Runaway Orange


colette_icon.gif mallory_icon.gif

Scene Title Runaway Orange
Synopsis An escaped bit of fruit prompts a meeting between Mallory and Colette. Mallory discourages attending school, Colette finds Mallory reminds her of herself.
Date October 22, 2008

Canal Street Market

Day or night, Canal Street is busy in Chinatown. Perfumes, purses, produce, pork, and poultry are all sold side by side in busy open storefronts. One entire portion of the street is dedicated to nothing but jewelry stores catering to various price ranges. Box vendors sell all manner of sizzling foodstuffs to passing pedestrians, some of it identifiable, some of it better left unexplained. The ambiance is one of business and pleasure.

The sun hasn't quite set over the city, but today's one of those days where it's hard to tell the difference. The sky is awash in a matte gray, matching the concrete of New York City's skyline. Down in the depths of Chinatown, though, much of the skyline is blocked off by the tall buildings on all sides, affording only a narrow slice of the clouds above. Despite the damp chill in the air in these late afternoon hours, Canal Street is packed with activity. Throngs of shoppers just getting off from work crowd the open-air markets and vendors stalls, and the sound of commerce and conversation grows suffocating at times.

A small group of people are gathered around one electronics storefront, where a display of televisions is prominently showing highlights of last week's Presidential debate, with Nathan Petrelli's face not only plastered on the televisions, but on promotional posters that wallpaper one side of the storefront, his grinning countenance looming down over the people passing by.

"Damnit!" One voice over the others calls out, and a few people are shoved aside as a girl goes barreling through a crowd, following a rolling orange speeding down the sidewalk, "Crap, crap crap!" Plastic grocery bags bouce against one another, held in one hand as she runs, and a messenger bag slung over her shoulders only furthers her awkward and burdened appearance as she struggles to catch up with the errant fruit, "Not again!"

In one of those moments of serendipity, Mallory comes to a halt just before she steps on the orange. She stoops to pick it up, tugging one of her headphones askew to see where it came from. The girl with the bags swearing seems like a likely bet, so Mallory holds the orange up and waves it a little. Hi. Your orange his here.

When the orange is stopped by a courteous hand, the charging girl skids to a stop, and there's a momentarily proud look that flashes across her face. Didn't crash into her this time! She cracks a smile, slouching forward as she struggles to catch her breath. "S-sorry about that…" With a huffed sigh, the girl straightens and walks over, looking her fruit-savior up and down with a crooked smile, teeth toying with her lower lip. "Hey, um, thanks…" One hand reaches up to brush her choppy black bangs away from her face, revealing that her other eye it was concealing isn't green like it's twin, but rather a blinded, milky white. He hands then holds out for the orange, "You'd be surprised how often this happens to me!" Or, likely, not surprised for those who know Colette better.

"…You're clumsy?" Mallory ventures. "You better wash that off before you peel it, just in c…" Oh. Blind eye. That's kind of freaky. Mallory trails off, stuffing her hands back in her pockets. "Just in case." She's got a plastic bag of her own. It has bananas.

There's a bit of a crooked, if not entirely awkward smile when the girl falters the moment the eye is revealed, "O-Oh, uh…" She smiles, mildly, "Yeah, I've always been a bit of a klutz. No big secret!" She tries to sound chipper about it, brushing the orange off on her suede jacket before stuffing it into the bag with the others. Her eyes divert down to the bananas, and there's a haunting sense of deja-vu about all of this, before looking back to the girl. "Yeah I ah…" She looks around, towards a vendor's stall nearby that has bananas on display, as if looking for someone or something. Her brow tenses, and she looks back, "My name's Colette." The bags are settled down, one hand held out, and there's an odd look on her face. "You remind me of someone."

Mallory's brow furrows. "…Mallory," she reluctantly says. "Is his name Simon?" Stranger things have happened. Mallory seems pretty guarded; maybe she paid extra attention when her mother said don't talk to strangers. Or maybe she's just prickly. Any time someone gets close to them, Mallory carefully shifts away so they won't make contact.

There's a rather immediate blink at the name, then a laugh as she shakes her head, "Oh — No, no," Her hand waves slightly, "Another girl, this…" She smirks, shaking her head again as her eyes close for a moment, "It's nothing, I just had a similar run in with a friend down here once, that's all." She motions to the bag of bananas with a nod, "It was oranges and bananas then too."

There's an odd, quirky tone to her voice, shifting her weight to one foot as she looks Mallory up and down again, both of her dark brows raising up behind her bangs. "Hey um…" With a tug of her teeth on her lower lip, Colette lets her weight shift to one foot, "Do you, um, go to school in the city?" Her face wrinkles up and she shakes her head, "I mean, like — Does it suck? I… You know, you look kinda' like not College or anything, so, I uh…" Her tone becomes a bit stammering, and the girl is clearly a little more than awkward.

