Running Into Neighbors


colette_icon.gif gillian_icon.gif

Scene Title Running Into Neighbors
Synopsis Colette, chasing after one of Felix's cats, has a run-in with one of her neighbors.
Date October 21, 2008

Cliffside Apartments

Cliffside Apartments is a bit of a misnomer, as it isn't located anywhere near cliffs at all. The apartment building is a garish beacon of color amidst the otherwise gray and brown hues of the industrial complex that is Long Island City. The entire south face of the apartments have long since been a target for graffiti artists, and finally the longtime owner 'Manny' Chavez simply gave up and let them do as they wished with the building after too many attempts to clean up the work. One side of the building — painted a bright pumpkin orange on the first floor, and more of a peach shade on the second and third, has been tagged and practically covered with a wide manner of graffiti, to the point where it looks markedly intentional. The other three sides of the building look more vandalized, with no finished paint beneath to make the "artwork" stand out.

The interior of Cliffside Apartments makes it clear the building was once part of an industrial park. All of the three floors of the apartment building are loft apartments with concrete-block walls that were long ago soundproofed when the building didn't serve as residences. Given the economic decline of Queens, much of the Cliffside Apartments falls into an affordable range for the region, but is still considered steep outside of the New York area. Despite the relative affordability of the housing, few people have flocked to the area to live due to the exceptionally high crime rate.

The door to the stairwell bangs open as someone steps inside. Gillian lets it close behind her, stopping at the landing of the second floor to pull a hair tie out of her bag and fasten her long black hair out of her face. A few strategic strands remain hanging over her ears, and her bangs still hang into her eyes, but from the looks of things, she might be planning to spend the evening out. A tattoo of a stylized treble clef stands out on the side of her neck, under her ear, and she starts down the stairs.

"Come back!" A sharp cry rings out through the stairwell, followed by the clomping steps of booted feet rushing down the hall on the next floor up. Long before those footsteps find Gillian, something else does entirely. A small and timid looking shorthair cat with a coat of snow-white fur comes charging down the stairs as fast as it can, rounding the corner and sprinting down further towards the lobby. Right behind the cat, however, is someone chasing it. She's skipping two or more steps at a time on her way down the stairs, "Ingraaaaam!" Her voice carries down the hall loudly, and as she rounds the corner of the stairs from the third floor, she's already in mid-leap trying to clear several steps at once, only now noticing Gillian once she's committed to the movement. Her mis-matched eyes go wide, arms crossing in front of her face.

A certain goth librarian's eyes are on a streak of white running by, having stopped midstep down the stairs at the yell from above. Lips part in confusion, and she turns around to see the person running at her— just in time to see her raise arms in front of her face. Gillian lets out a yelp as they collide with one another and she's knocked off the remaining steps and to the next flat landing of the stairwell of the apartment. She lands mostly on her back, but there's no crunch of breaking bones, nor does she whack her head, so when she stares up at the above staircase, she's likely just got the wind knocked out of her briefly.

Colette collides with Gillian and ends up landing completely atop the older woman, which noticably softens the younger girl's impact with the floor below. She's dazed as she lands, a ring of keys flying from her hands to clatter against the floor and slide up until they hit the wall. A low, groaning murmur of words slips from the girl as she struggles up onto her hands and knees, one hand to the right side of Gillian's head, the other pressing on her shoulder awkwardly. When Colette's vision clears, her eyes are almost paralell to Gillian's, her face a few inches from the dark-haired librarians, one milky white eye and one soft green eye slowly blink in unison.

There's a loud, surprised yelp as she immediately springs backwards with lacking grace, vaulting off of Gillian where she had practically been laying atop her from the collision. Her feet fall out from beneath herself, the heels of her boots scuffing across the tile floor as she falls onto her backside at the bottom step, the hood from her sweatshirt sliding down off of her head, revealing choppy and messy black hair. "I — I'm — O-Oh God I'm so sorry!" Her words come out as aborted and hurried whimpers, one hand almost completely covered by a black sleeve covering her reddening face. For the moment she's forgotten about the cat. "I'm so sorry!"

With her vision coming into focus, Gillian's heavily lined eyes blink a few times noticeably at the young girl, taking note of many of her features, and focusing on the milky white eye for a time before she suddenly jumps up and removes her weight. She's not a large girl, rather short and light in build, but she made a much better cushion than the concrete floor that she herself landed heavily on. As she sits up, there's an audible groan, a hand goes to the back of her neck, and she at the younger girl for a long moment. "It's fine," she murmurs finally, not sounding truly forgiving, but at least she's not spitting at the apologies. She starts to stand, making a hint of a face as she presses a hand against the wall, a yin/yang tattoo visible on her wrist as she does. "Were you chasing after something?"

