2007-02-08: It Ain't Okay


Desiree_icon.gif Tamara_icon.gif

Summary: A chance meeting in one of the city's churches, of all places, prompts an unexpected search and a stranger understanding.

Date It Happened: February 8th, 2007

It Ain't Okay

A Catholic Church, New York

The heavy door - why do churches always have such heavy doors? - to one of the city's Roman Catholic churches creaks open, letting a silver of afternoon light to cut through the dim interior before it's half-blocked by the woman entering. Desiree stands in the entrance for a few moments, holding the door open with her forearm. Service isn't currently going on, and as such, it's mostly empty, save for a few very quiet worshippers minding their own business. Frowning slightly with something akin to nervousness, Dezi steps in all the way and starts to wander down the aisle. Underneath her green jacket, she's wearing a set of salmon pink scrubs.

Very quiet describes Tamara quiet well at the moment, although the girl tucked into the corner of a pew doesn't quite have the attitude of a worshiper. She's not being antagonistic or disrespectful either - unless falling asleep in a church, as she appears to have done, counts as disrespect even when there isn't a service being held. With her hood down and her hair loose, Tamara's easy enough to spot, even with her back to the door; perhaps because of that, she doesn't seem to notice the extra light its opening adds to the room.
Tamara looked at you.

Peering up at the high, vaulted ceiling as she walks along, Desiree looks a bit intimidated. Her steps, although she does nothing to purposefully keep them quiet, are soft nevertheless due to the white sneakers on her feet. It seems to be by pure coincidence that she comes to a gradual stop precisely beside the pew Tamara resides in to look ahead at the alter, either considering or reconsidering - but she's so enwrapt in her peeking upward (at the cathedral ceiling, at God, who knows) that she doesn't notice the girl at all, let alone recognize her.

When Desiree comes to a halt, it's with Tamara quietly watching her, whether or not the girl truly was asleep just previously. She doesn't move in any way, just studies the woman about as much as Desiree studies something above them. "There wasn't anything to look for there that isn't everywhere else," the teen points out. "It didn't look back. At least here."

Hearing the voice and recognizing its strangely characteristic quality from the evening prior, Desiree's brow furrows in confusion more than surprise. Her head tilts even it turns to face Tamara. She puzzles the girl out with her eyes for a span of several seconds - which drag on as she tries to interpret the words offered to her. "Well hey there," she finally says slowly - friendly, but unsure. Concerned, maybe. "You're probably right about that. I ain't gone to church regular since I was a girl… it's not that I don't believe, these big places just give me the chills." On that note, she glances around and squirms in place slightly.

Tamara smiles softly up at Desiree, apparently unperturbed by the time she takes to parse the girl's words. "Nothing to worry about here," she replies. She closes her eyes again, relaxed, at ease; the exact opposite of Desiree's present uncertainty. "Unless you didn't like quiet. But that's what they're for, anyway. Even the river runs gently."

Desiree listens with interest to what Tamara has to say, swinging her arms to and fro afterward - once, twice - as she looks around the church. Hesitating for a moment, she then sits on the edge of the pew across the way from the teenager, stretching her legs into the aisle. Whatever she meant to do here today, it's either been waylaid or she's changed her mind. "You have a pretty way of speakin'," she comments with an fascinated little smile. "I don't know what you mean about no river though." Her defined brows lift. "I bet it's a metaphor, right?"

Tamara smiles again as Desiree sits down, though this time mostly to herself. She shifts a bit in her seat to better face the woman, blue eyes intent upon her. "People stand in the river without seeing it, but it touched everything. All the tangled threads of the shadows, the drifting ghosts." The girl braces an elbow against the side of the pew, leaning her head against her hand.

