View Full Version : Bad Timing? You Have No Idea... | 9.22 early morning | closed to Ashara, Alexandre
07-24-2010, 06:17 PM
He had arrived much earlier than this -- Already in a bad mood considering his new horse, Aquila, had thrown a shoe and had held him up already. But having already arrived, he was forced to wait another two or so hours just to get in. All he wanted to do was talk to his fucking cousin! He didn't argue though... Just cooperated with the guards who seemed tight lipped to explain what was going on. At last, one saw fit to tell him what had happened, and after some inquiry, he discovered that his cousins were alive and well, and that's all that mattered to him. Finally, granted passage to enter, he walked, still with a slight limp but it was almost gone now. Glad that he had been dragged here before, his memory served him well and he recognized corridors, tapestries, and paintings that gave him an indication of where he was. Unfortunately, he had no idea where Lucian was...
He slowed down when he saw a servant woman walking in his direction, and he reached out his hand to get her attention. She stopped, looking a bit apprehensive at first, but after giving him a look, she relaxed. Actually, she smiled, her eyes taking on that familiar glow. Normally Alexandre would have capitalized on that, but he was in no mood. He was about to ask where the Duponts were staying when she said, "Surprised to see a lord like yourself wandering about. Most of them have taken to their rooms after what happened last night."
Alexandre stopped mid-breath and then reformed the words in his mind, "I only just arrived. I am looking for Lord Lucian Dupont. Would you happen to know where he is staying?"
"I believe he's in the East Wing of the palace, my lord."
"Thank..." He once again found himself cut off, but for a different reason. He had not known she would be here. If he had, he'd have waited to do this. He looked back where he'd come from, then towards the stairs, trying to figure out if he could retreat without being noticed. He really did not want to have to look at her again... The first glance was painful enough.
07-24-2010, 06:27 PM
She had spent the worst night of her life- first in the horrible room, trapped with her entire family, and then walking through halls stained with blood, and to her room. She'd actually snuck into her brother's chamber after the third nightmare and hadn't slept after that. The morning had come at last and she'd done what she could to help some of the wounded but Ashara was not a nurse, and the scent of blood and gore was too much.
Ambrielle was dead in a green silk gown, already in a coffin headed for her family's home. Ashara had been the one to recognized the body, laid out among so many others. She wondered if she'd ever stop seeing them all, still and bloody, all in rows...
And then she looked up at a figure ahead. A taller man, in traveling clothes, staring at her as if he knew her. It took a few steps for Ashara to realize who it was: he had grown so much, and his face looked... different somehow.
"Alexandre? I thought you weren't coming." Of course she'd see him now, when she was in a wrinkled gown too small across the chest, face all blotchy from crying and gods only knew what her hair looked like. "Are you-- Is your family--?" she didn't finish it. She'd asked it too many times today.
07-24-2010, 06:34 PM
Gods, but she looked so different. But he didn't have much time to notice where she'd filled out as he normally might have as it was her eyes that drew his attention. She'd been crying... a lot. The servant still stood between them, looking back and forth as though she knew she was in the middle of something, and with a farewell that went ignored, she left them alone. It was only then that Alex slowly approached her, his hand reaching up to touch her face, put he pulled it back, remembering he couldn't just touch her anymore.
"Something... I had to speak with my cousin, otherwise I'd have remained in Vykra." That's where he'd been most of the month. Between Vykra and Hsydra, but never home. He couldn't go home yet. "Ashara..." His voice was now barely above a whisper. The pain in her eyes tore his soul, just as it always had, and there wasn't a damn thing he could do about it. "Your family...? They didn't...? Everybody's all right? Right?"
07-24-2010, 06:43 PM
Ashara saw the servant girl as she took her leave and cursed silently. She did not need to be alone with Alex of all people.
She nodded to answer his question and wiped ineffectually at her own cheeks, as if it would magically erase all the traces of the tears. "We're alright, we were out riding and had an incident with a boar. Lancelot managed to save us but when we got back... we were late for the feast, and the fighting was..." She stopped as he moved and she caught sight of the injuries on his face- a bloodied chin, a bruised cheek.
