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!

Random Moment of Worry and Fun

There was so much that she could do and so much that she couldn’t do.

“This isn’t something I can ignore, Mary, you know that.” Alex said as he sat opposite her in her parlor. “What if he decides that the information about what you can do is more important than you are?”

“Warren isn’t like that, Alex.” Mary protested, interrupting her adoptive brother before he could continue. “He isn’t going to try and turn me into some kind of lab rat.”

“How do you know that?” Alex demanded, “Just because you’ve started to ‘fall in love’ with him doesn’t mean-”

“Alex,” she interrupted again in a much quieter voice, “I know that you worry about me and I know that you’re just concerned that Warren will do to you what you’ve done in your youth.” She held up a hand before Alex could do more than open his mouth, “No, I know that you’re not like that anymore, not really, but that’s not what people see anymore. All they see when they see you is someone whose made a lot of mistakes and that can’t possibly turn himself around. Warren even saw you like that when he first discovered that I was under your protection, but he doesn’t think that of you anymore.”

“And how can you know so much about Warren, Mary?”

She smiled, “It’s something about what I am, and no,” she continued when she read the look on his face, “It’s not that I can read his mind, but I can sort of…infer…what his intentions are towards me. It has something to do with the-”

“You don’t need to tell me how or why you can do that, Marry,” Alex sighed tiredly, “I know that you’re just trying to distract me with science.”

“Is it working?”

“No, stop trying to distract me.”

“It is working.” Mary sounded quite pleased with herself.

Alex had to remind himself that it was his idea to adopt her as his sister, his younger sister, and that this was apparently how she treated siblings. He wondered if this was how she’d treated her twin at all.

(He had no idea that part of the reason Mary was acting like this was because it reminded her of her lost sister. Mary was so used to being the serious sibling that acting differently reminded her of what she’d lost, but it made her happy to have a reminder. Mary’s sister had lost more than Mary had, at least Mary was certain that this was how she felt and if acting like this occasionally helped her to feel closer to her… Mary was more than willing to give Alex premature grey hair. He’d understand in time.)


Written for the Random Moment of Delight prompt for this week: http://firebonnet.com/2014/05/11/random-moments-of-delight-19-meet-my-bff/

This is the scene that came to mind as I was reading another blogger’s post for this week’s prompt (http://eclecticoddsnsods.com/2014/05/11/random-moment-of-delight-19-tears-ahoy/comment-page-1/#comment-3855).

So here is a random moment between the adoptive siblings Mary and Alex in my Former Guardian universe.