Red Dragon Inn

Red Dragon Inn Home Red Dragon Inn - Dragon's Mark

Welcome, traveler!
( Member login. Not a member? Register here. )


Search    Memberlist    Usergroups    Forum Help   
Gallery    Shop    Jobs    Auctions    Pet Shop    Lottery   
Register    Log in 

November 22nd - 28th: Over

 
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics.   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.   printer-friendly view    Red Dragon Inn - Dragon's Mark Forum Index -> The Catacombs -> The Unintended
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Jackie Sullivan
The Hillbilly Belle
Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm


Joined: 10 Nov 2011
Posts: 912
See this user's pet
Jobs: Cook, Barmaid
Can Be Found: Ramblin' through RhyDin
0.00 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:54 am    Post subject: November 22nd - 28th: Over Reply with quote

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012 -- late evening

It was a holiday tradition. Well, the entire day had been a holiday tradition, but it was the mid-evening turkey coma that had overtaken the Daniels household which seemed so very familiar. Family members were scattered all throughout the household, the quiet rumble of lazy conversation drifting along.

Jackie was in the kitchen along with her Mama, drying the dishes from dinner. They were chattering idly about nothing in particular when the muted sound of Johnny Cash’s ‘Ring of Fire’ caused Jackie to come to a sudden halt. The plate in hand and towel were placed quickly but carefully onto the counter. “That’s my phone, Mama.”

Before Mama Daniels even had a chance to ask who would be calling Jackie at this time on Thanksgiving the baby daughter Daniels was already on the move pulling her cellphone from the pocket of her sundress. She didn’t even have to look at the caller ID to know who was calling her. That was Ben’s ringtone.

She was out the kitchen door to the stone patio behind the house. The weathered phone was flipped open to halt the chiming tone and lifted to her ear where she exhaled a giddy yet whispered greeting. “Sweetheart, I wasn’t expectin’ you to call this early. Figured I had a couple more hours, not that I’m complainin’ at all.” A little laugh followed, so excitable that she almost sounded out of breath. “How’s yer non-Thanksgivin’ Thanksgivin’?”

There was no reply. For a moment it didn’t sound like there was anything on the other side of the line, but once Jackie stopped pacing long enough to really listen she could hear the faint sound of rubbing fabric. After a short while longer Jackie realized it must have been a pocket dial.

“This is why flip phones are better.” The words were mumbled jokingly into the phone and right when Jackie was ready to draw the cellphone from her ear to hang up, that’s when she heard a familiar voice on the other end. It sounded miles away, surrounded by echo, but she would know Ben’s voice anywhere.

“C’mon, c’mooon.” It sounded like he was talking to someone, playfully coercing them into something or another. Muffled music could be barely heard in the background. Footsteps, the echo was still there and it was interrupted by the rattling slam of metal against metal followed two rounds of laughter. One came from Ben, except it wasn’t his usual low reserved laugh, that one so often paired with a gentle lopsided smile. It was something much more animated, loud and careless. It was joined by the bubbly giggle of a female. “I don’t know, Harry.” Her words said ‘no’, but her tone was obviously teasing and only playing at hard to get.

The air in Jackie’s lungs escaped her all at once and it felt as chilled leaving her as it did going in. Everything about her went still aside from the minor tick-tock shake of her head side to side in disbelief. “No, Harry. No.” She knew the pleading was useless. She could still hear the scratch of fabric from the phone nestled in a pocket while Harry moved.

There was another slam of a metal door, a faint click, everything the pair were mumbling back and forth was still bouncing about in an echo. The pieces slowly started to fall together and that was when Jackie realized where the call was coming from. It had to be the bathroom of some lowly bar, some dive. Harry’s favorite. Where the booze and women were both cheap.

Jackie knew she should have hung up, but she was horrorstruck into place, unable to process anything aside from smacking and dulled groans of what she could only assume was Harry and some flavor of the night making out.

“Hang up, hang up, hang up.” Jackie was quietly coaching herself but it was like a car wreck. Something so horrible and damaging yet it was impossible to stop giving it all of your attention. Her chanting was interrupted by a sharp shift of the phone. Something was happening, a flurry of movement following and the clicking of heels. It sounded like clothing was being moved, removed? A form slamming against metal, a moment of silence, then a female releasing a sharp moan of surprise and pleasure. It tittered off into giggles, Harry’s name being repeated breathlessly, and the familiar heavy breathing of not-Ben mingled with groans.

The phone slipped from Jackie’s hand, hitting the ground with a crack but she barely even noticed. She felt like she was going to be sick to her stomach. Like she wanted to vomit into nearby bushes before sinking to the ground in a defeated pile of tears. She wanted to get into her truck and drive back to RhyDin so she could hunt down Harry and wring his neck. She wanted to do so many things, but she couldn’t move. She stared ahead of her into the darkness at absolutely nothing.

It wasn’t clear how much time had passed before the familiar creak of the kitchen door broke the silence followed by Mama Daniels voice. “Jackie Lee Daniels, what are you doin’, child? You been out here too long an’ you don’t even have a coat on. You get yourself in here an’ help me finish up the dishes.”

Jackie had heard her Mama, but it took a few moments longer before she could actually force herself to lean down and pick up her phone. It was flipped shut as she went, cutting off the call that seemed to still be going. She stood in place a little while longer to pull herself together, to hide the hurt from her expression the best she could.

Once she felt satisfied, Jackie turned on her heels and made a slow march back towards the kitchen door where her Mama was still waiting expectantly. Mama Daniels was a wise woman, especially when it came to her children and Jackie was barely in the light of the porch before Missus Daniels piped up. “Who called you, Jackie?” The question masking the much more important ‘whose hide do I have to tan?’.

Jackie only answered with a shake of her head, forcing a smile into place even though it only made her urge to cry that much stronger. “Jus’ a wrong number, Mama.”
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Jackie Sullivan
The Hillbilly Belle
Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm


Joined: 10 Nov 2011
Posts: 912
See this user's pet
Jobs: Cook, Barmaid
Can Be Found: Ramblin' through RhyDin
0.00 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 1:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Friday, November 23rd, 2012 -- early afternoon

It hadn't been a great morning, but it could have been worse. Ben had woken up horribly hungover, which was never fun (especially when he didn't get to enjoy the intoxication that came before), but he woke up at home, and he woke up alone. Good signs.

Right away, before he even drags himself out of bed, he's sending Jackie a text. Sorry for not calling. I wasn't here. What time will you be home? He doesn't get a response right away, and that doesn't entirely surprise him, since it's still sort of early and she'd probably been up late with her family, right?

After he showers and forces down a little food (toast, dry), and sending another responseless text (Miss you like crazy. No hints on when you'll be home?), he just decides to head over to Jackie's to surprise her. Instead, though, he's surprised -- her truck's out in front when he gets there. He's been using the spare key from time to time when he and Jackie agree to spend the night at her place and he beats her there, so he doesn't think twice about using it now, too. Today, though, he's calling out to her before he's even in through the open door. "Sweetheart, it's me -- you home?" And even when he does move the rest of the way inside, shutting the door behind him, he doesn't move out of the entryway just yet, hoping to hear from her first.

It looked like Jackie had been in such a hurry when she got home that her bag she had packed to take to Georgia was still sitting in the entryway as well. The entire house was quiet, even after he had called out for her. For a while it might even appear no one was home.

Then, slowly but surely, there was the sound of bare feet quietly making their way down the stairs until Jackie was passing through the living room and towards the door. It seemed she had been home long enough to change into a pair of black pajama pants and a long sleeved shirt in a soft grey. Her hair was pulled back into a messy pigtail with stray pieces of blonde brushing against her cheeks.

That was the most telling thing about her really. Not just how she moved so slowly, hesitantly, her arms folded over her chest. Her face was splotchy. Eyes rimmed with red and just a little bit brighter due to being glassy. She looked obviously surprised to see him, but it was nowhere close to the sort of greeting they had been talking about before she left. Really, Jackie appeared to be at a complete loss of what to say before she finally spoke. Her voice was quiet, raw, and tired. "What're y'doin' here, Ben? Figured you wouldn't be comin' over here so early."

He knows something isn't right before he even sees her -- just the slow footsteps upstairs are enough to give him pause, and once he sees her? Hears her speak? He knows something is really, really wrong. His brows draw together and there's a little bit of a frown at his mouth, all concern on his face. "Hey... I didn't hear back from you the couple of times I texted you this morning, so I figured you were still sleeping or at least still in Georgia... I thought maybe I'd surprise you. Be here when you got home." He hadn't moved out of the entryway for all of that, but he does then, moving in her direction -- stopping short of pulling her into a hug even once he's close enough, but he does reach out to touch her on the arm. "What's wrong?"

"I left early. Before most people were even wakin' up. I needed some time t' think." When he takes a step toward her she's countering with a step back. His hand reaching out for her arm only causes her to draw that side of her body back so he's grasping at nothing but air. It's a slow yet careful dance to keep space, usually something she hated so much, between them. "This probably isn't the best time, Ben. I think y' need t' go. I need some time t' myself an' when I feel like I can properly talk it over I'll drop y' a text." She paused, frowning faintly. The next words were spoken very clearly, above her previous mumble. "It was nothin' you did."

Even though he can tell something is wrong, he's not expecting that, her to pull away, and she's evading his touch easily. At first, he only looks more concerned because of it, but when she goes on, tells him he needs to leave, that she needs some time -- he can't hide it, the almost-flinch that passes over his features. He does his best to recover quickly, act like he's fine with that, but he can't hide the hurt in his eyes. There's too much fear of a repeat of before, too much panic and dread to try to stuff down, to succeed. It's the last thing she says that causes another shift in his expression, understanding, now, though it's still mixed with everything else, the concern, the hurt -- the attempt at aloof that fails miserably. "Sure, I can..." Taking a deep breath and letting it out in a sigh, averting his gaze and rubbing the back of his neck with one hand. "Give you some time. Just... We're going to work it out, right?" Lifting his eyes to her again. He regrets asking as soon as the words are out of his mouth.

She can see it all, the flash of emotions steadily passing over his features. They were picked out one by one and she related to so many of them. The hurt mostly. The hurt is something she can relate to and she regrets that she's causing Ben to feel that way when she had said it herself, it was nothing he did. Her frown deepens at his final question, but for now she can't work out an answer. Sure they would, wouldn't they? But why were the words so hard to get out right now? They were stuck in her throat and instead got replaced with her own question. "Where didja wake up this mornin', Ben?" Just like him, she's regretting the question the second it leaves her lips. Her body shifts, shoulders pulling back while she physically braces herself for an answer.