Colette's just trying to catch her breath, eyes wide where sit sits on the steps, frozen like a frightened animal by the startling collision. When her hand finally moves away from her mouth, her face is a soft shade of red, feathering out to her ears and down her neck. She swallows, awkwardly, and then tilts her head to the side at the question before jumping to her feet.

"O-Oh! Oh shit Ingram!" The girl looks around, franticly, then wavers from standing up too quick, one hand on the side of her head. She blinks twice, then swings around to lean over the railing, looking down into the lobby below. "Oh fuck, Felix is going to kick my ass if I lost his cat!" Te foul-mouthed and short girl wheels around from the stairs, "If he runs back up this way, grab 'em!" One hand swings out, lightly poking two fingers into Gillian's right shoulder before skipping back a step and charging down the stairs from the landing to the lobby. "Ingraaaam!?" Not far away from the librarian, a set of keys has been forgotten on the floor.

The only thing nearly as red on the dark haired older woman would be her lips, though they're unnaturally deepened by some rather thick lipstick that probably sticks to everything. Gillian stands there, sculpted eyebrows raising a bit at the cursing, and the realization of an escaped cat, but she doesn't do anything besides grunt lightly when she's poked in the shoulder. She'd just fell down the stairs and now getting poked on top of it. As she reaches up to rub a hand over her shoulder, which is covered by a long sleeved stylized top, she responds, "Yeah, if the cat runs up here, I'll grab it." It's a husky assurance, but she begins to follow down the stairs in thick platform shoes that tap loudly against the concrete. She keeps a slower pace, and actually does look a good few feet in front of her to keep an eye out for a white kitten.

By the time Gillian's rounding the steps, that hyperactive girl is down in the lobby, stalking around by the mailboxes, half crouches with her hands held out in front of her. She looks towards the front doors of the apartments, securely closed. The chill in the air out here in the drafty lobby is just enough to be uncomfortable, and it shows in the way her shoulders roll up a bit to keep the warm fabric of her downturned hood up against the back of her neck. "Iiiingraaaam?"

From Gillian's position on the stairs, she can see the white cat stalk out from beneath a bench when Colette passes by, unintentionally taking advantage of her lack of peripheral vision on the side of her blinded eye. The cat isn't running, just sort've lazily, and somewhat anxiously wandering the lobby, sniffing at the floor, then pausing to sniff at the railing by the stairs. When the girl calls out its name again, the cat's head perks up, one ear facing the front doors, one ear facing where Colette had disappeared across the hall by the first-floor apartments.

With the other girl distracted at looking in nooks and crannies for the kitten, Gillian's hazel eyes fall on the little sniffing fuzzball pretty fast and she walks right over and extends her hand, kneeling down to be closer to her height, and keeping an eye to block access back out from under the bench, but not trying to reach in and grab him yet either. "Hey, kid— The cat's under this bench here," she calls out, but doesn't yell. There's no need to attract too much more attention. Assuming the cat isn't sinking back or running away— or looking as if it might bite, she does reach down and try to grab him up in both hands, hopefully before it does make a dash for it. "You got someone knocked down the stairs, you know. And they say black cats are bad luck."

A quiet and confused sound chirps from down by apartment 105. Much less hurried footsteps begin to meander back towards the stairs, and once Colette comes back into view, she spots the small white car quietly padding over towards Gillian, sniffing at her offered hand with contented curiosity. It's tail flicks from side to side for a moment, but it seems more timid than wild. When she reaches to pick it up, the small cat does hunch over a bit, but it reluctantly allows itself to be pulled up into the librarian's arms. Watching this, Colette lets out a huffed sigh, blowing a lock of black hair from in front of her good eye. "You got yourself a way with cats," She says with a crooked smile, tucking her hands into the front pocket of her hoodie.

She comes up to the base of the stairs, then stops in front of Gillian, reaching out to scratch at the top of Ingram's head lightly, and the mischievous feline only leans into the attentions, as if this was somehow its goal all along. "He's a bit of a pain in the ass," Though she's one to talk about that, "Sorry for, um…" Her eyes divert to the concrete floor, then to the front doors at the distant sound of a passing car puttering by. "You know, almost killing you and kind've being a spaz?" One dark brow raises over her good eye as she looks back, then takes her hands out of the pouch pocket, patting down her sweater, then her loose jeans, "Shit, where are my keys?"

"Nothing seems to be broken, so don't worry about it," Gillian says, shifting her weight from one platform covered foot to the next, regarding the bundle in her arms. "I had one growing up," she adds, holding onto the feline with both hands to avoid him running off again at the very least. The white fur will get all over her black tops, but she doesn't seem to care so much about that at the moment. "I haven't had one for— about five years now," she adds, before she looks ready to return said cat— at least until the keys are brought up. Finding lost keys would almost be as important as a cat. She glances back to the stairwell. "You might have dropped it when we collided," the kitten gets shift around, but not put down as she nods in the direction of the stairs. "I'll hold on to… Ingram? here and we'll look for your keys. Just don't knock me down the stairs again." The smile on her lips isn't huge, but it's there, a mild tug shifting the birthmark on her cheek.

