( Final OOMCollapse )
1 comment | post a comment
The house is quiet.
12 comments | post a comment
Uncomfortably, oppressively quiet, in fact, but as Shelley sternly reminds herself, still better than it had been with Elan... staring over her shoulder in that way he has where he's not actually doing anything but is still making his presence unbearable. She's sitting in the kitchen, where she had been when he left, staring at a cup of tea as it grows cold, and trying to recall how one goes back to 'normal.' There is a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach that if she ever got there, she wouldn't recognise it anyway.
But they only...
Shelley clenches her fists miserably, cheeks reddening just at the memory - which is for some reason etched crystal-clear into her mind, when so much else gets easily blurred and confused - and gets up shakily to wash out her mug and the teapot. No good. She can't think about it rationally, which is probably a sign that it was a huge mistake. As if she needed convincing.
The phone rings, and she drops the cup.
"Bugger, bugger, um-" beep "Yes? Hello?!"
She takes a deep breath at the voice on the other end, calming down.
"Oh. Yes, hello. Um, what's the problem? Oh. Yes, okay. No, no! I can come! Yes. Fine. Why? Everything is perfectly normal okay I will see you in half an hour goodbye!"
Shelley puts the phone down firmly. She still isn't quite sure what work needs her for, but the idea of going to find out seems to her a good, sensible and overall distracting idea. She pauses to pick up her cup and halfheartedly mop up the spilt tea, then heads upstairs for her jacket and shoes.
It's a completely normal day. She just... needs help feeling like it is.
Shelley dries her hands on the tea towel after doing the washing up, then heads into the living room with a sigh. She has, she hates to admit, been putting this off all day.
64 comments | post a comment
She'd thought to tell him over dinner, but then all she could think about was the very many sharp knives they were surrounded with. No. Maybe later.
But now is later, and he needs to know.
Slowly, she sits down on the sofa, and searches for a way to begin.
post a comment
The Mayor looks up from his letter-reading to smile paternally at his secretary as she hands him his coffee and heads back to her own desk with her tea.
"Ah, Shelley. Are you feeling better today? You have a bandage, I see."
"Yes," she confirms seriously. "So I will be okay now. I just slipped, but today is fine."
"Excellent, excellent," he says vaguely. "Very good, bandages. Oh, there's your letters on your desk. That Jeremy from down the hall has some papers I believe you wanted."
Shelley freezes. "Really? He has them?"
So soon? she almost asks, but represses the question along with the sudden, wild stab of hope. About a week ago, she must have asked him, hardly expecting it to work...
How do you make somebody exist? She had been asking herself. It had been hard enough finding a place for herself to live when she was officially dead, but at least she still had her passport and health insurance papers, and a place to live where they didn't bother to check much beyond looking at those. But Copper Edge won't let her anywhere near it, now. Rumour has it that all redheads have to undergo a cavity search and DNA test before they enter the zone at all.
So a 'friend,' without any official existance at all, even evidence of illegal travel into the country that could at least have provided something to work from... impossible, she had thought, sunk into despair, but had tried anyway, handing over the birth certificate Tim had sent her...
She swallows, scanning the note that accompanies a small folder.
We'll need a photograph if he wants a passport, but the birth certificate you sent over seems to be in order, and since you vouch for him, I think we can say it is okay! One of the flats in Blackwood Heights is free now, so perhaps we can sort your friend out in time to move to there. Give me a ring when he can come for an interview.
It seems, maybe, that it sort of worked.
And now all she has to do is tell him.
Shelley hesitates, yet again. It has taken her half an hour just to make herself dial, and now she dithers before hastily stabbing at the last digit, and holding the phone up to her ear.
10 comments | post a comment
Can she really do this? Will it even work?
She doesn't think it really can. It's... but then. It was the only plan she could come up with. She can't not, even though the amount of lying she will have to do, and to people she likes, is truly astronomical.
Shelley swallows, hard. "Tim? It's Shelley."
It's the ache that wakes Shelley up, a few hours before she would otherwise have woken naturally. It isn't really that bad, she judges, sitting up slowly, but definitely unexpected, and nagging, like a dehydration headache. But... no. Yesterday Elan was treating her like an invalid, just as if she couldn't take care of herself... Which... she couldn't? No, that's not right, apart from the irritating pain, she feels fine.
19 comments | post a comment
Oh. And then, there is of course Elan lying next to her. Not wearing a shirt. Obviously.
She really wishes he wouldn't do that. No, she had been ill. Or... something, and that's why he refused to leave her the evening before, and then he'd dreamed something odd, and it's all very confusing.
39 comments | post a comment
A bright day, as warm as English Spring ever gets, and Shelley is sitting under a tree, reading a book.
She has no idea what book, but she likes it. It would be better if those goblins would stop lurking, like she can't see them, they're right there, she isn't blind!
One shuffles sheepishly behind a rose bush as she eyes it sternly.
If you woke up and I was in bed with you, what would be your first thought?
post a comment
I mean. Really.
