Day 007: Momma Knows Best
Summary: Cole gets a slice of Cookie's advice.
Date: 11 May 2016
Related: F**kin' Friends is referenced.
Cole Cookie 

The Wall Walk — The Camp
The so-called Wall Walk is a rough parapet about two feet wide that runs around the interior of the camp's protective wall. It provides a good view of the area around the camp, though actually walking the parapet is dangerous business as there's barely enough room to pass a fellow person. It sits about three feet beneath the top of the wall, giving a bit of a barrier and place to duck low should the need arise; the other side is completely open to the grounds below. It is made of metal salvaged from the dropship and lashed together sapling trunks, making the walking surface a bit precarious and very patchworked.
7 Days After Landing

The wall is love, the wall is life. It's a literal mantra being said as a joke amongst those who have been working on the wall, which has been going on from sun up to sun down. And every day, Cole is there, directing traffic, barking out orders, and pointing out structural flaws and imperfections, and then telling someone to fix it. Or just doing it himself. Right now, he's hammering on a piece of metal that's a part of a section of wall, trying to add stability to the next section of the walkway that's about to up. "Alright, start on the next fuckin hole for the strut going up to this fuckin one." he utters to one of his co-workers, who scampers off, leaving the long-haired teen to go back to hammering on metal. With his tire iron. Not much of a hammer, but it'll do in a pinch.

Something else that is love and life? Food. Cookie feeds people, which is why she is at the Wall Walk, bringing some snacks and water for the building crew because physical labor requires calories. It's far from the amazingness she could prepare if she had a greater variety of ingredients and actual cookware and utensils, but the jerky has a great consistency, and the berry fruit leather is delicious even on a bad day.

As she walks along the Walk, she passes out tasty morsels and water, squeezes past a worker, passes out morsels and water, lather, rinse, repeat, until she finally finds herself within earshot of Cole. "Hey, Cole." Her tone is warm, her smile amiable. "I came to fill a hole you've been overlooking." His pie hole.

"Eh?" Cole looks over his shoulder, then having to shove his hair out of the way, mostly because he has nothing to tie it back with. Tools tied to his belt by small pieces of woven vine hang around his belt. At some point, he managed to find a couple of screwdrivers, wrenches, a socket wrench, and that tire iron that doubles as a tool and weapon. "Oh. Hey, Cook." Standing up and looking past her, he nods. "It has been a fuckin while since we had a break, hasn't it." Nodding, he bangs his tire iron on a piece of metal, his form of getting his workers' attention. "Yo! Take fuckin twenty! Get some goddamn food an water in you! Don't need any of you fuckwits to fall the fuck over on me! Hydrate!" Yep, that's his way of saying break time. The expression makes him chuckle lowly. "Heh. Cook. You're a goddamn sweetie. Fuckin thanks. I sure could use my hole filled." Oh yeah, knows what he's saying.

"Look-in' good," she smiles, nodding in approval, casting her gaze about to survey the horizon. "Look-in' good." Sincere compliment relayed, Cookie's doe eyes are back upon Cole, whom she gently and wryly chides, "That's because you skip supper." Tsk-tsk lightly clucks the chef's tongue. Hoisting the plastic bucket half-filled with purified water, she asks, "Wanna wet your whistle first?"

"Ain't all me." Cole remarks. "These jackholes do a pretty goddamn good job of puttin this fuckin shit together." he glances out at the group of teens going about their own break. "Try to keep'em rested. Working dead on your fuckin feet is a good way to fuck all kinds of shit up, an we don't exactly that kind of time for some shitbox to screw something up. Besides, shit ain't built in a day." As for himself, he can only shrug. "Sorry, Ma." he notes easily. "Do as I fuckin say not as I do type of bullshit. Somebody needs to keep'em in line. But…alright, yeah, I'll take some water."

"Mmm-hmm." Cookie's amused. "That's right. Momma knows best, but Daddy earns his keep." See, Cole? Your efforts are noticed and appreciated. "And he's smart enough to listen to Momma." Right? So asks the cocking of her right brow. She lets it linger for two ticks. "So," she then says, pulling out a palm-sized, shallow dish of metal, which she offers him, "I'm afraid I have no cup or ladle, but help yourself." It'll do, but it's less than ideal.

"Isn't this the part where Mamma gives Daddy some sugar?" Cole notes with a smirk, but taking the offered dish, sipping from it. Not all of it, he knows that they have to ration everything, and the mechanic only takes what he needs. Water is water. "Sure fuckin am. I listen to any fuckin woman who comes bearing gifts of food. But…I might be able to help you the fuck out in that department now. I found a place in the woods a couple days back. Found some empty bottles, a can or two. I'm not doing anything with them at the moment, but if you think you could do something with them, be willing to let them the fuck go."

