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The Beginning Is the End Is the Beginning



 
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Jameson Orlav

The entire process of becoming a vampire is absolutely brutal. Jameson can remember every moment as though it had happened yesterday. Every feeling of pain was etched into the pit of his gut. The feeling was like hot embers being forced through his veins, like bits of ground up blood and meat being fed into a casing. He burned for days. Screaming and pleading for the fleeting moments that he had regained consciousness. The only solace he received came when he blacked out. Even then, he had no memories of the awful things he had done. The things he had been put up to. Lives he had destroyed. People he had torn apart.

Now?

Now the people he tore apart were of his choosing. Every night there was a new meal, and it came in the form of whomever he wanted. Sometimes it was a woman he'd lured home from the bar, soaked to the bone in liquor and amphetamines. These meals were easy. Too easy. Nights when he was feeling lazy and the thrill of the chase didn't sound appetizing at all.

But other nights it was the hunt that made his dinner. The quickening of his victims pulse once the paranoia had set in. When that familiar feeling like maybe you're not alone makes you feel terrified and foolish. You pull your jacket tighter and your steps begin to hasten, but the shiver that shoots down your spine tries to convince you that you're being silly.

You're not.

Jameson is on the other side waiting. Somewhere in the depths of the shadows, just out of reach from the light cast by the moon. With the jingling of the keys to the lock comes an intense feeling of relief. You made it home and you're safe. But that's not true. That adrenaline rush sweetens the blood. Dopamine is the most delectable taste, and it's always the most intense in the hour immediately following.

Even so.

Hunting humans was small potatoes.

He craved more. He wanted more. Nothing in this life seemed to sate his hunger- which had turned into something much more fierce and frightening than it had been months before. Perhaps this was part of the eternal curse that Mackenzie had placed upon him. Never mind the wanton blood-lust and the prolific need for carnal delight...

More.

More.

There's an underlying task that lay dormant in the back of Jameson's mind. In a way, everything he did orbited around the assignment he had been given when she first turned him. And for many months he worked as coherently as possible to make things harder on himself than they needed to be. The new vampire had almost succeeded at killing his wife. Had nearly ripped off her head in the nursery where their child lay sleeping just feet away. Jameson tore into her neck, steadfast and lacking conscience, fully aware of the repercussions should he fail and the consequences should he succeed.

Elouise managed to to save herself that night. But Moscow had fallen, and so did everything that they'd built together.

Time passed faster than it ever had. Months felt like minutes, and for someone who was virtually ageless, it felt like a blessing. Distance was forming between himself and the life that he had shoved behind. The safest thing he could have done for Logan and for Elouise was to force them into hiding. In the darkness, he could do them no physical harm, though mental anguish he had surely brought upon his wife was undoubtedly catastrophic.

The vampire himself would choose to live his life with the same anguish. There were no days that he woke up and decided it would be better to turn off the way he felt. The proverbial switch that existed inside of him which would give him total control over whether or not he wanted to actively participate in feeling. He would always participate. Every single day, the same way that Elouise would wake up and feel the pain of betrayal by the man who was supposed to protect her.

That's how it was. Until parts of Jameson had become so beat down and stomped on that they were nearly unrecognizable, even to himself. The feelings and emotions that he clung too were subject to the same massive onslaught of havoc and destruction that the people around him were.

What was left of Jameson was a shell.

Roughly half of the population agreed that it was better that way. The other half would never experience the world as a better place. Without the disease of the un-dead. The place he wanted to help create.

That dream was dead, and so was everyone that Jameson ever loved.
Literally.

But here and now, Jameson was in a place where a certain darkness had taken root deep within his core. He had become well acquainted with it, and was comfortable. He trusted it. They had bonded. Elouise had come out of hiding. Or, rather, she hadn't been hiding quite so hard. He'd first caught her scent a month back while he was in New York. While it wasn't quite enough to bring him right to her door, it was enough to pick up on her trail.

She moved fast. Doing whatever it was that she needed and moving on to her next point. It wasn't until he'd trailed her deep into the southern America's that he'd realized there was something... Different. Jameson didn't realize it then, and he didn't particularly care to. Eventually he had gotten what he wanted.

An address.

There was nothing thoughtful about the way he prepared the letter. The paper was a plain matte white, and it's letters were written in a messy script- the same as his notes had always been. The only difference was the ink he'd used to pen it's contents. A criminally underused fountain pain was his instrument of choice. His medium?

Blood.

This is Jameson, we're talking about.

I've tracked you down for many days;
I've followed you through alleyways.
You haven't even seen me yet,
But when you do, you won't forget.


Just below the verse was a number neatly scribbled.

1566

If memory served her right, the number would pluck at a memory that was made somewhere in Bloemfontein. The first night that the two of them had been assigned to a detail on a building block. A particular building. Building 1566.

Jameson would continue to be one step ahead until the very end.
April 25, 2018 11:03 pm

Elouise Warrock

Life had changed drastically for Elouise Warrock in the last year.

She’d trusted a man, and loved him, and suffered the consequences of that love.

Loving Jameson Orlav had been visceral. Real. Intense. All words that could have described her husband, once upon a time.

She hadn’t resorted back to the woman she was before Jameson had forced himself into her heart. She was ever-changing, evolving into whatever inevitable, final form she was meant to take.

Torn between what Jameson had always seen in her, and what Elis wanted her to become.

Every morning Elouise watched the sun rise, bidden to the same harsh reality. She would want a million sunrises, and a million sunsets. But she would never have that life again. There had been a time, blissfully, she slept through every sunrise, and spent every sunset nestled in the arms of the man she loved. He had protected her, until all the loose ends in his life came crawling back.

Each and every one, a carefully kept secret from Elouise. To protect her.

 

I didn’t want to discuss it.’

Elouise was familiar with the statement. Noura. Cole. Jason. He built walls around her with the intention of keeping her safe, but only locked her away to her own isolation and misery. So much of that wedded bliss spent torn by anxiety over the secrets, the ambivalence of whether her concerns would be met with respect or dismissal.

But she loved being Mrs. Jameson K. Orlav. It meant something to her, to be loved by someone like him.

His damage fit hers like a matched set. It made sense.

Until it didn’t.

The devolution of the marriage began when Cole Ward respawned, and put a bullet in Elouise. Before that point, she had been convinced Jameson couldn’t help his relationships. But she had been wrong.

Jameson Orlav had been instrumental in the death of everyone he had ever loved. He wrought turmoil in his wake, but before Logan, Elouise found the chaos thrilling. When faced with the safety and dignity of her child… Things changed. Elouise changed.

 

It’s kněžna, you potato.’

She could hear his voice in her heard like a broken melody. The emotions she still felt for him were as raw as the first time she’d admitted her love for him. As the day he disappeared. As the night he returned.

The scar was still settled on her neck, pink and resistant to time. She didn’t look in mirrors any longer. Her own reflection seem to tug at the loose fixings that bound her heart together. She couldn’t be reminded of the carefree, vibrant young woman she’d once been. The woman that Jameson had painstakingly chosen to love. She forced herself instead to be different.

