Situated in the center of a large, open meadow is a clustering of six trees, a flower bed, a few benches, and a plywood wall barricade. The area where the fountain was, and presumably the new fountain will be, is currently enclosed by high plywood walls. There is a door in one of the walls, firmly locked with a stout-looking padlock. The walls enclose much of the flagstone area, now, only leaving a little around the edges of the old courtyard. Scraggly hedges line one side of the courtyard, just behind some mostly graffiti-free benches and a chain link fence. Cars on the nearby street have an excellent view of the park as do any residents of the tall buildings which line the waterfront. The park is almost constantly devoid of people as its reputation for being one of the most violent and dangerous places in the city spreads.
The murky waters of the Columbia River flow swiftly along the east side of the park. Bracketing the park to the west is First Street and the city of St. Claire. A meadow surrounds the small glade.
Bernie is seated crosslegged in the middle of the bench, her backpack to one side and a book open in her lap. The light is dim enough that she's holding an old green plastic Scooby-Doo flashlight in one hand, the beam falling across the pages as she reads.
The voice sounds from somewhere behind her, fairly close by. "That's bad f'your eyes, yaknow." Familiar, vaguely, as is the trace of Chicaga in the diction.
Startled, Bernie jumps slightly, and turns to look behind her, sweeping the flashlight beam almost incidentally across the area. She relaxes as she sees Rina, and grins, "Yeah, well, any damage it's gonna do's been done already... and anyhow, whyd'ya think I got th' flashlight?"
Rina flashes a winning smile, genuine and bright against the dim park. "Din't meanta freak you or nothin'," she apologizes, stepping closer to lean on the bench back with both hands. "How ya doin'?"
Bernie redirects the beam away from Rina's eyes, and flicks the torch off, slipping it into the bag beside her. A bookmark is produced from the book's front cover, and slipped into the closing volume as she answers, "Me? Doin' pretty good, really..." She pats the book lightly, aslmost fondly as it,t oo, disappears into the backpack. "How 'bout you? 'snew an' fascinatin'?"
Rina's smile relaxes, the flash of teeth disappearing; she tilts her head a little, glancing down. "Heh. Had to kidproof the apartment some more. That's about as exciting as it gets, for me."
A quick, curious tilt of Bernie's head, and, "I didn' know you had kids..." She turns a bit, the better to converse.
Rina laughs a little, with the proud self-consciousness of a parent; her smile is personal, her gaze lowered for a moment as she clearly thinks of her family. There is a flicker of wistfulness in her expression. "Sort of. I didn't /have/ her, but I'm kinda fillin' in for her dad. He's... not with us anymore. The war, y'know?" The dark eyes lift, then, to look over at Bernie's face--measuring her understanding of the words.
Bernie considers that a few moments, and then nods, slowly, fairly sure she understood that. "So... how old is she?" she queries, shifting her bag a bit.
Rina's smile warms, as she ducks her head again; sharp, dark spiked hair falls forward to half-veil her eyes, giving her the look of an anime hero. "Almost one, now.
Rina leans against the back of a bench facing the river, talking to the young woman who occupies the seat in question.
Bernie is seated crosslegged on the bench, her backpack beside her, and twisted sideways to chat with Rina.
Steven approaches the northern part of Harbor Park from near the river. His pace is slow, but not what could be described as nostalgic, or reminiscent. He turns toward the fountain.
Bernie nods, looking thoughtful. "My niece's only 'bout three months now, I guess. But I r'member when Sam was one, good idea t' kidproof. He was gettin' inta everythin'...."
A secret grin lights Rina's face, and she glances over. "Yeah, she's real curious. I hadta move all my paint stuff to the studio."
Steven continues to approach the fountain. "Not much for civic progress," he says, giving the plywood around the thing a good stout kick with one boot. "These walls have been here for two years. Fucking scab."
The voice brings a sudden tension to Rina's shoulders, and wipes the smile from her face. Her head is still down, and she glances carefully in the direction of the voice, over her shoulder. "Fuck," she says quietly.
The Fianna rounds the structure, stopping as he sees the wide Bone Gnawer and the willowy kin. His mouth curls into a sneer. He stands there, watching, his one-eyed gaze steady.
Bernie absently murmurs, "...savin' myself for marriage,' as she glances to see what the trouble is as well, not having immediately recognized the voice. Seeing Steven, her posture straightens almost imperceptibly, and she flashes him a bright smile and a cheerful, polite, "Good evening!" No dropped letters or swallowed sounds, and she seems to be ignoring the sneer.
Rina keeps her head down, her eyes averted. "Evening, Steven," she says quietly. "Merry Christmas or happy solstice or... whatever."
"Thanks," he spits out, sourly. "And a fine good evening to you too." This to Bernie, more the man's Scots burr flavoring his speech. "I see the park I remember is now complete." This causes the Galliard to snort out a sarcastic little laugh.
Rina's mouth tightens, but she makes no answer.
Whatever the underlying meaning of the comment was, Bernie lacks the context to gather it as Rina may have... the cub glances around the park a bit before asking, "In what way? And has the fountain really been boarded up for two years?"
Steven continues to stare at Rina, but he nods faintly at the question. "Longer, probably. It was blown up, once upon a time. That's why the boards are here -- there's supposed to have been a new one, but like everything else in this forsaken place it's been permanently under renovation."
"Long time ago," Rina says quietly. "Maybe five years... I forget." She doesn't quite look toward Steven, though her eyes slide a little in that direction, like the glance of a wary animal. Her hands are tight on the top edge of the bench.
