Putting Together Packages


abby4_icon.gif colette_icon.gif eileen_icon.gif

Scene Title Putting Together Packages
Synopsis Eileen asks Abigail and Colette to deliver an important one to Melissa.
Date June 9, 2010

The Garden

Mid-morning at the Garden finds smoke rising from the brick stack as, inside, a fire burns in the hearth and spreads warmth through its cramped interior to counteract the Atlantic breezes and the fine, misting rain that's been floating down from a milky-pale sky since dawn. Dilute clouds in pastel shades of blue and gray drift past a white-gold sun too weak to burn off the fog on the ground, covering all of Staten Island in a haze so thick that the safehouse's operator has decided against risking the roads in favour of staying inside to prepare lunch for the cottage's inhabitants while volunteers go about their chores.

Eileen's boots squelch through mud as she leads one of the Garden's mares toward the adjacent field by a set of leather reins wrapped around one gloved hand. Wind pulls at the Englishwoman's flyaway hair, worn loose, but lacks the power to affect her clothes, which include a pair of denim jeans and a fisherman's sweater with beads of moisture glittering on the dense wool fabric like dew in a spider's web.

For the first time in months, it's just warm enough to be outside without a coat.

Uniform blue, boots, no jacket, long white sleeves out from under the short sleeves of the pressed navy, Abby's coming in through the back with big tupper containers, everything frozen and all of it food. Grocery stores getting supplies again, and knowing probably have vastly empty that the freezers are of the safehouses, she's delivering batches of casseroles and other things that freeze well and reheat nicely. That and return the loaner that was so graciously given to her to use to get around. Car coming tomorrow, she can spend the day on the bus. "Hey Eileen" Recognizing the other woman and calling out a greeting. Only one person with a southern accent and pink hair, is known in the ferry.

"Y— you know I— I really don't know a lot about… horses," comes from someone hidden behind the horse's silhouette. It's probably the least-likely thing to have come out of Colette Nichols' mouth on any morning, but the things that the Ferry sometimes asks of her can range from the simple to the absurd, and today is leaning considerably towards the latter end of the spectrum. Whatever concerns Colette has about a horse are quieted when the dark-haired teen turns to spot someone who clearly cannot be Abigail Beauchamp because she has pink hair and that is fantastic.

Cognitive dissonance aside, Colette splutters out a noise that sounds something like a greeting but ends up having more of a confused whine at the end. Ducking her head down and brushing her bangs from her blind eye, Colette tugs the hood of her carnation red sweatshirt down a little bit and wrinkles her nose, offering a sheepish smile to Abby once she finally does process that she knows her.

"Um, h— hey Abby." Smiling nervously, Colette dips her head down into a nod and then tilts her head to the side, teeth worrying over her lower lip for a moment as her boots squealch muddily in the ground where she stands beside Eileen. "It— s'like the coolest hair color ever."

Eileen raises her free hand in the universal sign for hello. Rusty hinges creak as the field's wooden gate squeaks open, latch unfastened, and the mare obediently plods inside with a flick of her silky tail that nearly catches Colette in the face along the way. Before she can address Abigail properly, she has to remove the reins, bridle and bit, mindful not to cause the mare any more discomfort than necessary. She might not get along well with dogs, but horses are another story.

"There's a bag of apple in my pocket," she tells Colette, instructions accompanied by jangling metal and a low huff of hot air blown out through the mare's nostrils in the form of a heavy white plume. "Careful you keep your hand flat."

Only once the tack is safely off does she rub her hand up and down the length of the mare's nose, reins draped over her arm, and press a quick kiss to the velvet-smooth fur of her face. "Have you got a few minutes?" she asks Abigail in a voice that's raw and hoarse but still loud enough to carry thanks to the pristine stillness of morning.

"Better thank skunky white and blonde. Don't think they much care for it at work. Hey Colette" Months, even a year and some, have cooled Abby's attitude towards Colette. Will they ever be friends like she and Eileen come off as or even Francois and Abigail? Likely not, even good Christian former healers can bear grudges.

"let me drop off the food and I can't. Not too long, like a half hour at most, someone's going to give me a ride back to the mainland, I got work" She'd pitch in on helping with the horse, but then she'd have to change and her new uniforms hadn't come yet. She disappears into the Garden, transferring ownership of the food before making her way back out and towards the two women. Not to close to the animal though.

Losing her fingers to an overhungry horse isn't the most happy notion Colette's entertained herself with lately, but there's something strangely captivating about such a huge, docile creature that she hasn't — up until this very moment — ever seen close up before. Colette recalls in this, despite the near swat to the face, a time when she was littler, that her sister was always fussing about wanting to take horse riding lessons, something Colette never had that childhood infatution for.

