User Manual


colette_icon.gif tamara_icon.gif tasha_icon.gif

Scene Title User Manual
Synopsis Permission having been given, Tamara takes up residence with Colette and Tasha — and Tasha gets a crash course in interpreting Tamara-isms.
Date June 20, 2010

Gun Hill: Colette and Tasha's Apartment

Early morning finds the apartment's paint job no more completed than it was yesterday afternoon. Old sheets cover the floor, and in the living room, one wall is painted a rich cocoa brown that matches the paint job in the tiny kitchen; a third of another wall is painted with a paprika hue. The remaining walls each have a streak of the paprika for testing purposes and to remind the painter — Tasha — what color goes where.

The only furniture is pushed to the middle of the room away from the walls — two resin adirondack chairs and a small TV stand with a riotous tangle of cords to a Playstation and a cable box. The kitchen is in better shape, though less furnished — the cupboards have been newly stained in dark mahogany to contrast with the lighter brown walls.

The sheets on the floor have acquired new rumples and folds in the past while, courtesy of a little dog who's decided burrowing beneath them is her favorite activity — at least for now. Poking her nose out from underneath one, corner flopping over her head and half-covering one eye, she peers over in the direction of the kitchen. Tamara in her turn pauses, having just set two cups out on the counter, and slowly turns her head until she can barely see the puppy in her peripheral vision. Misty mouths a voiceless yip at the girl, then scuttles backward until the sheet covers her… well, not quite completely, but enough that she can pretend to be hiding.

Dressed in an old gray shirt of Judah's that she appropriated a while ago, rescued from the bag he left with Misty, Tamara wiggles her fingers at the puppy and then turns back to her current task — making coffee. The whole apartment smells of it by now. When the mugs are prepared to her satisfaction, the seeress takes one in each hand and pads around to the sheets where Misty is crouching. She pauses, toes the covering fabric off the dog; Misty bounces up and takes off for the bedroom, her excited yipping thankfully soundless. Or not thankfully, as all that's left to warn her victims of impending ambush is the sound of puppy claws scrabbling for purchase on the synthetic fabric of a backpack, as she clambers up the piles of stuff and onto the bed.

Coffee-smell means morning. Morning means people get up and pay attention to the puppy!

It's really hot in the apartment, swelteringly so without much in the way of air-conditioning and only two box fans jammed in the windows to keep the air circulating. Eighty-seven degrees is about Colette Nichols' upper threshold when it comes to sweating to death, and as the brunette comes staggering tiredly out of the bedroom it's evident that she didn't sleep as well as she'd have liked to thanks to the heat. Humidity isn't helping either and there's plenty of it thick and heavy in the air.

To say that she's hardly dressed would be a stretch, those long and thin bare legs of hers look almost as white as the unpainted portions of the walls and the tanktop that clings to her too-skinny torso certainly is. Bare feet scuff across the floor, one hand rubbing achingly at the back of her neck, eyes closed while she walks as if tempting fate not to trip over the rumpled floor covering, Colette is moving towards the smell of coffee.

Sure, it's 87 degrees and humid, but she'll still drink down a piping hot cup of it to help wake her up and maybe mitigate the painful crick in her neck and shoulders. It's only on standing in the middle of the living room that she puts two and two together: Tasha is still in the bedroom and Jupiter certainly hasn't learned how to make coffee yet, which means—

"Hi!" is the all-too-nervously offered greeting Colette gives Tamara when her eyes snap to the blonde, face flushing red and lips creeping up into an awkward smile as she looks down at her state of dress, then back up to Tamara with her blind eye squinted shut. "Please tell me you brought asprin?"

Of course she did, she's Tamara.

