Date: November 28, 2009
Jenny's purpose at Old Lucy's is revealed, and the bar burns to the ground with its owner.
"Not So Spontaneous Combustion"
Old Lucy's — Maine
"Tan.. get me some water, will ya?"
The voice is weak and anybody knowing the fiery personality that is Isabelle Ashford would think that it was another woman entirely. Though the woman on the bed does indeed look like a totally different woman. Wearing only a tank top and her underwear, Izzy who is the owner of Old Lucy's is getting warm under a few blankets over her bed. Though she shivers, and sweat breaks over her brow.
Hair once full and voluminous now lays lame and without any color really on the sides of her. Her light grey eyes that usually hold that inner fire are lifeless and dead, she coughs and her whole body shakes as she does. To anyone looking, these are Isabelle Ashford's last moments. The girls have been in mourning for the past couple months, pausing when the new life in the form of Kitty Hanner blew into the bar but now that she's gone. Things are back to normal, Izzy made everyone promise not to tell Kitty of her illness.. cancer. Isn't that a bitch?
But still Isabelle is boss and she expects her orders to be followed, which is why Tanya is fixed with a firm stare after her coughing fit. She needs that water now!
A firm stare! Tanya may indeed be fixed with one, but she's completely oblivious, as always. If anything, she seems even flightier today. Everyone copes in their own ways, after all. Still, she's at least listening, her skirts flouncing over torn jeans as she bounces into the other room. When she returns, the glass is…well, it's mostly full, anyway. Er - it was until she poured a bit of it on the table next to Isabelle. And a little bit more on the headboard. And a little more on the floor next to the bed. "There! That should help. Here you go, Izzy!"
Apparently the belladonna needed watering.
It's this precise moment that reveals the true reason Jenny found herself asked to join the girls at Old Lucy. It certainly wasn't her demeanour, but her gift. A last ditch effort to make sure Isabelle could live. But only when Jenny was ready, they said. Like she'd ever be ready to use her ability on the person who treated her like a daughter and gave her the love and support she never got from any of her families in the past. Unfortunately, things have gone further than she's confident she'll be able to fix. She took too long to get ready, and as she comes into Isabelle's room, she's still not ready.
Unlike the normal attire one finds Jenny in, she enters Isabelle's room dressed in a cream tanktop and pink sweatpants looking far more timid than anyone may have seen her before, especially with how guarded she's been behind the scenes. It might remind Tanya of the night she watched Jenny get wasted drinking tequila, although now she doesn't have the alcohol to make reality a little more distant. She stands in the doorway, lightly biting at her lip. If she were wearing makeup, her freckles wouldn't be apparent, and her mascara would be running from the tears that won't disappear.
"Thanks Toots." Izzy uses her nickname for Tanya and winks at the crazy bartender. She looks around her room. "I'm sorry, you have to deal with this." She says softly to Tanya, "I don't mean to throw this all on you. But.. you have too.. find the Cat ok.. take this." She says softly and she slides an envelope into Tanya's hands if she grabs it before Jenny can see her do it.
When the redhead enters the room, Izzy fixes Tanya with a stare that she isn't to say anything yet. Though Tanya is flighty.. she does listen to Isabelle most of the time. "Vanessa. Don't look so glum suga, get over here." She says warmly towards the surrogate daughter and she sits up in her bed. "Nothing to worry about."
Sleight of hand is fun! And something that Tanya isn't half bad at, to boot. The envelope gets slid into the neckline of her top, held in place by the Ultimate Girl Pocket; the Bra. "S'freezing in here, I'll go check the thermostat." Leaning over to place a swift, child-like kiss on Isabelle's face, she scritches the empty air next to the woman's face and skips past Jenny before disappearing down the hall.
Moments later, she reappears, drowning in an oversized hoodie and carrying a fuzzy pink blanket she holds out to Isabelle. "I checked it for gnomes this morning if you want it, Izz." There's a sidelong glance towards the tearful sweat-clad woman, but for now it's easier to focus on one thing at a time.
Vanessa— Jenny comes closer, close enough to touch. Close enough to sit, actually, which she does right next to Isabelle, snuggling close to her. "Ah don' wanna do it," she says while looking upwards at her surrogate mother's face. That mostly unfamiliar Southern drawl can be heard again. What 'it' she's referring to is between them only at this point.
