The Way Of Things


colette_icon.gif quinn_icon.gif ygraine_icon.gif

Scene Title The Way Of Things
Synopsis Quinn searches out Colette to talk. Colette's not really feeling up to it.
Date September 23, 2010

Gun Hill: Rooftop

High overhead and still ascending to its eventual noon-day height, the sun tracks a course across cloudless skies of featureless blue. From the rooftop of the Gun Hill Apartments, the skyline of New York City looks remarkably clear and clean in these morning hours. There's a chill in the air, a cool breeze whipping across the rooftop to remind everyone that fall is coming, glittering dew clinging to every piece of asphalt, concrete and greenery up here.

Some months ago, when the Great Storm abated and New York City thawed, Colette Nichols began a project to plant a rooftop garden. With the help of the Ferrymen, a mysterious midnight gardener who remained unnoticed and unnamed, and the aid of residents coming and going they were able to set up a sizable planting, ready for the time when harvest would come and the Ferrymen would be able to reap the bounty of their hard work.

It isn't much, admittedly, a few planters worth of potatos and carrots, the tubers all did surprisingly well. The tomatos never ripened enough, a lost cause each and every one. Lettuce was bug riddled to the point of needing to be discarded, but there's enough that it actually looks like it was worth the whole.

Sitting cross-legged on the roof, the loose and blac fabric of her black army sweater hangs off of her narrow frame in a way that implies it was crafted for a man. Camouflage pants are smudged with the dark stains of soil, as are her hands as she brushes dirt off of a ruddy sweet potato before tossing it into a wicket basket filled with other vegetables.

The cool breeze blows soundly across the rooftop, catching Colette's hair and reminding her that it's some shoulder-length now in most places, feeling the lash of dark hair at her throat and across her face. Smiling, if somewhat distractedly, the young girl shakes her head to discard hair from her face, then turns towards the breeze and closes her eyes.

Some of her most fond memories are of being on a rooftop in Autumn. Memories of Felix, of living in Queens, of a life more ordinary. If she closes her eyes and pretends hard enough, it's almost like she's back there again.

The arrival of another on the roof is heralded by the slow creaking of the Gun Hill roof door as it’s slowly opened from the inside, a pale, redheaded woman sticking her head out. Robyn Quinn had a busy day ahead of her, but she had known exactly what the first thing she was doing this morning was. Unfortuantely, this effort had been met with little success thus far, knocking on her neighbour’s door having revealed that people were either all gone for the day, or very, very asleep – something she was more than willing to respect, given the lack of it she’d gotten the night before.

But the motorbike had still sitting outside near Quinn’s scooter, indicating that one Colette Nichols was still about the building, it was just a matter of finding the younger woman, and there had been one other place Quinn knew to check before anywhere else.

She steps out on to the rooftop quietly, though not quiet enough to avoid behind heard. Her aeyes scan overhead, and somehow it actually takes giving the roof a once over before she actually spots Colette, a bit of a smile forming on her face. She’s dressed more warmly than Colette – 24C, as her phone told her, was still rather warm compared to what she’s used to, so she can get away with wearing a green button up shirt with medium length sleeves and a long, dark blue skirt.

“Hey,” Quinn says quietly as she begins her way towards Colette, a grin on her face. “Didn’t know you’d gotten back yet.”

Robyn Quinn wasn't there at Cliffside apartments back in 2008. Maybe if Colette keeps her eyes shut and pretends that she can't see, she could imagine that Quinn is a younger Eileen Ruskin and that this was the day they were fingerpainting on the roof. It's hard to imagine that so much time has passed. Traveling through time helps put history into perspective, makes it easier to dwell on the past.

"Yeah…" is Colette's distracted answer as she opens her eyes, turns away from the wind and lifts one hand with dirt under her nails to shield the side of her face from windblown hair. Tossing the last of the sweet potatos into the wicker basket, Colette looks up to Quinn and feigns a smile. "I uh, I stayed out on Staten Island last night," because that's what she presumes Quinn is talking about. "I had some— stuff. I had some stuff to do out there, um… yeah I— got back this morning."