It was hard to concentrate, once she got to work - and she'd only got there on time by getting ready mechanically; teeth, shower, clothes, breakfast - and she didn't even have much in her inbox to look at. One set of figures didn't seem to make sense for almost twenty minutes before she noticed she'd misread the email they came with, and bit her lip hard enough to hurt before changing them.
36 comments | post a comment
And about an hour and a half later, Mr. Mayor came in, and blinked at her presence.
And said, wasn't today her day off...?
So before it it's even lunchtime, Shelley sits on the couch with a slowly cooling cup of tea, looking distantly into space.
Sleep had been a vague relief, when it came.
72 comments | post a comment
(I love you)
Shelley had mostly hidden under piles of blankets, curled up and resolutely pretending to be asleep at the sound of Elan's footsteps when he came upstairs. But he walks on past, and the almost pleasant buzzing makes her sleepy enough to slip off quickly.
(Shelley, Shelley, Shelley)
If only her dreams had been as restful.
(That wound in your side, however, will kill you)
She can't remember any details, when she claws her way up from under the blankets, gulping back sobs, or anything apart from terror and panic and a very claustrophobic feeling that was probably the blankets but oh god. One trembling hand fumbles for the lightswitch, fails to find it, then goes to her forehead, damp with cold sweat.
Quiet. Have to be quiet...
Shelley gets up as normal the next morning.
post a comment
It takes effort. Her head still aches slightly, though painkillers should help with that, and she still coughs occasionally, and when she looks at herself in the mirror she's still paler than she should be. But she brushes her teeth, washes, dresses and heads for the stairs. She's going to work. She can't stay here all day again.
As she walks downstairs, Elan is already up and dressed. Peering out the window intently, Elan sat with a book lying forgotten in his lap. He did not acknowledge her presence except for a small cursory glance, and what may have been a nod -- maybe.
Shelley ignores him. She should always ignore him, nothing else ever turns out well. She waits until the kitchen door closes behind her to let herself cough, leaning against the edge of the table. A boil of the kettle, and a slice of bread hastily toasted, and she forces down a few mouthfuls of breakfast with a mug of coffee that makes her feel vaguely nauseous, before picking up her bag and heading back out to leave. She doesn't say a word as she passes Elan on the couch.
His eyes follow her as she walks down the street, but he says nothing.
The house is very clean, still smelling almost overpoweringly of cleaning chemicals when Shelley arrives home. Elan is sitting not far from where she left and his book is in the same place, having not moved from the table this morning. The small bandage on his hand looks fresh. He nods to her, if barely, but said nothing, gazing off towards the empty room.
Shelley pauses, seeing him, then continues into the kitchen. A soothing cup of tea later, and she emerges, paper in hand. She places it on the table in front of him.
"Tell me the numbers of what you want."
She picks up the phone and starts dialling. Elan did not even glance at the paper before commenting distantly.
"I am not particularly hungry, Lady Shelley."
"Tough," she says, not pausing. "You're not dying of starvation, that would be really inconvenient."
Irritably, he put down his book and rose from his seat walking away from her. He did not want to talk with her, or discuss anything with her. And that suits Shelley admirably.
"You're not getting a choice, then," she warns, listening to the dialling tone.
It's been quiet for a few days.
Not that it hadn't been before, but they had previously exchanged words here and there, even had short conversations, although those usually led to arguments. But the silence isn't oppressive, simply a lack of interaction. Elan barely even looks at her, except for rare time when she catches sight of him staring, expression bleak.
It helps, at first. It helps her remain calm and logical about the situation. It helps her keep to her determination that he is not going to intimidate her with his presence, she isn't going to live in terror, no matter what he did to her.
And then it brings the nagging, insistent worry of what will happen. He told her he would die, and he's just... it's almost as if he wants to, as if he's deliberately trying to die rather than accept his changed circumstances. And if he does...
With him alive, she has to live with someone who she hates. With him dead-
Well. With him dead she just has a dead person. Shelley swallows, feeling sick, face burrowing into her pillow. No. He might deserve it. No. The world would be better, she would be safer. No. Just... no.
Reply here and I will:
5 comments | post a comment
1)Tell you why I first approached you.
2)Associate you with a song/movie/book.
3)Tell a random fact about you.
4)Tell my favorite memory of you.
5)Associate you with an animal/fruit.
6)Ask something I've always wanted to know about you.
It's late afternoon when Shelley finds the headache has receded enough for her to sit up without too much discomfort. She's still fairly dizzy, and her head feels hot underneath chilled fingers, but she makes herself get out of bed anyhow.
23 comments | post a comment
Ten minutes under a hot shower spray leaves her feeling slightly more like herself, if 'herself' bears much resemblance to a half-drowned, redheaded kitten. But the girl gamely ties on a warm dressing gown, rubs halfheartedly at her hair to change it from sopping wet to just damp, and heads carefully downstairs, slippers flopping on each step.
Determined, she makes her way to the couch and sits, slightly rueful at how accomplished she now feels.
It's dark when she wakes.