Not missing a beat, Cookie points out, "Cousin Cam's sugar. I'm spice." The mirth in her mouth carries to her big brown eyes. "But busy bees make honey." And her expression turns a touch sly with the innuendo. At mention of bottles and cans, though, the chef entirely perks up, any possible flirting gets sidelined by more practical concerns. "Yeah." She's practically beaming. "That'd be great." Unthinkingly, her hand reaches out to alight on his forearm to give a grateful squeeze. "Thank you."

"I could always use more spice in my fuckin life." Cole replies. "Damn, Cook…gettin me all fuckin worked up. Don't make you invite me back to my tent for some extra fuckin spice." Cole can flirt too, when people aren't being shitty towards him. But he shrugs and nods about the containers. "Hey, they ain't doing me any fuckin good. Figure they'll do you a lot better than they will for fuckin me." He smiles at the squeeze. "Shit, ain't been able to make a lady smile in a goddamn while. Feels good knowing what I'm doing is a bit appreciated by somebody."

When Cole goes on about spice, Cookie's smile slides into a subtle expression of humor. Dipping the dish back into the bucket, she lifts more water to offer the techie. "It's not good to be so thirsty. Hungry, yes. Thirsty? Naw." Which is her gentle way of chiding him to employ more finesse. Even so, nothing in her demeanor suggests that she's outright dismissing the possibility of spicing up his life.

To the rest, she sobers a bit, remaining entirely amiable, and notes, "I suspect it's appreciated by many somebodies, and it's definitely appreciated by me. I'm a huge fan of ingenuity and practical creativity." So much so that she beatifically smiles at Cole, seeming to feel that he possesses those traits. "They're very attractive qualities."

"I don't want to take water away from some-fuckin-body else, Cook." Cole shakes his head at the refill, but eventually resigns himself when she doesn't seem to take no for answer, taking another sip. "Seriously. Other people fuckin need this water beyond me, yeah? I'm alright, I'll suck on some fuckin roots if I really need water. Get my goddamn vitamins." But her compliments take him off-guard a little. "I figure, but it's nice that we get some fuckin credit for it. Not just me. Them too." he waves his hands at the people he's working with. "They may be some fuckin butterfingers with their dick-beaters, but goddamnit, they do a damn good job." The last part, he smiles a little. "I try. I like the fuckin challenge of building something that wasn't supposed to work the way it was supposed to, and making it do something fuckin else entirely. But..thanks."

For a moment, Cookie looks a tiny bit dumbstruck that Cole took the thirsty comment literally, evidently not knowing that little bit of slang. In the end, though, she finds herself oddly charmed, which surely shows with how emphatic her expressions are. Smiling, she drops the whole line, sets aside the 'cup', and shifts into a literal gear herself. "You're not takin' it away from anyone else, so shush." Momma knows best, remember?

That said, she reaches into one of her many cargo pant pockets and pulls out several pieces of jerky. "All y'all are working hard," she agrees, giving credit where it's due, and giving Cole the aforementioned dried meat. When he goes on about challenges and making things work, Cookie's smile is again appreciative and amused as she reiterates, "Like I said: attractive." And she leaves it at that, going on to tell him, "Now, eat up. Y'all need all the strength you can get to work as hard as you do."

"Just makin fuckin sure." Cole points out. "Just doing what I can, when I can. Even if it's the little things, y'know?" He may of been lost in his own head to miss the 'thirsty' comment. "I guess I'm just hoping the fuckin purifier works out. /Pretty/ sure it's fuckin workin, but I don't know. I haven't checked on it. Need to…" Wheels turn, like they always do. Always something to do and never enough time for it. But then Cookie is shoving food at him, and even with the breakneck pace that pushes himself at, he has to admit that he was getting hungry after a bit. "Thanks." he nods, taking the offered food.

The repeated compliment he may not know how to exactly handle, and perhaps he flushes a bit. Though it could've been from the work he's been doing. "Yeah, well, work hard…these guys don't get much chances to play hard. Tell'em sometimes to go take a half hour, let their ladies rub one for'em. Or guys, whatever. Shit like this, builds up stress an shit an yeah, I know my attitude ain't the best, but…fuck, they believe in this. Least I can do is believe in them. Treat them right by not trying to break their fuckin backs. Trust," he looks to Cookie, "has to fuckin start somewhere. I might think I can do it all my fuckin self, but I know I can't. Not when…" he shrugs it off. Common knowledge he and his lady are no longer a thing these days. "Well…fuck it. They deserve whatever fun they can fuckin get. Because I will push'em. Won't break'em though."