Mallory raises her bag a little and shrugs. "Bananas are good." And for whatever reason, she says it with a bit of a British accent. Lowering her bag, she wrinkles her nose and adds, "High school. Yeah. And it sucks. Everyone's a giant douchebag. With a couple of exceptions, and those people are pretty much the outcasts. So, you know… like any other high school ever. You just move here or something? Not many of the schools are open since the… explosion, I guess."

Colette can't help but crack a smile at the inexplicable accent, eventually breaking into a short laugh as she wrinkles her nose. It seems to put her nerves at ease, enough so that her reply doesn't come out as a stammering series of aborted words. "Moved? Uh, not… really." Her head inclines to one side, bangs swishing over her blinded eye. "I kind've… well, I used to go to school, um, before the bomb. But, ah," One boot scuffs against the pavement, "After I got hurt, I never went back. The school I went to never re-opened, so… I dunno, people kind've suck in general, and… I just haven't really felt like going. But, the guy who's taking care of me kind've wants me to do something, and like, a GED sounds like a whole lot of work."

As Colette talks, one hand moves up into her hair, fingers idly plucking at messy black locks, eyes upturning to partially watch her own meandering. "I dunno, it kind've sucks worse when you don't have any friends your age, y'know?" Her green eye narrows in a squint, "Ah, not that I um, you know, have problems makin' friends or anything." A crooked smile crosses her lips, though it's admittedly a self-deprecating one.

"Disliking people your own age has it's perks," Mallory tells Colette in a drawl, utterly deadpan. "Or making friends. Whatever. School was about the only normal thing after the bomb." She shoves some hair out of her eyes reflexively, since Colette does. She could stand to comb it. "On the other hand, I think if I could, I'd go for the GED without all that shit."

"Yeah?" Colette's head tilts to the side, one brow lowering as she brings her hand down to brush two fingers over her lips in thought. "You know, you're probably right." There's a quiet affirmation there, and the girl's mis-matched eyes flit up to Mallory, though one staring through the cage of her bangs, "Thanks, it's been on my mind a lot, and I — You know — don't really have many people I can talk to about it." Her lips slowly curl up into a less defeated smile, nodding her head once as the cool breeze catches her bangs and blows them out of her face. "Normal's pretty over-rated anyway," her eyes divert back to the bananas in the bag, "Not like I get much of that these days anyway."

Mallory glances at Colette's grocery bags and shrugs a shoulder. "Looks like you're getting on well enough, anyway."

That sentiment makes Colette hesitate, and she looks down to the multitude of bags, then down to the new jacket, then over to Mallory. She eyes the hooded sweatshirt. and the one bag, and suddenly her expression shifts to something a little more crestfallen. The girl in front of her does remind her of someone, but it's not who she had assumed at first. "Hey, um…" The young girl bites down gently on her lower lip, "I — Don't take this the wrong way, but…" Her head tilts to the other side, "Do you need anything? I…" She winces, immediately, raising one hand, "That came out wrong — God damnit — Look, I just, what you said and — I used to not have a place to stay after the bomb, and… you just, sort've… remind me…" Her eyes downcast to the bag of bananas again, "Of me."

Mallory blinks. Okay, that was unexpected. She shakes her head. "No. I'm fine. I live with my aunt and uncle and brother and cousins. I eat enough, I go to school, and everything is pretty much as normal as it can be these days. It's… nice of you to offer." She pauses. "You shouldn't make that offer to people you just meet, though. That's probably a good way to get, uh, stabbed or something."

That smile on Colette's face creeps up again as she listens, and the girl nods slowly, in agreement. It's what she would've said herself, a few months ago. "You're right," Another nods, "But, you know, doing the right thing isn't always the easy thing… Besides, I've got a guardian angel who looks out for me for stuff like that." Her nose wrinkles, tone mildly teasing as she tucks her free hand into her coat pocket, fingers reddened from the cold air, matching the ruddy color of her cheeks and the tip of her nose. "Look, um, I should probably go. I gotta catch the bus to Queens — " That hand slips out, and she crouches down to snag the bags she had laid down before standing up again. "Thanks for, you know, saving my orange and listening to me ramble like a 'tard." Nervous laughter punctuates her sentence, "And, not everyone's out to stab everyone else," She raises her brows along with a crooked smile, "Least I'm not anyway."

"I wouldn't count on angels to do anything, guardian or otherwise," Mallory says, reaching up to tug her headphones back on, pull her hood up. "But that's just me. See you in school if you change your mind, Colette."

October 22nd: Laundry Day
October 22nd: Normality
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