Scrabbling nails on the thin sheet of the mattress begin to draw Tasha out of her coma — she can sleep through a war, apparently, and didn't notice the shift of weight when Colette left the bed, nor did her brain register the rich smell of coffee brewing. The feel of fur and wet nose and puppy tongue can't be ignored, and Tasha suddenly squeals as it takes her a moment to realize that the furry animal in the bed with her isn't a rabid raccoon or giant mutant rat. The squeal is followed by a giggle as she pets Misty.

"Okay, okay, I'm getting up," she tells the little fluffy dog.

Throwing her legs over the side of the mattress, she scoops the dog up to put her down on the ground before glancing around for a pair of shorts to throw on with the oversized Ramones shirt she wears. The pair she finds belong to Colette, but really, ownership of anything on the ground is disputable. Possession is 9/10ths of the law.

She runs a hand through her hair, its jagged layers sticking up in every direction, as she pads down the hall, Misty at her heels. "Morning," she says, smiling at both before bringing a hand to her eyes to rub her bleary eyes.

Tamara doesn't answer Colette so much as just hold out the nearer mug for her to take. She still doesn't answer when she steps away, moving past — not with anything more than a slow smile, one she makes sure Colette has opportunity to see. It says enough. Sidestepping the puppy as Misty throws herself back under the sheet, the blonde delivers the other mug to Tasha first, smiling warmly back. "Hello."

Then she retrieves the small bottle of painkiller and gently underhands it, rattling all the way, to the brunette who asked for it.

Misty pokes her head out from under the sheet, ears perked for the rattling sound. Tamara smiles down at her, then walks back into the kitchen, fetching out a glass and a carton of orange juice. This time, for herself.

Breathing out the huff of a sigh, Colette thankfully takes the mug of coffee between both hands and closes her eyes. Cradling it between her hands, Colette breathes in deeply before clack-rattle hits the floor when Colette fails miserably to pay attention to the underhanded toss of the apsrin bottle. This in turn prompts Misty to take that as a sign, bolting out from beneath the sheet with paws thundering across the floor, darting between Colette's legs and attacking the asprin bottle as if it were the most dire threat to their home and safety.

Daringly taking the future of the apartment into her own paws, Misty tackles the rogue asprin bottle to the floor, rolls onto her side and gnaws around the bright red cap, then takes it up onto her stomach where — clearly — she has the advantage, paws curling around the bottle and using the teeth on the side of her mouth to bring that noisy, rattling bottle into submission.

Snorting out a laugh, Colette shakes her head and looks up to Tamara with a crooked smirk, then drops down to take a knee and hold her coffee up with one hand while the other pokes and prods Misty at her side. Distracted by the jaw and tickle of fingers, the puppy relinquishes her grip on the bottle of pills, only to have Colette snatch it up and wrinkle her nose playfully. "You are a monster," she says with a giggle before standing up straight and sipping that coffee as it precariously sloshes around the rim.

"Tamara," Colette interjects as Misty rights herself onto all four feet, staring up at the bottle with her tail swish-waggling from side to side as if expecting it to be thrown or something equally less likely. "What color's your room going to be?"

Not what color do you want it, but what color will it be. Colette's at least gotten into the proper phrasing of questions around Tamara, and there's a look to Tasha that is almost instructional: your Tamara Brooks user's manual, caution: may be missing some pages.

"Thanks," Tasha murmurs as she too takes a grateful sip of the coffee. Her dark eyes settle on the antics of the puppy and Tasha chuckles before moving to sit on one of the two chairs. She grabs the sheet on the ground and tugs it, to catch Misty's attention and to throw the pup off balance, grinning when the dog pounces the obviously-dangerous fabric to protect everyone in the apartment from its dastardly plans.

She glances over to Colette and Tamara, offering a still uncertain smile. "I can paint it for you, if you like," she offers, uncertain if wall-painting is among the seeress' skillset. At any rate, it seems like a nice thing to offer, to let the other girl know she is welcome — or at least, that Tasha has agreed to the arrangement.

