Trouble Brewing


cat_icon.gif colette_icon.gif nicole2_icon.gif tasha_icon.gif

Scene Title Trouble Brewing
Synopsis Colette brings Nicole home to meet Tasha. Things don't go according to plan, as Cat is waiting for the younger Nichols with a dire warning for the both of them.
Date September 3, 2010

Gun Hill - Colette's Apartment

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Nestled in the heart of the Bronx in a neighborhood fresh with revitalization that mostly amounts to a fresh coat of paint, Gun Hill doesn't quite look like the run down shanty that Nicole Nichols had been expecting given the neighborhood it's in. Up the concrete steps and into the foyer, the old-age charm of this tenement building evokes memories of the thirties and forties more so than the ghetto. Sculpted molding traverses the newly repainted walls, diagonally tiled black and white checkerboard flooring reflects light from an electric chandelier in the hall made of tarnished copper and brass.

A resident registry by the mailboxes shows occupants of Gun Hill — official ones, at any rate — and their apartment numbers. That one of those names is written as Sumter.J might put some more of Nicole's concerns about Colette's neighbors at ease. After all, if there's one common thread the Nichols sisters share, it's the pastor. A few fresh potted ferns past the registry in the lobby give a touch of color to rich earth-toned walls.

As if perhaps the running joke of Colette Nichols' life, the elevator in Gun Hill is out of service. Just as the elevator at Le Rivage had been out of service the entire time she'd been living there (but is working now). Ascending four flights of stairs, the noise of guitar playing coming from the fifth floor gets progressively louder and louder, strumming through the walls. Occasionally it's the twang of an electric guitar, then the thrumm of a bass, most of the times Sable Diego is to blame for all of that racket. The rest of the time it's Quinn.

"You're going to love the apartment," Colette explains with a smile spread across her lips, "hopefully Tasha an' Tamara are both here, but that's like— super rare. It'd be really nice for you t'see 'em both though." Keys jingle in Colette's hand, the lock turns and the door to apartment 404 opens with a creak of its hinges.

Boots scuff over the hardwood floor from the lobby as Colette walks in to her apartment, looking over her shoulder to Nicole. "Tasha's totally an artist an' stuff, she helped pick out all've the colors 'cept the bathroom, which we made bubblegum pink 'cause that seemed like the good thing t'do!"

Threadbare red t-shirt, black leather pants pulled down over black boots, and an olive drab courier bag all typify Colette's appearance into the apartment, unaware that she's been expected.

Inside that apartment is a casually dressed woman recognizable to the arriving sisters. Though she has a guitar with her, it's remained in the case and slung over her left shoulder while a backpack graces the other. She's not responsible for the sounds coming from above, tempted as she might be to ascend the roof and reenact the Let It Be film. Cat's mostly calm in demeanor, betraying just a hint of urgency in speaking with Tasha. Things other than music are of higher priority now.

"I need to talk with Colette," she states, "there might be trouble brewing."

Tasha should be at school, but is not. Her schedule is written in her artistic scrawl and held by a Atlantic City magnet to the refrigerator door, but Colette has no such memory for those things. That Tasha is skipping only her third class session is probably not a very auspicious start, given her last failed semester, especially if she is supposed to take a week off in October. But when eight o'clock in the morning rolled around and Tasha had only gotten a sum of about two hours of sleep, all gathered in thirty minute increments, she decided to stay home and wait for Colette's return, napping on the couch with her cell phone on the coffee table in case Colette needs her.

Cat's arrival had woken the sleeping teen, and now she sits a little groggy and a little embarrassed, dressed in pj bottoms adorned with the Muppets' "Animal" and the words "Party Animal" all over them, along with a purple tank top. What she isn't wearing is a scarf around her neck — an accessory that's now a staple of her wardrobe to hide the still healing scar on her throat.

Tasha blinks at Cat, and picks up her cell phone to text Colette, but then the door is opening and Colette is walking in. "Good timing," she says wryly.

To contrast her sister's appearance, Nicole is dressed smartly in a black pencil skirt and an electric blue blouse made of silk, frills all down the front to cover up the buttons. Puff sleeves add to the femininity. At least she had the presence of mind to wear flats to accompany her sister. She remembered all too well climbing the stairs at Le Rivage in three inch heels. No more of that ridiculousness.

Nicole is inwardly astonished that her sister's new home isn't a total dump in the midst of a bad neighbourhood, though she does her best to keep that surprise off her features. She makes doubly sure that the relief doesn't show either.

Of course, that relief and anything resembling cheeriness is swallowed up by the presence of Catherine Chesterfield in her sister's apartment. Nicole would like very badly to wrap her arms around her sister from behind in a protective display. Perhaps even go so far as to turn the younger girl around and lead her back out the door so that the grown-ups can have a talk about where Nicole believes Miss Chesterfield's boundaries lie.

