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Stubborn Love



 
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Gideon Abernathy

Antonio and Elizabeth had been easy to deal with: a house fire, set by a forgotten candle. Gideon was, of course, the first on the scene, but there was nothing to be done except let the fire run its course. “It was too late,” he’d said, voice cracking convincingly, “the fire was raging when I got here.” There was a Gathering, during which they were mourned along with their unborn child. And then, summarily, forgotten.

At least in the Shepherd’s mind.

He is verily preoccupied with his wife’s secrets. A week has passed since that fateful interview with a vampire, and he’s still brooding. Routine has set in around the commune, so his thoughts are left to run amuk, and it’s not to his benefit. Around the house, he is solemn, prone to shrugging off Quinn’s concerns and questions. “I’m fine,” he assures her, if not a bit gruffly.

Dinner is cleaned up, Sam is in bed, and Quinn is in the kitchen, finishing up the dishes. Gideon sits in the dark living room, twirling the knife he’d used to splay Elizabeth’s insides between his fingers. It had been a virgin blade before that night, so it held only one memory’s worth of use. Idly, he wishes it was the only thing that held that memory.

He’d had every opportunity, too, so there’s no one to blame but himself. In his mind, he can still hear Mackenzie’s voice, playing over and over again. Are you sure you want to know these things? And he, being the prideful fool that he is, had let her continue.

Staring at the knife, he frowns. Quinn is only able to obtain the memory from objects when they are good, at least that’s what he understands. The images this blade would conjure held no happiness for the man; instead, it houses feelings of betrayal and distrust. If he is to confront this - as is the only option at this point, or it would eat him alive - then he’d have to do it face to face.

He pushes slowly from the comforts of the chair, preparing himself for the worst. In the entrance to the kitchen, he pauses, watching his wife work away, humming softly to herself. In spite of his dismissive attitude, she has kept her spirits up, even if only on the outside. For all she knows, perhaps he’s just having another mood swing; he’s prone to those, after all.

Or perhaps she is fully aware of the storm brewing behind his eyes. She is, after all, the only person capable of looking past the abyss that is his blackened hues. Either way, it doesn’t matter. The storm is here.

“We need to talk.”
August 10, 2018 09:18 pm

Quinn Abernathy

She nods.

"Okay."

It is a soft word, spoken as if she has been waiting patiently for this day. Quinn has been waiting. While Gideon usually broods, she is more than capable of pulling him out of his own thoughts and distracting him from whatever troubles him. But whatever is going on has had him cold and distant for a week.

It would be foolish to believe that he is mourning. Antonio and Elizabeth weren't anything to him. Not really. They were people. Followers. Perfect strangers. When Gideon worked, it was seldom that he would let his own walls down. Things work differently for him. Quinn had worked hard to find a home within his heart, and she has never regret it. But Quinn is the opposite.

After having been told by her husband to pull it together, she did. She made it a point to be agreeable, understanding, and approachable. Quinn held her tongue, looking beyond her own troubles to practice empathy.

She'd been the first person Elizabeth told about the pregnancy. Anotonio didn't even know, yet. Not until later. Quinn supposed that was because of her own circumstance. At nearly 26 weeks, she isn't quite sure how her belly continues to grow. Looking down, she has to lean forward just a hair to really see her own feet. Pregnant women are always kindred spirits, drawn naturally to one another. It was no different for Elizabeth.

So, as she finishes drying the dish in hand and places it in the neat little stack of selfsame pieces, Quinn faces her husband easily. Finding her way to the table, she sits, leaning back into the chair as she waits as her mind races. But her mind is fixed on one little thing, and she is sure she is about to hear about it.