"Yeah… ain't that always the way," Desiree replies as if she understands whether she does or not, her accumulation of dark curls swooping forward as she dips her head down. While she's looking downcast, a thought strikes her. "Oh heey," the Mississippi implant says suddenly and starts to rummage in the pocket of her jacket, ultimately retrieving the small white flower Tamara gave her in Central Park. It's not quite pristine anymore; it's a touch wilted, but it's otherwise intact. Still delicate, still pretty. "I still got your flower. It's pretty, you get it from a flower shop? … 'course you did, it's not like there's flowers growin' in the park in the middle of winter in New York," she gives a little scoffing snort at herself, laughing.

Tamara waits for Desiree to work through her thoughts, smiling when she concludes. "Yours, now," she corrects the woman, folding her arms across the end of the pew and propping her chin atop them. "They don't last long," the teen muses, a touch of regret in her tone. "But little ever did." Tamara blinks, tipping her head to one side and regarding her companion with a faintly quizzical air.

"No… no. I think it's still yours," Desiree says distantly, barely more than a murmur. As she holds the flower, it draws her attention more and more. Ever-so-slowly, her expression drifts into something more serious, the laughter she experienced just a moment ago showing no signs of ever having been there. She splays her palm open, letting the little fragment of out-of-place nature sit on it. Tentatively, she starts to pluck the petals off, one by one, stopping and starting and fretting a few times, chewing on her lower lip. She rearranges them with her pointer finger on her palm, focused.

As Desiree plays with the flower petals, Tamara offers a small, crooked smile. One which probably passes unnoticed by the woman. She remains quiet, patiently waiting for Desiree to finish whatever it is she's doing - knowing there is an end, and the possibility of an explanation. She may not need it, precisely - but maybe Desiree will need to say it. Tamara can accomodate that.

Desiree draws her finger back swiftly as if she just realized she was touching a hot surface; of course, it's only a decimated flower and a nonsensical pattern of petals. Right? "I, uhh—" The woman hurriedly stands up with a pang of fright shooting across her face - her palm upturns, the flower's bits and pieces fall to the church floor. The center and stem fall first with petals fluttering down around them belatedly, much more calmly. Whatever Dezi is seeing, however, is nothing but calm. The woman swallows dryly and wets her lips. Finding her hands still in the air, she wraps her arms about herself. Still, she looks down at the floor, at the flower spill - but it proves to be too much and she turns around altogether. "I don't know what that just was, but…"

"It's okay," the girl assures Desiree, her eyes darkening briefly. Not turning black, but losing the blue as her pupils dilate. Then they return to normal. "I kept it away as long as I could. I don't like that thread either." Tamara sits up, running a hand back over her hair; she looks at Desiree with a neutral expression, and finally just shrugs, lips pressed in a thin semblance of a smile. "Maybe always. I try."

Desiree is not assuaged by Tamara's response. "It ain't okay. It ain't okay that I'm seein' these things, or at least it ain't normal, and it ain't okay what I saw." She looks over her shoulder swiftly before turning to face Tamara once more. "There was a boy," she blurts out, confused about the statement and yet, somehow, sure of it at the same time. "And this… lab equipment and some other people and they were tryin' to get you— I don't know why I'm tellin' you this, it's crazy, but…" But maybe Tamara's crazy too, or what's more, maybe neither of them are. Worrying at her lower lip, she chances a glance downward. Whatever was distressing her about the flower petals before seems to have simmered down, except— "Wait," she says and crouches, then sits cross-legged affront the pew. "Two… five… one… no, that's not it…" Shaking her head with a ruffling of curls, she tries again, tapping a finger on certain petals, leaning closely over them. "Two… one… five."

Rising from her seat, Tamara slides down to kneel on the floor beside Desiree. "But it is," she restates. "It was always a shadow, and that's okay. Better to know it was than not." She rests a hand on the woman's shoulder, intending to offer some degree of comfort or consolation. It also keeps her from interrupting Desiree's preoccupation with the petals and just arranging them how they 'ought' to be.