He doesn't mean to be defensive -- he doesn't even mean to be hurt, not for himself (even if he can't help it). Still, the way he draws himself up after her question, the little purse of his lips -- there's something just a little bit defensive in it regardless. "Home. By myself," anticipating her next question, or just understanding what she's suspecting (he couldn't possibly know that she knows). And just as quickly as he'd straightened up, gotten tough, his shoulders slump a little, and his voice softens. "What happened, Jackie?"

He can be defensive or hurt. Jackie's not moving from her spot, not shifting her stance, and her expression isn't changing at all. She looks like she's too tired to do much more. In fact, the draw of her shoulders is released. Not out of relief or defeat, but just because it was too much effort and she was too drained to keep it up. "I..." Her crossed arms are released and sink down to her sides. She doesn't even ask him to follow or gesture for him to come along. She's turning on her heels without a word and moving further into the living room. It gave her more room to pace in that slow feet dragging shuffle. "I got a call from yer phone last night. It was earlier than we had said, but I just figured y'were surprisin' me or something. Turns out it was a pocket dial." Her fingers are anxiously twisting together in front of her and she's still pacing, not even looking at him. She can't look at him while she gets this out. "It wasn't you. It was Harry. An'..." A deep breath. "He wasn't alone." Her pacing came to a slow stop, but her gaze was pointed down at the floor. The last part was forced out, barely above a whisper. "I didn't catch her name. I caught... everythin' else. But not a name."

When she turns away, Ben hesitates, and even when he does eventually follow her further into the living room, he stays out of her way, lets her pace. Has he ever seen her like this? Not to this degree, not this particular kind of pain.

He's already feeling terrible, the strange sort of almost-guilt that he feels far too often. When she says she got a call from him last night, it only gets worse, and when she goes on and explains that it was a pocket dial, his stomach lurches, and it isn't just the hangover that's making him feel ill. He'd been watching her pace, but at that point he's dropping his gaze, swearing under his breath, rubbing one hand over his face. He doesn't stop her though -- he needs to hear the rest of it. And after she finishes, he drops his hand, sighing, and after another hesitation, he's taking a step toward her again -- though this time, he's not going to be so confused if she takes a step back. "I'm sorry you heard all that, Jackie. I really am."

Even with him following her she's lost in her own little world, too wrapped up in trying to get the story out without dry heaving or crying. She was a girl with simple goals. Although her attention is directed at the ground she knew he was coming for her again and once more it was countered with her stepping back. Her hands unlaced from in front of her to lift, hard to tell if it was saying halt or that she surrendered. "I know, Ben. It wasn't you. But I jus'..." Brown eyes lift to him again. "I just can't right now. I'm not tryin' to punish you fer it, I know it wasn't you. But I can't right now. I heard... everythin'. In a bathroom stall, probably at some sh*tty lil' bar. An' I know I shoulda hung up but I couldn't. So it's my own damn fault but... I'm tryin' to deal wth it. Somehow."

He doesn't take another step toward her. In fact, he takes a step back of his own, and his hands go up too, mirroring her halt-or-surrender, before he shoves them into his coat pockets. "I know you're not trying to punish me for it, sweetheart. I know." Even if it still felt like punishment to him, unfair -- because even though he believes her completely, there's a part of him that has so much trouble accepting consequences of any kind for something he hasn't done. It doesn't resent, it doesn't get defensive or argue or question -- but it gnaws at him, and it hurts.

He's meeting her eyes then, even when she reiterates that she'd heard everything, when she describes the scene and it's obvious that she really means everything. He winces during that, when she sets the scene so specifically, and he's shaking his head a little, but it seems to be in disbelief, because he doesn't try to stop her or disagree with her about anything that she's said. "So do you think that, um ... that time alone is what you need to deal with it? Because if that's what you need from me..." Trailing off, and he's glancing off to one side, the direction of the door, before he's looking at her again.

When he lowers his hands she's doing the same, going back to folding them in front of her to keep them from fidgeting. She's sinking backwards, turning to pick up her slow lumbering pace once again. She can't decide if she wants to sit still or run a marathon. "I don't know what the hell I need right now, Ben." The words might have seemed harsh, but her tone held no edge to it. "I jus'..." Hands lifted, fingers combing through the captured blonde locks. She came to another stop, turning to look at him. "I didn't think the first time I was gonna hear all that... yer voice, yer breathin'... not you... but soundin' like you... it's... on a phone. An' I'm not processin' it well. And I know it wasn't you, but..." She's shaking her head quickly. "I can't make sense of a thing. An' I hate that right now." Shoulders slumped, her head sinking as well.

Jackie tells him that she doesn't know hat she needs right now, and Ben doesn't know what he should do for her. He means to do what she's asking, means to leave -- has already offered to twice -- but for whatever reason, he can't follow through on it. They'd said they'd be honest -- they'd said they'd get through things together. She says she isn't trying to punish him, knows it isn't his fault, that it wasn't him, but if he leaves, isn't that admitting that he's done something wrong? Why should his being here be a bad thing?

"Jackie... look at me." And he'll wait if he has to -- ask her again, if he has to -- because he isn't going on until she's making eye contact. He's forced most of the hurt out of his own expression, though he's obviously still upset -- now, though, it's all for her. "That isn't how I wanted it to be for you either, sweetheart. But you said it yourself -- it wasn't me. You know that; I know you do. And I know that even if you know that, it's still hard to make sense of this. But sweetheart -- being alone isn't going to help you. You'll just keep thinking about it." Keep hearing it in her head, over and over. "The only thing you can do is try to forget, I think. And the longer you're alone, the harder that'll be." Pulling his hands from his pockets then, he's holding his arms out for a hug. "C'mere, sweetheart. Please? Don't shut me out because of this."

When he says her name the first time paired with that quiet demand it's as if she doesn't hear him. She's still staring at the ground in that posture of defeat. He has to wait a while, but he doesn't have to ask a second time. Her gaze is reluctantly lifting to meet his and she somehow looks even more tired than she did when she first walked down the stairs. "I don't much feel like I can forget it right now, Ben. I feel like it's stuck with me no matter how much I try t' stop it." It when he extends his arms out for her again that her frown deepens. Usually that would be the first place she would go to, his arms. That's where she always found her comfort in these situations. Unfortunately for them both, it wasn't so easy this time around. "I'm not tryin' to shut you out, Ben. I jus'... I can't do that right now." A hand was lifted to point from one hand, along his arms, to the other. "It wasn't you, but it was them hands on that girl, Ben. It was all of you, not you, pressed up against her." Was he confused? Because she looked to be utterly lost by her own figuring. "I'm sorry." That much she sounded sure of. Everything else was so scattered, complicated, frustrated. But those two words came out crystal clear while her arms sank uselessly to her sides again.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Jackie Sullivan
The Hillbilly Belle
Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm


Joined: 10 Nov 2011
Posts: 912
See this user's pet
Jobs: Cook, Barmaid
Can Be Found: Ramblin' through RhyDin
0.00 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

He does manage to not let it affect him outwardly, not let it seep into his eyes and his face, when she looks up at him and looks even more tired -- even when she says she can't do it right then, can't go to him. It's when she points to his hands, continues explaining, that a keener sort of hurt bleeds into his eyes and a tightness settles in the muscles of his jaw. When he lets his hands fall to his sides, his fingers flex, curl into his palm, only for a moment before relaxing again, and there's nothing absent about the movement. They are his hands, aren't they? It's his body, isn't it? It isn't confusion at all, not really, that is present in his features then, but he looks a little sickened. Disgusted with himself.

"What am I supposed to do about that, Jackie? You keep saying you know it wasn't me, but it's me you can't touch now. How am I supposed to fix that?" Another flex of his fingers into his own palms, and this time they're slower to uncurl. "It isn't all of me-not me, Jackie. If you're going to think about it like that..." Trailing off, there's a flicker of some other emotion across his face, maybe afraid, but he fights it off quickly, though it just leaves him that mix of upset and sick he'd been before. "It isn't me, Jackie. Not my hands, not my body -- not my voice, not my breathing." Is he telling her that for her sake or for his? "And you're pushing me away like it is me, like I had anything to do with what happened." Some kind of monster. Ben-but-not-Ben.

His brows knit suddenly, like the hurt becomes too much to keep ignoring, and he bites down hard on his lower lip for a couple of seconds. "I'm sorry too -- for not being able to comfort you. For hurting you just by being here." The same hands -- the ones he'd put in her hair or pressed to her cheeks. The same palm she'd pressed a kiss so tenderly to the center of. "It's just hard for me to be okay with leaving. I don't think being alone is what you need, but not only that -- if I leave, it's like I'm saying I did do something wrong after all. Acknowledging that it's me that's giving you all this pain. That's hard for me to do." His lips curl inward for a second, like he's unsure of saying whatever he's thinking, like he's physically biting back the words, but, "And I can't help thinking that if I leave, it'll be like before. I'm..." Afraid, scared, terrified of losing her again. "I thought we were going to figure these things out together?" He doesn't sound defensive or accusatory. Just tired too. Sad. He knows she's lost, and there isn't anything he can do to help her, and that kills him, so much that he's already taking a step back toward the door. "I want to work through this with you, Jackie. I do."

Jackie can see the hurt making its way into his features. She had never even tried to hide it from her own expression because it was often so pointless. Her highs were so high that even the slightest swing to a low was painfully obvious. Ben was much better at hiding it than she was, so when he began to fail she knew it was too much. Brown eyes were sliding aside again, pointed at nothing because it was easier to focus on while she spoke. "I don't have a fix fer it, Ben. There ain't jus' somethin' you can say or do to make me ferget about it an' be all better right now. I know it wasn't you, I know it wasn't yer choice, but I jus' need a lil'. I'm sorry if that ain't how you want it to be right now, if you want me to be better at dealin' with it, but I don't know how. I'm still learnin."

Fingers were running through her hair again. It had always been a way for him to comfort her, but it had no where close to the same effect when she did it to herself. Instead it only made her look a little more manic. "It's like I said, Ben. I know it wasn't yer choice an' you didn't have a say in the matter, but... Jesus, I jus' need some time to process it." She was still looking at a point just over his shoulder when she spoke to him, only now and then letting her gaze flicker to his face and back again. "You leavin' isn't sayin' you did somethin' wrong or that yer the one causin' me to hurt 'cause I didn't say that either. I left my Mama's house before anyone got up because I didn't want to be around people. I want to be alone an' I'm sorry if that's not what you think it right fer me right now, but considerin' neither of us seem too damn sure I'm goin' with that." The edge was making its way into her tone.

