Warm day, cool breeze and Rory brought her to Murphy’s farm. He said there was something he wanted to show Pippa. She knew from many of their chats over the last year or so (mostly between sets and after gigs, more recently from some of their dates) at Last Call that the Irishman sometimes worked on the farm, exercising horses and giving the occasional riding lesson. It was a lovely place a bit upstate, large pastures dotted with pretty trees, tall grasses and pretty wild flowers.
She was currently in one of those pastures, backed up against a split rail fence, laughing as a gray stallion snuffled and snorted against her midsection. It tickled and then she squealed as the beast had managed to work his nose against her bare skin, her shirt riding up over his long muzzle. “Ro, stop! Oh, my god…stop…I can’t breathe…tickles.”
The horse nickered, flicked his ears and gave his tail a swish to the left then right. He was laughing. She knew he was laughing. And she was helpless against the equine’s size and strength as he continued to nuzzle her. Pippa tried to push his massive head away then resorted to tugging on the forelock of his mane, not that either deterred the stallion. He had his pretty filly where he wanted her.
Right where he wanted her.
The stallion finally relented once tears began to run down her cheeks and she really did sound as if breathing were difficult. Pippa was still laughing though, giggling until the horse vanished in a flash of energy-white light and the face pressed to her belly was once more the familiar one belonging to Rory Stone, púca fairy. Her boyfriend. “Ro, you are…”
She didn’t get to finish her declaration because strong arms wrapped around her waist and pulled the waitress down into the grass, tumbling her into a small heap alongside the much taller, lankier now-man. “…crazy,” she finished unnecessarily as Rory brushed long red locks of hair out of her face.
“A muirnin, my darlin’.” He murmured the words with a gentle smile, pressed a kiss to the side of her neck and proceeded to nuzzle her in much the same way he had in his stallion form. He even made a noise that sounded suspiciously like a nicker before clearing his throat. “Pretty Pippa, why did never tell me you could ride? All those times I’ve mentioned Murphy’s farm and not a word from you, why, sweet?”
She sighed and shifted, rearranging herself atop her lover to better cuddle with him. “You had your secrets and I had mine.”
And now, thanks to his foolish playing, Pippa also had several dandelions tucked into her hair.
“Shhh, a chara.” Tadhg ran long, steady fingers through her tangled mass of russet curls and spooned her body more tightly against his own. Knees bent to fit against Pippa’s, her back pressed against his chest and one arm looped around her waist with his hand resting on the outer curve of her thigh, the púca snuggled her close. Kept her safe.
She wanted Rory, he knew, but his older brother couldn’t put off outstanding obligations any longer, not without raising suspicions and questions no one wanted to answer. Rory would be back soon enough and until then…well, little brother would do what he could to soothe and comfort the girl. Tadhg had held her this way more often than Pippa was aware—over the last few days, in their efforts to repair the damage done by a disturbed, deeply twisted inhabitant of Manhattan, the MacEibhirs (save for Anrai) had all sat with or held the slight form as they used their unique healing gifts to mend wounds and sustain her life.
This afternoon the púca was more focused on calming her fitful sleep than he was on easing any pain she might still feel. He’d done what he could there, his magic crawling in and out of her brutalized body, slipping over bruised muscle and broken bone. Tadhg knew her injuries better and more intimately than she did in some ways…and he was thankful that the sleeping girl would never know just how well he knew the torment she’d suffered.
When she turned in his embrace, rubbed her sleepy face against his neck and murmured nonsense against his shoulder, Tadhg slid his hands over her back, hugging her tightly. He was very thankful that he would have the chance to get to know Pippa Kerr as a person, whole and healed. “Just sleep, lass. I’ll be going nowhere soon.”
If your muse has ever wanted a good snuggle/cuddle/hug with my muse, comment here.
I'll write at least 250 words with the pairing. Every fic is to be considered just that, fanfiction, and not actually RP history unless you request that it is. You're welcome to leave any sort of suggestions for the fics you want, be it genre, a prompt or scenario. Things can be platonic or romantic, just let me know which one you’d prefer.
March 13, 2029
“Yeah?” He was shouting into the phone, she could hear the chaos of crowds in the background—each with their own distinct set of sounds. There were the fans screaming his name, someone offered a shrill “I love you, Rory!” and he chuckled. The cat calls from photographers to get him to turn this way or that for a picture. Sascha complaining that he never put that damned phone down.
Pippa laughed as she tried to grab for the toddler running circles around her while screeching at the top of his little lungs. “Hey, baby…Marcus Alexander you stop that now, thank you. Hi, I just wanted to let you know we’re running late—as usual. Someone had to take another bath after an incident with the dog food. I guess we’ll meet you inside?”
