Frustrated Protectiveness

She gritted her teeth, but plowed on.

“Alex-“

“Are you certain about this?”

“Alex-“

“You’ve never been anywhere here by yourself yet. Please let me send someone as your, ah, guide.”

“I’m not taking a bodyguard.” Mary said flatly.

“They don’t have to be a bodyguard…”

“Oh I’m sure that wouldn’t be their official designation, but at the same time be at least a Third Degree Black Belt on the side, completely learned without your needing it required.”

“There’s no need to take that kind of tone with me.” Alex protested, “I’m just- I’m worried about you, Mary. If anyone ever finds out about our connection-“

“And having a bodyguard won’t out me in five seconds?”

Alex sighed, “I just want you to be safe should anything happen.”

Mary softened, “I know, Al, but I’ll be fine. You seem to forget that I know more about fighting than every single person in your employ.”

“I don’t want you to worry about breaking the seal and hurting yourself!”

“I know how to fight without my ‘extra abilities,’ Al.” her tone was drier this time and less sarcastic, “There have been plenty of times where I couldn’t use them either, brother-mine.”

He snorted, “And that won’t draw attention to you either, I suppose?”

Now Mary laughed, “There are plenty of young women in this day and age who have learned how to defend themselves. Unless I start sporting a colorful costume or a mask, I’m fairly certain that I won’t draw any more attention to myself than your average college student who knows how to defend herself against assault.”

“I reserve the right to have someone tail you every now and then just to reassure myself at least.”

“By all means, check the CCTV footage if you must, just so long as you use that subtlety that I know exists within you. Somewhere, anyway.”

Lonely Library

It was lonely here. Likely because, though she could no longer feel her sister she knew that she should.

Alex didn’t often let her stay anywhere alone for very long. She was grateful for that, more than grateful.

She wasn’t certain what would have happened if she had been alone.

Mary (and it was very strange to think that was her name now) pulled out a book from the shelves standing in front of her and flipped through it halfheartedly. The story was one of those ‘old’ books written back before the turn of the century. Her eyes slid over the words and Mary didn’t absorb anything about them, couldn’t even tell anyone what they were talking about so she closed the old and valuable book and placed it back on the shelf in front of her.

“You know that book’s actually pretty interesting to read.”

Mary didn’t jump, didn’t even startle, when Alex spoke up from behind her. She simply nodded without even looking at him.

Even if she didn’t want to be alone, she had yet been able to talk overly much about anything.

Alex was mostly fine with that and continued talking about the book, the author and even how it had made its way into his family’s collection.

Even the wicked…

Even the wicked have souls.                                                                -Lightning, FFXIII-3: Lightning’s Returns

Alex was not a nice man.

He was ruthless and merciless in his business dealings, had no friends (only frantically loyal bodyguards that, really, were mostly furniture to him), no family (left…) and no one who would care if he died.

That last part wasn’t quite true.

There were well over half a million people (at least) who would care one way or another if he suddenly expired. His very many employees across the continent (and soon the globe if his recent business dealings were fruitful enough) as well as his (also very many, sadly) personal and business enemies. People who he’d stepped on moving his way up the company ladder before he was able to secure control of the corporation for himself as well as those who had decided that they just didn’t like him, for one reason or another. (i.e. environmentalists, conservationists, political activists, disgruntled former employees, journalists, ex-girlfriends, one or two ex-fiances, etc.) Supposedly his death would also not be greeted by the local law enforcement. Alex was in relatively good health and any death would be suspect and need to be investigated. The local cops didn’t exactly like Alex (no one really liked big businesses that might possibly have shady dealings going on, but how else would you get certain things done?), but they hated having to deal with his corporation even more. No one really liked dealing with all the inevitable paperwork that someone of Alex’s social standing dying would generate.

He’d given up on making friends and creating a family for himself. What good were friends and family when all they did was betray you? No, he was fine with his ambitions and bodyguards and multi-billion dollar company.

You’ve Ignored me, Now I Ignore You

I am entitled to know all his business.
–Lady Catherine de Bourgh
 
Reality never seems to show what’s there;
I find that demands are constantly placed here.
Getting in the way of my life, because you believe you have the right?
How is it that someone who has never cared
To help me, opinion’s now what I should share.
 

