The Princess with the Golden Slippers


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Scene Title The Princess with the Golden Slippers
Synopsis Odessa takes a gamble for an old friend.
Date April 2, 2011

In Dreams

"We're running out of time."

This said by the young blonde woman standing in the doorway, a heavy winter coat pulled tight around her frame and the prim white nurse's uniform she wears beneath it. Julie Fournier's fingers work the buttons, one at a time until they're cinched all the way up to her chin. Outside, wind buffets against the room's large, stately glass windows, and a distant flash of lightning illuminates the criss-cross of wrought iron bars and tree branches on the other side.

It will be raining soon, but not yet. A solitary candle burning on a rickety old desk by the window provides the other two women inside with just enough light to work by, and apart from the bed set against the wall and a squat dresser with a cracked mirror hanging above it, it's the only piece of furniture in the room. Fortunately, Elle Bishop does not have very many belongings to pack which is just as well, because the open suitcase on the bed is very small — all Julie could find on such short notice.

A single change of clothes, a bundle of old photographs from the sixties and seventies depicting young Eleanor and Bob during much happier times, and a pair of gold-coloured shoes are the extent of what she has been able to fit so far.

"'Dessa," Julie says, louder now, but not so loud that her voice will be heard in the adjacent rooms. A low rumble of thunder covers it. "I really have to insist."

Slender fingers run over the golden heels as they are tucked away into the small suitcase. They're heavy, extra weight that she really doesn't need to be lugging around, but they're sentimental. A reminder to herself, of the past, of memories that are missing. That not everything is as it seems. The photos are also touched, briefly.

Then, Elle is tucking one last set of clothes, simple night clothes, into the tiny suitcase, followed by her toothbrush and toothpaste. A girl has to keep her teeth clean. The suitcase is then closed, latched shut as the tiny blonde straightens. Blue eyes turn toward the two woman in the room with her, a small frown on her face as she lifts the suitcase from the bed. That's all she needs.

Odessa Price glances at her reflection in the cracked mirror, scarred lips spread in a smile that's actually much more cocky in appearance than she actually feels. "Trying to tell me about time?" she chides.

But her hands are shaking.

There's a small sigh of relief at the sound of metal latches locking into place on the suitcase. Odessa angles a look over her shoulder to the younger blonde. "We're doing the right thing here." Maybe she's trying to assure herself. Maybe it really is meant for Julie. Her expression softens in the flickering candle light.

"Ellie, I…" Odessa drags the other woman in for a tight hug and tilts her head to one side, tucking a strand of Elle's hair behind her ear. She steps back and gestures toward the door. "Jules is right. We have to go." She leans over the desk to blow out the candle.

The candle goes out with a whuff, sending tendrils of smoke snaking into the damp, stale air. Julie looks back over her shoulder at the hallway behind her. Further down the corridor, fluorescent lights covered by a steel grate flicker once, twice, but do not blink into black in the face of the impending storm. A hand curls around the door's frame and she lifts her chin to give Odessa the all clear.

This is the part where she should be stepping out, heels clicking smartly against the linoleum. Instead, she looks back at Odessa and Elle, and although her eyes are cold there's still emotion flickering behind them — uncertainty and something else.

"Are you going to tell her?" she asks Odessa pointedly. "Because if you won't, then I will."

The petite blonde blinks a few times, as Odessa drags her in for a tight hug. After a moment, she reaches up, patting her hand gently against Odessa's back with a bit of a baffled look on her face. "Then let's get out of here. No use in sticking around." She's ready to get the hell out of here. Then, Odessa is pulling away, and Elle is gripping her suitcase, moving to follow the two women out of the room.

Except they don't leave yet.

The blonde blinks, her blue-eyed gaze turning between Julie and Odessa, that look of confusion only growing. "What? Tell me what?" She frowns, brushing her hair over her shoulder and fidgeting. Elle's gaze turns toward Odessa, brows raising expectantly as she waits for an explanation. What the hell is going on?

"Can't it wait?" Odessa's hand snaps out toward the empty hall and she fixes Julie with an expression that isn't quite anger, but it is perhaps frustration, more appropriately. She's just been put in a position she didn't want to be put in. Her wrist rolls slowly, like a pantomime of winding a length of rope around her hand. A few seconds of tense silence pass between the two of them before she relents. "I'll do it."

