Trust is a Funny Thing

“Forgiveness is not forgiveness if it is worked for. Forgiveness is a gift. Trust is worked for.” –Bramble, from The Most Unlikely of Times

Alex knew that he’d gone too far on this one, knew it from the very bottom of his soul, but at the same time he wasn’t sorry.

After all, finding out that the more than questionable venture that you’d begun funding several years prior to your ‘younger’ sister even discovering that there was a fertility problem and somehow causing her to become pregnant via complete override of her husband’s own genetic code (supposedly) and actually doing it on purpose were two completely different things.

The outcome was the same, though, and he would never be sorry whenever he looked into the dark blue eyes of his nephew.

Alex knew that Mary would find out. She always did whenever it came to this kind of thing.

And if by some miracle she didn’t find out, then Warren certainly would.

The two of them were really quite perfect for one another and Alex would forever be grateful that neither really had the head to manage a business or his little business empire would be in a great deal of trouble.

As it was, he was still in trouble, but it would only be against his own peace of mind as a part of a family rather than as a mogul of the economy.

Funny how he would rather it be the other at this point…

Losing the trust of his sister would likely put a strain on their relationship, and though they would try to not let it affect any relationship between him and his nephew, it would. Whether they wanted to or not, children always picked up on this kind of thing.

“Alex, stop looking like your life’s about to end just because it’s your turn to change Terry’s diaper.”

Tired Befuddlement

She was tired. So very tired.

It was probably because she’d stayed up late once more to watch as the stars came out. That in and of itself wouldn’t have caused this level of exhaustion by itself, but that hadn’t been all she’d done.

For one, you couldn’t see the stars come out in the city, which is where they lived, so she’d driven herself way out into the country, or what was left of the country this far inland. She’d been assured that the stars would be visible if she went far enough away though she still wouldn’t be able to see all of them like she wanted.

“Why do we have this much light pollution?” she’d asked her husband.

“It’s not just the light pollution, Mary,” Warren’d responded, “With a city this large we have to worry about the smog pollution as well.”

“Why did we decide to live here again?”

Warren had laughed and kissed his wife before helping her pack up what she was taking with her for her stargazing trip. He hadn’t been able to come due to needing to be at work for an important project earlier than normal in the morning.

It didn’t help that she’d stayed out, staring at the stars, longer than she had initially planned for. She’d almost decided to take a nap in the car and drive home after the sun was coming up, but had decided against it at the last moment. She’d be fine for the drive and she knew that Warren would worry if he didn’t see her before leaving for work even if all he saw was the top of her head under the covers.

Driving home had been easy to do safely, but keeping so alert had drained her more than it should have. She’d been having that reaction to a lot of things that had never given her any problems before. Now if only she could figure out why…

Anonymous Gift – SoC

Mary smiled as she held the little boy in her arms for the first time. Warren smiled down at his exhausted wife, knowing that any threats she might have breathed at him-

(“Why did I want this? What’s wrong with me? What’s wrong with you? Why did you let me do this?!)

-okay, maybe she didn’t so much as breathe them as scream them in the quietest voice he had ever heard her (or anyone else) use.

But this moment, standing next to her as they stared down at their little boy, their little gift from someone out there in the world.

It was worth it.


Inspired by the prompt for this week’s Stream of Consciousness prompt. Make sure to check it out as there is a guest prompter this week!

Extended Family

Mary didn’t talk about any extended family when she started dating Warren other than her older brother, Alex. As he didn’t have all that many relatives either, he didn’t find it odd that he was never introduced to any parents, grandparents or siblings. It wasn’t that odd in his experience to either not have family around or to be so estranged from them that they didn’t factor into any decisions you made.

His parents hadn’t been all that attached to him, but had worked long and hard jobs that kept them from one another as well. They weren’t bad people, but they weren’t very good at interacting with other human beings on anything other than a professional level. There were times when Warren honestly wondered how he’d come to exist.

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.

Wish You Could See

image: courtesy of Janssenfrank and taken from Wiki Commons

Mary sighed as she knelt down in front of the gravestone. Her hands did not tremble as they cleared away the grass and weeds that tried to cover the slab of cement, though her fingers lovingly traced the outline of the letters.

“It’s lonely without you, Warren. The boys aren’t home as often as they used to be, busy with work and school and friends. They don’t have as much time for their mother anymore.”

Terry had graduated high school with honors and was now attending university, his long-time girlfriend off and studying her way through dancing, his job not ending just because he had less time on his hands. If anything, he spent more time with his boss than with his mother.