"Why thank you, Toots. I would love that, just go on and lay it on me!" Now Izzy's said that to an abundance of men, but saying it to Toots, is done differently. In a sisterly and loving way. With a small smile she kisses the top of Vanessa's hair. "Now.. you don't have too. But if you would try, I'd greatly appreciate it." She says to the younger woman and Isabelle pushes back some of her hair. "If it hurts too bad.. I'll make you stop. Deal?" she winks at Vanessa and plays with her hair. "You gotta stop being so afraid, what have I taught you? Embrace life, love it! Don't be afraid of it, embrace yourself!" Izzy speaks with passion to the redhead.
"Okay!" Flinging the blanket outwards, Tanya settles it over Isabelle and tucks it in on the sides. "There, Izzy. Certified Gnome shield! Guaranteed to keep all the bad things out while you sleep." She's bright and cheerful - as is her way - but even to herself it's shaky, a wobble in her voice betraying the fear beneath the joy that belies just how much she actually is 'all there'. Worried eyes flick to Jenny, where she pauses, laying a hand on her shoulder. "You can do it…" It's barely more than a whisper, but there's a whole barrage of innocent faith behind it.
Innocent faith indeed. Jenny swallows and nods quickly. Then she dips her head down and when she raises it up again she's wiping away the tears. "She doesn't need to see this," comes the normal Jenny voice, the one the girls are all accustomed to. She slides herself off the bed and kneels down at Isabelle's bedside. "You might want to lie down for this, Is." She looks somewhat nervous as she holds up her hands and takes a deep, though somewhat shaky breath. "I won't lie. This will hurt worse than you can possibly imagine. You ready?"
"Heya Toots? Wait outside a second will ya?" she asks the baby of the girls here at Lucy. Izzy winks, "You can come back in a jiff." She promises and slides down to a laying down position as she speaks. "Bring it on Jen." She says softly and then lays straight and breathes deep. "Ready for anything, hun. I was born to be ready.. for anything." A wicked grin is thrown the woman's way. She is nervous, extremely nervous as to what is going to happen, but she doesn't have any other options. The doctors said that she had a few months, she lived a whole year longer. But it would seem.. that the doctors were right, it would catch up to her sometime soon.
There's a momentary pout on Tanya's face at the request, but when she pulls away from flinging her arms around Izzy's neck, there's just a hint of relief. When she turns to close the door, she very playfully blows a kiss in their direction, but no sooner does the lock snick shut than she's curled up on the floor, back against the door. Arms curled around knees pulled to a skinny chest that heaves narrow shoulders with smothered sobs. Tanya's used to being quiet when she needs to be and now is one of those times.
Only a single tear is shed before Jenny places her hands upon Isabelle. What follows is very rarely pleasant, as she well knows, having experienced it more times than any single person should. Cancer is a fickle thing, though, particularly when it decides to pervade cells all throughout the body. The end result, when combine with Jenny's gift, is unpleasant. All of those cells meet with destruction only to be regrown new and healthy. Her hair regains its life and colour first, the easiest thing to fix. Of course, even the easy stuff feels like red hot coals pressed against her pain receptors while she's simultaneously electrocuted. That's really nothing compared to what happens when her gift actually starts to treat the cancer.
A yell, more like a howl escapes Isabelle and her back arches. "I.." she barely gets to get out, the feeling is horrible. It's working, her body is healing but at what price? Her veins are practically popping out of her skin and sweat is all over her body. Her screams continue and the thing that should chill the girls the most is the fact that they've never heard the bar owner scream in pain or be afraid.. ever.
There's no need to be quiet anymore. With those screams echoing across the building, Tanya could be running a jackhammer and no one would notice. Hands covering her ears in a childishly futile attempt to block the gut-wrenching, heart-rending sounds from the other side of the door. Rocking back and forth, the young woman starts to choke on her own sobs, her mind reduced to a tangle of raw, primal fear.
Fear and agony could easily have prevented Jenny from doing what needs to be done. Thankfully, she has help from the inside. Following what Isabelle told her, she continues to apply her gift, expecting to be told to stop if it is needed. She has very little guage of what healing is being done or how long until it will cease, and the fact that it's taking this long makes her very, very nervous. She'd be biting her nails if they weren't firmly clinging to Isabelle, so she settles for her lip instead.