If time passed quickly for Jameson, it had the opposite effect on his wife. Every day agonized from hour to hour, crawling towards the end with every inch of trepidation time could seem to muster. Some days, Elouise stayed perfectly still, inside the refuge of the turquoise house of tin she’d called home for a few months now. Peru offered her refuge. She had to hide, to protect herself. First from Jameson. And then from Elis as well.

Most importantly, she had to protect Logan. From them. From herself.

 

"Fantastic! A baby. A baby? We're going to have a baby!"

His ecstatic tone still rang in her head. She remembered every excruciating detail of that day. Her emotions a mixture of anger, fear, and then all due to him, relief. Jameson had never gotten to meet their son – not really. Elouise had made sure no harm would come to her progeny; the perfect balance of Elouise and Jameson.

She cherished those first few minutes when the baby had gone from an idea to a reality, delivered alone, surrounded by strangers. The harsh medical lights bright in her face in the private suite of a Moscow hospital as she held her son for the first time. Ensured the correct number of fingers and toes. Looked into his chocolate brown eyes for the very first time, and wept as she looked into the eyes that were just as much Jameson’s.

 

Hi, Rambo…’

He was gone from her, now. Safe with people who had once been friends.

She tried not to think of them, if she could help it. The days went by more swiftly if she didn’t agonize over everything she’d been given by Jameson, and how it had all been torn away. Instead she focused on what was simple.

Slaughtering a drunken tourist who reminded her of Noura, torturing her until her very last breath. Tearing, limb from limb, the Australian man who, for whatever reason, resembled Cole. Shattering the skull of a Czech man who had whistled at her as she walked past the cantina, catcalling ‘kněžna’ as she prattled past.

It could have been latent insanity. Eternally traumatized by every last member of the rat pack Jameson consorted with. Even Oliver had become a fixture of her unbridled anger. Every murder seemed to have a subconscious reason behind him. Sometimes she admitted it to herself. Other times she forced herself to ignore it if only to ease her mind.

But every minute her still-beating heart pumped, it beat with a singular purpose.

 

Jameson.

It would always be the two of them. Thousands of miles away, or only feet apart…

It would always be the two of them. Every laugh. Every heartache. Every game.

Even this one. Especially this one.

So when Elouise stepped outside into the light of day, as she could, she was surprised to find an unmarked letter pressed into the jam of her rattled door. Nimble fingers broke the seal and procured a letter written in blood she could smell before she’d even opened the door.

I've tracked you down for many days;

I've followed you through alleyways.

You haven't even seen me yet,

But when you do, you won't forget.

 

She wondered if at first it could have come from Elis, but he never played such games. And then the number.

1566.

Bloemfontein. So it was Jameson. The crumbling apartment building. Where she’d first felt the inkling of something between them. When she’d gone to take her life when she’d learned what Jameson had become. And where he was summoning her to now. How had he found her? She’d been careful. Except… New York. She gave him credit, he was certainly attentive. Not so much in their marriage, but he was welcome to make up for lost time.

The warning sirens in her head indicating she should flee further were ignored. She would go to South Africa. She would find Jameson. She would rather have the light die from her eyes looking at his face, than continue to suffer the many isolated days without him.

Ticket bought, no need for a bag, she left Lima with a lower tourism rate than when she’d found it, but with renewed vision. She could handle Jameson. He had no idea what she was. Not really.

April 26, 2018 12:21 am

Jameson Orlav

The trip to Bloemfontein dragged on. From Peru, he'd needed to take three separate planes which meant two layovers. Once upon a time this wouldn't have been an issue. Jameson traveled here and there for business, which often included the blood market purchases of captive vampires and werewolves. But planes were part of the job then. Now, he grew impatient at airports. The number of bodies was overwhelming, as was his inability to come and go as he pleased during the day. Every body that passed by him was a potential meal, and every beating heart screamed his name in spite of his own desperation.

One red-eye flight after another brought him to his destination. It took him forty-eight whole hours to get there... But he managed.

1566.

It was the number he had left at the bottom of the letter. Elouise was smart. Quick. He knew that it wouldn't take her very long to catch on, especially once she'd realized that the letter had come from Jameson. She might have even been able to figure out what he was up to before she'd completed the whole... Tour.

But that didn't matter. If she wanted to know what awaited her at the end of the proverbial rainbow, she'd follow the trail exactly as he had laid it out.

The mile marker he was preparing now was Bloemfontein. The first stop.

Where everything began.

Jameson certainly wasn't as sentimental as he had once been, but that didn't mean that his memories had somehow evaded him, or had been erased indefinitely from his mind. Everything he had ever experienced was still up there. All of the good things and all of the bad. For now, the good things were most of what remained of Elouise and Jameson. It just so happened that they didn't weigh as heavily on him as the terrible stuff.

From his position on top of the (now) abandoned building, he could see a large chunk of the city. The sun had set, although some of it's remaining rays strayed from over the horizon. He was safe from them, as he had learned almost immediately upon turning. As safe as he was when the moon hung high above him and offered him safety from it's daytime lover.

Bloemfontein had grown since the last time he had been there. It was far from young during the days of Solitude, but as time had proven over and over again, be it a year or ten... Nothing will be the same as it was when you left it. The same seemed to go for people.

Under Camille's command, the two of them had been dispatched to contain a disturbance among the crews zombies. Their leader had paid a pretty penny for the magic used in raising the dead, which would then be used for training within the sanctuary. Alas, some rogue hobo had been running around killing them. A big no-no within the city limits.

When it came to pulling straws Jameson was, of course, the obvious choice. He was a master of his craft. The same as he was even now, really. It's just that the particular skill set didn't benefit him as much anymore. Where once he would make plentiful use of the extensive training, now his immortality afforded him the skills of an apex predator without the countless hours in the gym and on the range.

The bag Jameson carried with him was dark. It was lined ten times over with a material similar to rope, but thinner and much more agile. Said material would ensure that it's contents were impenetrable. It helped that he had friends everywhere, and that the power of his persuasion was a lot stronger than it used to be. He had the ability to fly with the bag without any trouble. Which was important, because of what was inside.

To be revealed in time, don't you worry.

The man's hands are covered with heavy gloves. The kind that you wear when it's cold outside and you're trying to retain body heat. Of course, the temperature in South Africa was much warmer than any climate where snow typically fell. He remembered one time when the ground had been covered in frost, and the city had nearly descended into chaos. The same couldn't be said for the higher elevation in the mountains, but you didn't come here for a geography lesson, did you?

It's so quiet that when Jameson unzips the bag, the noise echoes off of the buildings around him. The remaining light in the sky disappears quickly, as though it were running from the chaos that was about to unfold.

Elouise leaned in closely, her fingers trailing up Jameson's chest as she met his gaze. “Actually, I take that back. There are certainly parts of you that I cannot resist…” She whispered, before her eyes lit up and she drew back, chocolate bar successfully thefted.

