bf_kara_icon.gif nicole_icon.gif yi-min_icon.gif

Scene Title Ride
Synopsis Upon her release from federal custody, Yi-Min Yeh finds familiar faces waiting for her.
Date June 15, 2020

Department of Homeland Security Holding Facility
Inmate Processing

Kansas City

June 15th
8:12 am

A loud buzz emits from a white-painted iron-barred gate. Through the bars, a blonde woman in a blue and black uniform slides the gate open, morning light reflecting off of the badge pinned to her chest that reads DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY. The lobby beyond the gate is lined with scuffed, old tile. The drop-ceiling looks decades old and in need of renovation. Nearby, the reinforced glass of a window serves as a partition from the foyer to the security station beyond.

«Please step forward,» the wiry man behind the glass says into a microphone that repeats out a speaker near the glass wall.

A simple pair of white, canvas sneakers carries Yi-Min Yeh to the partition where the young man sets a plastic-bagged bundle into a metal tray. “One pair of shoes, one pair of slacks, one white jacket, two rings, one necklace, a flask — empty, one clutch, identification cards, twelve dollars and sixteen cents in assorted American currency.”

The entire contents of Yi-Min Yeh’s life when she turned herself in to Homeland Security months ago. The young man behind the glass pushes a lever sliding the parcel through into a bin that opens below the window. Yi-Min is able to take her bundled belongings in hand, to which the man behind the glass says.

«Please have a good morning,» and then motions to a guard.

It all feels unreal, like a dream within a dream. There is a part of Yi-Min that half expects to wake up in that concrete cell after blinking. Perhaps that’s why she stares ahead, at what feels like blinding morning light coming through the tall glass windows and door at the front of the holding facility.

A DHS officer escorts Yi-Min through the remainder of the lobby, past a metal detector and security checkpoint, and out to the front lobby that is nothing but bright morning light, sun reflecting off of cars, and a silhouette waiting for her by the door. A dark figure, bathed in radiant morning light, motes of dust dancing around their form.

Yi-Min steps forward, her worldly possessions cradled to her chest, but her head is held high as she approaches that figure.

The shadow may be long, the light may be blinding, but she knows them. She—

You’re free to go, Doctor Yeh.

When Yi-Min’s eyes adjust to the too-bright sunshine, the first thing to come into focus is the smile of a friend, in spite of the way the silhouette doesn’t match memory. It’s surprising what a difference four months can make. She stands near the door with, of all things, a disposable paper plate in one hand. Atop sits a yellow cupcake with paler yellow frosting.

“I’d say I saved you one,” Mrs. Miller begins, “but it would have been gross by now.” Nicole is dressed like she would for work, though her tops are cut much differently these days than they would otherwise be. Today’s is a thing of dark mauve, patterned with small blossoms of baby’s breath in white and petal pink. A sash ties just under her chest, where the shape of the blouse is eased so as to accommodate the undeniable swell of her pregnant belly.

The plated confection is lifted just the barest bit higher. “I had this one commissioned for this very special occasion.” Her smile widens into a grin. “C’mon. My car’s waiting outside.” She pushes open the lobby door with one hand, stepping through and holding it open for the newly released woman to follow behind.

“I’ll hold on to this until we get you settled,” Nicole informs Yi-Min as she leads her down the sidewalk, around the side of the building to the parking lot. “You’re riding in the back seat — I insist. Today, I’m your chauffeur.” Once they round the corner, it isn’t hard to spot Nicole’s (comparatively) old Buick among the (subjectively) nicer cars among the lot. It’s not parked in one of the spots designated for visitors, however. They have to walk past four rows of vehicles before they’ll get there.

The morning sunlight isn't even especially strong from an objective standpoint, but to Yi-Min, it seems to ride high above an environment that stays entirely surreal. She stands in silence for a moment when she reaches the lobby's front doors— a literal demarcation line between the old, windowless world of her imprisonment since the beginning of March, and this new spread of a wonderfully open invitation into the rest of her life.

Tears are in her eyes when she wraps her arms around the figure who meets her, her embrace filled with emotion but also quite ginger, being extremely careful not to upset the balance of the—


"Nicole," Yi-Min laughs out loud as she looks over by far the most welcome sight she had seen in months, holding her dear friend at arm's length so she can take on her changed profile in full. "Aiya, you look so beautiful, though. I love this shirt on you." What lovely colors, in this whole world of lovely colors she’d slowly been forgetting. She falls into step beside Nicole as she's led out into the parking lot, trailing just a little at odd times as she clutches her meager bundle of possessions to her chest, her otherwise quiet poise radiating gladness while her gaze drifts. Never for long, though.

