She's Going To Need You


colette_icon.gif joanna_icon.gif tasha_icon.gif

Scene Title She's Going to Need You
Synopsis Joanna's visit to the girls' apartment is an emotional one for all involved, for varying reasons.
Date June 23, 2010

Gun Hill Colette's, Tasha's, and Tamara's Apartment

It's hard to play hostess in an apartment that has very little in it, but Tasha is doing her best while Colette finishes being "useful" and helping Quinn move in. Her mother has been set up on one of the lawn chairs that make up their living room furniture, given a Diet Coke in a can, because someone forgot to refill the cube trays in the freezer — and it's not like the used refrigerator they found for $100 has an automated ice dispenser. At least the Diet Coke is cold. The windows are open and three fans all blow warm humid air around. At least it hasn't hit 90 degrees. Yet.

Tasha sits across from Joanna, her shoes slipped off. The walls of the apartment look much richer than the apartment itself, having recently been painted in hues of red and borwn by Tasha with a little help by Tamara. The pup must have left with Tamara, since the leash is missing as well, but Jupiter is sprawled asleep by the sliding door to the tiny balcony, trying to get a bit of fresh air. The letter of acceptance to the art college lies on the folding tray table being used to hold their beverages, and Tasha glances at it now and then as if to be sure it's real. "I got offered a job, but I don't know — I'll take it if I can't find anything better," Tasha says, still uncertain about working for Cat, but not as keen on the idea of courier work as Colette is.

"I'd rather, that you focused on school since you'll be going Natasha, instead of worrying about a job. I told you, the card is for whatever you need. I was upset, and angry that you had taken off and wouldn't tell me where you were. Focus on school, and if you feel, after your first semester, that you can handle a job, then you'll have my blessings. But maybe wait and see how your course load is first?"

Heels off, set beside the lawn chair, she sits up straight and her back not even anywhere near touching the slope of the plastic furniture. Gone is her jacket, folded over her lap and she glows with the warmth in the apartment. SHe's already mentally measuring for drapes.

That's two Natashas today, but her mother is being nothing but supportive, so Tasha manages not to make a face, but rather to simply smile with gratitude. "Thanks. That means a lot," she tells her mother softly, dark eyes sparkling with a familiar swell of tears, though this time they're out of love and thankfulness. "You're the best mom ever," she adds, reaching over to touch her mom's hand, squeezing lightly.

Her eyes move to the walls and around the nearly empty apartment. "It looks like crap, I know, but until we got it painted, we figured there was no reason to bring in furniture that we didn't have yet… we can get it painted and then bring in everything, that way it doesn't all get paint splattered right? I mean, we don't have much money, but that's not the only reason there's nothing here. It's more just… getting everything ready has taken time, you know?"

Heavy and tired footfalls carry down the stairwell, but with so many feet coming and going while Quinn is moving in to Gun Hill, Colette's approach to apartment 404 is but one of many approaches. Tapping her knuckles on the door to her own apartment as she comes in, Colette looks every bit as tired as she feels after running up and down flights of stairs hauling Quinn's things up to her fifth floor apartment. "Hey…" is Colette's quiet, calm greeting as she edges inside, glancing around the apartment and then biting down on her lower lip when she sees Joanna sitting in one of the old lawn chairs.

"S— sorry about, uh," Colette's head tilts to the side, threading dark locks of hair behind one ear. "The um, it— we've been sort've collecting bits and pieces of furniture as wel go…" Perhaps that's what is making Colette so nervous, that Joanna is wealth and that Tasha seems to come from money, where Colette is by and large something that has more often than not gone without, or at least gives the presence of someone less accustomed to comfortable living.

"S'good t'see you come by, Miss Renand." So formal, she is. "Um, I ah… sorry if things were kind've crazy earlier. A friend's moving in upstairs so it— you know how people our age get."

Joanna didn't always come from money. It was hard work that got her here. But she didn't come from poverty either. Middle class, with a taste for things just out of reach and the balls, know how and guts to reach for it. Diet Coke can clutched in one hand, the other squeezes Tasha's hand and is saved from the tearing up that might turn ot full blown tears at her daughters gratitude by the arrival of the girlfriend.

"Don't apologize. You should have seen the first apartment that Vincent and I had. Tasha's father. Wasn't much different from here. But Tasha has a credit card with her name on it and I expect that you will get what you need to furnish it for you and your friend. It may not be in a part of town that I… approve, but at least you can afford to put decent locks on the door, get some air conditioning in here and a good bed to sleep in."

The look of a matriarch, she fixes her gaze on Colette. "Will you be attending post secondary education as well? These days, you can't seem to even get a job at McDonalds without a masters"

"It's not a bad area, not really, these days…. I mean, what used to be the good end of town, you're likely to find three-headed pigeons on your stoop, these days," Tasha points out, smiling up at Colette when she comes in. "Sorry I had company and bailed on helping out Quinn, but it looked like she had plenty of willing helpers," she adds to Colette.