Pippa didn’t wait for a response. She knew her husband had heard her and that’s all she needed. All right, not all, she still needed to find her left shoe. And the child, to where did he disappear? “Marcus? Marcus?”
A giggle came from under the bed. Pippa sighed in exasperation and then laughed as she stooped down to grab a sneaker-clad foot, pulling her son out from beneath the furniture. “Silly boy, we’re late. Da’s waiting for us.”
Large brown eyes, púca eyes like his father’s, lit up and Marcus MacEibhir grinned. Da. The most magic word in the three year old’s vocabulary. “Where’s at?”
“Help me find my shoe and then we’ll go see…” Pippa coaxed, her voice full of hushed excitement that was guaranteed to garner the child’s cooperation.
( Read more )
Peace be with you, my red-haired darling. Good-bye.
Those were the last words he’d said to her. All he could say once she told him that she was moving back to Venice and she wasn’t planning to return. That she was leaving him in order to try and make sense of the chaos her life had become. To reclaim the things so suddenly lost to her.
I love you.
That was what she wanted to tell him even if he might not believe it.
She hugged the Doberman tightly, squeezed him until the pup whumped and whined at the way she was pushing the air from his lungs. Pippa kissed his head, his snout, rubbed his back once more and forced herself to stand. It broke her heart to leave Mr. Beaker behind but she honestly believed it the kinder thing to do for him.
Be a good puppy for Mike, Mr. Beaker. No making messes, don’t eat anything that isn’t doggy food and no loud barking in the house.
He tilted his head and gave Pippa a confused woof and an excited wag of his tail.
More hugs, more tears. Promises extracted and made. She’d call. He’d follow her lists of instructions about the dog. She’d take care of herself and he’d not work too hard. She’d find the time to drink good Italian wines for him and he’d call Rory Stone if Mr. Beaker became too much to handle. She’d stop crying and he wouldn’t ask how the Irishman could let her go.
Everything necessary had been packed in two suitcases and a carry-on. Things that were important to her had been packed away and sent to storage. Furniture had been draped in white cloths and everything else had been sold or given away. Pippa flipped the switch to shut off the custom light fixture in the bedroom. She ran a hand around the basin in the master bath. The little bits of herself she was leaving behind—the real estate agent was thrilled with that. Real selling points, the woman had assured her.
Pippa left her keys in the lockbox hanging on the door.
She flew out of Newark’s international airport, not JFK. It was more modern, less crowded and seemed less New York to her than the famed major hub. Somehow this was fitting in Pippa’s mind. She’d said farewell to the city as she’d taken the ferry from Staten, the subway through Manhattan and then finally hailed a cab to the airport. She kept the window closed during the plane’s ascent, her last memories of ‘home’ would not be an impersonal aerial view.
Phillipa! Mia Bella! Come here and let me see you.
She made it from the airport to the bus and then to the gondola all on her own. But once she’d arrived at the address belonging to Signore Evangelisti, Pippa was welcomed. She hadn’t seen him in three years and she’d been surprised at what a difference a short time-span could have on an old man. His eyes were still bright and his embrace still strong though and that’s all that mattered. She cried. He held her. They both laughed.
Later, they would talk of many things but for now Pippa was content to just be back.
Peaceful. Unaware. Beautifully naïve.
His face is all delicate planes and muted angles in the cool, pale light of the moon. Long lashes cast shadows over soft skin, marring the ethereal visage belonging to the man lying beside her. She can’t sleep so she watches him instead. Watches him despite wanting to press her face into her pillow, protection against aching in her heart, the tightness in her throat and the stinging behind her eyes. Pippa won’t turn away and she doesn’t wipe the hot tears seeping from the corners of her eyes. They run down her cheek and into her ear.
Her mind has been made up for days, weeks, really. She made the decision while they were apart—thinking seems easier when he isn’t right there. Now she has to tell him. Break his heart and leave him. Pippa continues to study him until the weight of her stare (or maybe the noise of her troubled thoughts) seems to draw Rory away from slumber. She even returns his sleepy smile with one of her own, whispering his name as his hand comes up to cup the curve of her cheek.
“Hey now…” he whispers in concern as he feels the dampness on her skin, realizes she’s been crying. “Sweet, don’t cry. I’m here. I’m right here.”
He folds her into his arms, kisses away the tears she’d ignored. Pippa lets him run his hands over her body and push her nightgown up over her hips as he rolls her beneath himself; his movements are well practiced even if they are heavily drenched in drowsiness. She knows he’ll barely remember this come morning—if he recalls it at all.