"I know Cara isn't happy with me. I swear, I tried to keep myself in check, Gideon. It wasn't even that bad. She just.. she asks these questions but then isn't interested in the answer. It got out of control. I'm sorry."
August 10, 2018 09:38 pm

Gideon Abernathy

With a clenched jaw, he watches as Quinn meticulously dries the final plate and sets it with the rest. Gideon knows she’s not doing it to grate at him, but it still has that effect, regardless of intention. In the small kitchen, amidst the quiet of the house, every sound is magnified tenfold; thus, the scraping of the chair legs across the floor sets him on edge that much more.

As he considers his words, elusive as they are proving to be, she launches into an explanation that is so off the mark, it’s almost laughable. In response, he blinks slowly. For a moment, he wonders if this is all worth it.

But then that rage and betrayal courses through his veins again, and he’s reminded of just how much of himself he’s given to this woman, and how little she’s trusted him with herself.

The silence grows between them as he forces himself into the seat across from her. Rubbing at his face tiredly, he forces a hand to steadily place the knife between them. All he can do is stare at it, unable to drag his gaze upward for a long moment.

Laboriously, he brings his eyes to hers, face expressionless and gaunt. “That’s not what this is about.” Obviously.

Again, the silence stretches as he grapples with his words. A sigh has him deciding to just jump headlong into it.

“Last week, Mackenzie paid us a visit. I found her in Antonio and Elizabeth’s home. He was dead, and she was compromised. So I seized an opportunity.” He stares at her, unblinking, that expression still unreadable. “While I was working, as much as I loathed the company, we had an interesting conversation. About you.”

At this, his jaw locks noticeably, and he shifts in his chair. Leaned back, he waits, giving her an opportunity to fill in the blanks.
August 14, 2018 01:06 pm

Quinn Abernathy

'Thats not what this is about.'

Quinn visibly deflates, confusion etched onto her features as she sits back in her chair and studies her husband as if his face alone would hold the answer for what is to come. The silence is louder than anything, and she finds herself glancing sideways more than once as a faint noise outside that would usually go unnoticed rings in her ears. There is something about this that has her anxious.

Perhaps, it is due to a full week of tension.

And then, he dives right in. Mackenzie. Antonio and Elizabeth. Opportunity. A conversation. About her.

"Hm..." is all that can escape her as she lets her gaze fall from his face to the surface of the table which divides them. Heart sinking fast, it takes no time at all to come to a conclusion on the discussion he'd had with the cold woman.

But, what sticks out in her mind, more than anything, is that single night in their homemade oasis. A Coven was created within the walls of the Sanctuary they called home, and Gideon's response was less than ideal. It had been an argument. Their worst, to date, really. "I had-" she pauses, unable to decide what she wants to say.

Her breath catches, and Quinn finds herself frustrated, a pink rush tinting her cheeks and hot tears brimming her eyes as her hands knot together in her lap. "You must be disgusted."

Swallowing, there is no point in denying things. She could lie to her husband, but in reality, she could never lie to him.

"It's not something I'm proud of, Giddy."
August 14, 2018 05:02 pm

Gideon Abernathy

Her hum of acknowledgement procures a scowl from the man. It’s only in this moment that he realizes how desperately he’d been hoping that Mackenzie had lied to him. Quinn’s shameful grimace and downcast eyes tell otherwise, and he finds himself stiffening that much more.

You must be disgusted.

“Not for the reasons you think.”

His tone is empty, unfeeling, and he simply stares at his wife, unseeing. The truth is, he would’ve gotten over the fact that she was a vampire; in the grand scheme of things, it didn’t matter. She is still Quinn, still the woman he fell in love with. There’s no denying the shock that he would have felt at the news, but that would be expected from anyone, wouldn’t it? Was it so bad, his distaste for vampires?

Perhaps, considering what he is.

Be that as it may, this isn’t about his hatred for the beings of the night. It’s about Quinn’s withholding.

He rolls his eyes, chuckling in spite of himself. “Yes, because I was proud of getting my mother killed. And my sister. And actually killing my first girlfriend myself. The difference is, you know about all of that, because I trust you.”

The statement is pointed, but there’s an underlying tinge of pain. There aren’t many who can pull that from the deepest reaches of him.