The memory almost brought a smile to the corner of his mouth, if only because the thought of a much simpler time threatened to bring a sense of relief over him. Months ago, such an image might ignite a feeling of hope. That one day in some far off corner of the world they might be able to be together again.

Today was not one of those days, and this feeling was not so warm.

In his mind was a battle of debauchery and warfare. The thought of Elouise's head on a spike for the sake of Mackenzie fueled little parts of him. He carried a specific need to please her, and not just for the sake of making her happy. Jameson had to indulge her. Needed to bring her satisfaction and joy with his behavior and his actions. Her enemies were his enemies, whether they had wronged him or not. Joined within him in the fight against authority was a very real and very uncontrollable hunger for acceptance.

And it would never come.
But he would never stop fighting for it.
It was, quite literally, in his blood.

From inside his bag he pulled a fully wrapped package. It was roughly the size of a D!ckinson novel, and only weighed about half as much. The paper on the outside was a plain, golden color. Somehow it nearly matched the hue of Elouise's blonde hair. Attached was a second letter. The same paper and script as the one before. Except this one has been affixed to the package with a bow, in a color that matched the bloody ink.

So We must meet apart –
You there – I – here –
With just the Door ajar
That Oceans are – and Prayer –
And that White Sustenance –
Despair –


Inside the box - a souvenir. Two forefingers that seemed to belong to the same hand... Impossible. Old. Embalmed. Nearly decomposed except for a thin layer of skin that was somehow both green, brown, and still resembled flesh. Long ago they'd belonged to reanimated corpses that walked the streets below where he stood now, up high above the world.

Trigger and Gunner.

Nestled beneath the fingers was a credit-card shaped object. No... It was a card. Roughly an eighth of an inch thick and plated in silver. A thin, black strip decorated the back. One might think that it had long been de-magnetized but they'd be wrong. There was no room number. Instead, in a terribly plain script on the front it read;

The Ritz Club

A members only hotel in London.
Elouise might not recognize the name, but she'd recognize the location as one of the first destinations they'd traveled to together. Jameson had tried his best to mix business with pleasure and failed. But it had been the staple of a building block in their relationship.


You're a pretty princess too, Lameson.
April 26, 2018 10:21 pm

Elouise Warrock

Elouise had always had a compromised psyche. She was the product of a failed marriage, raised by a single mother who was more interested in Elouise as a tool than as a daughter. She had lived a sheltered life, on a commune of people as cold and calculated as Trista Warrock had been, left to fend for herself in the wilderness of her isolation. She had been born alone, and subsequently learned to fend for herself. She lacked basic soft skills, and found it extremely difficult to relate towards others.

When Camille Rameau invited her to Bloemfontein, she had reluctantly accepted. Elouise wasn’t cut out for forced socialization, and the idea of living on another compound, admittedly, struck fear in her heart. But something about the angel appealed to her, perhaps it was her drugged gummies and generally free-wheeling lifestyle that calmed Elouise down. One mind find it hilarious to think that Camille’s presence was grounding, but she did bring Elouise down to Earth.

Camille had set the standard early on that one should be friendly to Solitude’s newest members. And it was just two years ago that Elouise first laid eyes on Jameson Orlav. She didn’t take stock of his good looks, nor his obvious charm. She was, and continued to be for some time, an overgrown child. She spent her days eating with a pittance of a diet and consuming copious amounts of liquor and drugs. She would have been set to henceforth ignore Jameson Orlav’s existence until the end of time, if it hadn’t of been for Camille.

The orders had been delivered, and Elouise was to go uncover the perpetrator of the disappearance of the sanctuary’s kept zombies, and she’d have to babysit Jameson along the way (absolutely reserve scenario). Jameson was late, and pompous, and Elouise, in all of her great humor, had provided him with the necessary products to dye his hair blonde. She was amused with herself, even after he’d safely deposited the bag of goodies into the nearest trash receptacle.

She remembered so vividly that first day with him, in his boots and jeans and leather jacket, so overdressed for the weather it was hilarious. He had been set to crack into Elouise’s reserved manner, and she refused to let him in. It didn’t matter that he’d almost gotten her eaten by a loose zombie. It mattered even less, frankly, that he’d lost his favorite leather jacket to the zombie they’d later known as ‘Trigger’. He’d dragged her to the top of a crumbling skyscraper. 1566.

He’d somehow convinced her to sit on the edge, overlooking the city as it spread out in its vast expanse. He’d even managed to get minor details out of her. One might say it was a victory.

After that day, he’d never left her alone again. And she didn’t mind. In time, he’d easily become the single most important person in her life. A constant fixture, and an absolute necessity.

He had somehow managed to carve out a place for himself in her heart, an admittedly difficult task. He’d employed patience, gravitas, and Taco Bell. They were both, in varying levels, emotionally incompetent. But like puzzle pieces, their edges fit together.

Jameson had gone out, quite literally the day after they’d first kissed, and purchased an engagement ring. And then, under false pretenses, invited her on a whirlwind trip to London. He’d had to go for business, but planned to overwhelm Elouise into agreeing to marry him (the best course of action, clearly).

Except things went awry, as they always do. The jealousy. The dramatics. The drunken fueled bender. And somewhere, in the middle of it all, a wedding neither of them could recall. The morning after, Jameson had pieced together all that had transpired while Elouise was nauseously hungover. And then, very unceremoniously woke her up.

She wasn’t prepared for it then, admitting she loved him. And she’d thrown the ring at him. Rejected him completely. She’d never been good at expressing herself, and in the middle of her existential crisis had nearly thrown away the thing most important to her.

But Jameson, as always, was patient. And his forgiveness came with sliding the ring back onto her finger, where it would stay until her then pregnant fingers swelled too much to allow it to stay. And from that point forward, it hung around her neck.

It all felt like another life to Elouise, especially as she took a brief detour to Solitude’s old compound. She’d managed to get into the old space, footsteps echoing down the empty halls. She entered the room that was once hers, and later theirs. The space held so many memories, of pranks, of movie nights, of mornings spent ignoring the sunlight and snuggling in onesies until Elouise’s complaints of hunger won Jameson over. It was bliss.

She took her time there (after all, she has all of it to spend), walking from room to room, remembering the friends she’d once had residing there. It had been months since she’d spoken to Camille. Longer since Caitlyn. She felt a pang of nostalgia in her chest, existing once again in the space where it had all started, knowing she could never return to such simple beginnings.

But after a few hours, the haunting memories of what her life had once been felt crushing, the good memories masked by all of the horror she had known since that time. Before she departed the compound (for perhaps the very last time), she opened the closet doors of her old bedroom, knowing fully well tucked safely behind a ceiling panel was a decent stash of weed and amphetamines she’d left behind. When she procured the old cigar box that should have contained her goodies, she found nothing of what she expected. Camille must have gotten to it long before. The angel had known about it, surely. But what she did discover made her needless breath hitch. A photo, tucked into the lining of the box, almost easily missed.  She smiled, even laughed for a few seconds. But she was quickly silent. Brooding. Drawing back the moment the photo was taken.