At the talk of post-secondary education, she glances from her mother to Colette and back, knowing that might be a touchy subject. "If you talk to Dad at all, tell him that I got in? I called him for Father's Day but he must have been working, because he didn't answer. I mean, don't go out of the way to call him, but if you do your monthly lunch to discuss your wayward daughter and all, you know, let him know," she says, cheeks coloring just a touch.

Swallowing awkwardly, there's a deer-in-headlights look at Joanna's question, delayed in answer by Colette's slow approach. Hoping for some distraction from Tasha, there ultimately isn't enough to make her look rude to not answer, and Colette's honest answer may not exactly be what Joanna wants to hear. "I— um… I— n— never graduated…" then with a tug of her teeth against her lower lip she adds, "high school?" Looking askance to Tasha, Colette slides her hands into the pockets of her camouflage cargo pants, standing at a corner to Tasha and Joanna, forming something of a conversational triangle.

"I— I was a sophomore when the bomb hit," which implies she's Tasha's age exactly, "and I just… I was in the hospital for a long time after the explosion. I spent a long time in rehabilitation, then state care. I… didn't have any family after the blast to take care of me. So— it just… There wasn't any state funded public education for us kids in the shelters. There were so many of us they couldn't even keep track of it."

Looking down to her feet, Colette slides her tongue over her lower lip. "Um, my— my dad wanted ot try and get me back into school. I mean, my adoptive dad. I just… I don't think I can do it, really. I'm not gonna' get far with a GED, and… I've got this apartment and stuff with where I've gone so far. I'm happy?" Nervously honest, Colette looks towards the sliding doors where Jupiter sleeps, then back to Joanna.

"M'sorry if that sounds dumb, I just… I dunno, I never was book smart anyway. I've got an interview working for a bicycle courier company tomorrow," which is news to Tasha that she landed the interview, "and I hear they pay really good, 'specially cause I'm willing to deliver out to Staten Island and stuff…"

'Then Tasha will help you with a GED. If you expect to continue to see my daughter, that is my only request. It's strange, for me, that it's another woman that she's seeing" She said woman, not girl or child or kid. "And as a little off putting it may be, i'm going to get used to it. But I'd appreciate if at least, that would happen?" Please?

Joanna won't hold her breath over that and Tasha knows as much too. "Besides, you'll never know unless you try"

Her attempt at deflection apparently not enough to keep Colette from giving her defensive, heart-breaking answer, Tasha looks up at Colette with wide eyes that threaten to spill over again, apology written across her face. When her mother requests for Colette to get a GED, Tasha's brows knit together. "Mom, like she said… it's not really going to make a difference…" she begins, with a shake of her head, but then she turns to look back at Colette, vacillating as she adds, "I can help you study if you want.. you're smart, Colette, if you can understand those science books… you can pass the GED easy, I know you could."

Trying to please both the important women in her life is going to give her whiplash an she finally just furrows her brow, taking a long drink from her Diet Coke. "It's up to her, Mom… I … whether she wants to get a GED or not, I'm going to stay with her… don't make her do something just to make you happy. Even if you're being really understanding about everything — that's not fair to her." And her mom is all about fairness, right?

"If— " Colette's eyes dart to Tasha and then Joanna, brows furrowed in worry. "If I have to do that to— to be with Tasha than there's no question." She seems tense about it, shoulders rolled forward and brows knit, eyes cast askance to view Jupiter's snoring, furry form again before attention is settled on Joanna again. "I— I don't want to do anything that'd be like, offensive or nothin'. I really— I do care about Tasha and if I gotta' do that then— then I will."

Nibbling pensively on her lower lip, Colette shuffles from one foot to the other, brushing a hand over one arm as she looks down squarely at her feet. "I dunno how t'like, even start doing that sort've thing, but… but I bet the internet'd know, so I can look it up later."

Lifting her eyes to Joanna, there's apology in her expression, as if she's worried the bumbling dropout thing just isn't enough for Joanna's little girl. "Thanks, um, for… for bein' so generous, I mean. It means a lot for you to help out. My dad's supposed to be bringing by a spare bed for Tamara's room, so… so that'll help."

"Sometimes Tasha, you have to step up, and do right by someone. Colette seems to be doing just that and I admire that, and appreciate that she's willing to do something so small for you." One hurdle overtaken. "Your thanks is acknowledged, stuffed away. Don't go overboard too much and I'll tell your father about Parsons Tasha. I'm sure he won't complain in the least about it" She'll ensure that he doesn't.

The half drunk can of coke is put down, jacket shook out as her feet slip back into the expensive heels. Joanna's making as if to leave and for some reason, there's dampness in the corner of her eye's, threatening to ruin her lancome.

