sandandwater: (groggy)
[personal profile] sandandwater
Summer 2009

She didn’t scream this time. The tightness squeezing her chest made it impossible to draw the breath needed and the swollen lump of her heart was lodged (or so it felt) so far into her throat that she wouldn’t be able to cry out in any case. She didn’t cry either. Her eyes were wide with shock and fear, but dry as she shifted her panicked gaze from one focal point to another.

Meaningful movement of limbs tangled in sweat-soaked sheets took a bit longer. By the time she was able to untangle herself from the damp cotton and sit up, Pippa had found the ability to breathe again. Breathe and shake, trembling as she recalled the too-vivid, too-real sights and sounds of the nightmare.

The nightmare. It was always the same. Never ending, never changing, always filled with the same terror and helplessness and always, always his voice. A sick, twisted narration for her suffering punctuated by the laughter of a monster. She’d been trapped, strapped to the table in his dirty, dank, filth-filled apartment. Tied down and screaming, begging for no more. An end, only he never listened. No, he continued on with his little project. His stack of presents for an Irish singer: first it was her hair and that was humiliating but painless, then her finger and oh, how she screamed. It never stopped there, the events of reality and sick fantasy twisting until Larch had managed to use those rusted-dull garden sheers to cut away every last digit, right hand and left.

On the good nights, that was when she’d wake up.

Tonight hadn’t been a good night. Pippa retched and gagged as she shut her eyes against another onslaught of images she’d woken up from. Things worse than being slowly dismembered, Larch hadn’t managed to do what he wanted to the redhead, no, but he made sure to share with her the grizzly fate of all the women before her. In sleep, her tortured thoughts turned on themselves and rewrote his narrative, applied it to her and let her feel what her fate could have been. Should have been, but wasn’t.

Because of Rory. She was alive because of the relentless way he’d refused to accept her disappearance. Because he’d urged his brother to search for her by means inhuman and incomprehensible to her. Because he and his brothers…she was sitting in her moonlit room in Venice because three very brave, bold and self-sacrificing men came to her rescue. Men she repaid by rejecting, avoiding and leaving. That realization was even more painful to bear than anything the madman had inflicted.

The dry heaving stopped and the tears began, hot and silent they coursed down her face, wetting her cheeks and chin, newly dampening her nightgown. She pushed them away; all of them, anyone who wanted to help her. Rory, most of all, most importantly of all. The only one who could help at times like these. Comfort and reassure her. Make her feel safe and whole. She ran away from him, from that, because she was scared. She was still scared and now, here, without anyone to protect her.

When she moved next, it was almost instinctive. Her hand reached for the phone on the bedside table, pressed the buttons in the dark. She didn’t need to see in order to call up something so deeply ingrained in memory. If she’d been awake and calm, she likely would have ignored the impulse to call him, or would have at least hung up before the call had connected. But tonight, tonight she sniffed back fresh tears and as soon as she heard the line pick up, be it voicemail or Rory himself, she let out the heartfelt truth:

“Oh, Ro…I wish you were here.”

Pippa Kerr//Last Call//630 words

Date: 2009-05-04 12:14 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If you wanted to know how a púca could put a cell phone into his jacket pocket, transform into a horse, run ten miles, change back and still have a functioning cell phone in his reappearing pocket, you would have to ask him. Of course you'd have no guarantee that he'd answer. You'd have even less guarantee if the púca you asked just then was Rory MacEibhir.

Rory had put ten miles between himself and his family, assembled at Flint Creek Ranch to await the impending birth of Anraí and Laine's first child, so that he could sit on a rock and brood for a bit without infecting his loved ones with his mood. Also because he didn't want to tell them how he was starting to feel tired and listless without an audience. When his cell went off, he hissed a Fae curse before pulling it out. Damn it, he knew he should have left the thing at the house--

Looking at the display, his breath hitched. Venice. Pippa. But it was the wee hours of the morning where she was, surely ... he flipped the phone open.

The sound of her tearful voice froze him in place for long moments. He could only get one word out, low and soft. "Pippa ..."

Date: 2009-05-04 02:42 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
All he had to say was that one word and Pippa let loose the tears she'd been holding back. Hand over her mouth until she could control herself, she didn't say anything for minutes. When she did speak up, her voice was anything but even. "I hate this, Ro...I hate it and I miss you."

She couldn't quite bring herself to tell him that she wanted to come home, though she wanted that too...which was difficult as 'home' wasn't a place anymore, just a vague concept.

Date: 2009-05-04 09:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Rory's eyes closed, the muffled sound of Pippa's sobs tearing at his heart. She was more than six months gone from him, yet it seemed he was as vulnerable to her voice and moods as he ever had been. And the hell of it was that he could not say just then whether he truly wanted that to change.