Quinn smiles back, regardless of how clear Colette’s feigning is. “Is that so?” she asks amusedly. Looking at the sweet potatos, she does frown a little, reaching up and scratching her head. “I’m not interruptin’ anythin’, am I? I’d hate t’, I just… wanted t’ talk about a few things. An’ make sure you were okay.” That, if nothing else, should stand out to Colette.

Even despite her inquiry on interruptions, Quinn’s already lowering herself down beside Colette., sitting crosslegged to match. Straightening her skirt, she just sort of stares at the sweet potatos for a moment, before looking back up at Colette – and then somewhat abruptly leaning over to hug her. “I heard about what happened. I was worried, so I thought I’d see if you were back an’ all that.”

Bounding upwards with her customary vigour, a pale-skinned figure in blood-red lycra is taking the steps two at a time. Having checked apartment 403 for a sleepily tardy Irishwoman, Ygraine is now on her second leg of stair-climbing, the rhythmic pounding of her feet taking her up to the other place she feels safe checking for Miss Quinn. Past the potential terrors of the fifth floor, and then on to the roof-top garden - to the place where, while each was searching for Colette, the two of them had first met.

Lifting her gaze to the sky to welcome the warmth on her face, Ygraine can't help but smile at the sunlit clouds scudding by far above - an expression that broadens when, as expected, she sees the flash of Robyn's brightly-dyed hair… but turns to a look of genuine surprise an instant thereafter. Months later than when she had been sought precisely here, Colette actually is present.

Abruptly uncertain, the older woman falters to a halt just beyond the door and raises a hand in uncertain greeting, gaze flickering to and fro between the embracing pair. "Ahh… hi. Sorry. I… I didn't mean to interrupt anything. I'm here to, ahh, take Robyn shopping. For some more suitable clothes, and some supplies. Before she has to go." She hopes that the emphasis indicates the kind of nature of the trip in question, though she blunders awkwardly onwards, focusing upon Colette. "I… I did want to see you. Check… well, check on how Tamara is in particular. But I can go. If you want me to, I mean."

Shutting her mouth sharply, as if consciously cutting off further babbling, the Briton swallows and blinks.

Embarrassment paints itself across Colette's face, stiff in the embrace Quinn has made, hands folded in her lap and eyes averted down to her folded hands. The question has made her tense with nervousness, Ygraine's presence has just meant that the situation has become even further complicated. Closing her eyes, Colette rolls her shoulders and squirms out from Quinn's hug, lifting up a hand to rake dark bangs from her face, mismatched eyes settling on Ygraine for a moment before she boosts herself to her feet.

"I don't want to talk about it," is stated in a hushed voice, loud enough though that both women can hear the tightness in Colette's tone. She hunches forward, picking up the wicker basket of vegetables by the handles, boosting them up onto one knee before hugging the heavy basket to her chest. "Look I— I need to go wash these and…" she backpedals from where Quinn is seated, bumping into one of the wooden frames the planters sit on.

"Besides, your— " Colette looks to Ygraine, then back Quinn, "your ride, or whatever's, here. Have a good— shopping thing."

Quinn looks surprised and confused as she looks up at Colette, looking rather crestfallen as she squirms out of teh hug and up to her feet. “Oh,” she says quietly, her gaze looking back to Ygraine, then to the floor in front of her. Everyone else had been so open with her that she hadn’t even considered that it might be, you know, a sore subject for someone.

“Look, I’m sorry,” Quinn replies with a sigh. “I didn’t know. I’ll leave you t’ the potatoes.” Quickly, she hops up to her feet, looking back at Ygraine again, a mix of surprise and… something. She can’t quite place it. “I just kinda like… wanted some advice, or somethin’.” She quirks her lips, hands slipping into the pockets of her skirt. Why is it, she keeps finding ways t make people leave or almost leave lately? “Or somethin’,” she repeats grumbling. “Nevermind, I’ll see you around.” A smile, abeit a weak one, is offered up to Ygarine. “You’re here soon than I thought you would be.”

