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 Chapter 06: Solace
Surprised_by_Witches
Posted: Aug 18 2008, 05:00 PM


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But home was filled with inquisitive people, and there was nowhere she could go to cry. She shared a bed with Sparrow, when he was home, and he would ask what was wrong and what could she say? Someone I love far more than I could ever love you just stomped on my heart again? She didn't want to cry in front of anyone, least of all him. Her tears were private, and a house filled with friends was never private.

So she called a cab and headed to Connor's instead. Connor was the one person she could always count on. He knew better than to ask stupid questions. Once upon a time she might have gone to Sakira, but now she despised her cousin and former best friend. Yet another betrayal. Cecily felt she could not take one more betrayal.

She climbed the stairs to Connor's front door, the hairs on the back of her neck standing upright. More than once she looked over her shoulder to make sure Jack wasn't following her. Despite her recklessness earlier that evening she had no desire to meet up with her former boyfriend again. Pain, even death, was one thing. Eternal life as an evil thing was quite another.

The lights were on and she heard music playing, the reggae beats she knew Charles favored. She knocked harder and he opened the door, wearing just his pajama bottoms and a sleepy expression. She saw new, faint scars on his chest that did little to mar his perfection. He'd let his hair grow longer, into cornrows. She wondered if he had any idea just how devastatingly handsome he was, even now, when his expression changed to a slight frown.

"Hi," she said.

"Hi. Come in." He shut the door behind her. "Cecily, what have I told you about wandering around after dark?"

She said nothing, just hugged her arms around herself, suddenly cold.

He looked at her more closely. "Damn, girl, you look like hell."

"Can I crash here?"

"Yeah, use Connor's room. He's out for the night."

She nodded, not moving.

"Come sit," Charles said, indicating the couch. She obeyed, and he wrapped the familiar blue afghan around her shoulders. "Would you like a cup of tea?"

She shook her head, biting her lip.

"Cec," he said, sitting next to her, one leg tucked under the other so they were face to face, "have you been sleeping? You've got bags under your eyes."

"I have nightmares," she said. Vampire mommy nighmares. She shivered.

"It might help to talk about them," he said, reaching out to push a strand of her hair off her shoulder.

"I'm not sure I can."

"Try," he coaxed. "It might help you sleep better."

"There's this one," she said slowly, concentrating on a photograph on the wall, "where I'm in a boat in the middle of the ocean, with my brothers, and there's this storm and they're washed overboard and I'm all alone as the boat starts to sink, clinging to the mast . . . " And then I see my mother's face, laughing at me, but she didn't tell him that part. "Doesn't take a lot of genius to figure that one out, huh."

"You poor kid," he said.

"I'm OK," she said.

"Are you really."

"No," she whispered, and started to cry. He reached for her but she leapt to her feet and he pulled back immediately. "I--I can't," she said. "I can't."

"Can't what? Be touched?"

She shook her head.

"Be comforted?"

She shook her head no again, biting her lip.

"Be comforted by me." The blank expression was back.

She nodded her head, miserable.

"What if I said, I just want to be your friend. No strings attached."

"I hurt you, Charles. I feel like I keep hurting you."

"Cecily, I'm tougher than that."

"But I'm not."

"That doesn't make any sense to me."

"I'm so tired," she said. "I can't think straight anymore."

"Come on," he said, standing up and taking her hand, carefully. "I'll put you to bed."

He pulled back the covers of Connor's bed and she climbed in. He pulled the covers over her. "Good night."

"Charles," she said, hating herself but unable to stop, "please don't leave."

He laughed, a frustrated sound. "Make up your mind."

"Please, if you stayed I think I could sleep."

"Scoot over," he said, getting on top of the covers and putting his arm around her. She snuggled up to him. He smelled like warm spices.

"You smell nice."

"Uh, thanks."

"I like your hair like that," she said, sleepily.

"You do, huh."

"Mmm hmm."

"Get some sleep," was all he said. He stroked her hair absently but try as she might sleep would not come.

"Charles, I'm so tired of pretending to be OK," she said after a while. "I'm such a mess. You have no idea."

"What's the crisis du jour?" he asked lightly.

"Diego," she said.

"Diego. You mean, the vampire Diego?"

"I thought he loved me," she said, starting to cry again. "I thought it was true love."

"What happened?" His voice was flat, unemotional.

"I caught him kissing Sakira," she said, bitterly, through her tears. "He doesn't want me."

"Then he's an idiot," Charles said.

"I saw him tonight and he was so cold," she said. "So hard and cold. Charles, I just don't think I can take this anymore. Everyone I trust ends up betraying me. Daddy had no choice, I know that, but M-mom, and now Sakira, and Diego, and Blake, and god, I just want the pain to stop."

"Shhhh," he said, "Shhh. It's OK. Just sleep, honey. Sleep. I'm here."

"I don't deserve you," she said very quietly. "I don't think I can be what you need me to be."

"All I want is for you to be OK," he said.

"Don't hold your breath."

He chuckled. "See? A sense of humor is always a good sign. Get some sleep, Cecily. It'll seem better in the morning." He shifted his body.

"Don't leave," she said, panicky.

"I'm just getting comfortable," he said. "I'll be right here all night, I promise."

She put her head on his chest and he pulled her close. Anchored to his warm, safe presence she fell into a dreamless sleep.

Next Chapter


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Lynet
Posted: Aug 18 2008, 06:04 PM


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What a sad pair. I wish she could just love Charles. He's such a good guy.


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Sacharissa
Posted: Aug 19 2008, 12:06 PM


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I know, poor things! I kind of want her to end up with Diego...and yet, Charles is so good for her!

Another excellent chapter, SBW!


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Roux
Posted: Aug 20 2008, 07:21 AM


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Poor Cecily. She needs some real help to get through this.


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"Danger? I laugh in the face of danger. And then I hide until it goes away."

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