Still, he’s hard and she’s willing and it doesn’t take much for her to guide him to where he wants to be. Her face stays pressed against the warmth of his neck as Rory shifts, rocks against her and thrusts between her legs. She doesn’t want him to lift his head and look down at her; he shouldn’t have to see the sadness in her eyes as they make love. He makes love—Pippa winces as she corrects herself.
He’s making love; she’s only biding her time.
Sketching was not her strong suit. It wasn’t even particularly necessary with her chosen craft in most instances. She preferred to work more organically and to be as fluid with her creations as the material she shaped lent itself to be. Molten glass could be controlled and molded, but the process was delicate and time consuming when one was limited to centrifugal force and the very air in their own lungs. It became easier when other tools were added. Steel, water, blocks and casts made of metal with melting points far higher than sand flux.
This, however, needed to be precise. So Pippa sat, charcoal in one hand, gum eraser in the other and large pad of thickly woven sketch paper propped against the angled surface of the drafting table. The sketch would serve as a detailed reference, a quick visual to accompany the one in her mind, used to move into the next step of the process. From this drawing she’d create an inverted three-dimensional likeness out of dampened sand—a mold to cast her sculpture. When she thought of her intended piece, she saw it in the final stage, the way it would look when she showed it to the world. What she was doing on paper and in sand was a deconstruction of sorts, forcing her to mentally work backwards in order to move forward. It had to be perfect.
When she returned to the glass studio in Venice, Pippa wanted to give up the traditional glass blowing altogether in favor of working with casts and molds. Alessandro had a fit, argued. The Signore wouldn’t hear of it. Forbid it, in fact. It wasn’t that it was a lesser art form, it did require its own set of skills and talent but the old Italian gaffer was set in his ways and his beliefs. It was easier, she told him. Easier than trying to compensate for a now deformed hand, the missing finger and the deadened nerves. What she didn’t tell him was that it was easier than facing the memories of what she’d be able to do and being forced to compare them to what she was now capable of—and finding herself lacking. She was his prize student, la stella brillante—the brilliant star. She would not confine herself to less than she was capable of and that was final.
Except for this piece. All ready figured out were the ingredient sums: she’d tallied how much silica she’d need to mix the flux, the sodium dioxide and the lime too (to set the opacity of the material once cooled), and worked out which compounds she needed to achieve the perfect shades and hues to color the glass—gold mostly and in chloride form to get the rich and brilliant reds she imagined—required. She’d done the math and worked the chemistry. Numbers were easy; the execution would prove the challenge. She had to create it. Was driven to it, occupied by the image in her mind to the point of total distraction.
She found herself slipping her fingers into the sugar bowl at breakfast, imaging the delicate white crystals were the more durable granules of sand she could sculpt into a mold for casting. Salty silica instead of the sweet cane coating her fingers with a sticky grit. Pippa had laughed then, it seemed fitting really. Her muse craved gooey confections the way she craved the ability to pull his image out of the page, press it into wet sand, morph it into glass.
In the shower, she’d use the steam and the bar of soap against tempered doors to outline a nearly life-sized image, trying to get a feel for the enormity of what she was undertaking. It would be heavy, unwieldy at times, maybe even impossible without careful planning and the use of hands other than her own. She was grateful to have Alessandro’s studio at her disposal, his students to command and instruct. They’d have no part in the creation but they would lift, turn, carry the piece for her. These things she’d consider as hot water washed away his face just as she’d ended their romance in a torrent of hot tears.
Making her bed, pillows and blankets became construction material as Pippa debated what the base would look like. Sheets wrapped around pillows and bed posts, piled, folded, draped to give form to ideas. It had to be sturdy of course, able to withstand the weight and the stress but also compliment if not actually become part of the piece. Metal she thought then discarded. No, that wouldn’t do—not for him. Stone. Granite. Granite and glass, one supporting the other, entwined and enmeshed. The rock would be the foundation; the glass would run down the thin columns and flow over the angled base, softening it, bringing it to life with color and warmth. Out of the two would emerge her sculpture, not resting atop of it but growing out of the base—the way their relationship should have been.
Every day it was the same for her, this routine of moving through the necessities of life all the while moving closer to completing the only thing that compelled her to keep going in the first place. Her need for perfection made the process painfully slow despite the sense of urgency that pushed her forward. A relentless drive and constant hunger for something that would not be sated kept Pippa in an artistic fugue. Alessandro worried over what would happen when she reached her goal. Pippa kept working.