She had prattled into his office, hangry as usual. After admonishing him for not loving her enough to feed her, he’d agreed to take her out for dinner. And thus, the reluctant photo was procured. Never mind that it had been a more than enjoyable time spent (which he would never admit), Elouise had gotten her tacos and dollar ‘ritas. All about those ice cold marg’s.

Elouise forced herself to the skyscraper off the beaten path of the rest of the city, abandoned, decayed buildings left to collapse upon themselves until time necessitated the space be leveled and more infrastructure raised in its place. She wondered how soon it would be until this space of solace no longer existed, and in its place a strip mall. Or strip joint. Probably the latter.

She stood on the street below for a few moments, eventually willing herself to reach the top. And at the top, once again with the sun setting as it had that formative evening they’d spent together, she discovered a box and affixed note. She had no f*cking clue what Jameson was up to, nor what he hoped to accomplish in forcing her to travel every inch of the world in search of something, perhaps not even him.

If he was seeking to crush her will before taking her unlife, he was well on his way. With every forced step back into what they’d once lived together, Elouise broke apart piece by piece, just a bit more here and there with every bit of nostalgia.

And The Ritz Club. It was like being gutted, going back to the hotel where their life together truly began. But she would go, after taking the time to pull over the fingers she knew belonged to Trigger and Gunner. It seemed Jameson was committed to dredge up every minute detail of their relationship, every facet, every sacred, untouched part of their love and devolve the magic that remained of it.

All of the love she felt in her chest was quickly winding up to rage in the pit of her stomach with every step towards him on this twisted scavenger hunt. She felt like that day he’d sprayed her with watered-down orange juice. Humiliated, defeated, but not without plans for retaliation.

'What are you saying, Ellie? You hope to be Mrs. Orlav one day?'

April 28, 2018 12:22 am

Jameson Orlav

The Ritz and it's surroundings had opened a whole new set of doors for Jameson. Not just in his personal life, but professionally as well. Originally, it was business that brought him to London. He reflects on the circumstances as he parades through the now redesigned lobby of the members-only hotel. Almost nothing is as he remembered. The tall pillars that broke up the wide opened floors were now dressed in what looked like stainless steel. The front desk remained as extravagant as it ever was, having been carved out of the highest quality wood on this side of the Atlantic- no doubt from trees of a forest older than this part of London.

Elouise had come along with him the third time he'd been here. He had extended the invitation and at that time didn't think that anything could have gone awry. He would need to spend an hour or two in a meeting with his contacts, but then he'd be free for the rest of the weekend and him and Elouise would have ample time to spend together.

There were too many moving parts, and eventually, the cogs had trouble turning.

The meeting with his contacts was a disaster. One of his oldest partners had taken off and sent a replacement. She was a beautiful woman, he could not deny that. But the game she was playing was one that Jameson had played himself many times before. He wasn't susceptible to her charms, or the curtain she'd tried to pull over his eyes. Her organization and Jameson had an agreement, and there was nothing that was going to keep him from securing the delivery of sedated vampires to his laboratory.

Nothing except, maybe, Elouise Warrock.

The woman had become irate. She demanded answers. Jameson couldn't fault her for that, especially when he'd kept her in the dark about the majority of his occupational undercrust. Maybe he should have thought better of bringing her along with him. But then, what came next would never have come to fruition. Or maybe it's one of those things that always would have happened. What's that word romantics use? Destiny?

Who knows.

Jameson didn't bother stopping at the front desk to check in. It wouldn't do him any good as he didn't have a reservation, and honestly it didn't matter. Whether he was allowed to have access to the room or not wouldn't stop him getting inside. It's occupancy would only end in agony for whatever poor soul had overpaid for the 'magnificent' view of the skyline.

He used to think it was beautiful, too, until he'd seen into some of the lesser known corners of the world. He'd come to realize that the litter of tall buildings weren't a view at all, but an obstruction. But we're not here to wade through the half-hearted opinions of an senseless vampire.

Slipping through the pillars unchecked (thanks in part to the expertly tailored suit that screamed I spent too much money on this), Jameson made his way to where the elevators waited in the lobby. One of them would take you to any floor between the ground and the fifth. The second elevator would bring you between the sixth and seventh floors- and that's where Jameson was headed. The Piccadilly Suite. If the room had remained the same as he remembered, it's high ceilings and crown moldings would give way to the belly of a larger-than-necessary lounging space; it's antique furnishings nearly as old as the building itself. What he remembered finding so delightful about this suite was not it's glass surfaces, or the Victorian upholstery. Not the bedding that made him feel like he was sleeping on a cloud (but was god-awful tacky). Not the marble bathroom.

But the tiny touches of blue that were dropped into the Tiffany stained glass windows.. The swirls of cerulean that exploded against the cream colored curtains in the bedroom.. The velvet chairs that stunned in a magnificent shade of royal blue- All of these things reminded him of the way Elouise' eyes looked under that last bit of sunlight on the first night they'd spend together in Bloemfontein. The way they brightened whenever Jameson came into her line of vision. These were the things that had intrigued him the most about this room originally.

Now it only served to remind him that mortal life is fickle and finite.

Jameson adjusted the black business bag who's strap had been slung over his shoulder. His fingers tighten only briefly, before they loosen to allow his thumb to hook beneath the leather strap. Quick strides carry him into the second elevator, where he'd make his way up to the sixth floor. It wasn't the penthouse suite, but it was as close and he preferred at the time. There was more than enough room for four people with the Picadilly's two bedrooms- Emerson and Jason tagging along, of course, as they often did since the four of them were a blurred saturation of questionable friendship. The bells and whistles were absolutely a way for Jameson to assert his financial dominance. Little did he know then that the dramatics and flair didn't matter to Elouise as much as he thought they would.

Looking back now, he thinks the whole attempt at courtship to be uncalled for.

The elevator dings, and soon Jameson is staring down a long and lavish hallway; freshly polished stone floors beneath his feet guiding him along. The suites didn't have numbers but rather, they were marked by their names in an elegant script that was scrawled across a moniker over the top of the door. The indication wouldn't mater, since he remembered exactly where the room was, but his dark irises grazed over them anyway once he'd stopped and knocked three times on the door.

Everything was electronic in 2018. With cell phones and the internet, it was almost unheard of that someone unannounced would be knocking on the door of your suite in the middle of the day. But common courtesy says you have to answer. Especially with the kind of money that affords you such a luxurious accommodation. Manners in Europe were, of course, more heavily developed than they had been in the states.

Hello? A feminine voice peeks first from the opened crack of the door, followed by a face and then an entire body- revealed slowly as the suites inhabitant was (rightfully) wary. Jameson can hear the steady thrumming of her heart picking up its pace.

"Terribly sorry to bother you, madam." He speaks with his best English accent, though the Polish drawl to his words is impossible to hide. At best, he sounds like a transfer, but still passable as management. "There seems to be an issue with the alarm on the west bay window. I need to make sure the latching is secure. I wont be but a moment."