Not wanting to talk about 'it' certainly doesn't provide Ygraine with the faintest hint of reassurance that she has, in fact, contributed to a remotely satisfactory job of seer-saving. Unaware of the photokinetic's own troubles, the Briton's face falls, draining of what colour it has acquired over the course of the hot Summer, Quinn for once not her priority in light of apparent confirmation that they had in fact left Tamara enough of a mess to do this to Miss Nichols.

"We…? We didn't get it right?", Ygraine croaks to Colette. "I thought we had, I swear I thought we'd done enough." She takes a half step closer, one hand reaching out a little - though the gesture ends there, its owner clearly wholly at a loss as to what to do now.

Looking up at Ygraine witha puzzled stare, mismatched eyes narrow as Colette hugs the basket to herself again and reaffirms her grip on it. Turning to look back at Quinn, Colette just shakes her head. "I'm the last person you should be asking for any kind of advice on how not to fuck something up," probably has something to do with the minor medical emergency in her apartment yesterday, and why Kaylee is bedridden down in the clinic.

Turning to move, Colette walks up to and passes by Ygraine in the samp noisy, booted strides. It's evident in the glassy cast of her eyes that she's trying to worm her way off of the rooftop before anyone else has to see her cry today, and the redness around her eyes that hasn't quite gone away implies that it isn't the first time she's done that today.

Reaching the door to the roof, Colette tries to hold the basket of vegetables with one hand and reaches for the door, only to have her grip slip, the basket tumble, smack on the roof and bounce, spilling potatoes, carrots, onions and everything she'd collected from the garden all at her feet.

"Mother fucker!" Colette screams at the top of her lungs, voice cracking at the end as she winds up and kicks the basket away from herself, lifting up her hands over her face in order to scream frustratedly again.

At first, Quinn just sort of watches Colette make her way towards the door, a frown on her face as the Young woman makes her assertation that she’s the last person to talk to. She remains silent, intending to do so until the other photokinetic has made her way back inside. The last thing she wants to do is say something //else to make Colette feel worse.

And then life wrests that opportunity out of Quinn’s grip and does it itself.

Quinn winces as the gathered fruits (or rather, vegetables) of Colette’s labour tumble to the roof floor, hesitant to jump forward to help after how her hug was received. But the near punting of the basket, which Quinn doesn’t even watch to make sure it doesn’t go sailing over the side of the roof, has her moving towards the younger woman again, Quinn dipping down to help gather the potatoes. She almost pushes past Ygraine to do it, even, for whatever reason.

“I’m sorry, Colette,” she repeats quietly, grabbing a potato. “I’ll just… help you get these back in the basket an’ I’ll be outta here, I promise.” Which actually means more than intended, given that Quinn hasn’t yet gotten to ask her for advice on if she should move out.

Ducking her head down to hide her eyes with one hand, Colette exhales a shaky breath ad both Quinn and Ygraine come to her help. She mumbles something, hard to hear given how hushed she's being. When her hand comes down from her eyes, thumb wiping her bottom eyelids dry, she breathes out an exasperated and nervous laugh with a shake of her head. "You don't have to…" Colette rasps, brushing her bangs back from her face as she crouches down, three sets of hands now picking up the spilled vegetables, even if one pair is a bit shakier than the others. "You— guys have plans. C'mon go'n— go on and… just do your thing."

Swallowing noisily, Colette looks askance to the rooftop door, then down into the backet, resting her forearms over her knees and exhaling a sigh that blows an errant lock of hair from her face. "I'm fine," is so obviously a lie, "I just— need… I just need some time, and some space. I just— " one hand covers her eyes again, slides down her nose and over her mouth and scrubs there briefly.

