't stammer, the way Colette does; speaks only briefly nonetheless, voice taut, quiet — small.

"Are you mad at me?"

The very question being asked makes Colette completely lose her composure. Jaw trembling, she lets out a choked noise of emotion as her eyes clench shut and one hand comes up over her mouth. For all that her head shakes no her posture and the grudge she's been holding for several days now says yes. That hand holding the cane can't stay still, it wobbles from side to side until the girl's gotten herself under a semblance of control, sucking back a sniffling breath, face reddened now and eyes already well in that shade of pink.

Shuddering out a breath that might have been an attempt at words, Colette takes an uneasy step forward, jaw unstill and only teeth keeping her lower lip from matching its bobbling motion. She swallows nosily again, throat working up and down as she tries to take on some semblance of emotional stability.

"Whh— " That noise comes keening out again as she tries to speak, eyes coming shut as she makes a silent cry, covering her face with one hand again, sweeping the thick sleeve of her dark sweater down from her face. With her hand still over her mouth, it makes the question that comes do so muffled; "Wh— Where were you?"

Shoving the errant strands of hair back behind her ear, Tamara straightens up, dislodging Jupiter from his pillow and turning to face the younger girl. She looks at Colette for a long moment, quiet, her expression shifting in a subtle fashion that is difficult to put a finger on and name. Sobering, perhaps, and yet not exactly; it doesn't have the darkening of the sybil's gaze, but there's a related element to it. "You know the shadows couldn't answer that," Tamara states softly. "Are you determined to chase ghosts?"

It's not the answer Colette wanted, it's not even really a proper answer. Rubbing at her eyes with one sleeve covered hand, Colette breathes out a whimpering sound and trains her eyes down on the snowy floor of the patio underfoot. When the younger girl takes a crunching step backward, Jupiter picks his head up and quirks one ear higher than the other. Advancing on Colette, his tail unknowingly swishes from side to side, smacking gently against the side of Tamara's legs as he begins nosing around at the side of Colette's cane, then up to the fingers wound around it.

"Why did you— " Colette practically hiccups out the words, stammering and starting again, "Why— Why're you here?" The words hurt her to say, and they're said with the intention of hurting, even if that's not what she really wants— it's what makes sense at the moment. "I needed you!" Now she's finally found her voice, croaking as it is and tight with emotion. She's started to cry again, for the first time in several days and over the last thing she really has that can elicit such an emotional response.

"I needed you and you weren't there!" Because somehow still, in Colette's mind, Tamara would always be there like the figurative guardian angel she'd expected her to be; Save someone's life once, and they forget how to save it all on their own. "You— you left me in there…" Colette whines out, cheeks wet and face red, eyes glassy from the fact that she simply can't stop crying.

Her hand holding the cane continues to tremble despite Jupiter's attempts to use his nose to make everything better.

Colette doesn't push the subject, not exactly — and Tamara's more than willing to let questions of the past slide by if she can. If the accusing, hostile question of why she's here now fazes the older girl in the least… she doesn't flare back, and she doesn't wince, although the stiff rigidity of her posture doesn't change either; she doesn't relax.

Tucking her hands in her pockets, shoulders drawn together, Tamara goes back to leaning against the cold iron bars. "The ring's on the table," she says in that same quiet voice. "If you want it." Blue eyes slide silently closed, a long moment later. "If I won't —" Won't, wasn't, tenses are such slippery things. "…I'm sorry." Insufficient words, by a league or three; but Tamara as she is now doesn't even have the awareness of what happened to have Colette lash out so, and there are no better to offer.

Colette has never heard Tamara apologize, for anything, in all the time she's known her. Jaw trembling still, the latter words seem largely more lucid in comparison to the last, which makes it somewhat surreal for Colette to be considering a proper response. It's moments like that where it doesn't so much feel like talking to a wall as it does another person, or maybe a person trapped on the other side of a wall who can only hear you half the time.

The subtle touch of teeth are insufficient to steady the emotional quaver of Colette's jaw, and as rigid as she is, only part of it is the back brace's blame. A sharp breath in is painful from both the inhalation of stinging cold and the ache of bruised ribs. It's not that hurt that keeps the tears flowing from the teen's eyes though, and it's not the pins and needles sensation of the cold winter wind on her mostly bare feet either.

"It's just a ring," Which is to say that Tamara, ultimately, is more important than it on the measure of worth, even if it still has considerable sentimental value. The girl herself is worth so very much more. It hurts, to be so blindly mad at someone who can't defend themselves or make excuses because they honestly have no physical recollection of what it was they did that was wrong. Taking a step forward, the icy snow under Colette's slippered feet crunches again, and then three more times.