“…I do believe in you, Believer girl…” And the deafening roar of the audience made it difficult for her to hear the end of the song as she stood backstage, just out of sight, watching. He looked amazing, they all did, the entire band. Kreske, Junie…Sascha…Nil and Dave couldn’t have looked more at home, but it’s Rory, front and center with the microphone in his hand and the audience at his beck and call that held her attention. He finished the song—her song—with passion that drove the fans into a screaming, hand waving, foot stomping frenzy. They wanted more.
She wanted more.
The mid-point act pushed past her then, taking the stage to let Breaker Street have a much-needed breather. Rory walked right toward her. The hunger in his dark eyes unmistakable, the effects of the audience—all their wants and desires, their emotional demands—flowing through his veins and driving him to give in to compulsions not entirely his own had him wordlessly greeting her by pushing Pippa back against a wall, his mouth covering hers in a kiss meant to consume and possess.
Her lips parted eagerly, hungry for the taste of him and she inhaled deeply, lost in the heady scents of his sweaty skin and the leather he wore.
He didn’t ask permission, didn’t take the time to find out what she might want as he lowered his head to suck at the side of her neck, nip sharply at delicate skin. His hands were hot and rough as he ran them down her sides, over her hips, further still to bunch the fabric of her skirt and push it up. His knee slipped between both of hers, pushing her legs apart, one side and then the other, until he was wedged between them and she was pinned between his body and the wall.
She whimpered and tossed her head to the side and back again.
There was a light switch or wall plate; she didn’t know which, digging into her back right between her shoulder blades and it caused her to shift, squirm, press more fully against him. Her reward was the firm pressure of his hand between her thighs, his fingers hooking the crotch of her panties and pulling them to one side, exposing her completely. One-handed fumbling followed as he undid his pants, hitched her leg high on his hip and growled against her ear, “Mine.”
Fingers curled against soft fabric, twisting and pulling.
It was her turn to tug and struggle with his clothing. She worked buttons loose to open the front of his shirt and bare his chest, slipped her fingers under the thin cotton, skimmed his chest and traced the defined lines of abdomen. He didn’t allow her long for her exploration; he was too impatient for that. There wasn’t enough time for it. Lifting her, encouraging her to wrap her legs around his waist, Rory hissed a ‘yes’ against her shoulder then drove himself into her with animalistic want.
She gasped and arched her back sharply.
As she held onto him, hands on shoulders and ankles crossed behind his back, Pippa moaned. He felt good; she felt…full, whole, loved. Needed. He still needed her, for this if nothing else. Faster, harder, deeper—that light switch was digging into her flesh again. He was murmuring to her, voice gruff but the words—oh, the words were soft and tender. A muirnin rua. I love you. A chroi. My sweet. Phillipa. He came, finished just a quickly as he’d begun, barely taking the time to kiss her again before letting her back down and pulling away to set his clothes to rights.
“Oh, Ro…” she called his name again.
Bit her lip.
Perspiration-soaked and breathing heavily, she ran her hands over her face, down the length of her body. Her legs still trembled and she was all too aware of the slick wetness between her thighs. Lifting her hand to her lips, Pippa found that they weren’t bruised or swollen.
His kisses were no more real than the rest of her dream, vivid though it had been. This time, the cry that tore from her throat was pain-filled and misery-laden. She missed him. More than that, she needed him. Loved him.
Pippa Kerr//Last Call//733
ooc: I've fast forwarded a bit for this prompt. It takes place several months from now. It should also be noted that since this is largely a dream, descriptions of what the crowds do to Rory fey_fire are based on Pippa's understanding of the phenomenon and are not necessarily accurate. Lyrics to Believer Girl belong to Rory's mun.
Cut the paper in two with the scissors and watch it slip off the rock.
Seven years of being her own person, doing what she liked and not answering to anyone. Making glass, working in a bar, living on her own—the things she wanted for herself and a life she had taken pride in living. Well, the glass was gone; she shattered it all in a fit of rage and frustration. She couldn’t make any more of it, not now. Pippa refused to try again after that first failed attempt. And now she wasn’t even working at the bar.
Wedge the tips of the scissors under the rock and flip the piece of obsidian into the trash can.
When she had asked Mike, her boss and the bar’s owner, if they could talk, he didn’t seem the least bit surprised when she expressed feelings of unease and disquiet about being back at Last Call. He didn’t even seem phased when she sighed and admitted with some hesitation that she didn’t think she’d be back after her upcoming vacation. It was too hard. Too much of what happened occurred here and since then too much else had changed. Mike hugged her, told her he understood and made her promise to stay in touch. If she ever needed anything…call him.
Twirl the scissors around an index finger before dropping them into a drawer.