"Were you in the fighting? You look awful- the healers are back that way, if you need them. I'll show you there..."
07-24-2010, 06:51 PM
Everything he felt instantly vanished the moment his name was uttered. He looked away from her, the coldness returning to his eyes. "I'm glad to hear you are all all right," he said mechanically, as though he'd been saying it all day -- Unlike her, he had not had to go through the motions yet. She was the first, and yet he made it sound about as practiced as could be. "It was awful what happened, but I was lucky enough to have not been present for the fighting myself."
It was slightly insulting when she said he looked awful even though he knew why she'd said it. "It wasn't from the fighting," he told her, looking back at her. "Well... I won't keep you much longer. I'm sure you'd hate to keep Lord Atherton waiting." And then he turned and began walking away.
07-24-2010, 07:04 PM
Ashara stared at his back for a split second before she quite understood his last words, and then wished she hadn't. She hadn't the energy to care about his moods. Old habits took over her tongue before she thought about what she was saying. "Too bad you couldn't have come sooner. Maybe someone who was actually worth a damn to the rest of the world could have lived instead." She was shaking now, from outrage as well as exhaustion and tears were threatening again.
"Ambrielle is dead, and I don't even know about Rosalina. Do you even remember those names? But why would you, you fucking bastard. You didn't even answer about your own family! Did you check on them or were you too busy with the serving girls?"
07-24-2010, 07:29 PM
In his mind, there was a fine line between the venom the exchanged in their letters to wishing that he'd been one of the people who died last night instead of everybody else. It hurt him more than he would ever show, and where he normally would have laughed it away, he just glared at her. "Sorry to disappoint you. Next time, I'll do my best to get myself killed." He gave her a sweeping bow as he said that. "Then again, we've spent about the last two years disappointing one another. Why stop now?"
He did remember them. His memory was better than she obviously remembered. Though, it was as he said -- He had never met Ambrielle in his life. He couldn't even put a face with her name. Rosalina was a different story. She'd been the first woman he'd been with after his split from Ashara. "I hope Rosalina is all right," he said sincerely, not that she'd believe him. "And I'm sorry about Ambrielle. Pity you didn't arrive sooner. I hate to think that the opportunity to sacrifice yourself for her life came and went." His glare sharpened. "I have only just arrived... I have asked of my family's well being but I cannot be certain until I see for myself. I merely was asking the serving girl where my cousin was staying, if you must know."
07-24-2010, 07:43 PM
She should have rose to the bait. She would have, and she wanted to, but Alex's words hit harder than a slap, and the tears started again, her face crumpling into a sob. She buried her head in her hands and spun around, facing away from him, while Amber's open eyes stared up at her from a blood-soaked floor. "I would have! I would have..."
Ashara took a breath and tried pointlessly not to sound like she was crying. "Down the hall, left, and halfway down that one."
07-24-2010, 07:50 PM
It was not what he had been expecting. After all this time, he had never once imagined his words would make her cry. Both had been equally malicious and cruel. He never thought his words effected her at all. And here, of all places... It was a response to her words, but that was no excuse. She had to endure the pain of seeing her friends dying around her. He hadn't. Damn him for being such a fool. His heart shattered when he saw the beginnings of her break down before him, and giving no thought to the consequences, he closed the space between them, his long legs accomplishing it in mere seconds, and he turned her around to pull her against him.
"Ashara, I didn't... I didn't mean it. I'm sorry. Please, please don't cry." His arms held her securely against him, his head bending low so that he could speak softly and still be heard. "I'm thankful... grateful that you're alive. Don't listen to me. I'm an ass... I... I don't know what I'm saying half the time. I... Ashara... please. I would never wish..." He took a deep breath. "I know you would have... I'm glad you couldn't."
07-24-2010, 08:06 PM
She was going to kill him, fucking kill him. Later, when she could think straight-- arms wrapped around her and she found herself crying into Alex's chest, and his voice was kinder than it had been for ages. For a minute she let herself believe him, let herself hear the beat of his heart, feel it under her hand, and remember when she would have done anything- absolutely anything- to be in his arms again, to hear his voice sound like this. "Oh gods, Alex," she whispered, her voice breathy from the tears, "I'm sorry. I--"
But that was a long time ago, when she had been sixteen and stupid. There were mistakes you only made once. It was like trying to fool a master gambler when you were three sheets to the wind: you never tried it again. If you did you usually ended up dead.
