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Secrets and Favors

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21 Re: Secrets and Favors on Thu Feb 04, 2016 6:09 pm

"No, no," I shake my head as I try to dry my eyes on the sleeve of my jacket, the rough fabric hurting my frozen cheeks. "I understand completely. I'm just so glad you found it! I'd looked everywhere for it. Honestly, I was so afraid he'd taken it, it made me sick just thinking about it."

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22 Re: Secrets and Favors on Thu Feb 04, 2016 6:13 pm

I can feel the familiar sting of emotion as I shake my head, a hand coming up to rest on my throat as I shrug.

"No, no. She was wearing it, and-" I exhale roughly, biting the inside of my cheek to try and stave off the tears. "I don't think he saw it for all the blood..."

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23 Re: Secrets and Favors on Thu Feb 04, 2016 6:21 pm

A whole new wave of emotion hits me as I try to hide it in the sleeve of my coat, my throat closing up as I shake my head in a vain attempt to get the image out of my head. I'd only seen her after the fact, long after her body had gone cold and the blood had been cleaned up by the guards, but I'd seen the crime scene where her blood had soaked through everything it touched. I remember being shocked that the human body could hold so much blood, the image of it haunting my dreams for months to come. On bad nights, it still did...

"C'mon," I say weakly, the word coming out a croak as I reach over to rub Ljuba's arm anxiously. "We've got a mission to get on with, and it's not going to get done with us standing here in the cold."

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24 Re: Secrets and Favors on Thu Feb 04, 2016 6:35 pm

"Then let's go," I nod, gesturing for him to head off in front of me before I look over towards Marnin. He's removed himself from the situation as far as he could without being out of site, lingering near the road as he seems to stare off in one direction. It's moments like this, when he's pointedly trying not to interfere, that I notice his handicap the most. Most people can distract themselves by inspecting cracks in the sidewalk, looking at melt patterns for snow, but not Marnin. His eyes just wander a bit recklessly in his field of view. 

And - like always - it's as though he's reading my mind. Hand in pocket, and out come a simple pair of sunglasses. 

"I think we're ready." I say thickly, sniffling a bit before I adjust the bag on my side and wrap my arms across my front.

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25 Re: Secrets and Favors on Thu Feb 04, 2016 6:41 pm


"That's good," I say as I fall into step beside Ljuba, my arm going to hold the strap of her bag as though using her as a guide. Really, I'm just leery of the icy road, for both of our sakes, and without my cane to feel out the road in front of me, I'm less confidant of where I'm placing my feet.

"I'm glad you were able to make him feel better," I say quietly after a moment, a small frown coming to my lips. "But are you really okay with giving him Maja's locket..? You just lost her guitar, and you'd kept it in that drawer for so long..."

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26 Re: Secrets and Favors on Thu Feb 04, 2016 6:43 pm

I nod slightly, sniffling again as I keep my eyes peeled on the sidewalk as we walk. 

"They're just things." I repeat quietly.

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27 Re: Secrets and Favors on Thu Feb 04, 2016 7:09 pm

I hesitate at that, my lip catching between my teeth for a moment before I look over at her and lean in to put a light kiss on her shoulder. It's a subject I've wanted to talk to her about for a long time, but I'd never been able to bring myself to broach it. Yesterday was as close as I had ever come, and it seems the accidental talk had had more of an impact than I'd meant at the time.

"You made Jean very happy, though," I say lightly, bumping her gently with my hip as we walk.

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28 Re: Secrets and Favors on Thu Feb 04, 2016 7:23 pm

"Seemed fair, though, didn't it?" I ask as I look at him, "He gave me all of those old photos... I sort of owed him."

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29 Re: Secrets and Favors on Thu Feb 04, 2016 7:31 pm

"Maybe," I shrug, a faint smile on my lips. "I guess it sort of worked out, didn't it? If he hadn't given those to you, they'd have been lost along with all the others."

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30 Re: Secrets and Favors on Thu Feb 04, 2016 7:36 pm

A small pang of guilt settles in my stomach as I nod, thinking back to when I'd shuffled through Jean's stack of photos and the ones that'd been lost. 

"Yeah," I nod, "You're right. At least we were able to save some of them."

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31 Re: Secrets and Favors on Thu Feb 04, 2016 7:43 pm

"And now he has the locket," I say, glancing toward her with a small nudge. "You both got something that made you happy. That's good."

My ear tilts toward Jean as I hear him scooping up another handful of snow, something he's been at since we started walking. He's trying to clean the locket, a task I can tell even from here is going to be a challenge. Sighing, I pull my coat around me more tightly, my head tilting up a little to enjoy what little sunlight there is on my face. 

"This is gonna be a much longer trip than I anticipated," I admit after a moment of quiet. "I thought we'd be well past Andover by now."