While fishing around in Eileen's pockets may have been a more personal dream of Colette's at one point in her life, doing so to find a feedbag for a horse wasn't quite on the same level. But it's still her ultimate end route, pulling that crumpled bag out of loose pockets, holding her hand flat and shaking enough out to fill her cupped palm before flattening fingers again and offering the hand nervously up to the horse.

"Skunk and what?" Colette asks with a flick of her attention over to Abby, brows raised and lips parted in a surprised expression, but that there's apparently business to discuss has her growing marginally silent. Also there's focusing on not losing fingers too, always an important attention investment.

The mare's lips flutter against Colette's outstretched hand and pull the slices of apple into its mouth. The closest she comes to getting bitten is an instant where teeth graze harmlessly against her skin when the mare is pressing her nose against the teen's palm in search of more, and even this tickles more than it hurts. A pinch, and that is all.

Soon, the earth under their feet will be composed of more than sloppy mud and dead grass; a few more weeks, and the riding equipment that's being kept in the cottage's basement can be brought up, dusted off and put back to use. Until then, the mare and her companions will have to settle for their field and short walks around the property between brushings, which is exactly where this old girl has just come from.

She gives Colette a gracious bump with her oversized head before she moves off to join the others on the opposite side of the field at a slow, leisurely pace. Everything is more relaxed out here than it is in the city, even the animals.

By the time Abby is making her way back outside, Eileen is fishing a cigarette out from behind her ear and a matchbook from a different pocket than the one Colette explored with her fingers. "Do you still keep in touch with Pierce?"

"She comes over for movies or dinner. We're friends still. There's a birthday party for Kendall coming up soon, being held at her place for him. Don't know if it's a surprise thing or not" Abigail leans over, running her fingers over the velvet nose of the beast. "Been a long time since I rode a horse. Why, did you need me to pass a message to her?" Colette's skunk or what question isn't really addressed, just watching the younger girl feed the horse.

Quiet as she looks down at her hand when the mare starts to move away, Colette furrows her brows and wordlessly wonders how she's going to get horse stink off of her palm, eventually resigning herself to the tried and true method of wiping it on the back of her jeans. Grimacing amusedly, Colette tilts her head to the side, regarding Abby for a moment in scrutiny of who Pierce might be until the topic of Kendall comes up, and then it all suddenly becomes clear.

"Oh, uh, Melissa?" There's a furrow of Colette's brows and a look to Eileen. "She doesn't really live all that far from here actually, 'bout maybe an hour or so north if you hoof it and take your time? Right up in uhh…" there's a near cross-eyed look as she tries to remember the neighborhood and instead just waves her hand vaguely in the air, "out— near the place with the rusted boats. She's got a pretty nice house she's sort've uh, taken."

"Jensen and I put together a package for her," Eileen says, directing her gaze toward the cottage and the shapes moving around in the kitchen, their faces distorted by the warped glass windows and the rainwater clinging to them. "If the Institute is responsible for what happened to Gillian and Rowan, then she and the boy are in just as much danger as the rest of us. I want to be sure they're capable of defending themselves, and with the negation gas in the government's arsenal—"

Whether or not she might've finished that thought, she doesn't have to. Eileen pulls the gate shut behind her and Colette, fastens the latch with an abrupt snap of metal-on-metal to punctuate her point, unspoken. "It isn't much, but if you could make sure they get it the next time you see them, I'd appreciate it. She won't want to see me."

'Wait, you want me to drive some guns over to Melissa?" Just to make sure she's hearing right. "Uhhm, if you have fake paperwork to go with it, sure, or if you leave it here, when I get my car tomorrow I can try and bring it over from here. I'd rather not traipse all over Manhatten with guns in my vehicle. I can get away with my shotgun because I have a permit and a hunting license"

There's a nod for Colette. "She took over an abandonded place, is trying to fix it up to make it inhabitable for her and Kendall and the dogs. But I can do that for you Eileen, easily enough. Before work tomorrow"

Would negation gas affect her if she was already flame? There's a thought that runs through her head. "Have uhh, you seen Gabriel lately? I tried leaving a phone message for him and haven't heard back from him. Is he okay?"

That has Colette's eyes growing wide in surprise. There's a jolt and she's standing up a bit straighter, looking back and forth between the two. There's two things that came up in that exchange that grabbed her attention, the first being a firearm delivery and the second being Gabriel, both usually always relevant to Colette. "Gabriel has a phone?" is the obvious question that comes up first, because if Colette had known that she'd probably be calling him all the time about everything and— that— may be why she didn't know that.