Colette laughs, a bit awkwardly, one hand reaching up to rub at the back of her head, tousling her already disheveled looking hair. "Never had a cat… always wanted one." She looks at Ingram intently for a moment, "S'not mine though, the guy I live with," She points up the stairs, "Felix? It's one of his, and apparently it's an indoors-only cat, so like… yeah. I'd be all dead if he came home and Ingram was missing." Taking a few steps around Gillian, she begins climbing the stairs, a barely restrained giggle slipping out at the latter remark. "I'll totally try not to." With her back turned, the nervous but large grin spreading across her face is concealed on her way up the flight of steps to the landing.

"Got 'em!" She shouts, followed by a jingling sound, and behind Gillian there's a bit of a clatter as Colette feigns tumbling down the stairs with a few thumping footsteps, stoppng just shy of her neighbor with a crooked smirk. "Here, lemme take ol' sissy-wimp." Her words are somewhat muffled, holding the keys by a rectangular plastic keyring between her teeth, arms out to retrieve the cat.

"Isn't really the best apartment for a cat, I imagine," Gillian says, though she does look down at the bundle as she follows into the stairwell, and up a flight to the landing where the keys fell. "Then again it's not the best apartment for people but better than living on the streets, for cat or person alike," she adds on, holding out the little sissy cat when the young girl offers her arms out. Something about the situation makes her smile just a tad more genuine, before she glances back down the stairs. For a moment she seems to be considering something, and then she says, "I'll go with you back upstairs. Save you the trouble of chasing the cat again if you need to put him down to open the door."

There's a wry smile at the comment about the apartment, "Tell me about it," She starts heading up the stairs, and Ingram seems all too comfortable just lavishing himself in the relative comfort of the girl's arms, though the flick of his tail indicates he would so much appreciate if she'd stop walking so much. "I pretty much lived on the streets for… about a month or so right at the end of summer. Busted out of the state shelter, ended up getting picked up by a cop I kinda' knew at the time." She arrives at the landing, pausing to look back at Gillian. "I've moved around a lot since then. First that huge-ass church out on the other side of the city. That wasn't so bad…"

Colette smiles absently, remembering something, and continues up the stairs to the next floor. "Then I finally moved in with the cop. He's an awesome guy, kind've a book nerd. He's like that cool uncle I always wish I had, right?" Her eyes roll, and she stops on the second floor, rounding the steps to keep going up to the third. "Oh, uh, I'm in 301." She adds in there with a crooked smile.

"He got hurt in the line of work recently, working that serial killer case?" Her eyes flit to the side, looking down the hall of the second floor for a moment, then back up the stairs. "So, while he's laid up, a friend of his offered to take me in temporarially. So, yeah, I'm here now… It's not so bad, though, I mean… overall." Colette stops on the next landing, looking back down to Gillian. "Oh! — Oh I'm such a dumbass," She wraps one arm beneath Ingram's forelegs, letting him dangle a little — to which his ears fold to the side in a nonplussed expression — in order to extend one hand, "I'm Colette. By the way." A nervous laugh follows, and that redness in her face returns, embarassed by her own forgetfulness.

"Closest I've ever come to being homeless is crashing with guys for a couple months here and there," Gillian says with a shrug, her tone hinting that it hadn't been a very pleasant situation for her afterwards, but she'll leave it there as she follows up the stairs, to make sure the cat doesn't make a run for it to explore the apartment complex again. "I didn't know we had a cop up here," she adds as they make it to the apartment, glancing at the door. Not directly above her, though. That would be too convenient. "I read a little about that case in the newspapers," she adds, lips pressing together and jaw tightening in a way that makes her cheek bones paler. "Gillian. I'm down in 202," she nods towards the stairs, again, to indicate the floor below, extending a pause for a long moment before she finally reaches out to take the younger girl's hand.

The contact comes with an odd sensation to Gillian, a faint and distant tingling in her fingertips and down her forearm. There's a sensation of something distant inside of Colette, something not quite there, but a familiar feeling none the less. Given the feeling Gillian gets, it's likely the girl isn't aware of it, but somewhere inside of her there's the power of an Evolved waiting to be unleashed, but it seems to lie dormant within her, only the faintest inkling of its presence evident in the handshake. With a chiding click of her tongue, Colette smiles and begins heading up the stairs again, letting her hand slip from Gillian's as she makes her way up the rest of the stairs, seemingly oblivious to the exchange of genetic information that took place.