Replacing the carton in the fridge, Tamara walks out into the room and drops unceremoniously into a cross-legged seat on the floor — making sure she's on a sheet that isn't the one Misty is wrestling into submission. The glass pauses just below her chin as the seeress blinks in Colette's direction, then tips her head, considering the question. "Blue," she answers. "Blue and —" Her brows furrow as actual, exact words become elusive; a beat later, Tamara shakes her head and waves the glass in the general direction of the puppy. "And like her," she supplies.

Blue eyes flick to Tasha, and Tamara smiles again. "With," the girl corrects, and however gentle the statement is, it also leaves no room for takebacks as she embellishes Tasha's offer to her liking and then accepts it. "But it waited. Everyone's room first." You know, the one that's already been started. Now she finishes lifting the glass and takes a drink.

Cracking a smile, Colette arches one brow and glances askance to Tasha as she makes her way over to the brunette with coffee in hand. "With," the teen echoes Tamara's words teasingly, "and you thought I spattered you with paint, I'm gonna' have a fun time supervising that mess." Grinning broadly, Colette crouches down by Tasha's side in the chair and slides an arm around her waist, drawing her into an embrace as she presses her nose softly into the girl's ear before leaning back and slinking away; because it's too hot out for prolonged contact with more body warmth.

Sipping from her coffee, Colette pads on bare feet over to Tamara, looking around the apartment. "Air conditioner" is the first thing Colette says as she settles down to sit by Tamara's side and lean against her, nose touching the blonde's shoulder gently. "See if you can magic us up an air conditioner, 'cause the Ferry ain't got none in storage, I asked." From one extreme to the other, polar chill to near ninety degrees in the span of just a few months, it's exhausting.

After a tiny kiss to Tamara's shoulder, Colette lazily falls backwards, carful to keep her mug upright as she sprawls across the floor between Tasha's chair and Tamara's cross-legged sitting. It's only then when inspiration hits Colette like a sack of hammers and her brows furrow slowly in thought.

"Tamara…" Colette asks while staring up at the ceiling, "do— you know where Lynette is? If she's okay?" It's probably one of the most weighty questions of the future Colette's posed to the seeress. "I mean— anything you might know that's gonna' happen…" Teeth draw over Colette's bottom lip, eyes cast askance to Tamara and her nose wrinkles. "If you… know her."

"With," echoes Tasha as well, turning to kiss Colette's cheek when the other girl comes close to embrace her. She then glances at the pup who is acting as a color swatch — a very playful one who has now wormed her way back under the sheet, peering out at them and looking rather pleased with herself. "Cream… with a touch of apricot maybe?" she asks, lifting her cup up to her lips to sip the coffee again.

"My mom would probably buy us one," she adds, in regards to the air conditioner, but then much more important questions are being asked. Tasha glances to Colette, her brows knit in worry — for both Lynette and the answers Tamara might give them, and also for Tamara and if this is too much for her so soon after waking.

An absent hand ruffles Colette's hair, then contributes to her fall backwards. "Didn't need to," Tamara informs the younger girl. She makes a beckoning gesture to Misty, who accedes and pads over to flop companionably down on the floor in front of the blonde, tongue lolling out over her teeth. As the dog does so, Tamara becomes very still; only Tasha is in position to see the wary look she gives Colette. Moments of inspiration sometimes have that consequence when they strike; and Tamara looks anywhere else in the room but at either of them while Colette voices the question.

She's quiet, weighing the options; aside from the whirr of fans that move air without cooling it much at all, there's a distinct lack of noise in the apartment. Turns the half-full glass of orange juice slowly around in her hands. Finally, Tamara asks quietly: "Who was Lynette?" A moment's pause, and an added clarification after: "When she came back?"

There's a look on Colette's face when Tamara phrases her answer like that, sitting up straight from where she'd fallen, eyes wide and brows furrowed. Glancing to the side, Colette looks to Tasha, then offers a smile and a sigh of relief. It's like being told that the weather will be nice the next day, except it's more about the sanctity of human life than drizzle or sunshine. "You're wonderful," Colette emphasizes, crawling up onto her knees and leaning over to press a kiss to Tamara's forehead before pulling herself up to her feet, resting one hand on her hip.