He swallowed hard at the ragged tones of her voice, trying to ease the tightness in his own throat. The roughness when he spoke showed his partial success. "I miss you too, sweet." If he couldn't be prudent, at least he could be honest.

Date: 2009-05-05 08:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
She had no way of knowing if he were in New York or elsewhere, it didn't even occur to her that he might be any place other than his apartment in Queens. The wee hours didn't lend themselves to logic and rational thinking, this phone call strong evidence of that.

But he missed her...she knew that.

"It never stops, Ro. He never stops. I can't get away from it anywhere and I can't..." She just couldn't. Couldn't think, couldn't sleep, couldn't move on...couldn't be without him. "I want to come home. I want you to hold me. I want you to tell me it will be all right. No one here can tell me that, they don't understand."

Date: 2009-05-06 02:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Swiftly he added up the evidence. Pippa calling him well before sunrise her time ... she must have just woken up from a nightmare. A nightmare about that piece of filth Larch and what he'd done to her. Not for the first time, Rory's gut churned with the certainty that dying at Tadhg's hands had been too easy a fate for the bastard.

And here they were with an ocean and more than half a continent separating them. He felt hollow at the thought of Pippa suffering alone. Somehow he knew that she'd said no more about her trauma to Alessandro and her friends in Venice than she'd told anyone here. Anyone who didn't already know, at least.

"I'd be there with you if I could, sweet." He'd rarely felt so helpless. "But I can talk and listen. I won't let you be alone."

Date: 2009-05-06 03:06 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
If he could...if...he could. She knew he could, understood what he was capable of if he wanted it badly enough. He...didn't want to. She sniffed back more tears, wiped her face with the back of her hand and curled up against her disheveled sheets and blankets. Did he even realize that now she felt even more alone, rejected?

"I shouldn't have called you. I'm sorry...this isn't's not your problem anymore." No, she wasn't going to talk. Talking didn't help. Wouldn't bring him to her. Wouldn't give her what she thought she needed. Him.

"I wasn't thinking." No, she'd been feeling. Feeling and trying to reach out the only way she knew how...and he wasn't willing. It was probably her own fault, no less than she deserved for leaving him. "You must have better, more important things to do than listen to me act like a fool. I won't...I'm not going to keep you."

Pippa pressed the disconnect button before she could recant her words and before she choked on the tears she was holding back.

Date: 2009-05-06 03:17 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
He tried. "Pippa ... no, I--" Rory haltingly tried to interject, to explain that he was in Montana with his family, awaiting the imminent birth of Laine and Anraí's baby. He couldn't just vanish right then, but maybe in a few days, between the birth and the time he had to leave on tour ...

But she hung up before he could get a word in.

After long seconds spent swearing at the phone as if it were somehow at fault, he hastily pressed the buttons that would dial her back.

Date: 2009-05-06 03:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
No. She wasn't going to answer that call. She didn't want to deal with the shame or humiliation of being forced to talk with him further. He was making it clear that he was through, wasn't he? His life was taking him places bigger and better than she could ever offer--what was she offering him? Tears? Pain? Bad memories? Pippa shoved the small phone under her pillows to muffle the noise.

Bare foot and half-dressed she left her bed and fled down the hall to another room, to Alessandro. He wouldn't understand but he would hold her.

Date: 2009-05-06 03:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Rory bit back more curses when he got Pippa's voice mail instead of her. "Pippa, please, please call me back. I want to be there for you, truly, but I'm in Montana. Laine's in labor and the whole family's here. But I might be able to work something out for later if you'll just call me back and talk to me. Please."

His thumb hit the button to end the message. Letting his head droop to his knees, the púca let the curses flow in three languages.

Date: 2009-05-06 03:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
She didn't pick her phone back up until the day was nearly over, and then it was only to shut it off. Seeing that she had messages...she listened to them. Some of them. Deleting them mid-sentence in some cases and then there was Rory's familiar voice in her ear and she couldn't help remember the stab in the gut and the squeeze of her heart when he'd told her he wouldn't be coming.

Why she tortured herself by listening to the rest of his message, she didn't know. But she did. She needed to hear what he wanted to tell her. Even if it was 'don't call me again'...which it wasn't. His sister in law was having a baby.

She sat and stared at the phone for a long, long while. Of course. He'd stay. For family. For a woman he knew for far less time than he'd known her. For his brother. Because they didn't have each other, of course. Because it was more important to be there for them.

She had no one, but he needed to be there for them. Tobe happy and celebrate with them. Pippa knew she was being unfair but right then she didn't care. It was only another painful reminder of the things she didn't, couldn't, wouldn't have. She'd had a baby, on her own with no one there for her. She'd survived that. She'd survive this alone as well.

She deleted Rory's message. He hadn't said he would come anyhow, only that he might be able work something out. Maybes weren't for the things that really mattered.


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October 2009

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