Her eyes widen when he mentions it being like before. By the look on her face the words hit her like an insult. "This is not like before an' I want to figure this out. This isn't me tossin' up my hands an' quittin' fer good. This is me after having to spend the evenin' with my goddamn family after I hear Harry goin' at it with some whore in a bathroom!" The words had started so calmly and worked themselves steadily higher and higher. "I had to sit there, surrounded by all of 'em an' put on this dumb f*ckin' smile like I was jus' fine when I was dyin' inside. I'm exhausted, Ben. It's not you. I understand yer not Harry, but can you jus'..." She was gesturing at her head, hands shaking by now. "Tell me you understand why this is hard for me. Tell me that y'don't think I'm bein' irrational an' that y' understand why I jus' need m'self some peace before we jump in an' work on this."

She still doesn't know how to deal with something like this, and how can Ben really fault her for that? He can't -- but at the same time, can she fault him for having so much trouble dealing with her reaction? Of course she should be able to have some time to deal with this on her own, but the idea that he can't comfort her in this because it was not-him that caused it -- it's so hard for him to process.

When the edge comes back into her tone, when she starts to lose the calm in her demeanor, his jaw shifts a little to one side, though that hurt doesn't leave his eyes. "I understand that it's hard for you, Jackie. Of course I do. But do you--" Cutting himself off then, shutting his eyes and shaking his head. There's something irritated in the gesture, but when he opens his eyes again, he seems calmer than he had been (though still obviously concerned, upset). "I understand. I do. I'm sorry you had to go through all that with your family, and I'm sorry you need to face it alone right now." A brief catch of his lower lip between his teeth, just for a second, before he goes on. "If you say this isn't like before, I believe you. I trust you. So..." Putting up his hands again, clear surrender this time, before he shoves them into his coat pockets and takes another step back. "Just let me know when you... When you've had enough time." The pause is a little awkward there, because the first couple of ways he thinks to finish that sentence (when you want to talk to me again, when you can talk to me again) touch on too many sore spots to voice. "I really am sorry, Jackie," a little lower, quieter, the tightness at the corners of his eyes and the muscles in his jaw more obvious.

Right now she can't make sense of a lot of things. Later on? Right after he leaves? The guilt will more than likely strike her, twisting and knotting itself in cords inside her. But for right now she only knows that she's a mess and this is a side of her best left alone in the confines of her bed beneath a pile of blankets to muffle her emotional breakdown.

"Do I?" She's pushing him to finish. So many bad things had already said between them right now, so what's one more? Whether he finishes it or not she's nodding slowly along with everything he's saying. He gets it, he believes her, he trusts her. So why does it hurt so much when he tucks his hands away and takes a step back? It's exactly what she asked for, what she demanded. Possibly what she wanted? Her expression is contorted into a deep pained frown, but she refuses to play games with him. She can't toss out a 'wait, Ben' and have one hug for the road. Not like this.

"I'll call... text... somethin'." She's not so much calm again even if her voice is quieter. "Y' don't have to keep apologizin', Ben. I'm sorry. I jus'... I think I need this right now." She can't even state that she knows for sure. She only knows that seeing him is too much of a reminder of what's playing in her head and she doesn't want there to be a connection between Ben and the garbage in her brain. "It'll be sooner than you think." The only positive thing she's been able to say during this whole conversation, even if there's no silver lining to her voice.

He does go on to finish what he'd started to say, stopped himself from finishing -- because what's one more? "I was going to ask you to tell me the same thing -- that you understand why this is hard for me, too. But I don't want you to think about that right now. We'll talk about that some other time, if we even have to at all." The only reason he'd even gotten that much into it was because they'd promised honesty. Otherwise, he would have lied about what he'd started to say. "Just figure out you right now." Because what would be the point of her dwelling on his insecurity, his own unhappiness at knowing that he reminds her of what she'd heard last night -- or that what she'd heard reminds her of him. That the two are linked for her, no matter how desperately he wants them not to be -- no matter how much it hurts to know there's not a thing he can do about it.

"There's nothing for you to be sorry for, Jackie. You can have the time." And over and over, he's telling himself that he can trust her, that taking the time isn't her reconsidering, that this isn't a goodbye. "I sure hope it is, sweetheart." Sooner than he thinks. Last time she'd needed time, it had been days. It had been almost unbearable before, and somehow, going through something like that again, after they'd been through that already, said that they were giving this a real, serious try this time, seemed like it would be even worse. A twitch of a smile at one corner of his mouth, there and gone, and it doesn't reach his eyes in the slightest. He doesn't move for a few seconds after that, studying her quietly, and then he finally turns and heads for the door, opening it up and stepping back out into the cold unless she does something to stop him.

"This isn't easy for either of us." It's the only sort of confirmation she can get out that she understands where he's coming from. No, she can't even begin to wrap her mind around how he feels right now, because she barely knows how she feels. But she knows damn well by the look on his face, the gravel in his tone, that this is nowhere close to being easy for him.

He's giving her the time she asked for and she still looked miserable. She knew that no relief would come from him leaving, but she wasn't even sure there was relief in him being there right now. The idea alone pained her too much to focus on. His comment of hoping it's sooner than he thinks only gets another distant nod. She's hoping it's the truth, but it's not like a timeframe could be put on this. She wished there was only a set amount of time she had to wait out the heartbreak before she was back to crawling into his lap and curling up in his arms.

Jackie doesn't even attempt a smile for him in return. It would be too fake, too forced, and not worth the attempt. She's standing in place in absolute silence, watching him uneasily because she's not happy with either of her choices right now. Either he stays or he goes. No matter what side of the door he was on she was going to be unhappy. Best to let him be free of having to witness it. When he's stepping outside her mouth opens out of habit, but what to say? She hesitates, unsure at first before she mumbles quietly. "Be safe, Ben."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Jackie Sullivan
The Hillbilly Belle
Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm


Joined: 10 Nov 2011
Posts: 912
See this user's pet
Jobs: Cook, Barmaid
Can Be Found: Ramblin' through RhyDin
0.00 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Friday, November 23rd, 2012 -- Late Evening

Ben must not have been exaggerating when he'd said that he was on his way, because just a few minutes after that last text, he's showing up at Chey and Jackie's house, knocking at the door. He's used a spare key to let himself in in the past, but for whatever reason, tonight, he isn't. Instead, he's waiting there on the doorstep, looking pretty typical in jeans and boots, a black leather jacket, hands hidden in the pockets of it. The weather really was starting to get pretty cold, and he's got a grey knit scarf wrapped around his neck to try to ward off the cold somewhat.

Whether she'd been in pajamas or not didn't really matter. Though she was no stranger to texts from Ben, this one had a certain flavor to it that had her up and dressed. She was just pulling on her second boot when the knock came. "Coming!" she called, tugging the footwear on and going for the door. She pulled it open to look out. She looked her typical laid back Chey in jeans, a long yellow shirt, boots and brown leather jacket, her own scarf about her neck to keep her neck warm, as her hair had been pulled up. "Hey, Ben."

"Hey, Chey." A little bit of a smile for her, just one side of his mouth tugged upward. "Thanks for making a little time for me." It seems like she's ready to go, so he's turning and heading down the steps from her door, apparently just assuming she'll follow. "And for braving the cold." He hadn't hid it at all when texting her, that whatever this was, it seemed to be a big deal, but now that it had come down to talking about it, he's actually sort of avoidant and guarded.

"Oh, it's no worry," she said cheerfully. She bent to say something to Mason, who was in his crate, and then she shut the door and locked it, dropping the key in her pocket. She turned and moved down the steps and down the walkway after him. She didn't rush him and was quiet until they got out on the quiet street. "You're up late."

Ben was fine with letting the silence linger until Chey broke it, and he's a little bit slow to respond to her, even when she finally does. "Yeah, I guess I am." His shoulders lift in a hint of a shrug, and he's giving her a sidelong glance before his attention is facing front again. "So are you," pointing out, just a touch amused, though that's gone when he continues. "So this thing I wanted to talk to you about... it's not something I really tell people. I can trust you with something like that, right?"

She looked over to him and nodded firmly almost immediately. "Of course."

He doesn't look at her, but he can see her out of the corner of his eye, so he knows she's looking at him -- knows she'll be able to see when he nods a little bit, just confirmation that he'd heard her -- trusts that he can trust her. He's biting on his lower lip for a moment -- chewing on it, really -- and they walk along a little ways before he says anything else, and he's kind of, sort of grimacing a little before he does say anything. "You haven't heard of multiple personality disorder, have you? If you haven't, it's okay; Jackie hadn't either."

"I've read 'bout it in some different books," she said, nodding a bit. "I've always wanted t'do somethin' in the medical field or somethin' like that. But I don't know much 'bout it."

"Oh, you have?" That actually does get him to give her another glance, and he's obviously surprised, if the look on his face is any indication, brows lifted a little, eyes a touch wider. That doesn't last, though, and neither does the look; he's quickly going neutral and watching where they're walking again. "So... What do you know exactly?"

She saw that break in neutrality but she didn't say anything about it. "I know it makes someone have more'n one personality. An' that whichever personality is in charge at a time gets to control attitude an' actions." She put her hands into her coat pockets, scuffling her boots through fallen and crispy leaves.

"Mhm." Worrying his lower lip with his teeth again; it's such a bad habit, a nervous tell, one that until recently he'd been better about avoiding. "You must know where this is going, right?"

"I think to th' store t'get you some chapstick so y'stop bitin' your lip," she said with a little smile, but then she gave just a small shrug. "I figure y'know someone with it? An' it's weighin' on your mind."

The first comment actually gets a little smile from him too, half-there and short-lived, but a flash of it nonetheless. Maybe it makes the admission (because it always feels like an admission, like confession of some sort) easier, "Sort of. It's..." Trailing off, and he's pulling one hand from his coat pocket to gesture vaguely with it -- first in front of them, and then his fingertips touch the center of his chest before he's pushing his hand back into his pocket. "Me. I have it." Have it; it felt strange to phrase it that way, like it was a cold or something.

She didn't stop walking. Her footsteps didn't even falter although she her head was swiveling more toward him, her eyes slightly wider. "You do?" It was just a repetition of what he'd already said, but it was the first thing that came out of her mouth.

Ben doesn't stop either, and he's decidedly not looking at Chey at all, continuing to face front. The set of his mouth changes, though -- a little purse of his lips, a slight shift of his jaw to one side. "Yeah." Unsure of what direction to continue, he's waiting for more than just her immediate reaction before he says anything else.

Her legs kept her moving further forward, although her eyes were still on him. After the initial surprise wore off, she continued. "How long have you had it?"