"No. No. Stop it! Stop lying!" She shoved against him, hard, and practically jumped away from him. "Don't touch me. Don't you ever touch me. Even this is a game to you! Even now! I won't play, Alex. I can't." She shook her head, fighting off the tears and the way her whole body wanted to crumble to the floor and stay there til time went backward. She spun on her heel and ran back the way she had come.
07-24-2010, 08:19 PM
For a brief moment, everything was as it should have been. How it had once been. But even he knew it would be only a few more seconds before she shoved him away. And there it was. She felt her hands on his chest, using her strength to push herself off of him. As she turned to run, he lunged forward, his arm reaching out to catch hers as he'd done so many times in the past, only in the past, when he'd done that, his shoulder hadn't been only four days out of being dislocated. His arm stayed in place, thank the gods, but the strain it put on his tendons and muscles felt as though he had reinjured it, and his arm snapped back to his body as he let out mangled cry.
His other hand shot to his shoulder and he turned away from her, eyes clenched shut as he doubled over. He hoped to the gods she was still running. Was too wrapped up to notice what had happened. It was for the best. Writing hate mail to one another was so much easier than keeping up the facade in person. And he tried so very long to hate her. He needed to hate her. Just like she needed to hate him. To believe all those things she said about him. That he was a liar, somebody who had only played games with her heart.
"I wasn't asking you to play," he said, knowing that she would have lingered. "That's something I'd never ask of you. Of the thousands of questions I could ask, I know all of the answers you would give me..." He looked back up at her, standing straighter but his hand still on his shoulder. "Sometimes it still baffles me how we've become the people we are to each other. How there is so much hate between us. It's hard to believe there was ever something else..."
07-24-2010, 08:31 PM
Running to save yourself was one thing, but leaving someone injured was another. Today was not a day that anyone should do that. Even if it was a lying snake who had grabbed your wrist and made you cry and never said anything that was true. "You are hurt." She walked back nonchalantly as if she had not been taking off like a deer startled by a pack of hounds. "Serves you right. I should get you to your cousins..."
And then he started talking. Ashara's jaw tightened and she didn't care if tears were still wet on her cheeks, she was going to show him what it felt like to watch someone turn into an ice block. "That's because there never was anything," she said, her shoulders straight and chin lifting up defiantly. He wasn't the only one who could put on masks.
"We are what we always were. A stupid girl and a selfish boy. Come on, your cousins will be worried."
07-24-2010, 08:43 PM
Alex knew what she was doing. The truth was, if she wanted to play that game, he was better at it. He let his arm fall to his side, his eyes glassed over as though he was looking right through her. "You know... it's almost comforting to see that you haven't changed a bit." She was still the childish, callous, entitled teenager he had come to despise so much. "Don't trouble yourself..." he spat cruelly. "I wouldn't want to inconvenience you." Gods... He was such a fool. He feel into the trap she wove -- He had thought he'd gotten passed all of this. Lucian was going to have to knock some sense back into his head and tell him all the reasons why this girl was one of the worst people in all of Forsilvra. Not that he needed any reasons why... They were all coming back to him.
"Your observational skills are simply astounding. I never cease to be impressed by how much you have figured out. You who knows everybody better than they know themselves. I had forgotten how amazingly self righteous you are... Thanks for the reminder."
07-24-2010, 09:05 PM
"Of course I haven't, my lord. Though I see you have- the extra inches are quite becoming." She shrugged as if the entire conversation was a long exercise in smalltalk and she didn't have tears on her cheeks, hadn't waded through bodies and blood for half the day. "It's no inconvenience, but if you feel you can walk there on your own, I won't bother."
She tilted her head, and tried not to think about what he was saying. That was the trick, stop thinking. Just... ignore it all. Even when you wanted to fall to the floor, you couldn't. She'd given him enough power over her for one day- for one lifetime. She was going to keep her breathing even and her tone light and her pose haughty if it killed her. Or him. Preferably him.