The young woman seemed to accept Jameson's reasoning after sizing him up (considerably). The plush wool of his fabric and the thick leather of his semi-brogues had apparently spoke volumes to his credibility. After all, why would one go through such trouble as to dress up for the mere sake of securing their way into a room?

Jameson was about to demonstrate.

The coup happened quickly. The luxurious cabin had been occupied by none other than a man and his wife. Though the vampire felt a tinge of disgust when the smell of children wafted through the air, he knew that there were none in the room. The two of them had left the kids home with a nanny. There was no way they'd brought the child (or children) with them. The scent would have been much more potent.. But that didn't matter, anyway. Had their offspring been here, nothing would have stopped him from granting the same untimely demise.

The mother's death had come swiftly. Before she'd realized what was happening, Jameson had snapped her neck and left her in the foyer to be discovered by her husband. The man had hardly enough time to empty the air from his lungs as he tried to scream. He'd lock eyes with the monster built from dark hair and hard edges, and be granted enough time to accept that he was, without a doubt, about to die. Jameson's rough hands completely crush the strangers larynx, effectively cutting off both his air supply and ability to vocalize his pain.

Razor sharp fangs contract from his his upper and lower jaw, clamping down on the mans throat with a satisfying 'crunch'. Blood, hot and metallic, blooms against his tongue and he wastes no time in drinking it down. He'd indulge himself until nearly every drop was drained from the mans rigid body, dropping him to the floor only once he'd had his fill.

From his pocket he removed a square, dyed crimson to match the color of the blood he wiped from the corner of his mouth. When Elouise - if Elouise - stumbled upon the scene at hand, she'd find the wife still filled to the brim with plasma, no doubt properly coagulated by the time she'd reached it. Atop the bodies he left the cotton pocket square, engraved in gold lettering with his initials; 'JKO'. He was sure she'd recognize it as one from a set he'd procured when they were together, the rest of them he'd left behind when Mackenzie had taken him.

At the compound.
The Order.

Moscow.

Elouise was a smart woman. He has no qualms about her ability to solve his ridiculous riddles, no matter how subtle the clues he left behind.


'Your phone is dead. I know that. I don't know if you'll ever hear this
......Come home, Jameson. I'm not strong enough to do this on my own.
I'm not interested in raising this child without you......Please come
home, babe. I did some things. Things I'm not proud of......I love you.
I will always love you. Please don't blame me for what I have
to do......Come home before it's too late. Please.
'



July 11, 2018 08:34 pm

Elouise Warrock


Elouise has never been one for bells and whistles. Not to be confused with pragmatism, but never in her life has she been persuaded into something with gifts, money or showings of power. She is the most stubborn woman alive, as most would attest. She marched to the beat of her own drum, which she crafted for herself, mallets and all. When she doesn’t like something, she’s likely impossible to persuade. And loving Jameson, even now, she’ll hold onto the parts of him she still possesses - equally as impossible to be dissuaded. Whatever sick game they’re playing with each other, a time will come to stand face-to-face.



Five days, one year ago, Logan Jameson Orlav was born. In the midst of the turmoil of Jameson being missing, she’d given birth to their son, the only child they would ever share. After Prudence, Elouise had shuttered at the thought of being a mother to any other child, but accidents happen when fools fall in love. And a fool she was.



She has no idea where in the world her son is, all she can trust is he’s safer without her, and out of the grasp of his father.



Once upon a time, she had dreams of a family - whatever sick and twisted themes carried in their work life, Jameson and Elouise would be father and mother to their child, and any more that came their way. They would love their children, and that love would drive them towards a cure - to make a better, safer world. To protect them from all evils. And somehow, that evil had been the knife that severed their family forevermore.



The Ritz’s interior is different than Elouise remembers - her memory still keen enough even through the alcohol-fueled haze her wedding day had been. She walks in with a confidence - something her mortal self never possessed. A white Balenciaga sundress falls off her tall figure, ending at mid-thigh, pared with a set of baby blue Manolo Blahnik heels adorns her with an air of gravitas the front desk doesn’t dare to question. She’d spent an egregious amount of money, yes. But these days, she found talking dead men out of their money a very simple task.



Her first stop is the bar, funnily enough. Almost incapable of addressing the suite where two had become one, she instead slides into a stool against the mahogany bar.



How can I best serve you, madame?” The bartender’s service begins immediately, a stubbled smile waiting for her order.



“Macallan, double.” She doesn’t hesitate, ordering Jameson’s favorite.



We only service Macallan as a full bottle, madame. Is that alright?” He pulls a bottle of the 18 year old single malt from the shelf, showing the label to her.



“Yes. I have time to kill.” She waves a dismissive hand in his direction. The irony of the statement is not lost on her, even eliciting a small grin.



And she would indeed sit at the bar until every last drop was delivered, not within the bartender’s job description to not overserve a guest, especially not at the price they’re presumably paying. And when the last drop is had, Elouise stands, the bar ready to turn down - already early into the next morning.



“Thank you…” She squints, never having properly caught his name.



Harris, madame.” He smiles again, accepting the cash Elouise’s manicured fingers slide against the bar to him. “Thank you.”



“Get home safely.” She inclines her head one in a polite nod before gathering her things and leaving, sensing the shock in Harrison’s mind she’s capable of walking a straight line.



When Elouise reaches the elevator, she lets out a soft sigh. She’s sickeningly aware whatever awaits her in the suite is surely not the end of the road, yet knowing it’s yet another grotesque step in Jameson’s macabre game does nothing to put her at ease. It’s funny, even undead she fears the certainty of darkness. A true death.



Because regardless of the fact that no one was there to lay witness, and Logan was thousands of miles away, she’d still place a solitary candle into a cupcake and lit it. She had no wishes to give, nor a desire to feast on the confectionary treat. Instead she’d sat until the candle burned out, and then sometime after. She wondered what he looked like now, or the personality he possessed. She’d had inklings of both, even with the limited time in his life. Did Soleil and Rhiannon have a party for him? Did Soleil even remember the day she’d brought Elouise and Logan home from the hospital?



She hoped they offer him only the best. Even if Soleil refused, she knew her wife was too good to allow an innocent child to suffer. They understood the stakes, and that he wasn’t complicit in the actions of his mother or father.



Lost in her own thoughts, she misses the elevator ding, the doors opening jarring her from dwelling more on the things she’ll never have again. And as if reliving moments that were even lost to her own memory, her senses become overwhelmed with noise.



Cheering. Laughing. No… Cackling. Deep, full-throated revelry. A champagne bottle pops. Jason is struck square at the apex of his back, no it’s no matter. The entire party is migrating into the suite. A pair of arms strap themselves around her waist from behind, and she’s being unceremoniously hoisted across the threshold back into their suite. Elouise is screeching, said bottle of champagne spilling onto the pair as Jameson struggles to maneuver himself through the doorway. His newly betrothed is taller than the average woman, after all. And despite all best efforts, she still smacks her forehead on the top of the door jam.