Left sniffing at the back of her legs and then down where her feet were on the ice, Jupiter seems like an unexpected spectator to these events, and his glance to the closed sliding door seems almost like an attempt at saying hey it's warmer in there, but goes unfortunately without voicing.

Closer now to Tamara than before, Colette hasn't shown any signs of being less upset emotionally— though anger is less there now and frustration has gone to take its place. "I was alone," Colette strains the words through her teeth, "she— hurt me, she tortured me— " The words bring more heated emotional responses, a trembling of her shoulders and a hitching of her breath behind sounds that are so close to the breaking down of crying.

"I didn't— " Colette's lips come unbound from the tightness they had, letting shuddering breaths suck in and blow out in irregular cadence. "I needed you," her brows screw up, eyes reddened and puffy now too many times in one week. "All I ever need is— " she clamps down on those words, sucking back a sob as she stands there in arms reach, but the only thing she's holding on to is the hurt and the cane.

Tamara turns as the younger girl comes closer, facing her again, blue eyes searching over her features, her expression. She steps forward, a single movement, one pace that makes arm's reach even smaller still. The trailing end of her scarf bobs back and forth in the wake of that motion, oscillation gradually damping only to be renewed when Tamara moves again. Her fingers are cool against the line of Colette's jaw, beneath the curve of her ear, across the arch of her cheek; not snow cold, but not household warm either. "I don't know," she says softly, so little breath in the words that it doesn't even form a visible plume in the evening's chill. "I don't know, kitty, and I'm sorry." Regret in the words, sincere as can only be with one's own failings; Tamara would change them if she could. At least — right now.

She opens her mouth, then presses her lips back together on the words that didn't quite escape; loses the sharpness of her focus as she taps into maybe to better weigh her options. "I'd go if you wanted." Or the other side of the coin, "stay if you wanted." Leaving Colette that choice — because it belongs with her own unspoken words. Tamara can't offer resolution; can't offer closure. Only the next day.

Touch is, and likely always will be, an important relation between Colette and Tamara. It's for wholly different reasons between the two that the grounding sensation has that level of significance; for one it's like an anhor to the here and the now, while to the other it's a measure of deepest trust. Something so subtle as the motion of fingers along the line of Colette's jaw and fingers beneath her ear, the touch of knuckles gently across her cheek speak as much as words do— and in the case of Tamara's vocalizations often more so.

A cold hand comes up to meet Tamara's fingers, wrap around them and hold them still. Green eyes meet blue, search wordlessly, then close to stave off the tide of tears that still don't show signs of stopping. Dark lashes hold them in place, and Colette's head turns slowly, brushing her cheek over the side of the hand she carefully holds.

"I'd go if you wanted. Stay if you wanted."

Colette's brows tense, jaw trembles and teeth press down into her lower lip before those tear-filled eyes open again. Swallowing silently, Colette meets Tamara's stare again, and considers that question. She'd had an answer of her own for it, before being hit by the car, before laying there in that hospital bed and being forced to think and confront things. Squeezing the hand she holds, Colette shakily steps closer, that cane still steadying her awkward balance and keeping weight off an injured leg.

Colette's head turns just a little more, enough to brush her lips over that small silver ring on the hand that's brushed over her cheek. She smiles, though the expression is still a sad one given the rest of her features. Keeping that hand in hers, Colette removes the remaining distance between herself and Tamara, but keeps it trapped between them. Tamara's hand is rested against Colette's sternum, to feel the subtle drumming of a nervous heartbeat.

The sound Colette makes is a hurt one, not so much from the ache in her leg or in her back, but more beneath where Tamara's hand lays now; figuratively. Jupiter startles when Colette lets go of her cane, allowing it to fall away down to the icy snow with a clatter and she in turn wraps that arm around Tamara's shoulders to draw her in to a very— so very— light embrace. Her injured leg bends at the knee, the barest tip of her slippered toes used for balance but not the pressure of weight.

"Please stay," is the almost sobbed answer that is pressed against Tamara's cheek by warm lips. The damp brush of cold, tear-stained cheeks against Tamara's own comes in that embrace, along with the warmer suggestion of breath with her words. "Please, please stay."

It's easy to push everyone away when things become difficult. It's so, so very much harder to ask them to stay when it hurts.

The seeress folds her free arm around Colette's shoulders in return, palm braced where it can help to support the younger girl's weight and balance. She leans her cheek against Colette's, feather-light brush of eyelashes against skin telegraphing the closing of Tamara's blue eyes. There are several things she could say: Jupiter's getting cold, canes are for walking or eating, not dropping… sideways jogs of mental tracks that are eminently characteristic. But those belong in other times, other company; such a deviation from the general mood brings no outcome the seeress cares for. So when Tamara speaks, voice softly reassuring, it's only to murmur a single word:


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