Quitting had been easier than she’d thought. It was also less climatic than one would assume. There was no sense of elation or even regret. She was indifferent, if anything. Leaving the bar hadn’t solved anything for her. Maybe it wasn’t a big enough change or maybe she was becoming impatient with the status quo that her life had become these last few months. Maybe she should make the harder choices now, the ones with the real consequences.
This wasn’t a childish game she was playing.
“It’s going to be like this from now on, isn’t it?”
“Hmm? Like what, sweet?”
“This. Us. Barely seeing each other and when we do…”( Read more... )
Fight or flight. The path of least resistance. Letting the past dictate her future. These were all topics of discussion from Pippa’s ongoing therapy sessions, subjects that beat home the fact that she wasn’t really making any progress. She’s stalled herself at ‘functioning’ and has stopped trying to move past the idea of simply getting by. What was it that was stopping her? Fear.
Fear of what?
Memories. Flashbacks. Remembering.
But it’s already happened, you’ve survived and you know the outcome even if the memories are unpleasant. You know you managed to survive. We’re supposed to fear the unknown, not what we are already familiar with, right?
Maybe. Maybe not.
Start small. What’s one small thing that still scares you? One little trigger you keep avoiding?
That must make things very…
Pick one song. I want you to listen to it. Don’t turn it off. See what happens.
She was standing in his living room, in front of the stereo, CD in hand. The jewel case was open, the stereo on and the tray open and waiting. Still, Pippa couldn’t quite do it. She knew the song. Knew the track. Knew that it was exactly three minutes and forty-six seconds long. She could recall a lot in three minutes and forty-six seconds.
Pippa licked her lips but resisted the urge to wipe the sweat she could feel across the back of her neck. Tried to ignore the shadowy twinge of pain that shot along her left hand, culminating in a dull throb where her fifth knuckle ended in a stub of mottled flesh instead of an elegant pinky finger. Blinking back tears, she twitched at the sound of an open palm striking her bare flesh, wrinkled her nose at the foul smell of decay. She didn’t even have to play the music to remember.
She couldn’t do this. Not today, not now. Fight or flight. She wanted to choose flight. Wanted to drop the disc on the carpeted floor and run from the room. Run for the safety of his arms. If you can’t do this, how can you be certain he’ll even be there to hold you? Isn’t he worth fighting for? And isn’t his music part of him? Part of what you love? Pippa closed the jewel case and turned off the stereo.
Maybe she wasn’t ready to face the music on her own, confront the memories alone. Rory wanted her to talk to him about things, wanted to help her. She only had to listen to one song, all the way through. Her shrink never said she had to play the CD. Just listen to the song. Now the question was, could she ask Rory to do this for her and would she be able to explain why she needed this from him?
The musician was in his bedroom; Pippa could hear him fiddling with an arrangement at his keyboard, sometimes switching to one of his guitars to test some little element or another. She stood in the doorway, watching Rory, trying to find the courage to interrupt. Pippa didn’t have to search long; the fey had been aware of her presence and eventually turned to smile at her when she remained silent.
“Ro…can I ask you something?” Her voice was small and hesitant, almost childish in the uncertainty it carried. That alone was enough to bring him to her side, concern turning his bright grin into something more soothing as he nodded. Pippa wound her arms about his waist before continuing, “Will you hold me, rock me…like you used to? Sing to me? I’d like to hear my song.”
Her song. Believer Girl, Rory’d written the tune for her and turned it into something for the band’s set list months ago. She both loved and loathed the melody, the lyrics. When that monster, John Larch, held her captive and systematically stripped her of everything but fear and the promise of death, he’d played that song over and over…without knowing the significance it held. She hasn’t been able to listen to it since.
But now, if she could be in the one place where she felt safest, if she could just listen to the words and the warm, rich sound of Rory’s voice…hear the song stripped as bare as she’d been…maybe it would help. Maybe she could heal. Maybe she could fight.
“Please sing to me Ro…”
Pippa Kerr//Last Call//738
(Deborah Conway – ‘I’m Not Satisfied’)
Saturday night and she’s back on the clock, working in the bar, being Last Call’s resident outstanding waitress. She doesn’t skip a table, mess up an order, spill a single drink. The bartenders are glad to have her around, she keeps her tabs organized and collects on them discretely and her empties never clutter their workspace. All the other servers are thrilled to let her sort out problems as they arise, figure the tips, juggle the schedules. It’s as if Pippa Kerr has never left. That two, almost three, month gap where she’d not worked a single shift couldn’t have been real. It feels just like old times.