Oh, sh-t. Ellie?’ Jameson drops her in his effort to deliver his best drunken first-aid. ‘Are you okay?’



She gives a shrug, the egg on her noggin already prepared to blossom. “M’fine.” She slurs, leaning against his chest. “Jamie?”



‘Yeah?’ Still unconvinced, Jameson is flashing his iPhone light into her eyes.



“I’m probably going to wake up tomorrow and regret this.” She states flatout, a Champagne-sticky hand reaching out to caress his stubble. “Don’t take it personally, okay?”



I’ve never taken anything you do personally.’ He smiles earnestly, if not on purpose, than by virtue of a belly full of whiskey.



“It’s just fear. I love you sober, too. I’m just too scared to admit it.” At the brave omission, they’re both leaning in to kiss, when a sea of condoms come crashing down over their heads, courtesy of Jason.



We don’t need any babies, you got it?’ The bearded man chuckles, unaware of how ironic his unsolicited advice would be to the couple. Elouise didn’t understand in that drunken moment how devoted a family man Jameson wished to be. The father he could and should have been, but would never have the opportunity to be.



“No babies, Jamie. Got it?” She grimaces, her newly named husband pulling her back to her feet.



No babies, Smellie. You got it.’ He manages to finally deliver the previously interrupted kiss, at which point Elouise mumbles something into his ear.



Rushes of movement in the hallway bring Elouise back into reality, screams and panic corrupting her closed-eye vision. And then the pungent smell hits her keen nostrils, and she’s following the manager as he pinches his nose and steps into the open door of the suite. Strewn out, covered in blood, faces masked with shock and fear - a murdered couple. She can smell Jameson amongst the flurry of other scents.



Madame! Don’t go in there.” A bellhop grabs her by the arm in an attempt to draw her back, but her alarming strength shoves him back. She can’t break away her case, transfixed on the scene. No sign of a note, no riddle to be employed. But he wanted her to find this, to see them, to understand just how low he’d fallen. She looks back to the doorway where they’d collapsed on their wedding night, those mumbled words coming back to her.



“Maybe just one or two. But only if they’re just like you.”



She was naive then to the monster beneath a cool demeanor and handsome features. Even after the discovery of his lab, she was still eager to share that first embrace with their child. If it was half-Jameson, it would be wholly good in her mind. She needed to believe the child’s salvation was in having Jameson to love it as fiercely as he had once loved her.



She struggled with blaming Jameson’s fate on others, and with placing the mantle of the burden entirely on him. His line of work begged for such an end, and despite this, Elouise encouraged him. She was just as complicit in denying Logan everything a child deserves to have.



Madame, please. The police are on their way.” The bellhop tries again, this time Elouise allows him to pull her back from the scene. She stumbles back into the elevator, numb fingers slamming for the lobby. Despite knowing how this all could very well end, her next destination is clear. Moscow. The Order.



It’s where it all ended for the Orlavs, originally.



Once again, she’s thinking of that recent day, a year ago. Alone in a delivery room, giving birth to their son. She’d screamed for Jameson (and for more medication), but mostly for the man who was supposed to hold her hand through the entire ordeal. Yet, he was nowhere to be found - no doubt already having succumbed to the vampiric curse.



Sirens and hushed, panicked tones waft past her ears as she wanders out of The Ritz for the last time, but all she can think of is the warm, pink flesh of Logan as he took his first breaths in her arms. It was an extraordinary feeling, enough to outweigh the grief of her husband’s absence. She wasn’t truly alone, returning to the compound where those members that surrounded her played their part to help her feel at ease with parenthood. She’d sit up, rewatching old episodes of Agents of Shield, Logan asleep in her arms.



“I’m not strong enough to live in a world that doesn’t have you in it.”



The words had triggered her then, as they do now. Idle nights of sitting alone, texting each other little romantic something-or-others from the shows will-they won’t-they couple, FitzSimmons.



And it feels bizarre, knowing she’s due to return to the place that held so much happiness, and equal parts despair and loathing.



You're fast approaching the too late to get rid of me marker.

Beware.


July 12, 2018 08:36 pm

Jameson Orlav

There was nothing proverbial or metaphoric about the rubble at Jameson's feet. The bones of the compound stood, the concrete still as solid as the day they'd poured it, and it towered over him in a way that made him feel mocked. There was a bitter cold that threatened his bones, even though the blood that pumped steadily through his veins had long been cursed. The silence of the building is so stark that it nearly screams at him, and each step that he takes echoes so hard against the walls that he's sure every creature in a ten mile radius had heard him enter. Most of him doesn't care at all, and with his back to the wind he'd still dare anyone to make a move on him as he ruffled through the remnants of his once home.

But there's a part of him that recoils at the memories that he's stomping through. The ghost of every person he'd promised to protect was here; and he could feel their dampened energy wash over him in languid waves. There were whispers from over his shoulder that disrupted the reticent silence, and they would sound an awful lot like shame and disappointment if he stopped to listen.

Here, now, in the heart of Moscow, Jameson had finally stopped and allowed Elouise time to catch up. He didn't know if she'd hopped on a flight right away. Wasn't even one-hundred percent sure if she was following after him. He did know that if she felt so inclined, she'd end up here. At The Order.

Perhaps first, to his old office, where the dust had collected until the winters frost had completely taken over. The remaining furniture inside the room had become warped and unstable as the weather worked it over. His fingers drag a trail over the unstable top of the hardened oak of his old desk, his wrist folding at an angle briefly as he swirled a line in the grime.

Maybe then, she'd find her way to the kitchen. He was here when Noura had reappeared; eating a sandwich no less, like the ones they used to make together. It was easily the nicest room on the first floor, and it had everything to do with the hearty appetites roaming the halls at any given moment. That and the copious amounts of weed that Elouise had stashed in their closet. There was no telling how many possible recruits had disappeared before he'd had the chance to meet them- if only because she'd gotten them so high that they'd wandered home and never come back.

The easiest place to dally, was the suite where they had lived. Up on the second floor, with an en-suite and an add on for the nursery.

Jameson stepped through the archway of the room more slowly than he had intended, his body working against him as his would-be conscience fought for freedom. He vaguely remembered the night he'd climbed through the bedroom window, it's glass now completely shattered and allowing a cool Serbian front to assault his senses. In the corner there was a shattered crib, and he pays no mind to how his heart may have fluttered were it still beating. The smell of blood and despair still hung heavy in the creaks in the floor, and even the bedding had been left behind- thick with the stench of Jameson's humanly odor, and Elouise's delicate perfumes. Though he doesn't need air to survive, the act of breathing in and out had been a slow dying habit. It's only a moment that his breath hitches when he catches the scent of the woman on the bedspread, but it's enough to bring back an flare-up of distant memories.

