Benefits

Mary’s face was grim, this farce of a meeting was really starting to get on her nerves. Her husband’s former employers were refusing to honor his will. He’d stated that, though they were no longer married, he wanted his benefits to go to his wife and children.

“I’m afraid that everything isn’t quite in order.” The man in front of her was pale and nervous looking, the sweat glistening on his forehead. “There seems to be a misfile on the information regarding Mr. McGregor’s benefits.”

“How can there be a ‘misfile’ when everything is electronic and I know for a fact that the filing system for the Corporation is excellent.”

The man in front of her looked even more pale and sour, “Sometimes, these things happen-”

“I wish to speak to your supervisor and if this little runaround keeps up, then I might have to go to the Department of-”

“Is there a problem here?”

Mary smiled brightly and just as falsely back to the woman who’d just entered, “Why of course not! We were just discussing how luck I was to still be included in my ex-husband’s benefits. I know that the paperwork was all submitted correctly as Warren never left things unfinished.”

Mary’s eyes glinted in a dangerous fashion and she knew that the woman in front of her understood how close she was to landing the Corporation with a case in court. A case that would likely be very publicized without something more interesting showing up. The news hadn’t had any stories heavier than a few fluff pieces to run lately. They’d fall upon this like piranhas in the Amazon scenting fresh blood in the water.

“Let’s get this taken care of right away then.” the other woman responded.


Inspired from this week’s Three Word Wednesday prompt.

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Ringing Silence

The room was quiet and Mary sat staring out the window. The lights were out and her sons were asleep though she could hear the sounds of Terrence tossing and turning even from down the hall.

A small smile graced her mouth, he had never been a particularly quiet boy.

The smile faded just as easily as it had come, but he was far more guarded then ever before. He hadn’t been happy when his parents had separated. No one had been happy, but it had been necessary for the work that Warren was doing. Matthew hadn’t been happy either, but he hadn’t been as vocal about it as Terrence.

Terrence (Terry as he was more and more insisting on being called) was rather translucent about his feelings though Matt wasn’t far behind. This was the reason (other than their young ages) that the boys hadn’t been told about the plan. They were the children and they had responsible parents, parents who could conscience the idea of putting that kind of pressure on their sons.

They wished this hadn’t been necessary at all.

Mary shook her head, these thoughts wouldn’t help her. She looked down at the black clothing she was still wearing though her shoes had been placed by the door as always. It would be some time before she changed out of these clothes and into a pair of Warren’s sleep clothes, ones that he had left behind when he’d initially moved out.

It was eerie how little like him they smelled.

(She had only been wearing them every night since the separation had begun. The boys hadn’t known as she always went to bed after they did and woke long before they started to stir for the day.)

Once she had changed into the sleep clothes, she reached down to where a pocket in the pants would have been located, her hand seemed to disappear into a pocket though if anyone had looked closely (there was no one else in the bedroom) they would have realized that the pants had no pockets. Once her hand came back out, it was holding a simple golden band. It was larger than the one she still wore on her hand.

Mary slipped it over her thumb and spent the few hours she tried to sleep turning the large ring over and over with the fingers of her right hand.


Inspired by the words from this week’s prompt in Three Word Wednesday.

Broken Promise

Warren looked up as they entered his house.

(It wasn’t really home. No one was here with him. Sometimes, when Terrence was home, it was home. But as soon as his eldest left the building it went back to just being a house.)

Some of the thugs were obviously dressed up in the colors of one of the more violent gangs that lived in their city, but Warren knew that they weren’t members of the gang in question. For one thing the Nautilus Gang were a lot louder when they were attacking someone. They weren’t afraid of what they cops would do to them, oh now. They relished going up face-to-face with the cops.

This group had entered his home silently, taking care to disable his complex warning system. Something that could only be done after careful study. Again, not something the Nautilus Gang would bother with, especially for a middle-aged man who was separated from his wife.

“I think you know why we’re here.”

Warren didn’t dignify that with a response. He was only glad that he’d hidden the disk with all of its information in a spot that they would never look for. It was likely that his son wouldn’t find it soon either, but he knew that his wife would.

(She was aware of what he was doing, was aware and supportive about it, even though they were publicly separated and ostensibly going through the beginning of a divorce. Mary knew what he had found and how to find it.)

“You won’t get away with this,” Warren finally said after an hour of them searching for it and taking their frustrations out on him when he wouldn’t ‘help’.

“I believe we already have, Mr. Ginnis.” came the arched reply.

Warren closed his eyes for the last time and thought of his family. He hoped that all of his work would keep them safe.

(“This won’t be forever, Mary. I’ll be home as soon as this is taken care of.”

“How long will that be, Warren? What about the boys?”

“It will work out. I promise.”)

‘I love you Mary, Terrence and Matt. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to keep my promise.’

“Tell them I came, and no one answered, That I kept my word,” he said.
– Walter de la Mare, The Listeners

Written for yesterday’s Light and Shade Challenge prompt: http://lightandshadechallenge.blogspot.co.uk/2014/06/light-and-shade-challenge-monday-30.html

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.

First Date Jitters

Shadow of love: Sadow of a couple kissing
image: http://b.rgbimg.com/cache1opEbs/users/c/ch/chidseyc/600/mtLG8Jy.jpg

The first time she went out with Warren, Alex spent the entire time waiting for everything to go south.

He sat up and waited for her to come home even though she wasn’t out late nor was she a minor. It didn’t really make a difference for him; she was the closest he was ever going to get to having either a younger sibling or even a child.