“I don’t mind so much, Terrance is really coming into what he wants to be and I think he would make you proud with his dreams of going into law. He’s not just going to leave it to someone else to fix the mess that has often happened in our legal systems.”

Matt wasn’t in high school, not yet, but that was more because he hadn’t wanted to skip grades than anything else. Her little boy was smart and often spent time over with his brother at his workplace. Terry’s boss didn’t seem to mind and even let the pre-teen help out as well.

Mary smiled once more at her husband’s gravestone, “It seems that I am nothing more than a thought they have now and then, but I know that they still love me even if I don’t quite fit with them anymore.”

With a sigh, she stood.

“I wish you were here to grow old with me.”


This is a dual inspired post, part of it came from reading a post by Oliana this morning (nothingness) and also from the Light and Shade Challenge.

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.)

How Do You Keep Going?

Wait just a moment and don’t think,
“How is this going to work out?”
Only take a moment to breath before moving on.
 
So you’ve been here before and failed
A moment in the past doesn’t mean you will again.
You can do this, you must tell yourself.
Slap those doubts right out of your head.
 

Sometimes Terry wondered if what he was learning would sit well with his mother. He knew without a doubt that his father would have understood. Warren had died trying to take out dirtbags like the ones he was learning to fight against. But Mary…

Mary had been a stay at home mom for most of Terry’s childhood and had only started looking for work after Matt had started school. Even then, it had only been part time until his parents had separated. Once she’d been the main bread winner for herself and her boys (before Terry had thrown an epic teenager snit fit and moved in with his father) she’d taken whatever hours she could without stinting her sons on time spent with them.

Sometimes Terry really wondered just when his mom had slept. He knew she ate, because she’d eaten with the boys ever night and tried to have breakfast with them on the weekends before running in to work. His mother is made of something stronger than he is even though he’s definitely her son. He’s been keeping his grades up and still working with his new boss on not only how to run a successful business and running all kinds of errands and getting to know people in his network.

(The local police didn’t know, but a lot of their ‘anonymous’ tips were from one local business man who’s seen enough go wrong that though he doesn’t have the health to join the force or go vigilante he wants to do something to make a difference.)

Terry is always tired in between school, work, learning the ins and outs of his future job (he will be able to make a difference once he’s old enough to enter the Police Academy and he will have the contacts and the know-how in gaining those contacts), spending time with his little brother, his girlfriend and getting any kind of rest.

How is his mother able to do everything when he knows she’s still mourning his father (divorced though they may have been at Warren’s death) and certainly not sleeping through the night. She still manages to look not any worse for the wear, unless you really know her and then you can see that the only thing keeping her from cracking right through the middle (instead of all along the edges) is her love and need to care for her sons.

“Terry?”

Terry looks up from where he had been frying a few eggs real quick to see his mother enter. Her hair was already brushed and she was dressed for work.

“I thought you might enjoy something to eat instead of drinking one of your smoothie drinks on the way to work.” he answered as he pulled the toasted bagel from the toaster and carefully loaded the fried egg on it.

Mary smiled at her son and accepted the breakfast sandwich, unsurprised that there was also some strips of bacon in it, “Thank you, son. I’ll see you after school today?”

“Yeah, I have today off.” Terry called over his shoulder as he moved back towards the carton of eggs to fry up enough for a sandwich for himself and his younger brother.

“Can you make sure Matt catches the bus?” Mary asked as she gathered up her keys and wallet.

“I’ll take care of it, Mom.”

Mary turned and pressed quick kiss to her eldest’s cheek in thanks before running out the door.

Terry watched his mother climb into the car and wondered again how she kept going.


Inspired by the prompt from DungeonPrompts last Thursday.

Muzzy Morning

She grumbled quietly as the glare of the sun filtered through the partially drawn blinds. Her head ached more with every blinking of the light as the wind rustled the leaves outside, adding to the dilution of the light through the window. Her nose was all stuffed up and she could feel the phlegm dripping down the back of her throat from it.

“Mary? Mary? Are you awake yet?”

Mary groaned, though it was no less loud than the earlier grumbling. The sound of Warren entering the room and, as quietly as he could, walking across the room gave her enough reason to actually lift her head from their bed and peer out at him.

“I don’ feel so goo’.” she mumbled, placing a hand on her aching head.

Warren handed her a glass of water and a few wintergreen mints but nothing else. Mary drank the water and munched a few of the mints before placing the majority on the end table by the bed. She snuggled back under the covers and Warren smiled slightly before kissing her in the forehead and turning the lights off.

Being pregnant seemed to bring out all the vulnerabilities that Mary usually didn’t have.


Inspired in part from one of the FreeWriteFriday prompts and the slight cold I have this morning.

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.)