The music is different. The band isn’t as good. They aren’t bad by any means and the customers seem to enjoy them a great deal but the red haired woman with a tray in her hand can’t keep herself from looking at the stage and seeing someone else up there. Breaker Street is gone; Rory Stone’s warm and melodic baritone isn’t going to wrap itself around her as she makes her way between tables. The set list full of familiar tunes won’t be there to flood her mind with memories, good or bad. She isn’t going to return the flirtatious smiles and winks of the lead singer when he manages to catch her eye.
For nearly two years now, she had a routine in this place. Wednesdays and Saturdays have been the touchstones of her life. Her security and stability. The crowd used to be made up of (mostly) familiar faces, the staff had been friends not just coworkers and the music—the music had been outstanding. The band had been good, too good as they finally managed to prove, and now they’d moved on to bigger and better things. With them went a lot of the regulars, their weekly habits changing during the ups and downs of trying to replace what had been the hallmark good time at Last Call.
As she closes up later, once all the patrons have gone and the band—what is their name again—has been paid, Pippa finds herself wondering how much more it’s going to change and whether or not she can change with it. Then it occurs to her as she’s walking to her car, alert and aware of Mike Owens standing in the doorway watching her, that she’s the one who has been changed. It’s still a bar, the music is still live and the drinks are still strong. The customers are happy to pay and the waitresses pleased to serve. She’s the one who is no longer the same.
Pippa Kerr//Last Call//441
Dead End for Breaker Street
On the coffee table, which had been draped in filmy gauze, sat a cake, rich and decadent in its layers of sculpted chocolate. Beside it lay a carefully wrapped box, silver foil paper to reflect the delicate flames of nearby candles.
Tea lights littered the surface of every table, shelf and window ledge. The miniature candles even lined the baseboards of the living room, bathing the entire space in a warm, flickering glow. The shadows danced up walls and over furniture, almost in time to the gentle rhythm of the music quietly playing on the stereo, making the room feel alive. On the floor leaves had been scattered, all the colors of autumn creating a carpet of maple and oak, hiding the firmly woven Berber beneath. Mingled with the artificial leaves were the very real and fragrant blooms and petals of roses and mums, daisies and baby’s breath.
This indoor garden had been extended to the bedroom where in lieu of candlelight, small white Christmas lights had been wound and wrapped over bedposts and draped along the corners of the ceiling. The bed was another blanket of blossoms, carefully spread over satin sheets and pillowcases.
She surveyed her work with a critical eye and then let out a laugh that was full of delighted mischief. This was going to be such a mess to clean up but it was worth it just to be able to imagine the look of surprise on his face. Pippa had effectively turned Rory’s apartment into a fairytale forest, complete with one impish wood sprite.
With another peel of laughter, she removed her dressing gown and donned a pair of pixie wings before reentering the living room. Along with the glittered blush she wore on her face, brushed across her chest, the wire and nylon accent was all the little redhead was wearing as she folded herself onto the center seat of the sofa. Knees to chest, hands on knees and her chin resting on folded hands, she waited.
Friday night and she is home alone with the dog, a stack of movies and an untouched bowl of popcorn. Next to her is the remote for the television and the dvd player, it’s one of those combination devices, she could even use it to turn on the stereo if she wanted. She doesn’t. She doesn’t even bother with the T.V. She sits and stares blankly at that dark screen and thinks; wonders.
Where is he and who is he with? The band? Maybe they are having another planning session regarding their first album, their first real album that will be recorded in a professional studio. Or they could be rehearsing, enjoying each other’s company and talent, the music they make together. Is he home alone, in his apartment in the Woodside section of Queens, a good forty-five minutes away? Is he even thinking about her?
Pippa slips her hand into the pocket of her sweatpants and gently fingers the glittery acrylic guitar pick that belongs to her boyfriend.
Pippa fired up the furnace and while waiting for the heat in the glory hole to reach the correct temperature, she prepared the rest of her work area. She wiped down the marver and then covered the surface in the coloring agents she had wanted to work with today. Pippa filled her water bucket, lined up her jacks and files along the workbench, selected her pontils then began to wander the rest of her shop.
She moved between the shelves lined with various pieces, occasionally touching her fingers to a vase, a set of glass pens she’d fashioned in a burst of whimsy, a lampshade. There were bowls and platters, beads and jewelry. The more interesting pieces were the small sculptures, things that were more abstract and fluid, seemingly living little works of art. Resting on a table was a solid piece of flame-red glass, about two feet tall at its highest point, a base for a work in progress. It was something for Ro, a present.
Pippa eventually went back to the lit furnace, opened the door and pulled on her tinted, mirrored sunglasses. She checked the temperature of the melt by visual inspection and the feel of the blast on her skin. The liquid glass was a searing yellow-white sea inside the furnace and just about ready for a first gather. She stood back and reached for a pontil, fingers closing around the cool steel rod with practiced ease. The familiar weight felt good as she lifted it. Welcome and natural as she brought her left hand up to close around the rod about a foot behind her right hand. She smiled. She could still do this.