There's a furrow-browed look offered to Eileen though, a bit more serious than what her comment had seemingly implied. "Hey if— if you need something delivered and it can fit in a backpack I can drive it wherever. I— I dunno like, what you an' Jen put together," she's taken to calling Raith Jen for the sake of irony, "but I can zip around most anywhere on the island. Though it— it sounds like a lot I guess…"

Scrubbing at the back of her neck, Colette ducks her head down and considers the mud on her boots, or at least directs her stare that way before finally asking Abby. "What'd you need Gabriel for?"

Gate secure, Eileen strikes a match against the side of the book and uses it to light her cigarette, a hand cupped around her mouth to prevent the wind from snatching away the flame. It buys her the time she needs to piece together a response to Abigail's inquiry that both answers her question and protects Gabriel's privacy, and as she flicks the spent match into the mud at her feet, she purses her lips around the cigarette's filter in what is probably meant to be a smile, small as it is.

"Gabriel needs time alone, the same as you and I need clean air to breathe," she says. "Purification. When he's ready, he'll call you." Drawing from her cigarette, she looks over at Colette without needing to lift her chin, green eyes raised instead. "It's more than you can fit into a satchel, though you're welcome to take a look. Maybe you and Abigail ought to ride out to Port Ivory together. If you run into trouble, you'll be too far out of the Reclaimed Zone to call for help."

Gabriel needs time alone. There's a hint of frustration on Abby's face, blonde brows furrow, pull down and then nods in understanding. "Okay. It was just me doing what someone told me to do. I can do it by myself. You come across him, tell him thanks anyways. I appreciate him having just listened" Listened about what, might drive Colette curious but the same as she didn't tell Magnes why the bar burned down in truth is the same reason that abby brushes off why she needed Gabriel. "Just something I needed his help on. It was right up his alley, maybe. I'll have to go back to the drawing board. I needed him to teach me something that he's really good at. Want to help bring the weapons to her the day of the party? Kill two birds wiht one stone"

Cracking an awkward smile at being a touch out of the loop on things, Colette furrows her brows and dips her head down, looking to the mud on her boots again and feeling for a moment like she's still sitting at the kids table while the adults consider the important things and carve the proverbial turkey. Rolling her tongue over the inside of her cheek, Colette nods her head once, slowly, in agreement to Abby's offer. "Yeah, sure, I mean I haven't seen her in a while n'stuff anyway, not since we tried to play tug a'war with the skeleton that she found bricked up in the wall of the basement…"

Pursing her lips at that, Colette breathes in a deep breath and exhales a sigh, tucking her fingers into the pockets of her slacks and then offers an askance look up and over to Eileen with one brow raised, then back to Abby. "How far off's the party, I'unno when Ken's birthday is…"

"He'll call you," Eileen says again, firmer this time. Her lips press down on the cigarette's filter, jaw tight and mouth taking on a slant impossible to translate without factoring in her eyes and the way they seem to sharpen at the other woman's dismissal. There's not yet enough ash accumulated at its tip for her to justify tapping it out, so she simply removes it from her mouth instead and runs her tongue across her front teeth as Colette's probes her own cheek, savouring the familiar taste of bitter smoke married to damp tobacco. "No need to dust off the drawing board just yet."

He'll call. Which means either Eileen will make him call, or she knows that he'll do it on his own. "Party is Saturday, his birthday is today I think, today or tomorrow. Turning seventeen? or maybe sixteen I don't know. I have to find a present for him, house-warming present for the both of them. Though I think we're now going to be bringing Eileen's and Raith's house-warming present, is there anything else that either of you need? I have some more food in the truck to fe-" nope, there goes someone to fetch it, seeing Abigail caught up in the conversation. "I have access to some medical supplies Eileen, do you need any?" Into a pocket she digs, offering bubblegum to colette, nowhere near the shade of her hair. "I can slip the odd thing from the ambulance, and insurance money's come in from the bar and the car"

"Oh, boy that's soon, uh— yeah sure I should be able to make it. I live over in the Bronx now at Gun Hill so, I'll need a little forewarning when you're gonna head down there, or you can stop by'n pick me up or whatever." There's a furrow of Colette's brows as she glances down at the gum, one eye squinting and a crooked smile crossing her lips. Her cleaner hand lifts up to pluck a foil wrapped strip out, then turns it over and starts unwrapping it with one hand as mis-matched eyes meet Eileen's more uniformly gray-green ones.

"Gun Hill's got jack and shit in it," Colette admits a bit dryly, looking from Eileen to Abby, "Lynette was supposed'ta handle all've that but…" there's a slow shake of Colette's head. "We don't even have First-Aid kits over there, and we've got little kids moving in there for the time being because've what happened to Gillian… so… yeah I— if you could spare some stuff that'd be great. I got a bunch'a rugrats to look after."

Somehow in the last two years, Colette Nichols has gone from irresponsible slacker to being charged — partially — with the well-being of children. It's almost impossible to consider the transformation, Kafka might be proud.