Instead, Nicole stands up a little straighter, putting a mirthless smile on her face. One nothing like the smile she wears for the cameras that litter the campaign trails and PR pitfalls of her career. "Catherine," she greets coolly. "Fancy that." Perhaps mercifully, Tasha is spared the icy gaze directed toward the other visitor to the apartment.


Clearing her throat, Colette sidesteps away from her sister, looking over at Nicole, then back towards Cat and Tasha. "C— Cat? Um," she must not have heard Cat's commentary to Tasha on the way in, "I— I'm sorry I didn't expect like, company or nothin'. Um, did I forget an appointment? 'Cause like I totally bailed last night to go stay at Nicole's…" Brows furrowed, Colette takes a few steps into the apartment, leaving the door for Nicole to close. Treading across the floor towards the kitchen table that Tasha is seated at, Colette offers the brunette a fond smile, slinging her courier bag off and down onto the table top with a heavy clunk that disturbs the surface of a cup of coffee set out on the table.

"Um, Tasha," mis-matched eyes flick to Cat briefly, then over her shoulder to Nicole. "This… this is my sister, Nicole." Both of Colette's brows lift as she looks back from Nicole to Tasha. "Sis, this— is my girlfriend Tasha." Scratching at the side of her neck, Colette realizes this isn't exactly the meeting she'd expected. Looking over at Cat, one brow's lifted up in curiosity to the Councilwoman's presence.

Nicole's greeting and the frost contained therein doesn't faze the visitor in the least. "Nicole," Cat offers in turn, "it's been some time." Colette is addressed next, her demeanor in doing so slightly different. Containing a hint of concern. "You didn't miss an appointment. It's unfortunate, my timing having interrupted your sister meeting Tasha, but it is what it is."

Vincent's spawn is given a glance during a burst of silence, so as not to give her the impression she'd be spoken of as if she weren't present, and in doing so Cat touches the spot on her neck where she too has a mild scar from being shot in the neck.

"I've a story to tell," she informs in resting eyes upon Colette, "which I would impart to you, believing your sister wouldn't hear me out directly." Silence again, brown eyes shifted to regard Nicole for a second, then back to Colette.

"For a frame of reference, you have been keeping up with the news, I hope."

Having only slept a few hours, Tasha looks it, pale and with make-up smudges beneath her lower lashline, hair rumpled from the tossing and turning. Her brown eyes widen as she realizes Nicole is with Colette. Her hand goes to take Colette's and squeezes it, a little tightly, perhaps. "Next time text me and I would have, like, showered or something, Colie," she says under her breath but then jumps to her feet to move toward Nicole, dressed impeccably in contrast to Tasha's wrinkled pajamas.

Holding out her right hand to shake, she quirks a smile. "Hi. It's nice to meet you," she murmurs, softly, then glances at Cat, then back to Nicole. "There's coffee, or water, soda. I can get you something or you can help yourself," she offers. She frowns a little at Cat's speaking of Nicole, not understanding any pretext that may lay between the two like landmines.

Nicole only has the very vaguest of understandings about her sister's love life. Perhaps that's for the best. She at least affords a kinder gaze for Tasha as she pushes the door shut behind her, her smile reaching to her eyes. At least until something like confusion muddles it. As the two shake hands, the notion is waved off quickly. "It's nice to meet you." She then lifts a finger and grimaces, "Why don't you go get me a soda, dear?"

The tall brunette rounds on Cat with a severe expression. "I thought we discussed this, Catherine." In retrospect, Nicole should know better than to expect that Jenn's daughter would be any less headstrong or stubborn. "Did I not make myself clear?"

Stay the fuck away from my sister, is left unspoken, but the venom of such a demand is still heavy in her tone. Nicole wants to press her hands over Colette's ears and glare daggers at Cat until she just shuts up and leaves. Call her overprotective. That isn't likely to happen any time soon, however. "Yes, I imagine none of us have missed what's been on the news lately. Get to the point." This is about one of those stupid rebellion things that Colette keeps getting herself wrapped up in, isn't it?

Anxiously looking back and forth between Nicole and Cat, Colette ducks her head down and steps between them subtly. "Sis, why don't you pull up a chair," is a diplomatic way of putting some distance between the two as she motions suggestively over to the square formica-topped dining table pushed up against one wall. Looking up to Cat, Colette's brows furrow and she hesitates on addressing the rhetorical question to look at Tasha.

"S— sorry. I um, I wanted to surprise you?" Admittedly Colette did to just that. Surprise! It's not as fantastic as Colette imagined it would be. "It's— I mean… um, the Dr. Pepper cans in the bottom bin," she instructs to Tasha, knowing her sister's preferences squarely.