It must be tension he's trying to work out, the way he tilts his head just a little bit toward her, rolls that shoulder back before his posture returns to normal. "Since I was a kid. I know for sure since I was ten, but lately I'm pretty sure it's been even longer than that."

She nodded, still looking at him, her fingers digging further into her jacket pocket. "Is... that why that girl thought she knew you that one night? All that time ago. I forget her name."

"Lyla? Yeah." Faintly amused then, but probably only because he hasn't heard from poor Lyla-deer in so long -- but quickly, his expression first sours, and then regains most of its neutrality again. "One of... you know." And then he just sighs, starts over. "She doesn't know me, not really, but she knows Harry."

"Harry," she repeated, then figured some background would be good. "How many are there?"

"Four." Ben's voice didn't often go very soft around Chey -- he's usually fairly easygoing, quick to joke around, to laugh -- but it was now. He sighs again, watching the curl of his breath in the cold appear, dissipate in front of him. "Harry, who... hangs out with women like that. Drinks, does drugs -- all that stupid party stuff. Sam -- he's mostly just trying to protect people." The safe, nice way to put it, what Sam's become lately. "Ivan, I'm not completely sure about." Shaking his head slowly, as if in thought. "Something to do with being lied to, being fooled." That's only three, but Ben's lapsing into silence anyway.

"Are you the fourth?" she queried, however, tilting her head. "Is th' guy I know -Ben- is he th' main one? The... real one?" Maybe that wasn't the right way.

"What?" If there's something sharp to his tone, it's only in surprise. His step does falter then, and he's looking at Chey, eyes a little wide. He recovers quickly, though, continuing on their meandering path down the sidewalk, facing front and clearing his throat. "No, I'm... I'm not the fourth one. Ted is -- really young. Maybe only ten or so." Even though he's not looking at Chey anymore, she'd be able to tell, even just looking at his profile, that this set of questions had thrown him; his eyes are still a little wide, something almost deer-in-headlights about it. "I'm real. It's the rest that aren't."

She wasn't quite sure why those questions had set him that way, but for now she passed it over, continuing her questions. "Well, are they fake? I mean... ain't they supposed t'be different parts of yer own psyche?"

Nothing changed about Ben's expression, still a touch wide-eyed, still not looking at Chey. "Maybe fake isn't the right word for it." Not answering her second question. "But they're the symptoms. Not me." Adamant about that. Maybe it had been that question that had thrown him.

"How're ya at... controllin' 'em?" asked a bit gently, not wanting to make him feel bad, but curious and trying to navigate through this information.

Finally, his features relax into something more typical for him, less tense (though he's still catching his lower lip between his teeth for a second before answering). "I'm not..." Trailing off, and a mix of a smile and a wince passes over his face. "I'm not exactly there yet. I black out, and I don't have any idea what happens during that time unless somebody tells me."

She nodded, looking down at the toes of her boots for a moment. "Jackie knows, of course. Yeah?"

"Mhm. Yeah, she's known for a while." He looks like he's going to say something else, mouth open a little, even taking a breath for it, but he ends up not saying whatever it is, closing his mouth and glancing aside to Chey to give her a tight little smile.

"So that's why y'both so quiet all th' time," she said, dipping her head again. It made sense. "I figured y'all had a secret."

Ben keeps his head turned; he's looking at Chey longer than he'd meant to at first -- studying her, really, even if that only lasts a few seconds. Eventually, he's looking away again, nodding, shrugging a little at the same time. "Yeah, I guess so. But it, um..." A pause, and he huffs out a quiet sigh. "It's been hard on her, sometimes. To deal with that alone."

"Well, I ain't surprised," she said, looking up toward the sky with its sprinkle of stars. "I mean, who're ya gonna share that with, right?" If it sounded reproachful, it wasn't intended.

"Well," there's the smile again, with that little touch of a wince to it, "maybe now she can talk to you about it when she needs to." Chey's looking up, but Ben, on the other hand, is glancing down and off to one side, away from her. "Something happened yesterday while you all were in Georgia, and she's really... She's upset about it." Ben was pretty sure Jackie's probably been hiding in her room all day. "I don't know if she'll want to talk to you about it -- or about any of this stuff, when things happen -- but at least now she has you to lean on. --and you aren't in the dark anymore. I know you two are close, and I always felt bad about that."

She shook her head. "No don't gotta apologize. I understand. Ben. It ain't a secret y'want everyone talkin' 'bout. An' y'didn't know me well. An' it ain't like I can blame Jackie. She's your girlfriend." She looked back down and then over to him, just a hint of uneasiness on her face. "But she doesn't really talk t'me lately. Seems like we ain't been 'round at th' same time." Another pause. "What happened? Can I ask?"

And then Ben's looking uneasy himself, just at Chey's last questions. "I don't know if it's really something she'll want to talk about." But wasn't that all the more reason to tell her? Pulling one hand out of his jacket pocket, he's ducking his head and pinching the bridge of his nose for a couple of seconds. "Sometime last night she got a call from my phone, but it wasn't..." Lifting his head, gesturing meaninglessly with his hand before pressing it back into his coat pocket. "It was a pocket dial. Harry was ... with some girl."

She winced, visibly. "Ouch." She wiggled her fingers in their pockets again, pressing her mouth down into her scarf as pale eyes looked over toward him. "How'd y'find out she found out? She told you?"

Nodding slowly at first, still looking out in front, but eventually, "Mhm, yeah. I had no idea." Almost immediately after he says that, he's wincing too, tilting his head to one side and then the other, slowly, reconsidering. "I woke up hungover, which usually means I can blame Harry for whatever time I lost right before that, but ... I had no idea about the girl."

Her frown was mostly because she could only imagine how sh*tty Jackie must feel right now. She wondered if her cousin would even tell her. "So I guess I shouldn't ask her 'bout it."

Shrugging then, and he glances aside to Chey for just a second. "No, I think... I think you should. I mean, as long as you tell her I told you everything. I want her to be able to talk about it with somebody if she wants to."

"Well, maybe she doesn't want to. She might resent it, y'know, me gettin' in her business. Maybe y'should tell her y'told me?" She wasn't sure exactly how to navigate a situation like this.

"Oh. Maybe. But we, uh..." Pulling his hands out of his pockets, a little motion with his index fingers moving past each other without touching, before he's letting his hands fall to his sides. "We're not really talking right now. I'm trying to give her some time to ... figure out whatever she needs to figure out about this."

"Maybe that's best," she said with a nod and a small sigh. "I'll send her a text an' jus' let her know. I don't wanna bug her if she's tryin' t'work it out." A pause, a few moments. "Is there anythin' I can do?"

"Thank you," without hesitation, for her saying she'll send Jackie a text. After that though, he's pausing too, thinking her question over, but after a moment he's shaking his head. "I don't think so. She understands that it isn't me when those kinds of things happen, but it's ... I guess it was hard to hear like that, all the same. I think she just needs time, and maybe talking to you if she wants to. I hope."

She nodded a bit, watching him completely now as they walked. "Well, I can understand. Even if it ain't yer fault, it's still hard t'know yer man is..." She let her words trail off. He would know what she meant anyway.

Oh, he knows. He takes a deep breath; the expansion of his chest, lift of his shoulders, is visible even beneath his coat. Letting it out in a sigh before responding. "It is really hard for her. I know. I just hope this helps a little bit." A smile at one side of his mouth, though it's faded, and it doesn't last anyway. "Is there, uh... anything else you wanted to know?"

She thought on that for a few moments. "Is there any way t'tell when yer gonna switch personalities? Or does it jus' sorta happen?"

He actually needs to think about the answer for a moment. "Usually it needs to be triggered by something -- I think. I've been able to figure out some of them, but not all of them. I guess for all I know, maybe sometimes it does just sort of happen. But most of the time at least... there's a trigger."

"What was yer trigger this last time?"

This time, it's more a wince than a smile. "Last time? Don't know."

She nodded. That was fair. "You an' Jackie'd been doin' okay beforehand, yeah?"

"Yeah, we'd been doing really, really well." He's hesitant to say it, for whatever reason, but after that short pause, "No problems. Even all of this kind of stuff had seemed to have calmed down."

"Well, I know Jackie well enough t'know she ain't mad at you, at least. At least she's reactin' like anyone would. I know it ain't a lot of comfort, but she cares 'bout ya. Otherwise she wouldn't be there, y'know?"

"Yeah. She's not mad at me. I know. She just... needs time. Some space. I can understand that. Like you said, anybody else would react the same way. Or worse."

"Probably worse. She's tougher'n nails." A small smile and then she reached out, giving his arm a squeeze. "Thanks fer trustin' me enough t'tell me, Ben."

"She is." He's almost going on to say that he's lucky to have her, but something stops him. Instead, he's just reaching over to touch Chey on the back of the arm before he turns around to start meandering in the direction of her house. "Thanks for giving me a chance, even though you knew I was hiding things. --and for..." Shrugging up one shoulder, the motion slow. "For trying to understand."

((Taken from play between Ben Sullivan and the AMAZING Cheyenne Daniels))


Last edited by Jackie Sullivan on Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:18 am; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Jackie Sullivan
The Hillbilly Belle
Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm


Joined: 10 Nov 2011
Posts: 912
See this user's pet
Jobs: Cook, Barmaid
Can Be Found: Ramblin' through RhyDin
0.00 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sunday, November 25th, 2012 -- Evening

There was a delay between the two messages. The first came from Cheyenne telling Jackie that Ben had told her about everything. Absolutely everything. Not just about him and his boys, but about Harry as well. It had been a subject Jackie had been hiding from since Thursday, but once again it was finding its way to her. By her cousin no less.

Ben had told Chey. How did that even come to be? Why would he do that when he was so set on keeping everything to himself? What exactly did he tell Chey? Was it the honest to God truth? There was no warning for this, no time for Jackie to prepare.

She had sat on her bed for a long while, staring at the text message confusedly before she finally slid out of bed and got dressed. She finished tossing her hair into a ponytail before she was withdrawing her phone from the pocket of her leather jacket to send a text message Ben's way. "We need to talk. I'm coming over now."

Maybe she should have asked if it was okay, waited for some sort of confirmation, but she was too antsy to let this drag out. It didn't take long before she was pulling up in front of Ben's apartment. Quick steps were carrying her to his door and without much hesitation, while she still had this bravery backing her, she knocked at his door.

It hadn't been an easy couple of days for Ben. Worrying about Jackie hadn't been easy. Trying to trust her and give her that space hadn't been easy. Telling Chey -- that really had not been easy. He'd been on edge ever since leaving Jackie's house Friday morning, and the time spent alone hadn't helped him any. There was some measure of relief in telling Chey about everything, but it had been shortlived, and a struggle to find any real solace in besides, considering the voice inside -- Sam's -- that had been berating him ever since Ben had made up his mind to tell her. He's been losing little bits and pieces of time ever since then, just a minute or two at a time, but enough to make the day disorienting, the evening even more so, and even when he's around, it's a struggle to ignore the taunts and threats, or to suffer through the headaches when it's silent.