Eileen only has so many pockets, but enough to carry the bag of apple slices, matchbook and the slip of paper she produces next. She holds it out for Abby, folded between two gloved fingers, and watches the cigarette leak smoke, thin tendrils difficult to distinguish from the fog swirling around them. Antibiotics, painkillers, epinephrine— there's something at the very bottom of the list that's been scratched out to the point of being unreadable. And that's probably the way the Englishwoman prefers her omissions.

Colette's report on Gun Hill has her exhaling a sigh through her nose. "We've supplied Dr. Price with a few boxes of supplies for her clinic," she tells the teen. "If you need anything, borrow from her until we can allot you additional stores. I'll have Jensen put together another package for you and the others tonight and make sure someone delivers it by this time tomorrow at the latest. Juniper's probably old enough to start learning her way around an assault rifle."

The list is taken, some of this she can get on her own, other stuff, will take a bit. Siphon what she can from the ambulance or fish around from folks she knows." Abby rips her gaze away at the mention of a teenager handling an assault rifle and looks very uneasy about that. Rifle, sure, shotgun, sure! Handgun.. welll…. but assault rifle.

"Wh— ahh— I— " Colette grimaces nervously at Eileen and ducks her head down a little. "I— think it might be a little premature to give, like, Juniper any lessons like that. S— so let's stick to like, basic first aid supplies and stuff and maybe worry about crazy stuff like guns later. I— we can talk about that later, I— I guess, with Eric or… something." She almost said with Gillian but that has its own levels of confusing and worrisome implications to contend with, no one knows exactly what happened to Gillian.

The very notion that the city is turning more into a warzone than it already has been is one that Colette is trying to keep out of sight and out of mind for as long as she can ostrich herself into the sand. After all, at the moment life is considerably good for her personally, and troubles aside the last thing she wants is for that glimmer of hope for something good to be dragged through the mud of what might resemble war.

"Thanks," she finally adds to Eileen as Abby walks away, "for— you know— having faith in me." It's something she's reluctantly coming to terms with.

"You can put them in the basement with Price if you aren't comfortable having them around," is the compromise Eileen offers Colette. "You shouldn't be without a means of protecting yourselves and the children." A means that doesn't involve relying their abilities, heavily implied by the solemn note in the Englishwoman's voice. She starts back for the cottage around the same time the haunting whistle of a train on the other side of the water in Brooklyn cuts through the air, as distant as it is shrill.

Colette thanks her for having faith, and although Eileen's step does not falter, she turns her head away from the younger woman — because Colette is a woman now — and maneuvers her cigarette into the corner of her mouth. "There's not much that hurts more than having respect withheld," she says, and maybe she knows, "especially when it's the respect of the people you look up to. Worst when it's the ones you love.

"A lot of us don't ever get a chance to prove ourselves to them — see to it that you don't ruin yours."

Despite the downcast quality of her stare, the faint hint of a smile on Colette's lips comes with a shake of her head and a dismissive shrug of her shoulders, trying to play it cool despite the fact that both the quality and context of Eileen's words is making her squeal with approval on the inside. It does come out, just a little, in a subtle brightening of the space between the two young women with the faintest brushes of sunlight hue on a day when sunlight is in small supply.

"Thanks," Colette whispers, her lack of a rebuttal to any of Eileen's recommendations implied consent to them. Though as she moves to walk past Eileen and pick up her own pace to go see what Abby's got in the back of her truck with the pink-haired paramedic, she pauses and looks back to Eileen, her lips pursed before turning into a smirk.

"You shouldn't smoke," she notes in a small tone of voice that's understandably sheepish for calling someone on their habits. "Gabriel seems like the kind've guy who washes his hands after opening a door, it might gross 'em out." Which is to say it is important for things involving mouths and Gabriel, though that implication crosses with just a fleeting smirk from Colette.

"Just… you know, someone smarter'n me suggested it once, quitting." Not that she'd begun for very long. With that advice offered, Colette looks down to her hand, offers a crooked smile, then holds out a half unwrapped piece of gum to Eileen.


Eileen takes her cigarette between the tips of two fingers and drops it into a puddle, spreading ripples across its murky surface. It isn't a pledge to quit, but rather a symbolic gesture; she accepts the gum, crinkling the wrapper, and pushes it past her lips, the gauntlet of her neatly arranged teeth — not as white as they could be — and finally into her mouth.

Although it isn't very feminine or civilized to talk with something in one's mouth open, Eileen doesn't have much of a choice. "Come on," she says, and does not dignify her remark about Gabriel with a verbal response. Only a knowing look that's slyer than some of the feral cats that make their home around the Garden. "Let's see if they need any help in the kitchen."

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