Alex said nothing as his father ranted and raved at him.

“Why you should take this little nothing into our family when she is just that! A nothing!”

He had to sit and listen to his father, a man who had never done a single thing in his life to deserve the title ‘father’, degrade the choice of his son to adopt a woman as his sister without his ‘father’s’ approval.

Alex stood as his father began to speculate on the connection between him and his new sister.

“That is quite enough. I will hear no more from you.”

Alex left the room, his father still yelling after him to come back.

‘You spent decades ignoring my cries, Father. Now it is your turn to be denied.’


Another little part of my Former Guardian universe using a character that I wasn’t even sure was going to show up. Alex’s father is not the kind of character that I like to write about and I honestly never thought he’d show up until he was yelling and screaming at Alex.

I really don’t like him.

Anyway, this is partially inspired by the revisit of the Dungeon Prompt: Entitlement Ideology from Sreejit.

Loss of Balance

Finding a balance between her professional life, something that was necessary to pay the bills and take care of her sons, and her time spent with her sons was very difficult. On the one side, she wanted to bury herself in her work completely so that she didn’t have to think about the hole in her life that used to be filled by her husband. She wanted to keep her body moving so that her mind didn’t have time to think.

On the other hand, she didn’t want to lose anymore of her sons’ lives than she already had. She had missed months if not years of her eldest’s life. She knew that he still blamed her for the divorce between Warren and her. Mary had never been able to sit down and really talk it over with Terry and not talking about it had caused the rift to grow.

“Mary, let me help, you don’t have to work yourself to death for this.” 

“No, Alex,” Mary sighed over the phone, “I need to work, you know that more than anyone else.”

“Mary, you’re missing the best years of Matt’s life, you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you made with Terry.”

Mary drew in a breath of air sharply, but said nothing as she carefully closed the cell phone in her hand.

She wondered if she’d ever find the balance that she needed in this life or if, when it did come, it would ever be allowed to last.

“Alex, you don’t understand,” she whispered to herself, the phone sitting on the table beside her, “My kind are not allowed to do anything other than make mistakes.”

The sun was high in the sky as she looked out the window, the rays beating down on her with a harsh glare as if to remind her of what she was even if she was no longer who she had been.


This was a combination of two prompts: the Dungeon Prompt: Balance and the Art of Succeeding in an All or Nothing World by Sreejit and the Light and Shade Challenge for this first Monday of the month.

Don’t You Worry

Alex worried about Mary.

(Alex always worried about Mary, it was practically encoded into his DNA for all that they had never met until they were both well into adulthood.)

Ever since the separation between Warren and Mary, Alex had been worried. There shouldn’t be any reason that he could think of for them to be having marital problems at. All. Much less ones that would require them to have a period of separation. So yes, Alex was very Worried, with a capitol W.

He knew that they’d had problems before.

(Somehow being unable to conceive a child had been something that they hadn’t wanted to broadcast and he had respected that. He’d never let them know that he knew…though sometimes he was certain they were just humoring him about his little attempts to know what was going on with them, but trying really hard not to at the same time.)

He’d known that Warren was having some kind of problems with work.

(Alex hadn’t known just what, exactly, those problems were, just that there was something not sitting right. He hadn’t been able to find out much more than that without letting anyone else know that he was looking. He didn’t want people to know that he was connected to Mary or Warren. It wasn’t safe to let that knowledge get out. Ever.)

“What is going on, Mary?” Alex murmured to himself.

He frowned as he thumbed through what little information he had been able to find out concerning his ‘little sister’ and her husband. The surprise pregnancy between them had been surprising to Alex as well as Mary and Warren. The fact that they’d actually found some way to visit him and talk about it.

He could still remember how that had gone…

“Mary! Warren! What a surprise!”

Alex had been both pleased and displeased to see them at the time. He’d had delicate operations going on and so wasn’t entirely certain when he’d need to go ‘off the grid’ so to speak. Then again, he was always happy to see his sister as she always reminded him that there was good in the world.

(She also randomly inspired him to donate more to charity and to foundations that looked into the cure of this or that illness.)