"He's not a cop, actually, he's an FBI agent." COlette laughs to herself, "He's a cool guy though, he's not being all up my ass sideways about not going to school or anything. I mean, it's not that he just doesn't give a shit — Well, maybe that a little — but he's just really mellow. Probably great for there to be one up here, right?" She arches one brow, stopping by the door to fuss with her keys, retrieving them from her sweatshirt pocket, unlocking the door and opening it just enough to toss Ingram in. He lands with a soft thump on all fours, running deeper into the apartment.

Colette rests her hand on the doorknob, tugging it closed enough so that a cat couldn't squeeze out. "Hey, um," She wrinkles her nose, looking down at the scuffed toes of her boots that poke out from beneath her overly large jeans before looking back to Gillian. "I um…" Her lower lip slips between her teeth, looking somewhat rueful. "I… really, don't have a whole lot of friends…" Those words are mumbled, not something anyone would be proud of. "You're, you know, I think the only person even close to my age here that I've seen so far. I — You know, if I totlly didn't leave a bruised impression on you," She laughs awkwardly, "Maybe, you know… we could hang out sometime?" There's a bit of an age difference, for certain. It's hard to tell exactly how old the girl is, but she's definitely a teenager. "God that sounds so fucking retarded." One hand moves up to cover her face as she leans against the apartment door with a thump of her shoulder.

"FBI," Gillian repeats with a hint of a smile as she shakes her head. The idea must strike her as amusing, but she doesn't tuck her hands away, though she does look down at the sensation. Felt different than anything she's experienced, so she doesn't quite understand it— but nothing blew up and she didn't feel the same tug that she normally feels when something really happens. She nods at the description of the man, staying mostly silent for the moment, until the teenager's request is heard. Her eyebrows disappear under a fringe of bangs for a time. The girl looks younger than her youngest sibling, but she does hesitate for an instant. The weird feeling had been there, and she's been wanting to learn more about what she does…

"Sure," she says after a moment, smiling again. "Your FBI friend might decide I'm a bad influence, but you mentioned he's a bookworm— and he might be okay with you hanging out with a library." Even one who's covered in tattoos and involved in questionable activities… only part of the time. "I could probably even get you into a few night clubs— Shit, I was getting into them when I was younger than you and that was before half the city went to hell."

Her head tilts to the side, "You're a librarian!?" Immediately Colette begins laughing, covering her mouth with one hand and shaking her head, a broad smile spreading across her face, "Well, at least you fill one librarian stereotype." She adds with one brow raised over her blind eye and a teasing tone to her voice, still half-leaning against the apartment door. The comment about the nightclubs is met with a bit of mixed concern, though there's that wide-eyed appeal of the idea, and of getting away with it.

"Heh, yeah, you know that doesn't sound like a bad idea. You really think you could sneak me into one of those places though?" Her head tilts to the other side, jagged bangs falling to hang down over her blind eye, "Awesome." The girl pushes the door open slightly, a crooked smile spread across her lips. "Hey, thanks for helping me catch Ingram." She pushes one booted foot inside the door, nudging the inquisitive nose of a much larger black cat out of the doorway, "You totally didn't have to do that, so, really… thanks. I gotta' get in though, I'm going to the hospital in the morning to check up on my friend…" She hesitates for a moment, looking down to the ground, then back up again. "I'll knock on your door sometime, see if you're home. Don't hesitate to do the same, I'm usually home."

"One of many," Gillian agrees with the stereotypes, deeply make-up'd lips widening into a smile, backing up a few steps to give her some more personal space, reaching up to check her hair, and ending up pulling the hairtie out altogether. Her hair falls straight behind her back, splaying around her shoulders. "I can get you into a few of them— the ones where I know a guy, at least. Some of them don't even check ids anymore if you happen to be female, but you'd have to stick close to me if we go to those." There's a pause, as if she's thinking of something else, but what she speaks of probably isn't that. "I usually work during the afternoons, but I'm home most early evenings," she says, to give a hint of when best to catch her, before she starts toward the stairs, sticking the hairtie into her pocket again. "I'll stop by on a day I have off. Hope your friend in the hospital's okay." she adds, before she starts down the stairs.

Colette cracks a smile, one brow raising as she scrutinizes something Gillian says a little too much, but only smiles impishly to herself. As the hairtie is removed, and Gillian's hair falls down to her shoulders, Colette watches for a moment, then tips her head to one side and gives a wave with one hand, no verbal farewell, something she's starting to pick up from Tamara; it seems she's just going to be collecting bad habits. With that amused smile, the girl slips into the apartment, door closing with a soft click, and then a series of other louder and more paranoid clicks. No matter how safe having a Federal Agent in the building might make her feel… there's still lunatics out there.

Some much closer than she imagines.


October 21st: Normal Is As Normal Does
October 21st: Prescription Jazz
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