"Please don't tell anyone else what Elaine told you," is Colette's softly requested plea to Quinn as she looks askance ot the redhead. "I— n— nobody needs to know what happened."

Quinn looks back at Ygraine, frowning. She hadn't even told her what Colette and Elaine had been up to 0 had actually avoided mentioning, against her normal inclinations. "I… haven't said a word to anyone Colette," she replies softly. Meaning she just clued in Ygraine, unfortunately. "An' I don't plan to. I just wanted t'… you know." She trails off after that, continuing to grab a few of the basket's spilled contents.

"My plans come secondary t' making sure my friends are alright," she comments after a moment, looking up at Colette, then up to Ygraine, in case for some reason the Brit wasn't aware of this fact. "You I won't press it. Go get your space." A hand is placed, very hesitantly, on Colette's shoulder. "Gimmie a call once you've gotten what you need. I may not be around Gun Hill, but it won't matter." The things she's gathered are placed back into the basket, gingerly, Quinn rising back to her feet as she leaves the rest to Colette and Ygraine.

This time Colette moves to the door before picking up the basket, she leaves it sitting there on the rooftop, pulling the door open then holding it with her hip. Slouching forward, her fingers wind around a cinderblock nearby to some crushed cigarette butts, dragging the brick across the concrete of the roof with a scraping sound to prop the door open.

"M'done crying," Colette says with a roughness to her voice, but it's clear she's not trying to convince Ygraine and Quinn, but herself. Stepping over to the basket, Colette crouches down and grabs it by the handles, then hoists it up and braces its weight against her bony hip. There's a look down to Quinn, then over to Ygraine. "Some things— there's some things m'not ever gonna' talk about."

Looking down to the basket of vegetables, Colette shakes her head slowly, then closes her eyes and exhales a sigh. "If you want t'know what happened," Colette begins to say, opening her eyes and looking at Ygraine when she does. "You ask Sable. It's her life, her story. I've no right talking about it.

“Didn’t say you had t’,” Quinn notes, with her hands sliding down into her pockets, a frown still on her face. “Just… if you ever need a friend that isn’t Tamara or Tasha.” Quinn rolls her shoulders in a shallow shrug, not wanting to see too forward in her suggestion. She stays where she stands, letting Colette handle the door herself out of worry of another cold reaction.

An askance is given Ygraine, as if to say Colette’s right. Don’t ask me, it’s not my story. Quinn still looks worried, a little dumbfounded, but not sad like she did a few moments ago, arms crossing as she watches Colette. “Just do what you have t’ do, Colette. I’ll be around,” she repeats more concisely. Leaning back on her heels, hands behind her head, she levels her eyes with Colette’s. “I do want t’ talk t’ you soon about other things, though. We’ll get t’ that when it comes, though. Unitl then… be well.” There’s a pause, and a bit of a hesitant smile. “Things’ll be okay , in the end.”

It's no surprise when Colette rejects the offer of assistance - but it is one when she responds with something other than a brush-off and claim to be fine. Remaining in her crouch, arms resting on tensed thighs, Ygraine cocks her head - clearly surprised by the young woman's words. She nods slowly, rather intently studying that narrow face until Quinn's words draw her attention away for a moment, then looks back to Colette once more - even essaying a smile of her own.

"Take care of yourself", she gently instructs the young woman. "And make something good with those vegetables."

Other things are left for other days, a story for another time as some books would say. Colette's exit is a wordless one, awkwardly so in that she lingered in search of a way to say goodbye, only to turn and step into the doorway to the stairs without another word. There's nothing but silence in her wake, silence and the osund of booted feet clunking down the stairs and out of sight.

The cool breeze drifts across the rooftop, blowing a lock of Quinn's hair across her brow in the silence. Several feet away, a baby russet potato lays abandoned and forgotten, scuffed too much by the fall to be edible. Some animal will come and claim it later, or it will simply mold where it is under one of the planters.

Such is the way of things.

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