Setting her own can of soda down, Tasha jumps up and glances back at Colette, apology and gratitude mixed in her face, manifesting in tears and a half smile. "She does step up for me, Mom," Tasha whispers. She can't tell her mother that Colette threw herself on top of her, taking a bullet that might have killed Tasha. She can't tell her that she blinded herself to protect Tasha and the rest of their group from a pack of feral dogs.

When she stands, she heads to Colette quickly, offering a brief kiss to the other's cheek, braving the awkward moment in front of her mother, a way to stand up for Colette, to be courageous in her own way. She bumps her forehead against the other girl's, then moves back to her mom's side. "Thanks for coming by, Mom," she murmurs, wrapping hr arm around Joanna's shoulders. "I'll walk you down."

Looking awkwardly between Joanna and Tasha, Colette's brows furrow and her head dips down into a subtle, worried nod of her head. "Thank you again, Miss Renard, for everything, and for being so supportive of Tasha and… and her school and everything." There's a ghost of a smile threatening the more serious look that spreads across Colette's lips, and when the brunette takes a few steps over to Joanna, her teeth tug at her bottom lip as she seems to consider how to phrase something best.

"I— I know it… it's gotta be hard like, finding out stuff. I mean, I— I wish I could've been… different, so— so you wouldn't have to adjust to the person Tasha cares about, but…" looking up to Joanna, there's a look of nervous determination in Colette's eyes. "I promise, I promise I won't ever hurt her… I'm in love with your daughter, Miss Renard, an'… an' no matter what, she's always gonna' come first to me."

Then, in the moments after saying that, Colette just looks awkward and uncertain. She's never had to do the whole parents thing before, and it shows.

"Thank you Colette" Joanna offers. "She's going to need you" She doens't reach out to touch the half blind teenager, but waves off her own daughter. "No, I can see myself out. Don't you worry. I need to get going. If there's anything you need that the card can't get you, just call Bee Bottom" She pushes a stray hair out of Tasha's face, tucking it behind an ear before turning away, walking swiftly to the door.

"I love you, Mom," Tasha murmurs softly, her voice quavering. She lets her mother go, knowing the swift withdrawal is self-preservation mode on the lawyer's part, so she lets Joanna go. "If … maybe we can go shopping this weekend, together," she offers. "When you have more time and don't have to go back to work."

One hand comes up to her face to wipe away the tears that begin to slip down her cheeks, and the other hand moves to take Colette's and squeezes it tightly, though her eyes don't leave her mother's back as she makes her way to the door.

This time Colette doesn't hesitate form sliding an arm around Tasha, this time her waist, drawing the only slightly shorter brunette into a sideways hug as she watches Joanna getting ready to leave. Squeezing the hand Tasha had taken, there's no reason for Colette to interrupt the last moments of a mother and daughter's emotional goodbye. But there's osmething nagging at the back of Colette's mind, something nervous about the way Joanna is getting emotional, but for now she doesn't voice it. She shouldn't.

Gone, disappeared. Out the door and down the stairs and the only thing left is the half drank can of diet coke and the smell of Chanel no. 5. Colette can tell where some of Tasha's tastes come from.

Once the door shuts, Tasha turns to Colette, grabbing Colette's other hand and holding them up to her own heart. Her teary eyes are wide and she shakes her head vehemently, shaggy hair swinging with the force. "You don't have to, Colette. I love you how you are. And I'll sing you an old Billy Joel song if you need me to prove it…" she threatens.

"Don't change who you are or what you want to please my mother because you're not with her, you're with me, and I don't care about a piece of paper saying you're smart, when I know you're smart and brave and beautiful and amazing, okay? If it's because she gave me her credit card and is being generous — she'll do that whether you get a GED or not. I love you for who you are, not what diplomas you can hang up on the freaking wall, okay?"

Squeezing Tasha's hands, Colette is determined to be strong for once involving something in their relationship. Steeling herself, Colette turns to look at the door Joanna left through, then steps in and just wraps her arms around Tasha's shoulders, drawing her into a hug, squeezing firmly and pressing a kiss to her cheek, holding her close and quiet, just being there like this for a moment even in the heat is helping.

When she leans back, Colette lifts up a hand and brushes a thumb across Tasha's cheek beneath one eye, then the other, then slowly cups a hand at her jawline and leans in to kiss her, noses brushing together as she does. "I'm gonna' do it anyway," Colette stubbornly asserts, "'cause she's right… I… I dunno what I'm good at until I try. You're right that'm smart… I just… I'll figure out how to balance everything," Colette whispers against Tasha's lips. "I should do this, for you, for me… for my dad."

Pushing Tasha's nose aside with her own, Colette leans in and kisses one tear-tracked cheek, then leans back and smiles crookedly in silence, eyes reddened but managing to hold back the tears. "More importantly…" Colette deflects, bubbling up with an emotional touch of laughter.


Yeah, she's gonna get teased.

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