Odessa's darker blue gaze fixes on Elle's. One eye to her two. An imbalance long since gotten used to for all of them. "Ellie, those tests that you've been undergoing… They're doing terrible things here. I never thought they would use you like this, too. I never, ever…" She shakes her head quickly and her expression turns apologetic. "You're pregnant, Ellie."

This sort of thing is usually delivered as a congratulatory announcement. But this… isn't that sort of news. "Julie's going to get you away from here, to people who are going to look after you." Odessa pauses a beat and offers a shaky smile. "Both of you."

At first, the news is greeted with silence. A shocked expression slides over her face, silent in its descent over her features. What? What?! Slowly, her jaw slackens, followed by the woman's suitcase dropping to the floor with a clatter and a clunk, falling down onto its side. For a moment, she just freezes, shock passing over her features.

"P-pregnant?" She asks this with wide eyes, her jaw still hanging half open. An unconcious reaction, and her hands, with their scarred wrists, suddenly press to her belly. "I — I didn't think I could — but…" She suddenly takes a step back, taking a deep breath.

A quick movement of the other hand stops Elle's case in midair so it doesn't hit the floor and risk spilling its contents. "This is why I wanted to wait until after we got her out," Odessa tells Julie. Then back to Elle, her brows knit and her lips pull into a frown. "I'm sorry I had to tell you like this, but we don't have time to talk about the details now. Once you're safe, we can talk this through."

She reaches out, grabbing the suitcase's handle, her shoulder giving a little as she sways with the momentum of gravity when time resumes. Her white ponytail bounces when Odessa jerks her head toward the door. "We don't have time for this. You need to go now."

It's almost as if Elle can't hear Odessa. Blue eyes are unfocused, staring at some interesting particle of dust somewhere on the floor. Her hands press over her stomach, the woman lost in thought. Pregnant? A baby? So this is how it happens. Then, she's staring at her stomach, examining it. It's a lot to process, the thought of a little life growing inside of you. Especially when such news comes at a time like this.

Especially when it's a fucking immaculate conception by way of turkey baster.

Part of her feels violated. Like she's been raped. Like she's had some important thing taken from her, her freedom to choose. If they had just told her, she may have cooperated. And then, there's that little tickle of joy in the back of her mind. She never thought it even possible. Not with her ability. But here she is, with a little life.

Still in her own little world, Elle mutters one simple phrase, a half-whisper that's barely audible to the two other women. "I'll name him Robert…"

"Ellie!" Where Julie was trying to keep her voice down before, Odessa disregards it, taking advantage of their stolen moment of time. The wall it puts up between them and those that may hear them. "Snap out of it! If you don't get out of here, you're never going to get to call that baby yours." She hurries around behind Elle, heels clicking on the hard floor beneath as she plants both hands on the electrokinetic's back and physically guides her to the door.

Those words hit home. The threat of not being able to call the baby hers, combined with the touch of Odessa's hands on her back, seems to be more than enough to snap the electrokinetic out of it. A glance is cast back toward Odessa, one hand reaching out to grasp the woman's hand, offering it a tight squeeze. Then, without needing any further prompting, Elle is moving toward the door.

"Let's get the fuck out of here." She keeps one hand held over her stomach, protectively.

"Stop touching your stomach," Odessa instructs tersely, handing the suitcase over to Julie as the two join her in the hall. "If we get seen, we don't want them to know that you know. Think of it like the old days. You don't touch your ear when you've got a listening device in it."

She takes the lead now, protective of both Elle and Julie as she sweeps down the hallway, the wool of her skirt swishing as she walks. Her sweater isn't adequate for the weather outside, but… Since when did Odessa ever care about dressing weather appropriate.

In the stairwell, something causes Odessa to falter. Her head snaps up and one spindly length of stiletto doesn't quite clear the step previous, snapping off and sending the temporal manipulator tumbling down the half dozen or so steps left in the flight of stairs. She hits the landing with a startled cry, looking up at Julie and Elle to hiss a warning.

"Someone's coming!"

Julie grips Elle by the arm and steps out in front of her to shield her from view, but it's too late — at the bottom of the stairs where Odessa is sprawled, the double doors that open up onto the next floor swing open wide with a shrill, squeaky creak, and another woman steps into view. She's tall and dark, with a pressed black uniform, strong jaw and eyes like coals that gleam with fierce intelligence. Her gaze moves between Odessa on the floor, then skips up the stairs to where Elle and Julie are standing. A hand drops to the sidearm she wears holstered on her hip.

It pops out with a dull click

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