"I don't know anybody, and least of all you, Alexandre, so well as that. I'm only admitting the truth as I see it- oh you'll remember that t-word? It means something that is not false."
07-24-2010, 09:35 PM
Was it completely wrong that he just wanted to drag her into the nearest empty room and screw her brains out? It was? Damn... Even with all the hatred between them, it had done nothing to curb his desire towards her. And it didn't help that once his concern for her had worn off, he began to notice that the years had helped her develop a few becoming traits that she hadn't had before. Namely her breasts... and her ass. He determinedly looked to her eyes so she couldn't accuse him of being a cad, but there was only so much his peripherals could block out.
"I don't understand how sleeping around makes me a liar. I have told you time and again that I am up front with every woman I take to bed. Maybe it's just that you're pissed that women still want to sleep with me despite knowing that I'll never marry them. You'd rather nobody desire me so I could be as miserable as you obviously are." He stepped closer as if to challenge her. "You wouldn't know what the truth was if it bit you on your ass." That beautiful, round, supple ass that he was definitely not thinking about...
07-24-2010, 10:09 PM
"It isn't the sleeping around, it's the words that come out of your mouth while you do it," she explained, rolling her eyes. She was tired, exhausted, and the mask was becoming rapidly easier to hide behind. Just breath, and don't think.
"Really, are we going to go over how no one desires me and everyone desires you and obviously I am miserable because no one wants to sleep with me, least of all you? Next you'll bring up scales again, I'm sure. Meanwhile, you're hurt and you obviously need help, so can we just skip past all your old insults and find a few new ones? We can do it as we walk, how's that?" She didn't want to be here anymore. They were too alone, and something was in his eyes now and she didn't trust it, any more than she would ever trust any part of him ever again.
07-24-2010, 10:36 PM
He didn't say anything now. He motioned for her to lead the way since she obviously knew where Lucian was, and he followed behind her silently. He kept his eyes on the ground, trying his hardest not to think about her despite her being right in front of him. He should have done this from the start. He was the adult here... Even if it was only by a little less than two years. Obviously, ignoring her, forgetting the words she spoke... That was the best course of action. So... while she walked, he bit his tongue and tried to figure out exactly how he was going to tell Lucian what he had come to say. It was going to be difficult.
07-24-2010, 10:56 PM
Oh now the silent treatment. He was worse than her brother. Ashara ran a hand through her hair and glanced back once at him, letting the quiet stretch out. She didn't need to talk to him either, it just annoyed both of them and if he made her cry one more time she'd have to take his advice and throw herself off a fucking tower.
But this was ridiculous. They had to stop acting like this. They had to be able to carry on a damn conversation, right? She just wouldn't listen to a word he said. Lots of ladies did that. It couldn't be too hard.
"So, what happened? If you weren't in the fighting I mean..." Someone's husband or father probably, but it would be interesting to hear what he came up with.
07-24-2010, 11:02 PM
"I can't tell you," was all he said. It was true. Either she wouldn't believe him and get angry with him for lying to her, or she would believe him and either tell him it served him right or try to get herself involved. None of those things he could abide by. Last person who got themselves involved found themselves lying in the streets, bruised, broken, bloodied and barely breathing. The truth was, Alexandre was afraid to step around anybody these days lest they also meet the same fate. At least here and in Vykra, he hadn't had to worry about it. The person didn't seem to be watching him.
"We'll leave it at I was thrown off of my horse and hit the ground horribly." That was at least true. By horribly, of course, he meant that he had a knot on his knee, it only just now felt okay to breathe again, and when he'd tried to prevent his face from eating the dirt, his hands which had shot out in attempt to catch himself met with such resistance that both of his shoulders popped out of place. Not to mention... Cassiopeia was dead...
07-24-2010, 11:14 PM
"Thrown off your horse? You?" She stared at him in disbelief. She'd expected something at least vaguely believable. "Uh huh, and what threw you off? The angry forester?" She held up a hand, "No really don't tell me. But how is your horse? Was it still that one you liked...?"
See talking was easy. She cold do this. Breathe evenly, don't think, chatter. Don't run. God the hallway was just getting longer, wasn't it? Did they have to be so damn far from the DuPonts' rooms?