“So why don’t you trust me?”
August 17, 2018 01:07 pm

Quinn Abernathy

Quinn is quickly retreating within herself as he speaks, becoming more and more present within her shell than she would be, normally. It is what keeps her from completely losing her mind, and what protects him from seeing the very worst of her. "You remember, last year, when the Basement opened?"

Swallowing, she gives him a moment to recall what had happened. Quinn had run into Jameson Orlav at the plantation, and he'd intimidated her well enough. She'd gone to Gideon, and together, they went to Ella. That very night, he'd picked her up and carried her out of their little cabin, demanding they leave because vampires. And she refused, which pulled from Gideon the most hurtful words he'd ever spoken to her.

"I was afraid of what you'd think," she whispers the confession, though the words echo in their shared space as if staging an assault.

It is taking every fiber of her being to keep from making herself busy. Quinn has been practicing the fine art of distraction, and there is nothing she wants to do that busy herself in order to cope with this conversation. But she can't. Gideon deserves her full attention. He deserves more than that, really.

"I'd pretended for so long that it never happened that, outside of just a few times since we've been together, it feels like it never did." With a heavy sigh, she raises her gaze to Gideon, regretful as ever. "I trust you, Giddy. You have me. But... you're right. Not enough."

A deep breath is taken, and then another. Quinn's gaze falls, unable to look at her husband for too long. That blackened stare sets upon her shoulders a heavy weight that she well deserves.

"I got curious. I was taking photos in Central Park, and I met this man. He was foreign, and different, and I found out he was a vampire. But he wasn't a threat. We talked a couple times. And one day, I went into the building I saw him go in and out of. I took the stares, and there was this woman. She attacked me."

Her voice is hoarse from the effort to keep herself together by the time she stops talking, and she is beyond distressed. With a quiet apology, she stands from the table and sets about putting the kettle on. There is barely a noise made as she pulls two mugs from a cabinet and she begins to prep them.

"When I woke up, she was there and so was he, and I was so thirsty."
August 17, 2018 02:04 pm

Gideon Abernathy

A somewhat feral growl escapes him at the mention of the Basement. “I was trying to protect you,” he counters, teeth grit together tightly. She’d brought up the fact that they’d lived with vampires before, but he hadn’t known that at the time, and they weren’t newborn, nonetheless. The Coven beneath Valar Morghulis had been a bad idea, and he’s more than happy to be out of there, if only for that reason.

As she expounds upon her reasoning, he sees the regret etched into every feature of her visage. Despite what he may put off, Gideon doesn’t want to be upset with his pregnant wife. It’s not good for either of them, but her especially.

So, however forcefully, he deflates.

Raptly, he listens as she describes what happened. Of course, it was her damnable curiosity, but he says nothing. Really, the details don’t matter.

But there is something gnawing at him.

As she’s preparing their drinks, he’ll rise and come to lean against the counter. Something about the proximity levels him. Arms fold over his chest, and he lets out a sigh. “You don’t have to tell me everything. I don’t want to know the details of what pains you. I just... I want to know that you trust me enough with your pain, is all...”

He trails off, another exhale punctuating the thought. He would be lying if he said he isn’t still irritated; but he’d also be lying if he said Quinn is easy to be mad at.

Manipulative, or not.

“People don’t just... come back to life, even if they were vampires,” he muses, looking her over curiously. “So... what does that make you?”
August 17, 2018 02:50 pm

Quinn Abernathy

She has him, and she knows it. But not in the way most would think. Quinn, despite how very sincere she is in all of her emotions, is also just as manipulative as her own husband. She cultivates her feelings, and shares them freely, letting it set a course of all interactions that is favorable to herself. Worst yet, she doesn't even realize what she is doing.

When he follows her, his closeness is just as much a comfort as her own to him. But still on edge, she powers on until there is nothing left to do but wait. His voiced desire is what brings her to look at him.