Pippa continued to smile as she stepped a bit closer, angled the pontil and lowered it to the melt. Then her face faltered. Instead of merely skimming the surface of the molten glass while rotating the rod, she felt the tip grow heavy and unbalanced as it sank, dipping below the surface to submerge itself in the liquid glass. She swore. It was something a novice would do, not the mistake of a skilled master. Not her.
Angry, she withdrew the rod and threw it aside. Dangerous, yes, but she was alone in the studio and not worried about the risks of injury to anyone else. She took a steadying breath and grabbed a second pontil, repeated her grip and moved a bit more slowly. Control. She just had to exercise control. It happened again. The rod, while in motion, became unbalanced in her faulty grip. She couldn’t do this. She. Could. Not. Do. This.
It was one more thing Larch had destroyed, ruined, stolen from her. Pippa felt ill, nauseous, as she pulled the pontil from the melt, shaky as she set it down atop the steel marver. Furious as she flung her glasses from her face, she swore again, then screamed. You can’t do this. You can’t do this…The mantra beat through her head; pounded at her temples and blinded her to what she was doing as she moved across the studio. She threw the first object her hands closed around, a vase. Shattered, she reached for the next and the next, dropping some, throwing others, letting them all break against the floor.
As she continued between the shelves, glass crunching and being ground beneath her heels, Pippa systematically emptied one after the other. If she couldn’t make glass, she didn’t want the reminders of what she had been capable of here to mock her. She was so engrossed in what she was doing that she didn’t hear the studio’s heavy fire door open. The sounds of shattering glass masked his footfalls on the concrete floor. The blood pounding in her ears kept her from hearing his somewhat aghast, “What are you doing, sweet?” And her rage caused her to forget that she had asked him to meet her here, to keep her company and to serve as a second pair of hands if need be.
It wasn’t until he raised his voice and called “Pippa!” sharply that she realized she wasn’t alone. Realized that someone had witnessed her tantrum, her unseemly fit. How much had he seen? She stood stock-still for a very long moment and then the anger was back, as heated and dangerous as the molten glass in the furnace. How dare he? Pippa whirled to face him, grabbed the piece of red glass off the table and flung it with as much anger and hatred as she could muster.
Rory caught it. He caught it. The scream that had been building in her chest died and she simply stared at him, her chest rising and falling with the pounding of her heart.
She was ignoring him, curled up in a ball with her face buried in a pillow. He sat at the edge of the bed with his bare back towards her, head hanging and cradled between his hands. Not for the first time, Pippa had gone from hot to cold without warning and rebuffed him mid-advance. His hands on her where they pressed against her shoulder, the curve of her hip…his breath on the side of her neck didn’t bring forth feelings of desire and need. Instead, they called up memories of someone else touching her with far less compassion and she’d cried then screamed. Rory couldn’t comfort her when she got like this, she didn’t want him to.
As you were
Candlelight and tangled sheets covered their sweat-slicked skin as they continued to explore each other in a lazy, nearly sated manner. Her hands slipped over his chest, her head following with lips grazing skin, teeth nipping along familiar territory. At the sound of the deep and contented sigh escaping his lips, Pippa lifted her head to smile at him. Words weren’t needed; she knew that look and understood his unspoken request. Rory’s hands settled on her hips as she shifted, rose and straddled his waist. He smiled as her hands found purchase against his shoulders, moaned as she leaned forward to kiss him.
As I want you to be
Pippa watched him undress, peeling the damp shirt away from his body, kicking shoes across the floor. Listened as he unfastened the buckle to his belt, the rasp of the zipper undoing the denim he wore low on his hips. Closed her eyes and thought about joining him on the other side of the room. She’d press kisses along his spine, wrap her arms around his waist and sigh as his hands came to rest over hers. Eventually, Rory would turn and embrace her, lift her off the balls of her feet and bring her closer for a deep kiss. She’d tangle a hand in his shaggy hair and inhale deeply, lost in him even as he lost himself in her just as he used to do after every gig.
Pippa Kerr//Last Call//351
2. “I made popcorn and rice krispie treats, I couldn’t make up my mind about salty or sweet so there’s both. And you can choose, Muppets Take Manhattan or Roman Holiday.” She holds up the DVD cases, well aware that there isn’t much of a choice here for him, they are two of her favorite movies.
3. His arm is around her waist, her cheek pressed to his chest as they move in time to the music, something slow and while they are both capable of more complicated dance steps, the simple swaying box-step suits Pippa and Rory for the time being. It is a chance to catch their breath as well as an excuse to touch more of each other in a public setting.