(There had been a time when he’d been married and thought that there was a child on the way. It had turned out to be just another lie in a long string of them. Needless to say, he had finally given up on having a relationship after that.)

Alex would have had someone tail Warren and Mary, but Mary had made her thoughts on that matter clear.

(She had at least allowed him to install a GPS chip just under her skin somewhere and promised not to short circuit it if at all possible, so he hadn’t even had someone follow them on CCTV cameras. He wasn’t entirely certain that she would appreciate the self-restraint he was showing.

Mary didn’t understand a lot of things, but she did understand what it was like having someone you were responsible for disappearing randomly, which was why she’d acquiesced to the chip and nothing else.)

“How long can a date get?” he grumbled to himself, well aware that he sounded ridiculous.

Mary was a grown woman who’d been through more than he could even imagine and had likely seen more in the world than Alex’s history books talked about.

There was the sound of a door opening and Alex quickly reopened the book in his lap and pretended to be reading as Mary walked in, still smiling over her shoulder at Warren before closing the door.

“You’re home rather late,” Alex commented after a moment, striving, and succeeding in sounding like he wasn’t interested in the slightest in what he was talking about.

Mary glanced at him with a wry smirk on her face, but said nothing as she removed her coat and shoes and stored them in the coat closet.

After she’d left for her room, Alex set his book aside with a sigh.

He didn’t think he could take another night like this where she left on a date that he wasn’t allowed to shadow.

Being a responsible adult that cared about another was harder on the heart than he’d ever thought it would be.


Written for a challenge that I was informed of yesterday (and am still really excited about): http://lightandshadechallenge.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/challenge-28th-april-2014.html

Unreasonable

They accuse me of being unfair, of manipulating them into what I would have them do. All because I have spoken contrary to their wants. Of course I’m not being fair! What in this life is fair? If this life were fair, then I would still have Warren by my side, would not have watched him die and have to pretend I only mourn the loss of an estranged friend and father of my children. If this life were fair, then it is likely I would never have met Warren at all because I would have had no reason to come to this place.

If life were fair, I would not have been eternally lost to my past in order to have a future.

But life isn’t fair and we must use whatever means we have in order to help those who will come after us to survive and, hopefully someday, live. If that means that my children only see me as a manipulative, bitter woman, than that is the price that I am willing to pay for their future.

Sadly, it’s not like any of this means anything to my son. All he sees is his mother refusing to allow him to do something. It doesn’t really matter what that something is at this point, he is a teenager and it doesn’t seem unreasonable to him.


Written for…I have forgotten what I wrote this for. shrugs But it was written all the same and I will post it.

Absent

What’s love got to do with it, got to do with it? …Who needs a heart when a heart can be broken. -Tina Turner

When you love someone, you give them the power to hurt you. The more you love them, the more power they have until they hold enough to completely destroy your life.

If you’re a special kind of lucky, then they can destroy the lives of those around you as well.

She missed her family, missed them with something that boarded on hysteria if she allowed herself time to think about it. But she didn’t really have much of a choice here.

(She was lying to herself, she had a choice. It’s just that the consequences of the other choices available weren’t something that she could live with.)

Mary glanced back at where her sons were sleeping. She’d left the cameras installed after Warren had left out of reflex. If it took longer than they’d initially predicted then he’d still be able to watch over his family even if he couldn’t be there in person. The fact that she now needed to use them for the same purpose was not reassuring.

“Maybe I should have left this to Al to take care of like he offered,” she murmured to herself as her youngest rolled over in bed, his face scrunching up.

Matt was likely having a nightmare, again. And she wasn’t there to sooth him through it should it actually wake him up this time. She’d likely not be there in the morning either.

It broke her heart to know that she was losing both her sons so slowly, but as Warren had said when they’d first separated, if they would live to grow up then the price was worth it.

Longshot

When they first realized she was pregnant, they weren’t sure what to think.

It hadn’t been several months when she realized something was wrong. Shew as hungry for things that she’d never wanted before and when she checked her calendar, she realized that it had been several months since she’d had a monthly. That alone wasn’t enough to clue them in, though. She’d never had a regular monthly, she’d sometimes go a third of the year before she’d have one. The fact that she was hungry and then she started having problems with her feet as well as never having enough sleep had shown her husband that something was wrong.

Warren had insisted that she go see a doctor. Her health was important and the fact that she was having symptoms that she’d only had before she’d met him (before she’d come to his world) made him worry. She wasn’t the kind who got sick, she was never tired and she didn’t eat more than she needed because she did not feel hunger the same way that he did.

“Warren, I don’t need to see a doctor, this will-”

“Mary, you don’t get sick. You told me that the last time you couldn’t explain your body reacting like this was before you emigrated.”

Mary said nothing, just looked away from her husband in silence for several long minutes. (She was silent for 20 whole minutes, Warren counted, but he waited in silence with her.)

“All right,” she whispered into his shoulder finally, “All right, I’ll go see someone.”

When they got the results back that she was pregnant, they kind of just stared at one another in confusion.

Warren was sterile. There was no way that the child was his, but it was physically impossible for Mary to have anyone else’s child. She literally could not get pregnant by anyone other than her Bonded, which was Warren.

How did she come to be with child?

“Whatever happens, Mary,” Warren assured his wife that night, “We will get through this, because that’s what we do.”


Written for today’s Daily Post prompt: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/04/daily-prompt-against-all-odds/