33 comments | post a comment
There's an odd buzzing in Shelley's ears and her head hurts even more, feeling heavy as she sits up slowly. She's still wearing all her clothes for work, why...? She swings her legs off the bed and stands up shakily, swaying before catching hold of the table. Wasn't she meant to go to work? Did she go to sleep before leaving? The girl coughs, throat feeling like sandpaper. Her mouth tastes horrible. Time to brush teeth.
The corridor feels longer than usual, and her skin prickles as if the air moving past her is something physical.
The side of the bath feels cold as she sits there, chewing thoughtlessly on her toothbrush.
She wants to go back to sleep again, but she's already missed - she doesn't know how long. Elan didn't wake her up.
He's- here's really here, isn't he? And he can find...
She moves in a stumbling run down the corridor to her room, feverish panic flooding her suddenly.
46 comments | post a comment
Although that really doesn't do it justice, Shelley thinks wildly, running through the downpour, already soaking wet, and shivering in the wind. It had been warm this morning.
She drops her keys twice as she fumbles to open the door before splashing inside, socks squishing in her shoes.
This is not a happy Shelley.
Shelley used to look forward to the weekend.
30 comments | post a comment
No work, the opportunity to sleep for longer, see her friends, catch up on things she hadn't had time for. Now it just means she's alone with her nightmare of the past year for two whole days without any easy way to escape, feeling herself tense up and want to cry every single time she recalls his existence after being briefly distracted.
And he's hogging the couch, too.
Not that she wants to sit anywhere near him, but it's - well, annoying. Half the time she wants to run and hide, the other half she's just dying to smack him.
And he should really stop staring at the television as if he doesn't know what it is, he's been around long enough to-
Oh, John Cleese is on. Oh. Right.
"It's a parody film that you are watching, Elan."
Oh, the joy of triplicated forms.
11 comments | post a comment
Shelley kicks her heels against the legs of her chair as she finishes off the reports through a haze of boredom. Has to be done. The smell of cooking soup fills the room. Should be ready just as soon as she finishes. Very good timing there.
Her tea is almost cold, but she sips at the rest absently as she finishes the last filling-in of boxes. A quiet, relieved sigh, and she gets up, calling to the figure sprawled on the couch nearby as she goes.
"Dinner's ready, come on."
She busies herself with bowls and cutlery, not looking to see if he follows. It's easier not to look right at him, and at the moment, Shelley takes anything to get her through each day.
Waking up from a disturbing dream with a jerk that brings you to a sitting position is actually rather rare. It's disorienting, and rather an effort to go from horizontal to perpendicular the instant you wake from a deep sleep, and thus, does not happen nearly as frequently as the visual media would have you believe.
7 comments | post a comment
That said... the instant Shelley wakes, she sits bolt upright in bed, trembling.
She'd been dreaming- just dreaming, thank god, but- She shoves the covers off her legs with a shudder, feeling the cold air rush over her slightly damp skin gratefully.
Wrong. That was- she didn't- Small hands smooth tangled hair back from her face, then rest over her eyes. Just a dream. A stupid... could have been caused by anything.
Just a dream.
Shelley opens the door quietly when she gets home. She's tired. Not sleeping well - it's catching up with her, slowly - and then a busy day running around at work takes it out of you rather. And now a stretch of evening watching her back, trying to avoid Elan in her own house. Not much to look forward to.
22 comments | post a comment
He's there again, sitting on the coach and reading.
The living room smells like cleaning fluid.
She rolls her eyes to herself and shuts the door behind her.
She hears him shouting downstairs.
It's hard to ignore, impossible, even though her ears are still ringing after she'd thrown up violently in a mix of horror and rage and disgust and misery, then sat there on the floor, shaking and damp with sweat. And the ceiling's thin, and his voice is rising to almost a shriek below her and she didn't lock the door.
She half-crawls over to slide the bolt home with shaking hands, waiting for the sound of footsteps on the stairs. Instead his voice only raises, and she can hear the name he is calling on above everything else, and she slowly starts to cry. He's mad, and she's made him this angry, and her throat still hurts. She turns on both the taps in the bath in an attempt to drown him out.
The rush of water doesn't work, but it makes him less intelligible, and she's glad of that, at least. She's glad of the heat of the water, too, when she gets in, still wearing her blouse, bathroom light turned off. She hates getting undressed in the light. And when she lies back and lets the water flow over her ears, finally blocking the sound of his voice, she closes her eyes, needing the silence.
It's the deepest night before she finally lets herself out, listening tensely for Elan, even though he has been silent for hours. Her hair is almost dry, and she climbs into bed as quietly as she can. She can manage. Somehow, she will manage, in the morning.
It's almost midday.
Shelley sits on the bottom stair, watching the sleeping figure curled in the centre of the floor. He looks smaller than usual. She rubs tiredly at her eyes, then stands. So, she can cope. The kitchen is safer, there are knives if he wakes and is still... still...
Well. Still himself
Kettle. She needs a cup of tea.
18 comments | post a comment