Cookie simply listens. She's a good listener, really, and it helps that her face is so expressive because it denotes that she's engaged, even if she isn't speaking. Another part of being a good listener is not assuming anything, which is why she asks, "Not when…?" She tilts her head a little in an abstract nudge. If Cole wants to expound upon it, he will. If not, she won't pry. Sometimes, though, people want to talk and they simply need a little encouragement.

Then, practically a non sequitur, she asks, "Oh! Rapsberry, blueberry, blackberry, cherry, or a little of each, or just some of some?" He probably can deduce the Maker of Yum-Yums is talking about the fruit leather she makes.

Cole turns away partly, setting his hands on the makeshift railing. "You're fuckin nice, Cookie. A real goddamn sweetheart. I don't want to blow the fuck at you, mostly because you didn't deserve it. Asher, Grey, Zoe. Those are people I'd scream at if given the choice. Because they probably did something to fuckin deserve it. But not you. I'm angry, Cook. Pissed off. Constantly. Don't know what the fuck is wrong with me. I mean, I'm usually pissed off normally to begin with. Being angry gives me fuckin drive. Makes me want to fix what's wrong instead of whining and fuckin crying about it. Nothing ever got the fuck done in Mecha Station by sitting there /bitchin/ about it." Finger dig into the wood he's griping. "But when it's me. When the best fuckin half of me just up an leaves because /I/ picked the camp over her. Why do I feel like the fuckin asshole because I did what I thought was the right fuckin thing? An all this…this shit…" he gestures at himself. "Is just tore up, an I can't /fix/ it. I can't fuckin fix it." It looks like he's about to hit the railing with his hand, but only pats it, as if it's the only way to control a simmering rage ready to boil over.

"An I slept with Hanne." he suddenly admits. "Last night. She had shit with Grey. I had shit with Mika, don't know what the fuck I was thinking. I don't regret it but…why do I feel like I took advantage of someone that was hurting? Why do I feel like an asshole about it? It was mutual and I don't /think/ she resents me or anything but…I don't fuckin know. I'm not good at this. Mika was the only person I've been with an…I like Hanne. She's a friend. Always fuckin nice to me…" The words don't come, his shoulders slump a little. "But…" he draws himself up. "There's work to be done. I can't let this shit get in the way."

Again, Cookie simply listens, her expressions shifting but always sympathetic. Somewhere along the while, she sets down the plastic bucket and moves to stand next to Cole, overlooking the railing. Somewhere along the while, one of her hands seeks out his back and starts to gently rub from shoulder blade to shoulder blade the way someone does to comfort someone else.

Once he's finished, she lets the silence linger for a thoughtful moment. "For what it's worth, I don't think there's anything wrong with you. I'm sure you have your reasons for being angry, and I'm glad you put it to positive use, but I wish you'd find a way to get those positive results without the corrosive side-effects 'cuz that shit will eat you alive given enough time." Another pensive pause. "I'm sorry for your loss." She doesn't try to talk him out of how he feels; she merely empathizes. "And I don't know why you feel like an asshole. I certainly don't feel like you should, but feelings are feelings, and that's for you to figure out. If ever you need a sounding board…" It's an offer issued with a squeeze of one his shoulders. "As for Hanne, if you're concerned about how she's feeling, ask her. Sittin' around, stewin' about it won't help none. So if you don't want shit to get in the way, handle your shit." It's not harshly spoken. It's more like a playful nudging.

"You also didn't tell me what flavor of fruit leather you want," the chef points out with a slightly wry smile.

"Raspberry." Cole answers at once, in case he hadn't been listening. "Always raspberry." But he's quiet a moment longer, staring at just about nothing. "I've tried looking for her when I'm not fuckin working. Just want to make sure things are 'okay' between us. Like I said, I like Hanne. She's good shit. Sorry she went through that kinda horseshit, but it happens. Hell, happened to me too, in a sense." With a hand he runs it through his hair that doesn't exactly straighten out. "I gotta keep it together till the wall is fuckin finished. Not for me, for every-fuckin-one else." He's too much of a workaholic to let his own feelings or worries get in the way. "I'll try looking for her again later." Finally, as if perhaps almost forgetting it was in his hand, he eats part of the jerky silently.