07-24-2010, 11:17 PM
He slowed his pace, wanting to punch the wall. Pissed enough to forget his resolve he said, "Actually, it was the arrow that hit my horse's neck that was responsible for me being thrown off. Who knows...? Maybe it was an angry forester... You might be on to something there. I should inform the beadle at once. And as for my horse... the one I liked... Cassiopeia... No. She's not all right. The arrow killed her..."
07-24-2010, 11:42 PM
Her jaw dropped as he spoke, and wondered wildly whether to comment on the arrow or the horse. "Alex, I'm sorry," she said after a moment. He looked so angry, and hurt.
His stupid antics were worth a solid beating maybe but not killing him- oh, in theory, in fantasy, in a sort of cosmic divine justice way maybe, but not actual death. "Cassi was a gorgeous horse... a forester wouldn't have missed you." Growing up in a household with an arrow for the sigil and archers everywhere, a few things turned up at odd times in one's head. "If you have the arrow you might be able to find whose it was."
07-24-2010, 11:46 PM
"The beadle has the arrow... And the letters," he said, groaning only after he realized he said more than he'd wanted. "All that matters is it's being taken care of, and that's what I care about." The anger, the fear... that part he would deal with in his own way. Nobody had to know how truly terrified he was, and he doubt she could see it in him. It had been so long, and she hardly knew how to recognize that particular emotion as he'd never truly felt it before now. "Yes... She was an amazing horse," he said sadly. "But perhaps Aquila will step up and fill her shoes. Who knows? I mean, a year of searching still has yielded no results in other areas of my life..." In other words... He had yet to find a woman who measured up to her... And it pissed him off.
"I guess then we can check foresters off the list," he said a bit lightly.
07-24-2010, 11:53 PM
"Letters?" she echoed, thinking uncomfortably of the ones they'd exchanged. She's assumed he'd burn those since anything she came near he clearly wanted to destroy but... "What letters? Alex, what in the gods' names is going on?" And what had he been looking for, anyway? But first the letters. "Did you get into trouble with someone?" Maybe he had tried to run a game on the wrong gamblers...
07-24-2010, 11:57 PM
He stopped walking altogether and looked out a nearby window. "Ashara... I can't... I can't tell you," he said. "Not because I don't want to... but I just don't want anybody who doesn't have to be involved to get into it. It's too dangerous... I would never forgive myself if something happened to you because I couldn't keep my mouth shut. That said, I think now's a good time for me to close my mouth." He looked back towards her. "Yes... I'm in trouble... But it's nothing you need to concern yourself with."
07-25-2010, 12:07 AM
She frowned as he spoke, and tried to sort out the tangle of thoughts pressing in on her skull. She hated him, but she'd seen what death and real hate looked like. This wasn't the same thing. If he'd been laying there along with Ambrielle, today would only have been worse.
"I... I thought we were going to try being friends? Today not counting, because today is just... today is the worst nightmare of my life and everyone else's and I know I was awful at you, but you're awful too... tomorrow. Tomorrow, tell me what's happening, all right? Lucian is amazing but you might need a little more help than that, and who in the whole realm is more experienced with trouble than Uncle Liam?" she tried to sound cheerful, but there just wasn't any inside of her. Instead she smiled and reached out to touch his arm. "It'll be ok, Alex."
07-25-2010, 12:52 AM
He did not recall the conversation about trying to be friends. He thought about it for a moment and then said, "I don't know if I could be a friend to you, Ashara. I think there's too much between us..." He did step closer when she continued, wanting to hold her again. "Not today," he agreed. "I can't be your friend today. And I can't make any promises about tomorrow... But maybe. Maybe we can be friends tomorrow... I don't know." He closed her eyes when she touched his arm. "I hope so..." He really did hope so.
07-25-2010, 01:09 AM
She took his hand, because she couldn't think what else to do. Everyone looked like they had had pieces torn out of them today and not just physically, there wasn't any point making it worse. If you could be nice to someone you hated today, then maybe some part of the horror wasn't for nothing...
"Tomorrow, then." She met his eyes with a faint smile. "We'll see, tomorrow."
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