"I think I might spread that little bit of sunshine around the Ferry as a bulletin. I mean— I know it can still change but— hope is pretty important, y'know?" Both of Colette's brows go up at that and she pivots on her heels, watching Tasha amusedly. "You think that'd be a good idea… or…" Teeth toy now at Colette's bottom lip, her weight settling more on one foot than the other as she sips her coffee.

Tasha's brows knit together with confusion — Colette has more experience deciphering Tamara's answers (or questions, in this case) than she does, but the fact that Tamara doesn't know who Lynette is seems to bode ill for Lynette, in Tasha's mind. At the talk of the Ferry bulletin, Tasha's brows knit more, and she holds out a hand to catch Colette's wrist. "Wait… are you sure…?"

Her dark eyes turn to Tamara, to wait for clarification, and to help aid it. "Do you know who Lynette is? She's sort of the boss here. Pretty blonde lady, around 30, I think, and she's been missing," she murmurs, unsure if that information will help or confuse the matter further.

The ecstatic Colette is eyed dubiously by the person who instigated that cheer, as if she doesn't really understand the why of this — the nonverbal equivalent of O-kay… Her attention shifts to Tasha, who should — yes. Tamara sets the glass carefully down on the floor, away from Misty, although she knows there isn't anywhere down here it's likely to be safe. (Possible… not likely.) Splaying her hands against the sheets, and the wooden floor beneath, the seeress draws in a deep breath. With her face downcast, seeming to look at the space between outstretched fingers, they can't see the way her eyes darken, or the way they flicker erratically back and forth; only hear the long-stretching silence as Tamara doesn't speak.

Doesn't speak.

Still doesn't speak.

Colette knows that expression, brows furrowing and her attention shifting from Tamara to Tasha, teeth toying with her lower lip nervously. There's a subtle nod of her head to imply to Tasha that everything's okay for the moment, but Colette comes to crouch down by Tamara's side, mindful not to touch her or do anything that might ground her at the moment. It's only then that Colette feels that her own actions might be better verbally communicated to Tasha.

Looking up to the brunette, Colette motions for her to come over, then settles her attention on Tamara again. "She's… looking," is said with a library-level of hush, so as to not distract too much. "If you could see her eyes right now, her pupils would be super-huge. She's usually hard to distract with background noise like this," comes the gentle explanation with a fleeting glance over to Tasha. "But if you touch her it might mess things up, 'cause… touch helps show her where she is, kinda'. Like an anchor or somethin'."

Colette's not entirely sure on how it all works, but her best assumptions based on nearly two years of knowing Tamara are all she has to go on. This user manual most definitely is missing pages.

When Tamara goes quiet, Tasha looks worried, before Colette's words relieve her worries a touch. Not completely, of course, since what is being sought hasn't been found — yet. The longer the silence on Tamara's part is drawn out, however, the worry grows, showing in those quirked eyebrows on Tasha's face.

Slowly, Tasha gets up and moves the few feet over to Colette, giving Tamara a wide berth so as not to even move the sheet that the seeress sits upon. Her eyes dart to the puppy to make sure she doesn't get too close either. One hand moves to take Colette's, the other still wrapped around the mug of coffee, bringing it to her lips to take a sip. "Is it okay — this soon after she's woken up?" she whispers, though from what she understands it was trying to be in the present more that taxed the other girl to collapsing, rather than trying to see the future.

"Fast-forward's a lot easier than rewind," Colette explains with an askance look over to Tasha, teeth caught between her lower lip and fingers squeezing the taken hand. "Looking for something specific takes a while… sort've like… trying t'fast forward through a movie to find a specific scene. I dunno why goin' backwards is harder for her, I guess… it just is, an' that's as good an explanation as any I'll ever get." Furrowing her brows, Colette offers not to go with the confusing river flow analogy and uses something a bit more contemporary, even if the one-way flow of a river makes more sense.