Mary was very pale and Warren had a pinched look to his face.

“I’m pregnant.” Mary whispered, her eyes almost as pale as her skin.

Warren did not look away, but stress lines appeared even deeper around her eyes.

Alex frowned at the couple, “Why is this bad news?”

Mary looked at the ground as Warren answered. “I’m sterile, Alex. It’s physically impossible for me to be the father of this child and yet, it is also physically impossible for Mary to even desire another now that she is with me.”

“I see…” And he did.

Someone, somewhere, had done something to either Mary or Warren that had caused this pregnancy and though it was obvious that the child had to have come about because of these two, it was impossible for the child to be of Warren’s own issue.

“I’ll try my hardest to look into this, but I’m not sure how long it could take.”

Alex wondered, now, if whatever it was that had caused the pregnancy and then the second one eight years later had been the cause of the dissolution of their marriage.

He had never been able to find out everything about how the pregnancy had come to be and a part of him blamed himself for the ruin that had come to his dear sister’s life as a result.

Has Passed

Warren never met with Alex alone. Mary was always there between them, the link that connected two people who would have never met in any other way.

Sometimes, Alex wondered what would have happened had he been able to help Warren with whatever it was that caused him to drift from his wife and children. Maybe he could have done something to stop it from happening.

Of course, Alex could wonder all he wanted. Nothing would change the past or what had happened as a result.

Speculation means nothing when the time to act has already passed.

But I am leaving the regions of fact, which are difficult to penetrate, but which bring in their train rich rewards, and entering the regions of speculation, where many roads lie open, but where a few lead to a definite goal. –Sir William Ramsay


Inspired by the quote from the Friday prompt from Light and Shade Challenge. This little snippet of my Former Guardian universe is brought to you by the fact that I didn’t stay under the 100 word limit in my last response to this prompt. Hurrah for stories running ahead without authorization!

(I might be a little loopy today.)

Yearning

Mary had always wanted a child, someone to raise and watch and know that they were hers. She’d wanted a husband to stand next to her while she cradled their  young, his arm around her shoulders as the baby slept in her arms.

For most of her life, there hadn’t been anyone she’d wanted. most of her life was spent keeping her sister out of trouble and trying to find whatever it was they were looking for.

(It had taken too long, much too long, to find their purpose, but they hadn’t realized how long it was for the first millennium or so.)

Once they’d found their purpose, their princess, they hadn’t thought much beyond keeping her alive and then helping her and others of her ‘class’ (for lack of a better word) to do what they needed to do. They’d protected their princess and any others where and when necessary, but other than their duty and the few small friendships that had come with said duty…

Mary hadn’t started wanting, really wanting, what their princess, what the others had until after their princess, now their Queen, had given birth to her third child.

Watching Solaris with her two elder children around her, her husband standing behind her as they presented their third child to the Court had changed something within Mary’s heart.

Mary’s sister hadn’t felt that change for herself, but considering how they’d been connected at the time, she’d felt it in Mary. Star hadn’t understood, but Mary hadn’t blamed her.

For all that they were one at one point-

(Before Mother had split them, made them separate but the same.)

-they were very different by this point.

Her desires didn’t mean Mary wanted to leave her duty behind and considering the time shortly after the Third Child of Sol was presented…

Well, after the War no one thought Mary’d be able to do anything.

But Star had remembered and out of everyone else, she was the only one who knew that time didn’t matter when it came to finding a solution for Mary. And she had.

But all of Star’s work and planning and actions hadn’t been able to get her sister everything Mary had wanted. Mary had mental stability and health now and with time, she’d found Warren.

But they couldn’t have children.

And so Mary had continued to yearn for that thing she could never have.

She still loved Warren-

(Would always love her Bonded.)

-but she also mourned that they could never have children.

Once she realized that Warren was just as aware of her mourning as Star had been of her wish for a family, she’d been terrified that it was too much for him. Warren was one of a kind, but surely even he had to have his limits.

But…

Warren had just pulled her into his arms, laid his face against her hair and cried with her.

It hadn’t ruined their marriage and the mourning in the back of their hearts had faded enough into the background that it was more a watercolor on a fantastic high definition snapshot of a meteor shower. There and always present, but not the focus and not the point of the picture.