“Have you been keeping healthy, eating well? Zachery treating you nothing less than excellently?” Etc, etc.

Old Chinese habits died hard.

“Zachery is wonderful,” Nicole assures easily, a warm smile on her face at the mention of her husband. “We’re getting excited.” She gestures to her form vaguely. “Shit’s getting real,” she laughs. “We’ve picked out our names and I’ve started ordering furniture so we can get the nursery put together… We’re still deciding on a paint color, but I think I’m gonna get my way. I want purple.”

Nicole smiles sheepishly, realizing she’s getting wrapped up in all her nesting talk. Yi-Min’s a captive audience and that’s not fair to her. “Sorry. I get a little carried away. I just… didn’t get to do any of this with Pippa. It’s all new.” She waves it off and goes back to Yi-Min’s original question. “Zachery is making sure I look after myself. He didn’t want me to make the drive down here, admittedly.” She finally slows her stroll when they near her car. “He calmed down a bit when I promised him I wouldn’t go alone…”

The passenger door of the Buick opens, and out steps Nicole's ride partner.

All things told, she'd meant to do this different. To wait. To exert a little more patience. She slides her hand along the top of the doorframe, looking the direction the two approach in with a deceptively poker expression. Worn ballcap strapped on tight and hair worn back, dark sunglasses mute the look in her eyes. The car door is eased around, workboots sounding on concrete while her unbuttoned plaid shirt with its rolled up sleeves billows around her tank-and-jeans outfit. Her lips part to speak, but Yi-Min has a way of robbing her of words when she needs them most.

So Kara Prince would offer apology for not having the patience to wait five more seconds in the car, but she's too overwhelmed by the sight of her to do so. Too relieved that she's actually here, actually being released, when for a frightening set of months it looked as though the only place Yi-Min would be released to was the wolves.

A broken laugh comes from Kara in the absence of words, and she worms her way out between the cars to rush the rest of the way to her. Her movement ends in collision, throwing her arms around Yi-Min's shoulders in a desperately fierce embrace, one hand cradling the back of her head.

Nicole blinks away emotional tears as she steps aside to give Kara the room to approach. “Surprise~” she sing-songs.

Rubbish. Yi-Min was pretty good at ending up captive in exactly the places she wanted to be, and besides, she had literally just asked. "Good," she responds with rather more firmness than necessary to the advertisement that Zachery is doing his part.

That's a difficult concept for her to get used to, still.

Before she can get started on her own solemn reassurance that purple was a fabulous color, they're already nearing the correct vehicle, and the door to Nicole's car comes swinging open, and—


Yi-Min and her much tinier, lighter frame, particularly the case after months of imprisonment, are successfully knocked right off her feet by Kara barreling into her. She stumbles and nearly loses her footing to the asphalt below— but then Kara's arms are wrapping right around her, and all the while Yi-Min herself is laughing hard as she reaches to return the embrace more tightly the instant she can regain an even halfway decent foothold to do so—

For once in her life, words and breath fail her too. Inside the far-too-long forgotten strength of Kara's hug, it's as though the feel of the world around them slows right down to a near-motionless crawl.

Who needed words? For that matter, who needed breath?

After what seems like forever spent inside of this state, but in actual fact is only about a minute, she turns her head towards Nicole from the middle of Kara's hold. A joyful, tearful smile becomes just visible. "Thank you both so much," she murmurs. "You two, of my favorite women in the world. I don't know what I'd do without you."

"Probably fly home, and it take that much less time to get there," Kara remarks with a broken laugh. She retreats from the hug only far enough to wipe her cheek with her thumb, wiping away the tears that have streaked down her face. It's hard to see anything of her brow or eyes, but she smiles and her shoulders pinch up in self-awareness about her zeal, her emotion.

"But there's something to be said for the scenic route, isn't there," she supposes, looking back down to Yi-Min. She presses a firm kiss to her forehead before drawing back, making a passing and extremely belated attempt at not going overboard with the PDA in front of Nicole, or at least not in the holding facility parking lot.

"You need," she decides, "some of that good Amish cooking as soon as we get home." Her mood brightens as she suggests, "Or sooner. Are you hungry? Nicole brought cake, so that's a start."

Kara herself hadn't eaten at all, sick with nerves. They're soothed finally, so maybe she'll even join.