"There's more I'd like to share with you..."

A short silence is shared before he poses his question, and the look upon her face is both confused and almost affronted. What does that make her? Quinn has never truly understood what happened, and she never lets it bother her. What is the point on dwelling.

"...Alive?" The question is posed as if the only answer, and is a true testament to her ignorance. Honestly, she'd never put much thought into it. Maybe, just maybe, that had been purposeful. A nervous hand lifts, pushing her loose hair back from her face as she allows her gaze to sweep across the room.

"I woke up in the hospital, and everything was as it was before. Everything hurt, and I was hungry. Sol was there. He pulled me out. He said the building came down on me."

To Quinn, there is no other explanation. She simply is. And, as if her mind is willful to fill her heart with happiness lost or missed out on for that year of her life spent in darkness, she had the ability to experience things she missed or relive what came before. "Am I supposed to be something?"
August 17, 2018 03:14 pm

Gideon Abernathy

...Alive?

Gideon rolls his eyes. Leave it to Quinn to be curious about things that kill her, but not things that keep her breathing.

“Obviously, you’re alive, mi alma, but don’t you ever wonder why?” If their positions were switched, the man, with his obsessive nature, would have stopped at nothing to find out what preserved him. His gaze searches hers, but she does everything to avoid their eyes meeting. Her nerves are tangible, and he struggles to understand why.

“People don’t just come back to life.” The way he says it is somewhat offhanded, as though his thoughts are wandering. And they are. There’s something unsettling for this dark being, to know that those presumed dead might regain life.

He’s pulled from further reverie by the whistling of the kettle, and he automatically reaches around her to take it off the burner. Unconsciously, he pours the steaming water into the two mugs, waving her back to the table. Once they’re full, he will join her, drinks in hand.

“Don’t you care about what happened to you?” The question is soft, inquiring but only slightly obtrusive.
August 17, 2018 05:47 pm

Quinn Abernathy

"Why wonder? It's easier to accept life." If she weren't frazzled, she would be looking at him pointedly. Quinn has never been good with death. She looks the other way, pretends it doesn't exist. When Gideon leaves her, though, she will be forced to reckon with it.

It leaves a dark void in her heart, just thinking on it.

And, as he waves her off, she moves to the table, letting herself sink down into the seat she'd been in with her thoughts and her husband's questions. "Of course, Giddy. Just in a different way. I care that I'm breathing. I care that I can be in the sun, and live a real life. Everything I've experienced since has been precious. But most of all, you."

Elbow upon the table, Quinn rests her forehead upon the heel of her palm, effectively shielding her face from view as her hair falls forward.

Quinn is struggling with herself as she finds her words, and it is only when Gideon returns to the table that she lifts her head and reaches out for him. This conversation is new, the topic completely unexplored.

"The things that happened that brought Tiber to do what he did are the same things that made me decide that I needed to be grateful for what I have." Leaning into the table, she is practically begging the man to understand. "I don't know how or where to get the answers you want, Giddy.."
August 17, 2018 06:26 pm

Gideon Abernathy

He can’t help but scoff at such an unsatisfactory answer. The curiosity grates at him, and it’s not even his burden.

When she comes out of hiding and reaches for him, instinct takes over, and he extends his own hand to hers. A thumb runs over the back of her hand in a soothing pattern, and once more, he’s searching her gaze.

She brings up Tiber, and he stiffens and pauses in his stroke, but only momentarily. He doesn’t need to voice - again - his distaste for her ex-husband, so he won’t. But he also can’t fathom the way her mind works, in that such tragedy and betrayal would make her appreciate life more.

It’s just another testament to their blinding differences.

“Okay,” he says slowly, trying to come up with a different approach, “but what if it matters? What if it affects our child? What if he’s born and he’s different, and we need to know why?” Up until now, these questions hadn’t been in the forefront of his mind, but it makes them no less valid. They could bring a child with supernatural powers - or needs - into the world and be incapable of providing for him.