The touch and reassurance, however cryptic, seems to calm Desiree, or give her more focus, because she adopts a look of stronger, less nervous focus. "Two-one-five," she repeats with more surety. The flower's small green stem is placed horizontally at the top of the arrangement. "Reed street. Reed street, is that here in the city?" She sits back, reviewing what she's done. "Can you get me one of them church pamphlets at the front? I need to write this down before I forget. 'Cause they don’t last long, these flowers. Like you said." She gives Tamara a tiny, humble smile.

Tamara doesn't get up when asked, but silently produces a creased piece of paper and a stubby (but usable) pencil from her pocket, passing them over to Desiree. Pockets are useful things. "Do you want to find it?" she asks the woman, looking up at her face with the hint of a furrow in her brow, a slight reservation. Not so much she wouldn't ask in the first place, though. The arrangement of flower petals doesn't even get a glance.

Tamara poses an interesting question, one that Desiree considers - thus, she only takes the paper and pencil slowly, uncertain in her movements. "Well, that's a good question," she says, frowning and looking down at the petals. "But if I find it, that means it exists. And that means I ain't goin' completely out of my nut, just that… well… I don't know what it means yet. Maybe I'm one of them psychics, right? 'Course if it exists then that means it's all dangerous," she rationalizes, looking upward but sighing and dipping her head down all in the same second. Pursing her lips so hard that she almost dimples her cheeks, she determinedly scrawls on the paper.

"Not yet." Apparently Tamara agrees with something Desiree said; she just doesn't clarify which part. Instead, the girl shifts back a bit, setting her palms on the floor. She waits a moment for Desiree to get most of her writing done, then ducks her head to better catch the woman's eyes. "We could look. Then you knew. The shadows are many, and deep."

Desiree looks up from writing down the address in time to catch Tamara's eyes. She stares into them for a moment, searching. "…I don't know why on Earth I feel like I should trust your weird words, I don't even know your name, but do you— do you want to come with me?" She sounds hopeful. The woman untangles her scrub-clad legs to get up; on a second thought, she gathers what's left of the flowers onto the paper, /then/ stands. "My name's Desiree, by the way."

Tamara scrambles up to her feet, her gaze darkening again - not briefly, this time, but remaining that way. Not quite focused on what's clearly before her. She extends a hand to the woman. "I can show you," the teen informs Desiree, tone slightly distracted. Apparently names aren't very important to her right now, as she neither acknowledges Desiree's nor supplies her own.

Desiree, clutching paper, pencil, and petals in one hand, takes Tamara's in the other. "Well… alrighty then." If the girl goes along, she'll start to march rather meaningfully down the aisle toward the door. "It'll be just fine," she tells Tamara. Or is she telling herself that? "We'll be good, safe as kittens." Her brow knits and her steps halt abruptly. "No, that ain't right at all. I don't like the sound of kittens runnin' around free in…" she looks at the address quickly. "Manhattan. Safe as grizzly bears? Oh I got it! Safe as a whole SWAT team, us girls. I met one of them guy the other day you know…"

* * *

Outside Isaac Mendez's Loft, Lower Manhattan, New York

Tamara simply smiles as Desiree chatters reassurance, walking beside the woman, stopping as she stops. "Nothing to worry about. Even the shadows are quiet." That statement made, the girl tugs at her companion's hand, resuming her forward motion. Desiree may have no clue where Reed Street is, but Tamara is confident in her ability to lead the way. Justifiably so, it seems - as she doesn't hesitate nor even look at a street sign. She just walks until reaching the place where Desiree would have said 'this is it' - and stops.

"Yeah," Desiree responds quietly at one point on the way, "The shadows." There are a few times when she questions Tamara's sense of direction - not that she has a right to, considering she has absolutely no idea where she's going in this city. She lets the girl lead the way without question. When they arrive at 215 Reed Street, she stops and looks up at the building - it doesn't look much different from any other in the area. Likely residences, maybe some businesses? "Well. Here it is. We're lookin' for number seven." Tightening her already squared jaw, she heads for what she presumes is the entrance. It'll lead to the next level up and a windowed , grey hallway - shadowy, it should be noted, in-between the sunlight.