4. Laughter, panicked screams and then more laughing. “Stop that! Oh, my word, Ro, you are going to knock us both into the water if you don’t stop that!” In a rowboat at Central Park, cliché as it might be, she enjoys the manufactured romance of the setting—when her boyfriend isn’t clowning around and threatening to capsize the small vessel.
5. Sitting in the back of a quiet bar, she’s playing with the melting candle wax from the lone light source at their table. Having slipped her feet out of her shoes, they are resting bare in his lap. Both of them are nursing drinks, their quiet conversation the real intoxicant here.
6. She’s lying on the floor of his living room; the youngest member of his band is laying on Pippa in turn. Both of them are giggling like schoolgirls and even though she knows Rory can hear them, she’s glad he’s pretending otherwise at the moment. Double dates when three of the four are close friends and the fourth is odd-man-out…“I’m sure he’s not always so dreadfully dull, Sascha.” More laughter. “Oh, no! That’s even worse than being a bore! My sympathies…no! Of course I am not speaking from experience!”
Rory can’t keep from sniggering at that.
7. Far outside the city on back roads, no traffic and gorgeous weather, she's content. Sitting on the back of his bike, arms looped around his middle and her body pressed against his back, Pippa doesn’t mind the fact that they can’t talk over the roar of the wind or through the thickness of their helmets. They don’t have a destination in mind, he’ll pull over to the shoulder at some point and they’ll decide if they want to head back to his place or hers. Maybe she’ll suggest they keep going north for a while.
8. She stops in front of another large window display, something’s caught her eye and he’s stopped with her, trying to guess what it is that she’s falling in love with this time. “That is the most disgustingly vulgar color combination I have ever seen.”
He laughs and asks where she’d wear it and gets a playful swat to his gut for his efforts.
9. Making dinner together, he’s once again proving that he does know his way around kitchen basics. She’s enjoying the game of pinching things from the cutting board as he slices the vegetables. If things eventually devolve into a food fight where he’s dropping ice cubes down her back and she’s showering him with cold water from the sink’s spray nozzle…
10. Lying on her stomach, pillow tucked under her chin, Pippa’s head is turned to watch their shadows on the far wall as she continues to offer thoughts and observations, laughter and murmurs of pleasure. “That has nothing to do with the band, Ro…it better not!”
His lips keep teasing the back of her knee, tongue tracing idle patterns on sensitive skin, his hand tucked between her thighs. “Mmm…no? I was thinking about…” His other hand caresses the curve of her ass, fingers pressing into soft flesh, “This…you. Mmm…a lot of this.”
So, maybe it wasn’t much of a date, but she has come home from the gig with the lead singer. Again.
Pippa was aware of the soft cotton against her bare skin, the give of the mattress she was laying on…the warmth of the body next to her. The rich and woody smell that was distinctly Rory and the familiar outline of his silhouette in the dimly lit room caused her to inhale sharply, and then wince at the stab of pain that permeated her side.
“Ro…?” Barely a whisper, unsteady and confused, Pippa’s voice cut through the darkened room. “Ro?”
She was disoriented and sore, unaware of where she was exactly or how she came to be there. Didn’t know about the hours of worried and at times frenzied activities employed to keep her alive, to jump start the healing process in her abused and broken body. Right now, none of it even mattered, not as her eyes began to focus and her senses told her that no, this wasn’t a dream or hallucination. Wherever here was, Rory was beside her and sleeping, his arm draped possessively over her midsection though as she shifted she realized he had propped his limb against a pillow; an attempt at keeping the weight off of her tender body.
Pippa puzzled at this for a moment then murmured his name again, confusion ebbing into relief. She was with Ro…warm and dry and…a pass of her hand over her chest confirmed that she was wearing something, a nightshirt belonging to someone else maybe—it certainly wasn’t one of her own. Another pass and something else caught her attention: bandages. Her hand was wrapped in gauze and there was…something inserted into the back of her hand, taped in place.
“Ro…?” She swallowed; found her voice a little steadier. A bit stronger if still a whisper, “Ro?”
Her right hand continued to play over her left, across the bandage to the plastic tubing that led away from her body and up…oh, an IV. She recognized what it was, furrowed her brow and tried to fathom the whys and hows of it even as her hand wandered back to the gauze again. To her fingers…her…fingers…
Thumb, index, middle, ring…Pippa jerked her hand away with a start as she brushed over the wadded mass of gauze, the tender side of her left hand. A flash of pain brought it all back vividly.
Wire cutters, Rory’s music, Larch’s laughter…her screaming…