“Or, what if it affects you and your ability to give birth?” Again, his voice is softer, and his gaze falls momentarily. Gideon can’t stomach the idea of losing his wife, but he’s also afraid that, should it happen, he won’t be able to love their child like she deserves of him. “Shouldn’t we at least attempt to know all we can?”
August 17, 2018 06:55 pm

Quinn Abernathy

His reaction to Tiber fails to go unnoticed, and Quinn expects it. He is one of those topics that the two actively try to avoid, and for Gideon's sake, she only brings her ex-husband up when it is truly necessary. When he is a piece of whatever puzzle they are tackling, he is absolutely going to come into conversation. And this time, it has her whispering.

"It wasn't his fault, Giddy..."

'What if it affects our child?'

She swallows, gaze lowering to her belly. In just a couple months, they would be responsible for this little being. And while Quinn had fears already that centered around physically bringing Finn into the world.. now, she finds herself scared of a future in which she cannot provide and doesn't have Gideon.

'Or what if it affects you and your ability..'

"Giddy," she shakes her head gently. "I don't know where to start. I don't know who to talk to. Where to look. It... the only person who knows me even half as well as you is Tiber, and we aren't speaking."

Once more, she shakes her head, squeezing his hand as she ducks her head down for a brief moment of silent thought. "I don't... I don't know. I don't know."

The words are repeated thrice, quiet and telling of her regretful frustration. More than anything, she wants to make her husband happy. So how does she do this, when she hasn't any idea where to start. "What if this is just a second chance? What if that's all this is?"

Her free hand reaches across the table to find his face, palm finding it's place upon his cheek as her fingers curl into the scruff of his beard. "I'm sorry for not telling you everything, Giddy. I'm so sorry. Whatever you want me to do, I'll do it."
August 17, 2018 07:21 pm

Gideon Abernathy

“It absolutely was his fault.” Before he can stop himself, the words are pushing forth, venom lacing each syllable. Try as she might, Quinn could and would never convince him otherwise. Regardless of the excuses they’ve decided to make for him, if he was incapable of protecting his own wife, then Tiber never should have put her in danger by marrying her in the first place.

And that’s that.

Still, he softens as he watches her struggle internally. A frown creases the center of his eyebrows, and he finds himself fidgeting and rubbing his fingers together anxiously. Too late, he realizes he shouldn’t push her through this. His own fixation is not hers, and it would only prove to worry her more than she already is.

The touch against his cheek comes as somewhat of a shock, but he leans into it automatically. A sigh is pulled from deep within him, his dark eyes finding her warm browns.

“I don’t want you to do anything. It’s fine. If it’s not a concern to you, then that’s what matters.” He offers a half-hearted smile as he’s hit with a sudden exhaustive wave. As the anger and frustration seep out of him, it’s replaced by a sort of tired that’s more than just sleep-related.

“Why don’t you get some sleep? I’ll join you in a bit.”
August 18, 2018 04:46 pm

Quinn Abernathy

'It absolutely was his fault.'

"It really, truly was not." Gideon would forever demonize Tiber, and Quinn knows it. He hasn't the patience for the full story, and there is no way she would ever force it upon the man. Not after how he had reacted to what happened between them. And so, they would never agree. They would always bicker over this one thing.

A gentle nod is given to him, but her worry remains. Quinn would not forget his questions. Those shared concerns have become her own, and now she must get answers, if only for her own sanity. She isn't tired, but she can see his restlessness easily.

Her hand drops from his cheek as she brings herself to stand, but still she holds onto his hand. This man... Gideon is her constant. He is her darkness, and her light. Her balance.

"Don't stay up too late," she whispers, leaning over to press their lips together with a soft kiss, and then again. Only as she steps away, does she let go of his hand, holding onto the man for as long as she can before the distance is too great.

Quinn has questions, and she has only one place to start.
August 18, 2018 05:11 pm
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