They're fuzzy - like a netflix video with a bad connection - but he's focused on the words that he hears and the feelings that they seem evoke. A heavy exhale, and a vagrant mind cause Jameson to drop his head, and his chin presses lightly against his chest while his eyelids screw closed over skeptical eyes. He tells himself (coaches, even) that this is exactly how everything was supposed to work out. It doesn't occur to him at all that this plan that he was executing might have anything to do with Mackenzie.

But that won't matter. None of it is going to matter.

Slowly, his hand slips to the outside of his pocket and he pats his fingers lightly against the tempered denim material. What lay in wait wasn't something any of them could have prepared for, least of all Mackenzie herself... And maybe most of all, Elouise.

"I knew it had to be you." He spoke, quietly, his lips hardly moving even as the words invaded the space around him. "After all this time, there was no way the smell of wild orchid could be that potent." It was odd, perhaps, how soft his tone had been. Especially considering the grotesque scene he'd left for Elouise in London. "I don't believe you'll find a single one in New Orleans anymore."

His eyes opened pointedly, and Jameson lifted his head up from where it idled against his chest. It was strange to feel so physically close to his wife now, and yet he still felt so purposefully distant from her. The blockade that had been inserted into his conscious nearly caused him physical pain, and with each mockery of a breath that he took now, his lungs began to feel heavier and heavier. It occurred to him after a few moments, that the longer he stood with her in such a close proximity, the hotter the irons of his pain began to burn... And it was then that he realized that this had been a cruel and torturous safeguard set in place by a crafty curseman. Of it's origins he was unsure, but he would not allow the growing pain to find a home across his face.

With a slow turn, Jameson turned from where he stood in the center of the room, away from their old bed and the crib that lay shattered in the corner. He turned to face the large set of doors that made way from the main hallway into the room - wide open as he had left them. Truth be told, he couldn't be sure how he was going to handle the rest of this day until it happened... And he's sure he's not the only one.

"Ahoj, kněžna."
July 12, 2018 11:21 pm

Elouise Warrock

Flying never bothered Elouise much, copious amounts of alcohol before the flight assured smooth sailing. Now, she just sits in her assigned seat, forced to spring for first class in order to minimize the temptation of feeding on a close proximity row-mate. She leans back once the flight attendant’s manufactured tone sparks on the overhead speakers, giving directions in Russian. Cerulean eyes shut, her mass of blonde cushioning her head makes contact with the seat. Instead, she focuses on breathing enough to appear normal, ignoring the idle conversation of other passengers as the plane taxis from Heathrow.

Even after the many hours, Elouise’s eyes crack open when the wheels touch the ground in Moscow. It feels like an excruciatingly slow process to deplane and find her way to the nearest taxi, instructions clear. Dread looms overhead like a thunderous cloud prepared to erupt in bone-shaking claps. She can feel it seeping into her lie syrup on pancakes, soaked from head to toe in a heavy panic. She’s weighed down, feeling as though if a confrontation is to finally come, The Order’s abandoned compound is the place for it to happen.

It comes as no surprise that once abandoned outside the gates that once led to home, Elouise stands long enough that daylight shifts to twilight, and the stars in the sky offer no promises, but only the taste of dead dreams like acid in her mouth. She slowly begins to trek inside, the scent of teakwood and bergamot stinging her nose with a heart wrenching familiarity. So potent to her still, she’d know the smell anywhere. Jameson.

Legs filled with lead, she continues through the general quarters. Passing rooms that belonged to such past members as Lloyd Darrow, Tucker Reid, Soleil Whitaker, Jason Reinhardt, even Noura Orlav… She ends the proverbial walk down memory lane by ascending the staircase leading to the private suite she’d once shared with Jameson. There’s been a time, her first time in Moscow, he’d struggled to carry her up these very steps, managing to knock her head and feet into every unsuspecting edge and corner. The bruises faded within a few days, but the memory of the laughter resided. Every memory, the good and the bad, rattled in her brain. And when she finally crosses the threshold of the second floor, his scent is stronger than ever.

And other things, too. Fear, her own blood, feed following the dried trail towards the nursery, where the largest pool is found, along with Logan’s shattered crib. He was so new to the world then, now a year old and still so vulnerable. Her fear had manifested into adrenaline, enough to disengage Jameson from her neck, and save her son that day. It didn’t mean he wouldn’t eventually catch up – Jameson has a way of coming back like Herpes. Always when you least expect it, and always when it’s least convenient.

When she enters their suite, his figure fills the room. It’d been so long since they’d stood in this space together, and besides the layer of dust upon most things, it all looks the same. The bed, her beanbag, the closet still surely filled with her onesies, his suits.

"Ahoj, kněžna."

Kněžna. Once a term of endearment, now only sounding twisted leaving his mouth. She opens her own mouth to speak, but stops. “You’ve been more patient that what’s ordinary for you, Jameson.” Her voice is quiet, yet still strong. “I didn’t suspect you could keep this game up as long as you did… You always had a knack of needing instant gratification.” She doesn’t smile, no hint of a joke in her tone. The moment is far too potent to her senses.

“So what’s the end goal, Jamie? Did you antagonize me into playing your game of cat and mouse to try and kill me?” She’s unsure if he’s caught on to the very non-mortal part of her, as almost completely impossible to detect as it is. She doesn’t know how closely he’d been watching, over the months. She had lost track of him long ago.

And now, here they were again. And she couldn’t fight that sense of longing that would always exist for him – even as she stood, terrified of him.

July 20, 2018 11:26 pm

Jameson Orlav

She speaks.

Elouise speaks to him, and though there are pieces of him that are screaming to reply, all he can do is watch her as she tries to communicate with him. Her lips move, and the sound of her voice registers. He understands what she's saying. Heavy headed as he was, it tilts slightly to side while his eyes move over her form to take her in. She made various points that he couldn't argue. His patience, for one, although instant gratification was an over simplification if there ever was one.

There were many outcomes that he had considered over the course of this journey. One of them involved Jameson carrying his wife's head back to Mackenzie in a bowling bag. That's the most she'd asked of him thus far, and fighting the urge to do her bidding was nearly impossible. The desire itself plagued him during every waking minute.. Which was almost all of them, considering that he didn't sleep much. It made him itch. Threw his stomach into knots.

He proceeded in the only way he could think to in that moment.

Honesty.

"Yes." Because he did. At least, at some point in his venture, he'd toyed with the idea. Considered how easy it would be if and when he got her here. But his intentions had molded into something different entirely. It wasn't her life that he wanted. It was his. There were things that he needed to say to her. Emotions that he needed to convey. There was no other place that he could do it but here, in the pit of all that their life once was. Not just because of everything that it symbolized, but because if Elouise should so choose..

Jameson couldn't think of a better place to die.

He grumbled, a force of emotion swallowed down by the tightening of his throat. His hand moved to his pocket as he turned and settled down on to what remained of their bed. Nimble fingers dipped inside, slipping a syringe from it's cover until he held it in the center of his palm. Both hands rested against his lap and eventually his attention turned from the blood inside the instrument back to Elouise.