With a final shoulder squeeze, Cookie notes, "It's okay to not be okay, for a moment. Let things breakdown so you can step back and really puzzle out what needs to be fixed instead of just jury-rigging things with stubbornness and wishful thinking. Get it all out, then get on it." Most importantly, she adds, "And take time to enjoy yourself, every now and then. Doesn't have to be a big deal. It can be as simple as savoring some raspberry." To wit, she pulls out from an inner jacket pocket a metal flask that isn't as full as she'd like. "There's not much, but you're welcome to sip," she offers with a smile, lifting it enough that Cole could likely smell the raspberry-flavored liquor.

The idea of 'breaking down' seems abhorrent to Cole. Not that he doesn't understand what she's saying, but more to the point that it may not be something that he allows himself. Wound up tighter than a car spring. He tries to find something to say in response, but at first nothing really comes out. His opens but no words. So he mulls on the words, enough that he honestly considers it. "Don't know if I fuckin can." he honestly admits. "Ain't no need for some fuckin sob story, enough of us have those. Just…hard to fuckin do. But…I'll think about what you said." So he's at least considering it. The idea of it. Having fun seems odd to him. Never relaxes, never takes time for himself. Sleep. Work. Rinse. Repeat. But the flask offered him is looked at, smelling the flavor. Stares at a moment longer before takes up, taking the smallest of sips. "That's…damn good. As in, really goddamn good."

"You won't know if you don't try," is gently chided with a smile. "And everyone has sorrows. Frankly, I wouldn't trust someone who didn't. It's part of life, and it's part of what makes us appreciate all the good things. Highs and lows. Bad times make good times even better. Sour to offset the sweet."

At the compliment for the booze, Cookie grins and ca-a-arefully reseals the flask and tucks it back into an inner jacket pocket. "If I'd known I was gonna end up down here, I would've made sure it was brimming. Frankie should have a still up and running, soon. Sounds like what she specializes in is great to just get drunk and disinfect things, but I'm really looking forward to finally trying my hand at some brandy. This— " she taps where the flask is stashed, "is simply the best I could do with what the Ark had. Now that I've had actual raspberries, I can taste just how short the artificial flavoring is." That being said, it still tasted raspberry enough for someone lacking her highly discerning palate.

"No, you're fuckin right there." Cole agrees quietly. "It's funny. Machines, I get. Computers, I get. Building, designing, construction, I fuckin get that shit, live for it. Shit comes so naturally and I love doing it. Nothing I'd rather be doing. But, people? Even me? Fuck, I don't get any of that shit. Never have. Dunno if I will." Cookie must be good at what she does because she even got Cole of all people open up a little bit.

"You let me know if you guys ever need help with making a still or whatever's needed to do whatever fuckin cosmic and mysterious food magic you guys do. Put it on my list of projects." Of which he has many of. Plenty of stuff on the que, the wall has just taken a huge precedence over most other things. "And remind me about the fuckin containers I told you about. Because I will forget about that shit."

"Oh, you're clever," she smiles, reaching up to playfully ruffle his hair. "I'm sure you'll eventually figure it out if you really apply yourself." For the rest, "Frankie's getting one still up and running. I certainly wouldn't mind one of my own, but it's not the most pressing matter, especially if there are better uses for the parts. What would make me swoon is some kind of freezer and refrigeration unit, but that'll likely never happen, so I will very happily settle for a proper grill. I'd looooooove a brick oven, but that big ol' river snake makes nabbin' some clay difficult. I know you can make bricks from it, from excrement, too, actually, but I'm not sure if it's more involved than just shaping 'em and letting 'em bake in the sun. And, well, I'm not thinkin' anyone wants to make bricks outta shit." Wryly, the chef smirks. "Too bad that horse isn't shitting actual bricks. I'll remind you about those containers, though."

"Desperation breeds some fuckin ingenuity, Sweets." Cole remarks lightly, even letting her ruffle his hair, while suddenly deciding on a nickname for her. "Masonry isn't something I know a whole lot about. I will just say, trial an error, a lot of it. That's kinda shit you gotta go through if you want something to work. Had a couple of different designs for the water purifier before I finally found that would actually work. I hope." Checking above them at the sun, seems like it's been about twenty minutes or so, and he bangs on one of the metal panels. "Okay, let's get fuckin back to it, eh! Wall ain't gonna build itself. Can get your fuckin knobs polished later!" Turning back to Cookie, he smiles. "Thanks for the grub." Beat. "And the talk, Sweets. But I need to get back to it."

And Cookie let's him do just that, but not before she slips him some raspberry fruit leather.

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