“Look.” Nicole is pushing the pad of her middle finger against the corners of her eyes to discourage the happy tears from smearing her tasteful make-up. “I needed to get out of my house before I used up every sack of flour in the Safe Zone making baked goods.”

Their driver gestures toward the car, still holding that cupcake in hand. “There’s a nice diner I like to go to when I’m in town,” Nicole suggests in a gentle voice. “There’s some clothes in the trunk for you. You can change and we can get you some decent food?” Because no one is under any illusions that the food in lock-up is anything but designed to crush one’s spirit with how absolutely bland it must be.

“Or we can get on the road, if you’d rather. I’ve got a whole box of these things, so we’re stocked up on sugar for our tanks.” Nicole grins.

Just as Nicole's hovering arm is about to go on the downswing, Yi-Min chooses that moment to summarily relieve her of the cupcake, as though she's a bird plucking a choice berry from a bush. Expression serene, she starts unwrapping the cupcake delicately right then and there - partly so any crumbs will fall onto the parking lot, rather than the bottom of the car.

More to the point, the pretty little thing is too tantalizing for her to wait.

"Let us go to this diner in town, yes? I think I could do with feeling like a person, again, and not some stamped package bound second-class for China. And you. You look like you have not been eating. So." This last reproving remark is directed at Kara, now that she has the chance to more properly look her partner over from a distance greater than .3 centimeters away. It's gentle but vehement.

Mock-offense isn't a look Kara wears often, so there's probably a touch of actual offense somewhere in it as she gives a breathy laugh. "We live in Amish country, Yi-Min," she submits as her argument she's been eating just fine. Her arm wraps around her partner's shoulder in a gentle squeeze before she slinks back to the back seat she'd abandoned.

"But I won't say no to a good meal before we leave town." Kara looks for just a moment over the top of the car, across the lot, and out to the metaphysical space of the city beyond it. For that blink in time, her eyes take on a distance, and then she pulls the car door open, leaning her way into the backseat. Recently-made-parolees get shotgun dibs, should they choose it.

Recent parolees get to sit in the back seat with their girlfriends. The box of cupcakes gets to ride shotgun. Relieved up the cupcake, Nicole fishes out her keyfob and pops open the trunk as she walks around the back of the car. She withdraws a very neatly folded stack of clothing and passes it not to Yi-Min, but to Kara to hold, since Yi-Min has a cupcake to devour.

And it’s an excellent cupcake. “The lemon were my favorite,” Nicole confides. “So I thought you might want to start with that.” She gestures toward the back. “Don’t worry about eating in there. I have an eight-year-old. It’s seen worse.” She pulls open the driver’s door and slides into her leather seat.

"Oh come on. You haven't been in Amish country for, what. Nearly a full day of driving now?" Yi-Min points out with a laugh, poking Kara playfully in the stomach after it betrays the formidable ex-Marine by giving off an audible gurgle.

Not everything feels to Yi-Min, yet, as though it exists on a plane of solid reality. She has barely been able to take her eyes off Kara in the last few minutes, for this reason along with others, and she instantly picks up on the quick and subtle change in her dearly-missed partner's mood.

She keeps it held in a fold of her mind as she promptly takes the other place in the backseat (with much less leaning required), planting a soothing kiss on Kara's cheek once they're both inside and waiting for Nicole to circle back around from the trunk.

"This cupcake is fantastic," Yi-Min confirms in an uncharacteristically faint voice once Nicole has had the chance to get fully situated in the driver's seat. Don't look now. The wibbly quality of her faded smile may just reveal that she is still on the verge of weeping, holding the vivid little blob there in both her hands.

Kara reacts to the poke to her stomach the way a certain toasty character might, except the choked laugh that comes from her is at Yi-Min's audacity. Still, when her partner sits beside her, Kara still wraps her arm around her shoulder, glad to have her.

The change in her tenor leads her to press a kiss to the side of her forehead in a gesture of support.

"All right, let's see how this diner holds up against memory," Kara grouses, peering forward.

“I’m glad you like it,” Nicole murmurs, glancing to her friends only via the rear view mirror as she turns the key in the ignition and starts the car. She slings her right arm around the back of the passenger side seat after shifting into reverse, watching out the back window as she pulls out of the spot.

She pauses, stopped for a moment, before she means to turn and face front again. Nicole just takes in the two of them for a moment and an emotional smile tugs at the corners of her mouth.

“Welcome back, Yi-Min.”

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License