"I see the ass beating I gave you," Steven says, suddenly toward Rina, "seems to have sunk in. Thanks for not pushing it. I appreciate the effort."
Bernie seems about to say something, but stops at that comment, glancing at each of her companions before returning to eyeing the boarded up fountain thoughtfully, if a bit uncomfortably.
Rina presses her lips together tightly. They whiten, along with her complexion. She takes a careful, steadying breath and schools her voice to something calm and quiet. "You want me t'leave?"
Steven snorts. "Why would I want that?" he asks. "/This/ is your place. Not mine. Territory, remember?" He shakes his head.
"I don't have territory," Rina answers quietly. "And I didn't know if this was yours." She swallows.
Steven barks out a rough laugh. "To think I once had a thing for you. I'm /glad/ this place isn't mine to look after. No. I leave that to ... others." It's obvious he changed the word after the verbal pause.
Rina closes her eyes for a moment, and her jaw works as if to fight back the urge to speak.
Bernie pulls her knees up, soles of her feet against the bench she's seated on, and rests her arms, loosely crossed, atop them. She's still listening to this discussion, mostly, with the occasional further glance toward the boarded fountain, and doesn't seem inclined to interrupt, at present.
Steven, for his part, would be surprised to find Bernie still present, so intent is he on Rina.
Rina takes another breath, tilting her head a little as if to loosen tight muscles. "Sorry, B," she murmurs, glancing to the girl uncomfortably. "Bad blood, y'might say."
Bernie nods twice in response, slightly distracted. "Seems like it," she replies, "...sorry to hear it, though. You know, I could become scarce if you wanted to discuss things privately..."
Steven looks at the Gnawer. "It's /old/ blood. More like a scab," he says. "I should be moving along, at any rate."
"It's aright," Rina says quietly. "I oughta be home, anyway." She give Bernie a weak, uncomfortable half-smile.
Steven unceremoniously starts along the path exiting the park.
"It's getting a bit dark out here for even me to sit around reading," Bernie comments, making it unanimous, and shrugs. She glances at the Fianna, and waves with a cheery finger wriggle at his retreating back. A half-smile to Rina, and she quietly asks, "...so anyway, y'mind if I ask ya some questions?" The switch, apparently, has been flipped back to the other side again.
Rina wets her lips, and lets out a relieved breath, tension sagging away as Steven leaves. "Nah," she answers, awkward.
Bernie glances at the point at which Steven left the park, with just the barest hint of a smirk quirking one side of her lips for a fraction of a second, and then shakes her head, looking to the fountain again. "Tell me 'bout what happened to th' fountain, an' what it was like b'fore?"
Rina ducks her head. "I don't know," she says, frowning a little. "Least, I dunno what happened exactly. Some kinda explosion. There was a round pool, all sculpted around the edges, and a statue in the middle..."
"What kinda statue?" Bernie queries, eyeing the boards again, "...and how bad'd it 'splode? Like, cherry bombs in th' pipes, or plastique around th' foundations?"
"It was pretty big," Rina says dryly. "Like, the whole basin was destroyed, and there was only a crater. I think it got fucked up before that sometime, too... but that was before I came. The statue... I don't really remember. Some goddess or somethin' I think."
Bernie nods thoughtfully. "....when was this, 'gain?" Yes, for some reason, apparently, this is amatter of great interest.
Rina's brow furrows. "Um. I think it was... '95? Not sure about the year... but I /think/ that's right." She glances over, curious. "Why?"
"Oh," Bernie pauses, eyes wandering over the plywood enclosure again, and continues, innocently but perhaps less than convincingly, "....no reason..." She grins, and lets her feet down onto the ground, stretching her legs out.
Something about that teases a faint, bemused smile onto Rina's face, and she tips her head. "I'm sensin' trouble," she says lightly. Then, after a pause, she asks, "Where're you stayin' these days?"
"Whereever," Bernie replies in a light, cheerful tone, with a shrug, dropping the topic of the fountain for the moment. "Signe's, or th' farmhouse, or th' hostel down th' road, or th' library, but don't tell anyone that one 'cause it's hard 'nough not t' get tossed out at closin' as it is..."
Rina laughs a little, ducking her head. "Wanna crash on the couch tonight?" she asks. "Jen won't mind, and it's comfy..." She glances over, sidelong. "...and I promise I won't molest ya or nothin'."
Bernie blinks at the last bit but recovers just about instantly, flashing a grin. "Sure, thanks... sounds like a plan t' me." She hefts her bag and swings it onto her shoulder in a practiced move as she stands, giving a bit of a stretch. How long as she been sitting htere tonight, anyhow?
Rina straightens, running a hand through her hair, a bit awkward as she walks Bernie out of the park, toward the motorbike parked nearby. "Don'tcha freeze out here?"
Bernie shakes her head, extending her arms to display the huge leather jacket she tends to wear, and, less intentionally, some of the flannel shirt beneath it. "Nah... it's not that cold, an' this's warm, y'know? ...plus, usually I don' notice. Though I got gloves in th' bag if it gets really chilly."
Rina nods, studying her boots for a few steps. "Yeah... be careful, though. Frostbite sucks, big time."
Bernie nods, and looks up at the sky, making a face at the drizzle that sprinkles down onto her face. "What I -really- forgot t' carry's a travel 'brella. Gotta 'member t' go find one t'morrow." SHe follows Rina toward the bike, looking it over approvingly. "'snice... 'syours?"
Rina nods, looking the Ducati over with a gleam of pride in her eyes. "Yah, that's my baby," she murmurs, running a hand along the tank. Then she looks over her shoulder. "Can you ride aright with that pack? How heavy is it?"