Tamara lets Desiree lead the way into the loft - that's easy enough to find, after all, and doesn't need her peculiar method of navigation. She shows neither apprehension nor concern at the moment; more a mild case of fatigue. Releasing Desiree's hand and leaving the woman to look around, the teen sets her back against a wall and sits down, leaning her head back and closing blue eyes. "See? It was fine. Today." Can't forget the qualifier.

Desiree looks around with wide, curious eyes, but she's understandably cautious, too. Unlike Tamara. "Well, not so fast," she says. Stuffing the address in her pocket, she heads for the door inside marked '7', peeking around into the blind-covered window beside it. Not only is it marked '7', there's a sign - hanging crookedly - that says 'Reed Street Laboratories: Coming Soon'. She looks back at the teenager, as if for reassurance, before rapping her knuckles on the door. No answer. "Hellooooo…? Hey? Scary lab peeeeople? Anyone in there?" Knock-knock-knock. She tries the doorknob, juggling it. It's locked. "Oh. Uuh. I didn't count on that." Some 'psychic' she is, huh?

Tamara hasn't really even twitched, aside from opening her eyes to watch Desiree at the door. That might be reassuring - or maybe not. "The number's only in the mirror; there was no one home." After a pause, the girl pushes herself up to her feet, joining Desiree before the loft door. She straightens the sign, then rests the fingertips of one hand on it.

Desiree gives Tamara a bewildered expression; to her ears, that was one of the girl's stranger sayings. The woman puffs out her cheeks and gives a little airy half-whistle, planting one hand on her hip as she eyes the door. "Well. Hmp." She walks over to the window and nearly plants her face against it, looking between the slots of the blinds. "I can kinda see a… a table…" That is not helpful. She stands up straight, disappointed. "At least it existed. That's somethin'. And there's somethin' about this door… it's got familiar lines."

"It did," the girl agrees. She looks at the door for a moment, as if to glimpse something through its wood. Then Tamara closes her eyes, lips pressed into a thin line, and turns away, letting her hand fall. "I don't want to be here anymore," she says quietly. It's not a matter of apprehension or concern, but a vague dislike or discontent that colors her tone. She'll linger if Desiree isn't finished here, but she doesn't have to like it. "Trust that it was. Everything casts shadows; every mirror, reflections. They just drown, mostly."

Desiree eventually decides that she's satisfied with this unexpected little outing for now. She nods a few times while looking at the door, then tips her head toward the way they came. "Yeah, I bet. It gives me a weird feelin', all empty like this what a funny place for a laboratory. Let's get outta here." She starts strolling out, watching the empty hall over her shoulder momentarily with a frown. As she leaves, she tells Tamara with amusement in her voice, "You don't tell me your name soon I'ma start making one up. How d'you feel about Lil' Miss Poet?"

Tamara walks out with Desiree, looking a bit happier when they reach the street. She gives the woman a small smile, one shoulder lifting in a shrug. "It was what you made of it. The ghosts aren't clear - or they are," the girl muses. "Written in glass." Meandering over to one side of the sidewalk, Tamara scoops up a stray penny from the concrete, flicking it into the air and catching it again.

After watching the penny's journey, Desiree presses her lips together and glances down the street. "You know, I got a hour or so to kill and you - no offense - look like you could use some good food in your belly. I think I see a sandwich place down there, it's on me, my treat for givin' me that crazy dream-makin' flower--" Honestly, she's not sure at this point if that should be deigned a gift, but… "--and gettin' me around Manhattan." She heads down the sidewalk, gesturing with her head for Tamara to follow, speaking to her like one might call a puppy over, although she means no slight by it. "C'mon. C'mon!"

Even if one was meant, it's not likely Tamara would give it much heed. She flicks the penny up once more before turning away, letting it come down on the concrete with a quiet jingle. "The edges fray," she remarks, following in Desiree's wake. "But for a bit."

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