It's only then that Colette slants a look back to Cat. "Um, yeah I— I've been kind've watching it off and on. A lot of it kinda'," Colette swings a hand over her head, "you know woosh, but I get the basic idea since I know what the Company was. I'm hopin' that with all this going on, maybe Trent'll show back up since he doesn't have to hide from them anymore…" Drawing her bottom lip between her teeth, Colette shifts her weight to one foot. "What's up, though? Is this about the people that I heard got moved in here? I haven't had a chance t'meet 'em yet."

Nicole, in her attempts to be intimidating, is only briefly glanced at, and there's the sense it takes an effort of will for Cat not to yawn or roll her eyes. When she speaks, with sight organs settling on Colette again, her tone is quiet and matter-of-fact. "It's all true," she commences, "though the story told by Federal authorities is slanted to make all people with the SLC look bad. The Company did conduct cruel experiments on people. They did develop the virus which was nearly released in January of '09, their lax security allowed members of the Vanguard to steal it. Some of the Company's founders did infiltrate the government with the aim of securing political power. They engineered the election of Nathan Petrelli in '06, and they did orchestrate the nuclear detonation in Midtown." The voice stills for a stretch of seconds, to let the audience absorb what she's said, before she presses on.

"The names of those founders haven't been made public. Most are believed dead, but three are alive. Robert Bishop, Angela Petrelli, and Daniel Linderman."

Tasha looks a little nervous at the hostility and tension in the room. Cat's explanation of the news makes her frown as she goes to the kitchen to retrieve a Dr. Pepper for Nicole, and returning, she hands it to the woman. Finally she takes a seat, bringing her hands up in a fold beneath her chin, which serves to hide her scarred throat.

Bristling visibly, Nicole does not take a seat as Colette requests. Instead, she stands where she is, halfway between the door and the table, and listens to Cat speak, wondering what all of this has got to do with her sister. Or with her, as the woman suggests. She takes the can of soda from Tasha with a murmured thanks, even if her eyes doesn't leave Cat's face.

The punchline makes the blood drain from Nicole's face. "You're lying," she responds quickly. If she says it with enough conviction, maybe it will be true. "I would know." Her cobalt gaze is suddenly less severe as it moves from Cat and settles on Colette, wide and frightened. Tell me she's lying, that look says.

For the moment, it's as if their roles are reversed and Colette is meant to be the rock upon which Nicole stands. Perhaps it's been that way longer than either of them have realised.

"Cat, Cat, Cat, Cat," Colette clicks out the name a few times, both of her hands coming up to the side of her head, eyes shut and brows furrowed. "I know you have like ninety trains of thought at any one time, but let's focus on one — preferably slow and scenic — train at a time, 'kay?" Opening one eye and wrenching the other shut, Colette massages her temples with two fingers. "Not everybody can follow all that at once…"

With one scrunched up brow lifted, Colette finally turns to address Nicole, lips downturned into a frown and eyes unable to make eye-contact, instead wandering the walls and the floor as she makes an uncomfortable noise in the back of her throat. "It— well," there's a look over to Cat, then back to Nicole. "I— I didn't know that, I mean… not until Cat just said it. But like, she— sort've doesn't lie. That'd be like a calculator or a coffee machine lying. It just doesn't happen." Not that she's comparing Cat to a machine— directly.

As Colette shifts her attention to Cat, she's turning around to face the brunette. "How d'you know that. I mean— I mean about Mister Daniel," Mister Daniel. "If— if that's true… Cat he practically owns the Lighthouse! All those kids're there, and— and— " mismatched eyes flick from side to side as she looks over to Tasha, suddenly struck with anxiety and looking like she's about to wind herself up in a neurotic fit.

"That was the short version, Colette, actually the start of it. There's a ton more which would have you all falling asleep before I could get even a quarter of it out, I assure you." Cat's reply comes with a quiet chuckle. "I'm sticking to the most crucial points, and I came to this knowledge from more than one source. One was at the top of the Company, another was involved with rigging that 2006 election." Brown eyes then drift toward Nicole, a sense of calm understanding projected about her, the words which follow are spoken somberly and without malice.

"Denial is a powerful thing, Nicole. The will not to believe. But the truth is you do know, if you allow yourself to see and accept it. When you worked on Allen Rickham's campaign, you were known as Stephanie Caiati. Now you're known as Nicole Nichols, and you work with the Linderman Group. Whether or not you choose to believe me, the truth is still just that. Now…" She takes another pause.

"With the government having taken down the Company, it's possible Linderman and Angela Petrelli have been arrested. It's possible they haven't. Nathan Petrelli may choose to leave them alone because they know his secret. He's a flying man, all his claims about not having the SLC are lies. He may also not want to connect his name with the Company by letting this smear her. But it could also be he just hasn't gotten around to that yet."