It's during one of those quiet moments that his phone buzzes for an incoming text, and when he reads those four words -- we need to talk -- the last thing he's conscious of is a sick lurch in his stomach, the thud of his heart in his ears, and then nothingness.

Jackie won't be waiting very long for the door to open after she knocks at it. It's only a few seconds before it opens, and a few more of Ben (it is Ben, isn't it?) watching her, studying her, head tilted a little to one side, eyes narrowed just a touch, before he grabs Jackie by the wrist with his left hand and pulls her in through the open door, shutting it behind her, letting her go almost immediately. "You need to talk? Then talk." It's unexpected, probably, but the most prominent emotion in him -- maybe the only one -- is anger, a quiet, dangerous kind. That's probably what has his voice a little lower like it is right then.

When the door opens she doesn't smile, but the relief of seeing Ben is easily evident in her features. Even if he's looking at her like that, she can't blame him, she's much more glad than she imagined she would be standing face to face with him. But the expression quickly shifts to outright bewilderment paired with an exhale of outright surprise. The momentum of the movement and the sudden release leave her briefly unbalanced, but she catches herself to turn on her heels and face him. "What in the hell, Ben?" There's a roll of her shoulders and she's shoving her hands into her pockets. Wounded and trying to hide it. "I know we didn't leave off on exactly the right foot the other day, but whatever yer expectin' from me right now t' make y' act like this I'm tellin' you off the bat it ain't all that." Her tone is quiet and even, trying to make him understand. "Chey texted me an' I... I didn't know what to send in a message t' you. I needed t' see you." Her frown deepens while she's looking him over. Did she really make him this angry at her Friday morning? Had she been that bad? Her gaze is sweeping along him from head to toe before lingering on his face. "Ben?"

Nothing in his demeanor really changes, unless she's looking really, really closely -- there might be just a bare hint of what seems like amusement, of all things, in his eyes, though it's dark, sharp, and it doesn't do a thing to alleviate the anger. "You can say whatever you have to say and then get out, or just get out. Your choice." No reassurance that it is in fact Ben, which he's always been quick to do for Jackie in the past when she's asked. If the way he's looking at her, without an ounce of affection or even hurt -- really, it's just disdain with that everpresent underlying threat -- doesn't give it away, ignoring her asking if it's him almost certainly would.

It's these moments that are some of the worst. When Jackie is looking at Ben, talking to him like he's Ben, and he's very much not Ben. She always feels as if she should know, that if she had only paid a little more attention to the details that she would be able to pick it out without having to ask. His lack of answer would be all she needs if not for the statement spat out at her so angrily. "I ain't leavin'. I came here t' talk to Ben an' I ain't goin' through you, Sam. So, either y' let me talk to 'im or I'm jus' gonna make myself comfortable while I wait." Arms folded over her chest. She remembered the last time she came face to face with Sam in this apartment it hadn't ended well at all for her. It had been physically and emotionally draining in every sense of the word. This time she refused to allow him to have the upper hand.

There's even threat in that quiet little laugh. "You're not gonna talk to him, Jackie. Leave. What could you have to say to him? That you care, but it's too much, and you can't do it, you were wrong after all -- just want to f*ck with him some more? Or do you want to talk about how thankful you are that he f*cked up again and told your cousin about us so you had somebody to cry to when Harry f*cks around?" Another short, derisive almost-laugh, and his eyes narrow on her again; there's a little bit of a smile at his mouth, but it's so obviously mocking. "I don't know why you give a sh*t about that. It's not like you're gonna put out anyway. Take it slow -- you're just playing with him there too."

"I. Ain't. Leavin'." Every word was given enough pause to make sure they were sinking in for Sam. "What I want t' talk t' him about is between me an' him, Sam. Ain't sh*t got to do with you." Her eyes narrowed on him in return. "Y'all might be all together in on this, but at the end of the day yer all jus' ridin' with Ben. He's the one callin' the shots an' if he thought it was fer the best tellin' Chey then that's the way it's gonna be. I didn't tell 'im t' do it. That was somethin' he wanted t' do."

She was doing so well, still standing strong while keeping her voice even and confident. Sam liked to poke and prod, aim for the weaknesses, but she didn't want to give him the satisfaction of getting to her. It would have more than likely worked too if he stuck with his obvious lies and exaggerations. But it was the final statement, the repetition of the mantra between Ben and herself, that made her mask of defiance crack.

Eyes went wide and her stomach churned at the violation of it all. Something so private, something that was meant to stay between only Ben and her. Was anything ever just between them? She couldn't keep her head straight enough to decide. It all became a blur as her arms unfolded and her hand reeled back. "You sonofabitch!" There was a solid crack of skin meeting skin when Jackie's hand came in full contact with Sam's cheek. She could instantly feel the throb in her palm from the impact while her shaking hand stayed perched midair. Anger had propelled her to act. Now fear of the unknown held her in place.

Sam's reaction was almost instant anyway. Almost immediately after Jackie's hand comes into contact with his face, he reaches up to grab her by the wrist -- maybe that was expected. But at the same time, he's springing forward, his other hand around her neck to shove her back against the wall, palm staying pressed hard enough against her windpipe that breathing wasn't impossible, but he was certainly trying to make it difficult for her. "God, you really don't get it, do you?" His voice is almost a growl, and he's right in her face, almost nose to nose. "He doesn't get to call the shots when he's being f*cking stupid and talking about this because he feels bad about you. Doesn't get to call them when you f*ck him over again and again and he doesn't see it because he's a goddamn idiot." His voice is deadly calm, so quiet. The pressure against her throat increases just a little more. "You're ruining him, and even if both of you are too stupid to see it, I'm not."

Maybe the hold on her wrist had been anticipated, but if her expression was anything to go by she hadn't been expecting the hand to her throat at all. Her head thumps against the wall on contact, but the pressure to her neck keeps it from bouncing forward. His grasp on her wrist renders one hand useless, but the other hand is instantly at his wrist trying to pry his hold off her. There's panic in the way she's clawing at him, trying to get him to let go. "F*ck you." The words are strained and gurgled. She can't catch her breath enough to say much more. Enough to tell him he's wrong and that he doesn't know what he's talking about. Tears are pooling at the corners of Jackie's eyes from strain and emotion with his bitter words being hissed right into her face. Her ongoing struggle to breathe only increases along with the pressure. She should hit him, kick him, make him bleed. But it's too hard to want to put effort into injuring the man in front of her when he looks like the man she adores. She wasn't quite sure she could manage it anyway. The more she struggled, the less air she got. She was back to croaking out a demand, barely audible. "Stop."

So often, it looks like Sam enjoys hurting others, like he really does find joy in mocking, in twisting the knife whenever he can. Right now, though, there's none of that present in his eyes -- Ben's eyes, though Ben didn't seem capable of being this angry, deadly, devoid of any hint of hurt, of softness, of the vulnerable side of him that Jackie saw more than anyone else. For just a second, he's glancing down at her hand at his wrist, but quickly he's deciding that she's too panicked to really do any real damage, and his sharp-eyed gaze lifts to hers again. "Stop what?" He lets up the pressure, but only for long enough for her to gasp in a fuller breath, maybe answer him, and then he's squeezing again, as hard as before. "Stop telling you how it is? Then leave. And don't f*cking come back, Jackie. I told you that already. Should've listened. You're as stupid as he is."

She's digging her nails into the skin of his wrist, so deep she's hoping she's drawing blood, but it doesn't appear to even faze him which only causes Jackie to dig in harder. The moment he lets up on her throat she's taking in large gulps of air hungrily, panting through a strained reply. "Y' don't know anythin' 'bout Ben an' I. Don't matter whatcha heard or whatcha seen." Her voice is ragged, quietly determined. "I ain't goin' anywhere until Ben tells me to." That's when his grasp tightened again. The fresh breaths of air had helped, but it was going on too long under this strain and minimal amount of oxygen. She opened her mouth to speak again, to scream, but all that managed to make it out were a few gurgled sounds. Lips pressed together, trying to form that B in the beginning of Ben, but nothing came of it and nothing followed.

The last thing Jackie says gets that dark, black humor to reappear on his face, sharpening the look in his eyes, one corner of his mouth lifting in a dangerous smile. "Until Ben tells you to." Even that sounds like a threat.

The shift is a quick one (it always seems to be, when it's voluntary like this), the suddenly blank expression, the telltale fall of his eyelids a few times, rapidly, the brief slump of his posture during that tiny bit of in-between time. The pressure against her throat eases during it, but there's a couple of seconds of obvious confusion once the switch is complete that his hand is still at Jackie's neck -- and then it all clicks into place, and he's taking a couple of steps back and letting go of her so fast that the contact may as well have burned him. Eyes wide, looking horror-stricken and sickened, his mouth barely moves when he murmurs, "Oh my god, no."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Jackie Sullivan
The Hillbilly Belle
Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm


Joined: 10 Nov 2011
Posts: 912
See this user's pet
Jobs: Cook, Barmaid
Can Be Found: Ramblin' through RhyDin
0.00 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There wasn't even a chance for her to process what Sam had said, for the fear to properly bubble in her stomach and ice over her lungs. The change in his expression, from being so cruel and hurtful to something so blank, that is what really caused the emotions to rise up in her. It was a heated mix of comfort and disgust. No, don't let him come back like this. Not like this. With the hold on her throat alleviated some she's back to taking in deep rasping breaths of air. Other than those sounds she says nothing. She's too busy watching him, waiting to see if this is what she thinks it is or another sick joke by Sam.

Her confusion was answered when he let her go. Without the pressure around her throat holding her against the wall her body was instantly slumping to the ground where she stood. She was still conscious, so that was a good sign, but there was a sway in her posture even while she sat showing just how lightheaded the lack of oxygen had made her. It was difficult to focus so her gaze stayed pointed on the ground, but she wheezed out a little call for him. "Ben?"

There's a strange little sway in his posture too, listing toward her a second after she slumps to the floor, but just as quickly, he's righting himself again, without having taken a step toward her. Like he wants to go to her but something stops him. "Jackie, I didn't-- It wasn't--" He sounds pained, and it's a good thing she isn't looking at him, because he still looks terrified -- until abruptly, his expression changes. The anger is white-hot, incredibly frustrated, clear on his face -- in his voice, when he raises it. "Go away -- just f*cking stop it!" Maybe it sounded, at first, like he was telling Jackie to go, just like Sam had said -- but really, he's not yelling at anyone that's physically there. "You aren't helping anymore, and I don't want you here, and I-- just shut up--" Maybe it's frustration, maybe it's directionless anger. Whatever it is, the wall a couple of feet to Jackie's left doesn't deserve it, but Ben's putting his fist through the drywall anyway.