Warren wouldn’t let it ruin what he had with his wife. He had wanted children just as much as she had and they would find a way to have children. If it took twenty years to get approved for adoption or fostering he would go through that.

(They would have gone through it together and loved any and every child put under their care.)

It didn’t turn out that way, but they would have taken more children into their home if they could have. They’d even been preparing themselves to go to Mary’s brother, Alex and ask for help.

(Alex would have helped in a heartbeat, sooner even.)

They hadn’t needed to.

It was around the flu season when they noticed something different. About a month directly after Warren had gone in for his own flu shot, specifically.

(Even with what she was sealed away, Mary didn’t really need the same shots that others did. She’d gotten the boosters needed for an immunization record, of course, but flu shots weren’t mandatory and so she skipped them.)

It started slowly-

(As slowly as anything but faster than some, it’s different for every person after all.)

-but Mary started to show signs of something different about her. Something that she had noticed about thousands of others throughout her very long life, but had never personally experienced. A small part of her had been terrified when she told her husband.

(What would he say? What would he do?)

She needn’t have worried.

They ended up going to see Alex after all and it was he who found out what had been done to Warren and what this meant for them.

(Mary would wait over two decades to thank the woman responsible.)

Petrichor

Mary smiled as she leaned her head up against Warren’s shoulder, allowing him to lead them slowly across the dance floor.

It was a small ceremony followed by an even smaller reception. Neither of them really had family. Well, that wasn’t strictly true.

Alex watched his ‘little’ sister dance her first dance with her new husband. It had probably been the happiest moment in his life to walk her down the aisle and hand her over to Warren to become his wife.

The sound of the rain on the windows just helped add to the mythical feel of the day ending.


Inspired from the FreeWriteFriday prompt from last week: http://kellieelmore.com/2014/06/20/fwf-free-write-friday-word-prompt-4/

It’s a quiet day today, it feels like it should be raining…

Familial Friends

He hadn’t been in her life very long.

Well, ‘very long’ didn’t mean quite the same thing to her as it did to him, but that wasn’t the point.

The point was, Mary hadn’t known Alex even nearly as long as some of her ‘short term’ friends or acquaintances back home, but he was already a very important part of her life. So that meant that his opinions were also very important to her.

“I can’t believe you said yes!”

Of course, he was also prone to overreacting in some cases, and she hadn’t quite learned how to calm him down quickly enough for her tastes.

“Alex-”

“You barely even know him!”

“Alex-”

“What possessed you to say yes?”

“Alex-”

“I mean, there’s no possible way that he is ever going to be good enough-”

“ALEX!”

Alex’s mouth shut with a click.

“Thank you. I realize that you are worried, but there is no cause for concern-”

“No cause-!” He started up again, but quickly stopped when he saw the look on her face.

“I know that you are worried, but I’m also aware that you’ve already ‘researched’ everything there is to know about Warren and if you really were against me knowing him, you’d have found some way to make him disappear.”

Alex looked slightly uncomfortable, “I wouldn’t have made it a permanent one unless he really deserved it…”

Mary nodded her auburn head, “Which is one of the reasons why I didn’t have too much of a problem with you looking into his past. The point is, I said yes. It is my decision and I have made it. Now, are you going to be an adult about this and accept my decision or should I find some way to drown you out for the next few hours?”

Alex pouted, “I don’t know why you’re always treating me like a child. I am older than you.”

“You appear older, that is all and you know it.”

Alex rolled his eyes and plopped himself down on the sofa across from her. “As far as anyone is legally concerned, I am the older one and that is what we decided to stick to-”

“What you decided.” she muttered playfully, knowing that she had won.

“-and so it makes no difference to bring anything up otherwise. Now,” Alex’s eyes began to sparkle, “Have you decided on a date yet?”

Mary groaned and put her head in her hands as Alex started talking about wedding preparations.


Inspired by Suzie81’s weekly word challenge: http://suzie81speaks.com/2014/05/18/weekly-word-challenge-friendship/#like-14158

I just couldn’t get this little conversation out of my mind once I read the prompt! Don’t worry, Alex and Warren will have their little moment as well!