The voice becomes graver still as she continues. "If the government chooses to move against Linderman, you're in danger because you work with his Group. And yes, Colette, the Lighthouse and the children could be in trouble too. It'll be addressed, I'm not the only one who knows about Linderman's Company ties."

Frowning as she listens, Tasha's dark eyes move from Cat's face as the woman speaks, to Nicole's, then back to Colette's with a questioning look. She shakes her head and rises from the table, brushing her hand against Colette's side as she passes by. "I'm going to go take a shower and lie down. I can't understand any of this anyway, but with only a couple of hours of sleep in me, I'm completely lost. Colette'll catch me up on anything important, I'm sure," she murmurs. It's not just confusion but the desire to give Nicole privacy with the stressful revelations that moves her to slip from the room.

"It was nice meeting you, Nicole," Tasha adds, then glances back at Colette as she moves toward the hallway. "Call me if you need me."

Nicole's lips part as she listens to Cat. The manner in which she's spoken to would normally have the woman scowling, but there's too much fear in Nicole for that now. Too much fear that this all may be reality.

In truth, Nicole doesn't fear for herself. Doesn't think to fear for herself. Ever the loyal woman, her thoughts are on Daniel Linderman. Reaching into her skirt pocket, she procures her BlackBerry. She utters something like a farewell in response to Tasha's parting, a tip of her head in acknowledgement even as she taps a message out on her phone in a fine frenzy.

"No we— we would've heard if Daniel got arrested!" Is Colette's immediate and defensive dismissal, her fingers curling into her palms, even as mismatched eyes follow Tasha departure. Lips part, she wants to ask her to stay, to serve as some sort of shoulder for comfort— solace— something. Instead, all Colette does is wrench her eyes shut and lift one hand up to her forehead, fingers raking through her bangs as she makes a frustrated sound.

Huffing out a sigh, Colette turns her back on Cat and her sister and walks to the kitchen table, then paces over to the refrigerator. "Why're you telling us this?" It hasn't quite been put together in her head yet. Flustered as she is, Colette isn't putting all the pieces together on her own. "Why— what could we even do if that's the case? If— if he's— if this is true then…" Colette's half-blind stare falters down to the kitchen floor and her arms wrap around herself.

She can't find the rest of her words, silence takes their place.

"It's simple, Colette," Cat replies as she observes Nicole's furious texting, "she works with Linderman. If Linderman is taken, and his holdings are looked at, gone after, so might be the people who work there. They could be presumed linked to the Company through him. Nicole worked with Mother, and she worked with Allen Rickham. She's also your sister. I wouldn't be able to look myself in the mirror if I didn't carry warning to you, much less look you in the eye again." There's a stretch of quiet following, a silence unbroken by a hushed admission.

"And I certainly would never be able to forget it."

Nicole looks up from her phone, the bitterness and iciness gone away now. "Catherine," she begins, pausing to gather her thoughts. To think about her words before she speaks them. "Thank you." It may be somewhat difficult to say, but it needs to be said.

"I need to be alone with my sister." Nicole crosses to the table, setting aside the unopened can of soda Tasha retrieved for her and sliding her phone back into her pocket before she passes the rest of the way through the kitchen and pulls Colette against her in a tight hug.

There's a confused noise in the back of Colette's throat when Nicole says that, and the hug has Colette's eyes going wide. Public displays of affection between the two have always been exceedingly rare, and in the view of Cat that much seems as public as possible. Color fades across Colette's cheeks, even as she bites down on her bottom lip and hunches her shoulders forward. Mismatched eyes look up to Cat, askance from where she's held by Nicole.

"I know what you're suggesting," Colette implies in a hushed tone of voice, looking worriedly down at her feet, then up to Nicole and back to Cat again. "I mean— I think I do anyway." There's a faint sound in the back of her throat again, sliding her arms around Nicole hesitantly. "You've— you need t'tell Brian and everyone at the Lighthouse— Eric. It— if they don't know then…" the bewildered look on Colette's face grows as she looks down to the floor, speechless again.

A heartbeat later, she unexpectedly finds some of her words again. "Th— thanks, Cat." Even if she's distracted by the possibilities of a future without Daniel Linderman now. With the life she lived before the bomb, considering that now seems so very strange.

Her eyes settle briefly on the siblings as they embrace, ears take in words spoken by both of them. Nicole's statement of needing to be alone with her sister draw a calm but certain response, an acceptance of that desire. Cat rises to her feet and moves toward the door. One hand rests on the knob, she's about to open it, but she turns back. A pair of words is offered to both then.

"You're welcome."

Then that knob does turn, followed by the sound of footsteps moving into the hall, and a final muted sound.

That door clicks shut.

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