Ben's not often like this around Jackie, volatile and violent, but he does have that side. Unlike Sam, though, whose supply of violence seems unending, the anger disappears from Ben as quickly as it had come over him, leaving him close to breathless, distraught, cautious when his scattered attention zeroes in on Jackie again. He sinks down to sit next to her on the floor, but he stays that couple of feet away. "It's me, Jackie," quiet, soft, defeated.

She's taking in the explanations, readying herself to tell him that she knows it wasn't him. It was nothing he did or wanted to have happen. Her mouth opens to speak, but before she can even get a word out he's screaming. Cussing. Her back is pressed against the wall behind her like the words are hitting her personally, but it's really only out of surprise. They don't make sense directed at her and she can only imagine the sort of hell Sam is reaping within Ben's mind. It's when Ben's fist is meeting the wall that Jackie's arms are up over her head with her body slumping forward again. It looks like the position you're taught to take in elementary school when a tornado or bad storm is threatening. Huddling into a ball for protection. It doesn't look like something Jackie would usually do, but right now it's about all she can manage. She doesn't move when he sits down nearby. It's only when he assures her that it's him that she's rolling her head aside and lifting her gaze to look at him. She looks as soft and defeated as he sounds. "Hey, sweetheart." The greeting is quiet and probably made no sense, but what else are you supposed to say after all that? Her attention lifts to the hole left in the wall above her and to the side. Then she's looking back down to him. "Yer hand okay?"

And after all that, she's still calling him sweetheart. She's the one worried about him. His brows knit, he bites his bottom lip for a second. "It's fine." Quiet assurance, even though it isn't; he'd caught the back of his hand on the jagged edge of the drywall, left a gash across the back of his hand -- nothing major, barely even bleeding, but he's pressing his other palm to the injury to get it to stop, eyes focused there instead of on her. "Are you... Are you okay?" It's a dumb question, but he doesn't know what else to say.

His answer is taken at face value. Both of them are too out of sorts right now for her to press the subject and if he says it's alright then that's enough for her. At his question she's lifting her shoulders, straightening her back to extend her neck. Her fingertips are delicately brushing along the flesh of her throat, feeling out the damage since she obviously can't see it right now. There's a bright red ring around her neck from all of the pressure, a few distinct outlines of fingers can be seen sneaking beneath the cover of her hair. "I'm fine." She's taking another deep breath with a slow exhale. Mostly just because she could. "You been gone long?"

He knows she can't be okay -- not physically, and certainly not emotionally, mentally -- but he doesn't push it either. Not now. Quiet after her question, and this time the furrow of his brow is more thoughtful as opposed to just pained. After a moment, "I don't think so. The last thing I remember is getting a text from you." Looking up from his hands to her face then, as if for confirmation of how long ago that happened, but then there's another rapid cycle of emotion -- surprise to that hurt again, though this time there's a lot of worry in it too. One hand moves toward her, but it doesn't get far before he pulls it back. "I'm-- You're sure you're okay? Jackie, it doesn't look good."

She's absolutely far from okay, but she's so unsure of how to process all of it that 'I'm fine' seemed like a safe enough answer to buy her some time. That absentminded response she was so prone to giving without hesitation. Ben knows it well and she's just thankful when he lets it slide for now. "Not that long then." She's knitting her brows together as well. Was it her fault this happened? Was she the one that triggered Sam? Did she bring this on herself?

The questions were too much to get into right now and her gaze was pulled aside by the movement of his hand towards her. Her expression doesn't change between its approach and its recoil. She's still softly stroking at her own throat, surprised by how raw the skin felt yet for some reason unable to stop herself. "I can breathe. It's a big upgrade from what I had goin' on." It wasn't supposed to be mean, or a way to make him feel bad, but the words successfully made her sick to her stomach. The hand at her throat lifted to cover her face, her head sinking forward heavily. "Jesus." It was only one word, yet it cracked with the emotion she had somehow managed to hold in since his return. From the sound of her breathing, which was becoming much more shallow and ragged, she wasn't going to be able to hang on much longer.

So often, Ben uses a similar kind of almost-humor to deal with situations like this, but never when they're to this degree. He knows she doesn't mean to hurt him with what she says, but it feels like a slap anyway -- and it's then that he notices that it really does feel like he's been slapped. Another piece of the puzzle. He lifts a hand to press his fingers to that side of his face, but he's only just feeling the heat of the reddened skin when Jackie drops her head forward and that blasphemy escapes her. She isn't looking at him (not that he'd been any good at keeping his expressions under control at this point anyway), so it's an obvious mix of pain, worry, and hesitance on his face when he reaches over and, this time, actually makes contact with her, first just his fingertips barely against her shoulder, which she might not even feel through her clothing, but then his hand moves to press lightly against her shoulderblade. "I'm so sorry, Jackie." Quiet, so quiet.

Even with his hand pressing down onto her shoulderblade she's not moving. Her head is still hanging and she's trying to get control of her breathing. It doesn't seem like she can catch a break. Either she can't breathe at all or she's taking in so much air that she's making herself lightheaded again.

It doesn't look like she's going to be ready to move from that position for a while, but then all at once she's lifting her head. Dark brown eyes have an extra sheen to them from unshed tears she's managed to hold back, but all the uncontrolled emotion comes through in her tone. "I'm sorry. I'm sorry I was mean on Friday. I'm sorry if y' felt like y' had t' tell Chey t' make me feel better. I'm sorry if I scared y' or made y' think it was even possible that I wouldn't wanna be with y' no more. I'm not tryin' to f*ck with you or ever make things harder for you, Ben. I'm jus' tryin'." It had all spilled out so quickly, barely without pause. By the end of it her shoulders were shaking, but she pushed through it one last time. "I'm sorry if I hurt you."

When she doesn't shrink away from his touch, he starts to slowly rub his hand across her back, from one shoulder to the other, in an effort to calm her during her silence. But when she picks up her head and looks at him, his hand stills. Right away, after her first apology, there's an obvious twinge of emotion for him -- that knit of his brows again -- and he's biting down on his lower lip. That's the only way he can keep himself from interrupting her. After she quiets again, he's shaking his head. "I know you're trying, Jackie. I know. You're doing the best you can, sweetheart. Don't be sorry." Moving closer to her, putting his arm around her shoulders -- there's just a little bit of pressure there, just a hint of it, to try to guide her in close, to get her to lean on him.

She doesn't have the fight left in her to keep away from him and more than likely she doesn't want to anyway. That gentle guidance is followed for her to slump against him. It's when she curls her frame against him that her resolve to stay calm dissolves into nothingness. Her hands are lifted to rub at her eyes, blocking the tears from view even though it was obvious she was crying by the sound of her voice. "He hates me so much. He hates everythin' about me an' us bein' t'gether. It feels like I'm not gonna be able t' do nothin' right t' make him stop." It was one of those times when Jackie's age shined through, for better or worse. This time was much worse. Curled into Ben, sobbing about someone not liking her.

Jackie isn't the only one whose resolve is disappearing. Once she slumps against him, Ben can't even pretend badly that he doesn't need her there, and he's putting both arms around her, keeping her in close, pressing a couple of kisses to her hair before leaning his cheek up against it (even if that ached a little -- maybe he wanted that, felt he deserved the reminder). "Shh, Jackie... You can't blame yourself for that, sweetheart." Back to gently rubbing slow circles against her back with one hand; the fingers of his other hand catch in her hair for just a second, but only a second, since she has it pulled back, then that hand is lightly against the back of her neck -- the first skin to skin contact in a while, a long while. "He hates me too." For just a second, he's remembering what it was like to come back to himself this time around. Only for a second though, and then he's pushing it out of his mind. "I'll make him stop. I won't let him hurt you again." Was that really possible? If Ben had doubts, none of it sounded in his tone. He just sounds fiercely protective, even if there is still the undertone of sorrow in his voice.

"I know you don't try to f*ck with me. I know you aren't trying to make things harder for me. I never think that about you." Even when she's misguided, he knows for certain that she always means well. "I told Chey because I wanted her to know. I didn't feel like I had to. You didn't force me into that." Closing his eyes, he's taking a deep breath, breathing her in, the scent of her hair, letting out the air in a slow exhale. "I'm sorry he hurt you. I'm sorry you go through things like this to be with me. I want to make it better for you -- make it easier." It's then that he notices how clear his thoughts are -- his thoughts. They're all his own. "I'll make them stop."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Jackie Sullivan
The Hillbilly Belle
Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm


Joined: 10 Nov 2011
Posts: 912
See this user's pet
Jobs: Cook, Barmaid
Can Be Found: Ramblin' through RhyDin
0.00 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If Jackie was still having issues about Ben touching her like she did early Friday, there were no signs of it now. She leaned herself into him, his arms, his touch, the kisses to her head. She took them all in while doing her best to quiet her blubbering. Shortly after his skin touches hers, while she's taking in everything he has to say, she's lowering her hands from her face to instead wrap her arms around his. To hold onto him any way she can to keep him there beside her even if he never threatened to move. "Thank you." The words were said in reply to him saying he won't let Sam hurt her again. Did she really think that was possible? Not really, but she managed to keep the uncertainty out of her tone. Instead it was extremely thankful that even after everything on Friday he was still so willing to defend her against the others.

"He jus'..." Her voice lowered again, as if she were trying to whisper softly enough to keep this conversation only between them. "He knows everythin' an' it makes me worry when his thoughts stop an' yers might begin." Taking what Sam said to heart was probably the worst thing she could do, but it was so hard to block out. Not wanting to linger too long with those words she continued on. "Thank you fer tellin' Chey, even if I didn't make y' feel like y' had to." Her head tucked further against him rather than looking up at him. She didn't want to run the risk of making his head move from being so close to her. "She texted me. Told me she wanted t' talk if I wanted to. That was what I wanted t' come over here for. I was jus' surprised, didn't know what t' think."

Her fingertips are stroking along his arm when he speaks. When he apologizes so profusely for so much. "It's not yer fault, sweetheart. No matter what happens, or how hard it is fer me to swallow sometimes, I always know deep down it's not yer fault." His final statement did get her brows furrowing softly as she stared straight ahead across the room at nothing. She wanted to ask if he thought that was really possible, what could happen from attempting that, or what would Sam do? Instead she barely nodded, still not wanting to disturb him. "I got faith in you tryin', Ben. I want you to be safe though." To not anger Sam too much.