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32 Re: Secrets and Favors on Thu Feb 04, 2016 7:46 pm

"I have no idea how we're going to find a ride..." I confess, shuddering a bit as I hug my arms around my front. "I've barely got enough notes for a room for the night, let alone transport across the country."

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33 Re: Secrets and Favors on Thu Feb 04, 2016 8:21 pm

"We'll manage, don't worry," I say as I pull my scarf up to protect my face. "When I left Richard, it was winter then as well, and I didn't have a penny to my name. And with you and Jean, it opens up whole new groups of people we can talk into working with us. Much as I hate to admit it, I've always been a bit disadvantaged when it came to sweet talking the ladies. They find me charming enough until they realize I can't see. 

"Somehow, I'm more than certain Jean will rise to that challenge, though. And I know of at least a couple of hopeless dopes who'd absolutely melt at the opportunity to give you a ride. Real nice fellows, but they are dumb as a box of rocks - twins, to boot. You'd think nature would have favored at least one of them with a brain, but no. Chances are they're still working the roads, too stubborn and stupid to yield to the snow."

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34 Re: Secrets and Favors on Thu Feb 04, 2016 8:33 pm

"I think you over estimate how charming I am," I smile over at him, slowing a bit so he has to bump into me. "You're the only one who ever flirts with me, ya know."

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35 Re: Secrets and Favors on Thu Feb 04, 2016 8:34 pm

"That really is a shame," I smirk, nudging her hip with mine as we walk. "You're smokin' hot. Why do you think I'm walking so close?"

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36 Re: Secrets and Favors on Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:34 pm

"It's certainly not because you're hopelessly blind." I grin, "I think you're trying to rub your stink off on me because blind blokes are the only ones who'd be interested in me."

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37 Re: Secrets and Favors on Thu Feb 04, 2016 10:41 pm

"Nonsense," I scoff. "You're as much of a pariah as I am, not even the blind blokes would go near you." I snicker at the teasing as I tuck a hand into Ljuba's pocket as we walk. "Truthfully, though? I'm kind of glad you don't have more people buzzing about for your attention."

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38 Re: Secrets and Favors on Thu Feb 04, 2016 11:18 pm

"Oh?" I can't help but smile as I feel his hand sink into the pocket of my sweater. "And why's that? Were you one of those kids who never learned to share?"

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39 Re: Secrets and Favors on Thu Feb 04, 2016 11:24 pm

"Apparently," I laugh as I listen to the sounds of people moving about inside their homes. It's too cold for anyone with any sense to be out and about. "I don't know, I'd never really noticed it until Jean showed up, but I get this feeling that starts in my gut and then goes up my spine until it's gotten into everything, and I don't like it in the slightest. Then I turn into an asshole, and I don't know how much of it is me being a jealous dick or what's just misplaced from being annoyed that I feel that way. I've felt it every now and then when you're off chatting with your hands with someone, but never so much as when Jean waltzed in, charming as all hell with his stupid ugly face."

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40 Re: Secrets and Favors on Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:02 am

"You really don't like him," I laugh, "Are you jealous of Jean?"

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41 Re: Secrets and Favors on Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:07 am

"No," I scoff, a sharp exhale coming out of my nose before I hesitate, my lips pressing together as I listen to the man ahead of us. "Yes... maybe a little? I don't know, I sort of liked it just being the two of us... the damaged duo, only have each other because nobody else would have us. With him around, I d'know... I just feel sort of... alone? I forget sometimes that you weren't always like this. You used to be like them."

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42 Re: Secrets and Favors on Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:10 am

"Like them!?" I gape at the statement, bumping into his side as I shake my head. "What does that even mean!?"

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43 Re: Secrets and Favors on Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:14 am

"I don't know," I laugh, bumping back into her to shoo her back onto her side of the road. "Normal, you know? You had friends and family and you went out and had a laugh, dated people, talked... you were a different Ljuba, a Ljuba I would have been too intimidated to talk to six years ago. You'd have had no reason to talk to me, not when you had blokes like Jean hanging around, hanging on your every word."

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44 Re: Secrets and Favors on Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:22 am

"Blokes like Jean never hung on my any word," I retort, tugging my arms into the body of my sweater to better get warm. "No, they hung on Maja's every word and I just sort of existed in the background."

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45 Re: Secrets and Favors on Fri Feb 05, 2016 12:50 am

"Other blokes did, though," I say quietly, my thoughts wandering back to my own youth. "Or they noticed those shorts you wore, at the least. I just mean... I don't know what I mean. You're out of my league... you've always been out of my league. And sooner or later, you'll remember it all and you'll ask yourself what the hell you're doing with me when you could be with someone like Jean or - or whatever the hell his name was with the plant in the photo. Someone who can buy you a dress and have you try it on and tell you how lovely you look, someone who doesn't choose it because of it's stupid fabric and how it might feel on your skin because they haven't got anything else to go on besides how the world feels and smells and tastes."

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