"Do you know what this is?" The question is wrapped in some kind of rhetoric. It was hardly possible that she knew who's blood, but he knew better than to assume anything when it came to her. "It's Ella's blood." So he doesn't wait for her to offer any kind of guess.

The name itself might be a trigger for her. She'd never been a fan of Ella, and it was likely she never would be. But that didn't matter to him. Ella Donovan was a very important character in Jameson's story. More important than he had ever realized. Soon, Elouise would understand why she was important to her, too.

Desolate eyes lock onto a stare that still shocked him with it's brightness. His gaze might have burned hot with a ferocious intensity but it was hollow with almost nothing behind it. No genuine emotion. Impossible to read his intentions.

And it was then, without breaking the line of his long, fixed glare, that he raised the syringe from his palm and struck the cephalic vein at the hinge of his forearm. It took mere seconds for him to shoot the blood into his system, and from there what befell him would mimic death itself.

He was on his knees in an instant, the needle thrown across the room in anger while he reacted to the pain. Jameson cried out, a ferocious grunt of a howl tipping past his lips. Meaty fingers balled into a fist. With no regard for for the bones in his hand he smashed his knuckles against the floor until his own blood began to pour. Tattered lungs began to contract; air moving in and out as they pumped oxygen into his blood stream. The faint drumming of his pulse pressed against the skin of his pressure points, easily mistaken for the thumping of echoes in the air around them.

Jameson takes a deep breath and then collapses on to all fours, his body withering as it attempted to withdraw into itself completely. The pain would subside, if only temporarily. Him and his pet had gone over the ins and outs of this only briefly, but enough so that he knew how long he could sustain in pushing his limits. A soft sob replaced his agitated outcry, and then his head fell, hanging low between his shoulders.

"Ellie.." Jameson muttered her name between inaudible whimpers, "Ellie. Ellie. Ellie." Like a broken record he lamented, unable to control the sudden onset of emotion that flooded over him.

"It's not your fault." Mellow gasps replaced his whispers, "I did this." He was having a difficult time finding the strength to meet her gaze. Surely she would be confused by what was happening, but before he took the time to explain, Jameson needed to be sure he could assert his peace. "I ruined everything. I failed--"

His sits up on his knees, weight shifted so that he sat back against his heels. Blood dripped slowly from his knuckles, leaving a trail of crimson over the pale fabric of his pants. Jameson exhaled, visibly deflating as all the air from his lungs was evicted, only to repopulate as he gulped down another large intake of oxygen.

Warm tears dampened the crest of his eyes, threatening to spring free at any moment. He uncurled his fingers from both hands, palms up to the ceiling while his eyes fixated on each crinkle of his skin.

"How could I have let this happen?"
July 27, 2018 05:26 pm

Elouise Warrock

Elouise stares, watching as he settles onto the bed. She recalls the many times he did just that before, to peel off Armani leather shoes and collapse into bed with her, sometimes still wearing his suit. She remembered the feeling of waking up to arms cloaked in thick wool wrapping around her torso. Even better, when in the early morning before he’d leave, she’d feel his hand on the then still subtle curve of his stomach, a murmured goodbye to her and to their still-growing child.

But the memories are corrupted now, seeing him in this new light. Perched on the edge of their bed is a stranger, no matter how familiar the candor of his voice.

“Do you know what this is?”

She blinks.

“It’s Ella’s blood.”

Ella could be dead, for all Elouise cared. She had been, and endures to be, a desperate c*nt. She would always desire what she could never have, and a small satisfaction remains within Elouise for it. Never mind the residual resentment she held for Jameson because he insisted on keeping that thing around. His secrets plagued their marriage. What ruined their lives, what killed him. She knows that.

Secrets kill. It’s why she’s dead as well.

“Is the irony not lost upon you, to bring her up now?” She begins to continue, to berate him, to egg him in attacking her, but what comes next even she isn’t prepared for.

Elouise has never seen Jameson in pain. She’s seen him hurting, yes, but emotional wounds. A rare occasion, even so. It had had to do with Noura, his old crew, the responsibility that plagued him. All of the failings in his life he’d felt personally responsible for. But Elouise had married a strong man, capable of withstanding anything – even in death, he was unshakable.

And then the screaming starts, b-stardizing that previously held notion. Her own panic remained at bay. Instead she watched with a sick satisfaction as he writhed, whispered her name, smashed his knuckles into the ground. She’d thought of how she’d punish him for everything he’d done, of the things in her life she’d never have – because like Noura, Cole, Ollie, she’d trusted someone whose aims were purely selfish.

“It’s not your fault.”

Cerulean eyes blink, eyebrows knitting together. She could sense it – his lungs pumping air, the chocolate brown eyes she’d brown so accustomed to looking into affixed with pain – regret. Immaculate, powder white Louboutin heels echo against the floor as she steps over towards him, compelled to lean over, her priceless Versace jumper wrinkling as she settled on the ground behind him. It felt foreign to touch him, yet her hands would glide over his back, down his arms, collecting his hands into hers. She wanted to fix his fears, say it wasn’t his fault, not really. But she couldn’t. She wouldn’t lie.

“Logan and I are fine.” She spoke quietly, still staring at this hands, clenched together. “Despite everything… Despite you… Logan is fine.” She wouldn’t offer details to where he was. What he was doing. Whether or not he was still with Elouise. “I’m fine.”

So, she could lie. More to her benefit than his. He didn’t need to know what she was. Her lungs still pumped, heart still beating. Sure, she was different. A confidence she never had before lifted her presence. Her style practiced, far more deliberate. But that happiness that had once lived in his eyes had died. The pitch of her laugh would never return to her lips in that unadulterated, perfect way. The way she held his hands was different now, too.

Not the way they had sharing secrets, laughing, loving one another. When their skin connected for the first time in so long, it was not a passionate consummation. Just the ghost of a love that would haunt them – but could never feel the same now.

“You didn’t need to do any of this. For this. I didn’t need an apology from you.” Her hands slip away from his, disconnecting the solace it may have given him. Instead the palm of her hand connects with his left cheek, the slap delivered with a strength that may have shocked him. She stands up, the heel of her shoe pressing into his arm, pushing him over onto his side.

His stomach exposed, his weakness evident, the heel moves to press into his trachea just the right amount of pressure to make a point of her anger.

“I didn’t need to see you, ever again. Haven’t you done enough, Jameson? To me? To our son? And your own family? You should’ve let go. I could’ve forgiven you, someday. But you had to burn every peaceful reminiscence of you from my brain. Is it enough now, Jamie? Have you finally had your pound of flesh with me?”

July 28, 2018 03:28 pm
1
Actives (14) Fresh Blood (3) View All The Fallen (1) Graveyard
Maeve, Cheyenne Davis, Mordred, Iodine Violet, Summer, Autumn Summers, Lesprit, Jewel Saxton, Jackson McCarthy, Cadence Corelli, Evie_Black, Zen Rex, Mallory Quarters, Marshmallow  Rose
Ciara Fallon
_Nyx_ 
Malakai 
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