When his thoughts stop and yours might begin. There had been a lot of things over the last few days that have made him think, that have shaken him pretty badly. Some of the questions Chey'd asked. Obviously what happened on Friday and what happened today. That sentiment, though, coming from Jackie -- that was right up there with the things that affected him the most. He's glad she's got her head tucked in against him, because he ducks his a little further when she admits that, half-hiding his face in her hair. "None of that is me, Jackie. Anything he says about..." Trailing off, because he only knows what Sam tells him about Jackie. He can't be sure how much he'd told her, too, and he wasn't want to volunteer things and make this harder than it already is. "I know that you'd never mean to hurt me and that you try so f*cking hard at this -- at dealing with this. Trying not to take it out on me or blame me for it, no matter how badly they hurt you." Turning to face her a little more directly then, trying to pull her in closer still -- almost, but not quite, pulling her right into his lap.

"It got to me a little, when you told me how you had to act in front of your family on Thursday. That you had to hide it from everyone -- that you can't lean on anybody in all of this. That isn't fair to you. Even if you don't talk to her about everything, at least there'll be somebody that will kind of understand what's bothering you. And..." Another pause, and he's sighing. "It was good for me too, I think. To tell somebody and... I mean, she asked some questions I wasn't expecting." Or hadn't thought about at all. "But it didn't go badly." Didn't treat him like a monster. "Plus, it means I have somebody else to..." Watch out for him? He doesn't like to make it sound like he needs that, like he needs to be watched over, so he rephrases it to, "Somebody else that knows what's going on."

If Ben understands her unvoiced plea to be safe around Sam, he doesn't acknowledge it. Even what she does say only brings a sort of grim determination out of him. "It's not 'trying,' Jackie. I can't just try anymore. This can't happen again, and I'm going to do what I have to to make sure it doesn't. I'll be as safe as I can, but..." He doesn't really know what will happen when he goes through with what he's planning now, but Ben's been dealing with a lot of unknowns lately when it comes to himself and the others inside. It never feels better, it's always difficult, but at least it doesn't seem so impossible anymore. "I won't do anything I don't have to. But I have to do something."

"It's the same problem I always got, Ben. In m' head I'm smart enough t' know I shouldn't be listenin' to Sam. That I should tell 'im t' go to hell and be done with it. But... he gets inside an' he makes me worry. It's the same problem I always got. I can separate it in m' head, but I have such a hard time keepin' it clear in m' heart." She sounds, looks, and feels so small. There's no fight when he pulls her closer. Instead she's curling herself further against him, tucking herself to him for that comfort he brings. It was easier this way, to be so close with her head held to him and eyes closed. She needed that little bit of extra time to forget the images of Sam, who unfortunately looked like Ben while he spewed so much hate and violence her way.

"I can see Chey knowin' as a good thing. Like y' said, havin' someone else who understands where I'm comin' from. It's a big relief an' I think it's somethin' I'll appreciate more when my mind is a lil' more... settled." A hand moved from his arm to wrap into the fabric of his shirt at his chest. That absentminded clingy gesture reserved just for him. "But I coulda toldja that things would have been alright with Chey. She already calls y' family an' harps on y' like kin. She wouldn't look at y' any different over this an' I'm glad y' know that now."

Jackie listens quietly to the determination in his voice. There's no way to fight him on it and no point to really. She can't fault a man for wanting to call the shots in his own life, for better or worse, without being constantly hindered. She understood the need for Ben's Boys, but on the other hand? She wouldn't complain about going a long while without having to come face to face with Sam. "Y' do what y' need to do, sweetheart. I don't know what y' got up yer sleeve, if anythin' right now, but you'll handle it right. An' if y' need somethin' y' know I got you."

When Jackie doesn't fight being pulled closer, Ben does just go ahead and lift her up into his lap, putting his arms around her again in a protective sort of embrace once she's settled, cheek resting against the top of her head. His eyes are closed too, just trying to absorb as much of the calm out of this moment as he can. Eventually, "At least you understand it. That's... some people can't even get that far." Ella. Or Ella had understood it, but couldn't even try to not take her hurt feelings out on Ben, even though she knew on some level it wasn't his fault. "We'll figure it out together. Me and you -- and now you and Chey, too." Pausing to take a deep breath, letting it out in a sigh. "I know you could've told me she'd be fine with it. I was telling myself that, too. But ... I know what you mean, when you say he gets inside, makes you worry. Tries to make you doubt. I know." Very quiet, by the end -- it's smiliar to how Jackie had been speaking near the beginning of this conversation, like she didn't want Sam to hear, somehow. For Ben, though, it's more like the quiet inside is eerie, and he's suspicious of it -- or like he's trying not to wake him, like the reason for the quiet is because Sam is only sleeping.

It's her last words that get a faint smile from him. "I know you do, sweetheart." Smudging a kiss to her temple, and moving one hand to wrap his fingers around her hand (though he doesn't try to unhook her fingers from his shirt), but not pulling back at all. "Did you want anything to drink? Or maybe some ice for that bruising?"

There is far from any fight from her. In fact, when he settles her in his lap she's simply curling herself closer to him and piecing herself further into his arms. "Well, I know there's a lotta times where all I want from someone else is some understandin', so y' gotta give as good as y' want." Her head bobbed in a soft nod when he spoke of Chey, but she realized the movement was uncomfortable and disturbed him. She went still again and opted instead to nuzzle her face against his chest. It muffled her when she spoke, but the calm that lingered in her voice made it clear she didn't care. "I can tell y' a lotta things, sweetheart, but that was fer you t' decide an' act on. I'm glad it helped ease some of yer worries." A soft smile. "An' I still can't explain how much I appreciate it."

Her hand squeezes beneath his, holding onto the shirt a little tighter. Not that she worried about him pulling her hand away, but because his questions would mean having to move. Having to get up from her current safe haven. Her lips uncurl, brows furrow and her head shakes. "Nah, I ain't thirsty an' I'll get some ice in a lil' bit. Jus' sit with me fer now fer a little while longer?" The hand not nestled in his shirt reached to feel at her throat again. Was it bruising? "Shouldn't be no harder to cover than a shiner." It was more to assure him than herself.

Even though just the little bit of disturbance isn't even close to seeming like she's trying to leave, he tightens his embrace around her shoulders anyway -- though when Jackie settles, Ben looses his arm from her shoulders, reaches up to pull the tie out of her hair, put his hand into the newly freed waves of blonde, just to comb his fingers through it a few times. He doesn't say anything when she tells him she appreciates it, but there's a similarly soft smile at his mouth too.

Ben's seen enough injury and violence in his life to know when bruising is going to be bad. He knows that Sam's outburst was going to leave some on Jackie, but he doesn't push that, not about icing it, not about her covering it up later. Instead, his hand moves from her hair to the hand at her throat, gently taking it in his, pulling it away from her neck, up to his mouth, pressing a soft kiss to her fingers. "We can sit here as long as you want, sweetheart. Nowhere I need to be except with you."

There's a flicker of confusion when he's pulling the hair tie from her ponytail, but it doesn't take long for her to realize what Ben's up to. It's no secret to her that it seems to be a security blanket of sorts for him. She would be lying, too, if she said it didn't bring her a great deal of comfort as well when his fingers wrapped within her hair.

With his guidance the hand leaves her neck and fingers press to his lips. For a moment it almost makes her forget it all. The violence, the yelling, the anger and hatred towards her. She focuses on Ben and his affectionate expression for her. The tenderness in his voice. Her face was pressed further against him, her words getting lost against his shirt. "I wanna be here with you, too."

He can tell she's trying hard to forget what happened. Can tell she's trying to just focus on the now. Once she's hiding her face even more against his chest, he's letting go of both her hands to just wrap her up in a tight, protective hug. He couldn't take away those violent memories from her, but he could create new ones that were the exact opposite of that. He takes in a deep breath and lets it out slowly, then kisses the crown of her head before tilting his head enough to press his cheek there. "Well... I'm here now." Just him. He's not sure if he's saying that for her benefit or for his. Voice low, bringing that little bit of gravel into it, "And that's what you get for the rest of the night, being with me -- just me." If it was anyone else saying it, it might sound like a sort of self-deprecation, just me -- that's all? But Ben knows that that's exactly what Jackie wants.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Jackie Sullivan
The Hillbilly Belle
Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm


Joined: 10 Nov 2011
Posts: 912
See this user's pet
Jobs: Cook, Barmaid
Can Be Found: Ramblin' through RhyDin
0.00 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012 -- Evening

She had given him time like she said she would. They were, by far, some of the most difficult hours she had spent restlessly waiting at home for something, but she knew pushing on this wasn't the way to go. It was only when she felt an appropriate amount of time had passed, enough to say she tried, that she was grabbing her leather jacket and first aid kit while flying out the door.

It didn't take long for her to pull up in front of Ben's office building. The truck was barely turned off when she sprang out of the driver's side door and slammed it shut behind her. It was on her approach to the front door that she remembered Ben wanted quiet. It took the time from her heading inside to reaching his office door for Jackie to manage to slow her pace and get her panic under control. She was going to be calm and cool.

The door was tested and thankfully unlocked. Boots quietly carried her inside the office, the door clicking closed behind her carefully while she took it all in. "Ben?"

Just as Jackie had told him to do, and just like he'd said he would be, Ben's stretched out on the couch with one arm across his eyes, face hidden in the crook of his elbow. Nothing really looks out of order in the office (though there's a mess of bloody tissues in the garbage can in the bathroom). Ben's slow to react though, not moving when he hears the door open, not when he hears her footsteps coming through the door -- not even when she calls his name, not right away. But after a quiet moment of not moving, he's pulling his arm away from his face and sitting up (though that's slow, too). "Jackie. Hey." He tries a smile for her, but it's not very convincing -- probably made even less so by the way he looks. It's not a bad break (lucky for him, because a crooked nose would really hurt his boyish good looks), but his nose is certainly swollen, and there's already purplish-black bruising beginning under his eyes.

When she spots Ben she doesn't rush his way. She's still keeping her calm pace towards him, squinting somewhat out of worry when he doesn't automatically stir. There's an audible sigh of relief when he sits up and addresses her. "Hey there, sweetheart." Even her voice is quiet. She's shedding her coat as she moves and tosses it on the armrest of the couch. Then she's sinking to her knees in front of him, the first aid kit being set aside on the floor. "How y' doin?" Her hands lifted to either side of his jaw, trying to carefully tilt him enough so she could examine his nose for herself while keeping up the casual conversation.