"She should be alright…" Colette offers in a hushed tone of voice, though the way she squeezes Tasha's hand firmly at that seems to indicate a modicum of worry on Colette's part as well.

It's quite clear when Tamara's found something, for she recoils. Flinches back, pulling her hands up, fingers curled and knuckles pressed against her collarbones. "I don't— I don't— " The seeress ducks her head, pulling her feet in tighter; the sheet pulls beneath them, and the glass of orange juice wobbles dangerously.

She doesn't care.

"Not there, didn't want to go, don't— " She isn't quite panicking, as her head snaps up, wide, dark eyes seeking the other two girls for reassurance; but she's apprehensive, even if the apprehension seems curiously personal compared to the original question. "White, rigid-stiff and all white, boxes, wait here, wait there, stay stay stay — I don't want to go, did I have to go?"

There's a hitch of breath at the back of Colette's throat, brows furrowed together and not a look of confusion, but a look of recognition crossing her face. The look she gives Tasha is indicative that Tamara's gone and either pressed pause or play, it's hard to decide which is more appropriate at any one given moment.

"No," Colette firmly says as she sets down her coffee and lifts the freed hand up to Tamara's shoulder, both reassuringly grounding to Tamara and demonstrative to Tasha. She leans in, settling down to sit next to Tamara, leaning in against her and letting that one arm snake around her shoulders, squeezing gently. "No you don't have to go there it— it's okay. You've done more than enough…"

Flashing a look back to Tasha, Colette nods her head and squeezes the hand she's holding, then looks back to Tamara. "It's a hospital…" Colette murmurs, brows furrowed and lips pursed. "Either when she gets out she'll be hurt, or that's where she is now." That much is exposition for Tasha, instructional in that this type of freakout is distinctly hospital related.

"A hospital? Boxes makes me think of … you know, those boxes," Tasha whispers, thinking back to their first mission together, the video they made of those coffins. The word boxes also makes her think of seeing Tamara in the art supply store, and she glances back at Tamara with wide eyes, worried for the girl's distraught reaction to whatever she saw.

Stepping a little closer, she picks up the orange juice before it spills — not worried about the paint-splattered sheet, but more for Tamara's clothing.

"You aren't going to go anywhere you don't want to, Tamara," she adds softly. "And you get to stay here with us. No hospitals. We promise." From her crouch she glances over at Colette, worry in her gaze. "Thank you for looking," she adds awkwardly.

Tamara leans into Colette, closing her eyes and bobbing her head — either in recognition of their reassurances, or in response to Tasha's gratitude. Or both. "Okay," she says against Colette's shoulder. She doesn't seem inclined to move for the moment. Misty, on the other hand, is, subjecting all three of her people to mystified study in turn. Ultimately, the puppy squirms out of her nest of old sheet and pads over to nose at Tasha's knee.

Casting mismatched eyes from Tamara to Misty, Colette manages something of a rueful smile, then furrows her brows and squeezes Tamara just a little tighter, pressing a kiss to the blonde's hair and leaving her nose there in the wavy locks in obvious show of appreciation and approval. When she turns her head away, Colette is unwinding from Tamara for sake of the abysmal heat and that her arms were starting to stick to Tamara's.

Leaning over to Tasha, Colette reaches out to brush her fingers through Missy's fur with a warm smile, then alights her eyes to Tasha with furrowed brows and a worried expression spread across her face where Tamara can't see it, but knows it's there. Shaking her head, Colette lets her shoulders hunch forward and lips purse together anxiously. "Gonna' cancel that bulletin idea…" she offers in a hushed tone of voice, then looks over to where her cell phone rests on the counter by the coffee pot, recgarging.

"…and give Eileen a call."

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