The pain is too intense but as Isabelle begins to say something, perhaps to tell Jenny to stop. The screaming stops and Isa looks up to the ceiling barely moving.. her leg twitches and it would seem that Jenny's ability worked.
"I love you Jenn." She says softly, caressing the woman's face. Before her whole body starts to shake, it must have rejected it.. or.. simply the pain was too much. Her face twists in pain, clearly Jenny's work isn't done. And as the 'healing' continues to take place, Isabelle's hand ignites in fire.. then so does her leg.. the blanket protecting her from the gnomes starting to smoke and burn. "I'm sorry.. made you do.." she tries to speak but the pain barely let's her.
"Go." is said with all of her strength.
Smoke from the blanket starts to curl insidiously underneath the doorframe. At the first inhalation, Tanya's entire body stiffens. Whipping her head up and around, she sees further evidence of what her nose had suspected and her fear fuels a red hot fury. In an instant, she's on her feet, door thrown open. Seeing Izzy burning, she rushes forward, trying to reach the older woman in time to…do…something.
The instant the screaming stops, Jenny freezes, eyes growing wide as Isabelle touches her face. How can she not be screaming with all the pain of the healing? "Fuck. Shit, shit." Her words are little more than whispers as she breaks contact, backing away when Isabelle starts to combust. She lets out a yelp as her hand is briefly licked by flame, only to let out an even louder cry as she places her hand upon the wound, making it vanish in seconds. When Tanya comes forward, she reaches for her, but isn't about to expend any energy pulling her along. She was told to go and she's not going to wait around to burn. She does, however, offer a very brief, "Evacuate!"
A leg that isn't on fire yet, kicks out to make sure that Tanya doesn't get too close. "Do.. as I said!" she yells and then her body gets even hotter and her other arm burns with flames, it travels all around her body and coming to a stop at her neck. "Please.. be good my girls." She says softly. Izzy is on her way out, her head lolling as she says a name softly, "Ophelia.. I forgive you." She says and then her eyes are closed and she isn't opening them again, the flames have caught onto things in the room and the flame keeps going, Isabelle is alive enough to where her ability is still able to wreck havoc.
Hands shoot out and grab the gnome blanket, jerking it off of Izzy and using it to try and beat out the flames…only to be stopped by that kick. Torn between the desire to do something and the compulsion to obey the woman who's been her guiding force for the past few years, Tanya releases one last choked out sob, a strangled "I love you, Iz." and then runs like the fires of hell are nipping at her heels; charred pink blanket still clutched to her chest.
Jenny's retreat is momentarily halted when her real name is spoken. She hasn't heard it in … well, longer than she can recall, not that it has as much meaning as it should. Nevertheless, the fact that it was spoken means something, and some tears break free of her eyes, where they had welled up since the start of the botched healing process. Once Tanya starts to leave, she turns back. "I love you," she says before she kisses her hand and reaches it towards her dying surrogate mother, skin blistering from the heat. After a moment at which point the pain becomes unbearable, she lowers her hand and follows quickly, catching up to Tanya in a hurry. She did what she came for, and she totally fucked it up.
"See ya, in the next life." She says before she finally falls back completely and exhales for the last time. The flames spread out fast through the whole bar, the girls are all leaving in a hurry in various stages of undress. Among them, Sonya moves through the group of girls with the help of her ability. "Move move!" she urges the women, she looks back at Tanya and Jenny with a knowing gaze, she had a bad feeling about this.
A tall woman with tattoos running up all over her arms and neck, helps the women out of the bar and into the street where a small crowd has gathered. The fire department is on the way but it's too late, that much is obvious. Isabelle's ability was too powerful and fast.. was.
Clutching the blackened and charred fabric to her chest, Tanya stands in the street with the others, subconsciously moving closer to Sonya; to safety. Wide-eyed with horror, she can't seem to tear her gaze away from the flames. That is… She tilts her head to one side as if she's listening to something and then a strange light dims in her gaze. Quickly she scans the crowd until she spies Jennyanydots. Judging by the expression on the normally cheerful face, Tanya is Not Best Pleased.
Jennyanydots, er, Jenny seems to have isolated herself from the crowd. She stands alone, staring at the blaze all the while chewing on her thumbnail, her free hand twirling her hair in nervous habit. Every so often she backs away a bit from the building, the crowd, everything. Some might say she's backing away from reality, but in truth she did that a long time ago.