Pliable tonight, there's no resistance when she takes his head in her hands, easily moved. He does duck his head a little bit though, lowering his eyes. "I'm okay. Kind of tired." Equally quiet. "I think maybe I just need ice for it." A little hesitant, but he reaches up with one hand to touch fingertips to her forearm, just for the contact. "Glad you're here."

"I think yer right. Don't look like it's gotta be realigned or nothin', thankfully. I got an ice pack. An' you'll just have to sleep with a lil' somethin' extra under yer head t' keep it elevated. But aside from that an' a few pain killers y' don't need nothin' more." It was equally helpful and disturbing how much Jackie knew about first aid simply from hanging around her brothers and working at bars. When her hands lower from his jaw, one is reaching across to take his hand in hers. To lift it, carefully turn it, and press a kiss to his palm. Maybe she didn't want to run the risk of bumping his nose in a kiss to the lips right now. "Glad t' be here."

Ben's not only thankful that Jackie knows so much about first aid, but he's glad that she's not one to push him to go see a doctor, too. It makes things easier to ignore, to forget. A little absently, he's nodding along with her when she gives her assessment of his injury, though it's not quite enough to disturb her touch against his face. When she lowers her hands and takes one of his in hers, he's lifting his gaze to her face again, watching her press her lips to his palm. There's a tiny little tremor that courses through him when she does it, and as soon as her mouth isn't against his skin anymore, his fingers curl in on his palm, like he's trying to hold that kiss there. "I'm sorry for worrying you."

When his fingers curl in on themselves she brushes one last kiss against his knuckles before releasing his hand entirely. It was only so that she could ease herself back to sit on her heels and tug the first aid kit closer. It was opened and dug through, impressive and obviously added to throughout the years since it contained much more than the generic items that came along with the little plastic boxes from the store. She's pulling out a thin towel with an ice pack wrapped within it, kneading it briefly in her hands before extending it out towards him. "Gotta ice it up to four times a day fer the first forty-eight hours or so. 'Bout ten to fifteen each time." More medical advice out of the way she's tilting her head aside. "Don't apologize, Ben. Y' did what y' had to do. I'm glad y' gave me warnin' this time, t' be honest. Y' did everythin' y' could to make this easy on me an' I appreciate you fer it."

Everything about him is sort of delayed, kind of distant -- the way he pulls his hand back after she lets go, the way he's watching her dig through the first aid kit. Even when he reaches out to take the ice pack from her. "I'll set an alarm or something." He's just holding the ice between his hands for a half a moment, but then he does lift it to press it carefully to his nose. Finally, a little bit more reaction from him, though it's just a wince, and one that doesn't last long. "I try. I know this isn't easy for you to..." Lifting his free hand in a meaningless little gesture. "Deal with. But I think it'll be better now. I really do."

"Sometimes carin' for people ain't easy. Sure, sometimes it is. When it's soft an' quiet an' everythin' is pieced together jus' right by candlelight an' y' think, man, this couldn't be any simpler. But if it was like that alla the time? Well, everyone would be in a relationship." She reaches her hands out to settle one on each of his knees, a comforting gesture since she wasn't moving from her spot kneeling in front of him. "If y' wanna talk about it, I'm more than willin' to listen. If y' would rather just sit here in quiet or lemmie drive you home, I'm fine with that, too."

Jackie the Bartender right now, isn't she? All of that actually gets a little smile out of him, half-there and subdued, but there nonetheless, and when she puts her hands on his knees, he reaches out to lay his hand lightly against her cheek. Doesn't say anything about it, but it's clear from his reaction, the smile and the touch, that he appreciates the sentiment -- that she's so level-headed about it all. Another one of those moments that he forgets her age.

The smile fades and disappears when she goes on, though. He'd been expecting the offer to listen, of course, and she isn't pushing in the least, but the idea of talking sobers him quickly. "I, um..." And usually, here, he'd be flooded with thoughts that aren't his own, convincing in all kinds of ways that he not talk about what happened -- but now, there's just silence, and that's what makes up his mind. "I told him that I was sick of him hurting you. Hurting me. That I didn't need him anymore, if that's all he was going to do -- that he was ruining everything. And he, uh..." Pulling his hand away from her cheek, taking a deep breath and, out of habit, about to rub at the bridge of his nose, but he catches it, puts his fingers idly back through his hair instead, scratching at the back of his head for a second and sighing before switching hands for holding the ice to his nose. "He did what he always does. He tried to convince me -- had me almost convinced, really -- that I am better off alone. Family's never really worked out for me in the past, right?" There's an element of guilt in his expression then, faint, probably for the admission that he'd actually been led on by Sam at all. He drops his gaze again, and his voice softens some when he goes on, in contrast to what he describes. "But he started talking about Adam, and I-- I couldn't-- And I beat the sh*t out of him, Jackie. And it's quiet now, but it..." Uselessly, he's making a little gesture toward himself, his chest. "It feels different. Hurts."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Jackie Sullivan
The Hillbilly Belle
Ancient Wyrm
Ancient Wyrm


Joined: 10 Nov 2011
Posts: 912
See this user's pet
Jobs: Cook, Barmaid
Can Be Found: Ramblin' through RhyDin
0.00 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Thu Dec 27, 2012 2:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

She had her moments of brilliance and yes, sometimes they even occurred when she wasn't standing behind a counter. Jackie's smiling softly in return at the curl of his lips, the way he's looking at her, and the way he's touching her cheek. But when his smile sinks hers does as well. There's a squeeze to his knee, encouraging him one way or another while reminding him that she was here for him.

There's a wince when he almost rubs at the bridge of his nose, but she's thankful when he rethinks that. Brown eyes are steadily sweeping his expression while he explains the confrontation with Sam. Her brow creases and she wants to add her two cents from the start, but she manages to bite her tongue. She promised him quiet and she's going to deliver that in every sense of the word, including not making him battle to talk over her.

Once he's finished she's nodding softly, still rubbing at his knee because she needs that contact. "I'm glad y' stood up fer yourself, sweetheart. For me, too, but mostly fer you. I'm extra glad y' didn't believe him when it comes t' family. Y' got Adam, he's yer boy. Y' always got family with him. Even if things ain't perfect now 'cause y' got all that space between y' it don't mean it breaks the sorta bonds y' got."

There's worry now at the gesture to his chest, the talk of it hurting. "What sorta hurt y' got? Like... an actual physical pain from y'all tusslin'? Or... y'got yerself a heart hurt?"

He nods a little too, and he's reaching to put his hand in her hair. It really is a sort of security blanket for him. He just leaves his fingers curled into the thick waves at the back of her head for now. "Makes me miss him more. And I hope you're right about that. I hope he doesn't give up on me." It's not the kind of worry he'd usually voice, but tonight isn't a typical night, Ben's usual emotional defenses obliterated.

A twitch of a smile for her last question, the way she phrases it. "You ever had a heart hurt so bad that it actually made you hurt? I think it's that." Thinking of it like beating up a part of his own psyche was too confusing, admitted too much of a shared mind with Sam, so instead, "I don't know how else to explain it. Not an emptiness, but like something's missing, and now a bunch of other stuff is in its place." Shaking his head, just a tiny bit, but rapid, shaking something off. "I'll be okay. It'll just take time." To get used to the difference -- to heal.

She's inching her way closer to him, almost to the point where her chin could rest atop his knee if she wanted to but her gaze is still turned up towards him. "A boy don't easily give up on his Daddy. An' I know y' miss him, but... maybe all this can be considered a step in the right direction towards him? I know it's too early to tell, but it's somethin' to hold onto."

His question in return causes her to gnaw at her bottom lip, her gaze flickering downward while she spoke. "I called it a heart hurt when you an' I weren't t'gether. It hurt so bad I always felt like there were bricks sittin' on my heart. It was heavy. But maybe it ain't the same." A light shrug at her final dismissive statement, still glancing around at the floor and off to the side at nothing. Her gaze is slowly lifting towards him when he goes on to explain further. "Y' got plenty of time, sweetheart. No need t' rush. I just want y' to take it easy fer a day or two." Tilting her head. "Maaaybe I got m'self a cold or somethin' I could tell m' boss about? Maybe you got the same cold an' you could tell yer boss about it?"

When she moves in closer, his fingers curl a little more tightly into her hair, then relax, and he starts to put his fingers through it absently. "It's something to hold onto." Echoing, a little distant again, but only because he's thoughtful now; he hadn't even thought about it, that everything he'd managed today might be getting him closer to going home for his son.

He doesn't look away when she does, and even though the hurt she's talking about is old now, a little bit of sorrow bleeds into his features when she explains, tries to relate. "It hurt the same for me, sweetheart." Withdrawing his hand from her hair, but just so he can tuck some of it behind her ear, letting his fingers trace a path down along her jawline, up over her cheek, until he's pressing his hand lightly to her cheek again, idly brushing his thumb against her skin. "And it is kind of like that. Not the same kind of hurt, but... the same kind of thing."

He figures it must've been ten or fifteen minutes by now, so he's lowering the ice from his face, leaning in to press a careful kiss to the top of her head. "You don't need to do that, Peaches. I'll take it easy. Promise. My boss always buys the 'catching a cold' story." A little bit of a pause. "But if you did have to stay home from a cold too, and you ended up babying me all day, I think I might be able to endure that for a day or two. Maaaybe."

Her cheek tips into his touch, forcing out the faintest of smiles to counter the sadness in his expression. She didn't mean to make him upset by it. "Thankfully, it ain't a sorta heart hurt we gotta worry 'bout no more. So y' can focus on what y' got goin' on now. Heal from it. Yer strong enough to."

Jackie's smile widens beneath the kiss, her eyes closing briefly. When they open again she's looking much more at ease. "I know I don't have t' do it. I never have t' do anythin'. But I wanna stay with you an' make sure yer alright. There's no maaaybe about it." She's smiling when she carefully takes the ice pack from him and returns it to her first aid kit. It's closed and grasped in one hand. The other hand is reaching for his when she rises to her feet. "And what I want t' do now is get y' home." She's being gentle when she guides him up to his feet and makes sure he's steady when she leads him towards the door. "I toldja I'm gonna take care of y', sweetheart."
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
This forum is locked: you cannot post, reply to, or edit topics.   This topic is locked: you cannot edit posts or make replies.   printer-friendly view    Red Dragon Inn - Dragon's Mark Forum Index -> The Catacombs -> The Unintended All times are GMT - 4 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum


Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2005 phpBB Group

Dragon's Mark Producer - Rob Portinga
Original site design © 2005 by Nomad  •  Forum design © 2005 Isaura Simon