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Mirror, Mirror, on the wall

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76 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:16 pm

"Interesting," Marnin says as he leans back against Ljuba. "I'll be interested to see what these storms turn out to be."

"Ugh," I groan, rolling my eyes. "You're all a bunch of freaks."

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77 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:25 pm

"You're just mad because you were a dog." I remark, rolling my eyes as I reach out to grab my blanket, tugging it towards me so my bag comes with, my hand reaching in to grab out my journal.

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78 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:26 pm

"Wait, I was a dog?" I ask in outrage. "What do you mean, I was a dog? What kind of dog??"

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79 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:28 pm

"A month or so ago, that's how I knew we'd work together. I was traveling to the Capitol, and I had a dog with me." I shrug, opening my journal as I flip through the pages, pen in hand. "Loyal, lanky and blonde."

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80 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:32 pm

"I am not!" I argue, my cheeks flushing, though I'm not sure which descriptor I'm supposed to be offended by. "You're making that up because I told you I was a horndog."

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81 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:43 pm

I only shrug as I hand the book up to Jean, leaning back with my head against his leg as I reach up and point at the entry.

"See? December Seventeenth - What's it say, Jean?" I ask, pointing to the entry as my pen goes to underline the particular section I want read aloud. 

"Traveling with me was a tall and lanky dog, very loyal and quite blonde."

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82 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:55 pm

Jean nods, repeating the passage in the journal before he looks over at me and smirks. "Yep, it's right there. Lanky blonde mutt."

"No," I say sharply before straightening my back stiffly. "Lanky and quite blonde. And that other thing. Obviously I'm some kind of purebred show dog she was toting around cause I look pretty on a leash."

"Hmm," Jean narrows his eyes a bit, cocking his head to the side with a cheeky smirk. "Should we test that theory? I've got one in my bag... what do you think, Teagan? Just to confirm that he really is the dog from your vision, don't you think we should put him on a leash."

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83 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Tue Feb 23, 2016 11:57 pm

I can feel my cheeks start to burn as I pick my head up to look at Cael, grinning as I nod. 

"Does doggy need a walk?"

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84 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Wed Feb 24, 2016 12:31 am

"Only if you promise to throw me a bone afterward," I respond, smirking cheekily as I lean toward her and nudge her side.

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85 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Wed Feb 24, 2016 12:37 am

"You gonna gnaw on it?" I tease back, entirely unaware of any innuendo as I take my journal from Jean.

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86 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Wed Feb 24, 2016 12:43 am

"I might lick at it more than gnaw," I return, grinning in amusement.

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87 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Wed Feb 24, 2016 12:45 am

His response throws me, and I look up at him with narrowed eyes.

"That hardly eve-" I start, my eyes widening as I register the sound of Jean's snickering behind me, the comment sinking in as I flush deeply. "Heathen!"

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88 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:03 am

"Heathen, dog," I shrug as I reach over to adjust the station to something audible. "Either way, at least I'm lithe and loyal."

"I think she said lanky, not lithe," Jean says, raising an eyebrow at me as I take a drag off of my cigarette.

"Can it, heathen," I retort before settling back in my seat comfortably, the smoke from my cigarette filtering out of the cracked window as I start singing along to the song on the radio. When Marnin groans in feigned annoyance, I grin a little and glance back at them in the mirror before singing louder.

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89 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Wed Feb 24, 2016 1:24 am

"You certainly sound like a dog." I roll my eyes, turning my journal to the most recent page as I start making my notes. "A wounded one!"

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90 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Wed Feb 24, 2016 5:47 pm

***

*Marnin*

The next several hours pass in relatively the same way. Cael spends his time flirting and singing along to the radio, his mood improved enough from Teagan's tea that he even takes to swerving unexpectedly just to make me nauseous. I hate it when he does it, but when the sweat and nausea has passed, I find myself feeling happy for him.

The trips I'd taken with him when he was with Becca, he was rarely in a good mood, the two spending much of their time bickering and fighting. At times, I'd had to break them up to prevent someone from getting hurt - most likely Becca, but the emotional damage it would have caused Cael knowing that he'd ever lain a finger on her would break him. Hell, it had nearly broken him when she left. But this, the singing and the flirting and even the playful bullying, these are all good things.

By the time the sun has gone down, everyone has settled into a quiet lull. Jean is still avoiding Lju and I at the front of the van, Teagan is curled up with her book, and Cael has pulled off on the side of the road for the night, taking up his spot in the back to fidget with his aged guitar. Ljuba, meanwhile, has been drifting in and out of sleep since before we pulled over, her head resting comfortably on my shoulder.

Sighing contently, I rest my head against hers and listen to the vibrating hum of the strings as Cael adjusts the tune of each one. I can hear his fingers tapping a familiar beat on the wood, a song we'd spent months working on to adapt into something usable. It had originally been one of Ljuba's songs, but I'd never been able to teach him where to put his fingers to play it properly. And after I'd grown angry and short-tempered with frustration that he couldn't just get inside my head to read my mind, finding the write notes to play based solely on the words I'd made up to go with it, he'd finally put his foot down and insisted that he build off of it to create a song of our own rather than continuing to butcher the 'secret song' I'd already fitted to Ljuba's music.

But Ljuba's original tune is still audible and very much alive in the chords he had chosen to suit the song, and there is no mistaking it when he plucks his fingers across the strings and I find myself humming to the deep, resonant beat. He doesn't even glance up at me as he carries through to play the rest of the song, the words coming to my lips easily as lazy fingers continue to drag across Ljuba's arm.

"Boys workin' on empty; is that the kinda way to face the burning heat?" I can feel Ljuba wake beside me, my stomach fluttering nervously at the thought of her hearing me. But Cael doesn't miss a note, and I have no choice but to go on as he glances up at me expectantly.

"I just think about my baby," I continue, Cael smirking to himself as I close my eyes and try to focus on the song rather than the stilled breathing of the woman next to me. "I'm so full of love I could barely eat. There's nothing sweeter than my baby. I'd never want once from the cherry tree 'Cause my baby's sweet as can be; she give me toothaches just from kissin' me."

And just like that, I'm lost in the music, Cael coming up on the chorus with the same kind of abandon. "When, my, time comes around, lay me gently in the cold dark earth. No grave can hold my body down. I'll crawl home to her.

With Ljuba beside me, I can remember in vivid detail the night that had inspired the rest of the song. I know she doesn't think I remember it, I'd been so drunk and so sick, I could barely move. But it was a night that was burned into my memory, the first night it had really become clear to me that Ljuba would forever be a part of my life. To this day, I can still feel the cool touch of her kiss on my fevered lips - I'd barely been conscious, and I still don't know if it was real or not, but it felt real.

"That's when my baby found me, I was three days on a drunken sin. I woke with her walls around me, nothin' in her room but an empty crib. And I was burnin' up a fever, I didn't care much how long I lived. But I swear I thought I dreamed her - she never asked me once about the wrong I did.

"When, my, time comes around, lay me gently in the cold dark earth. No grave can hold my body down, I'll crawl home to her.

When, my, time comes around, lay me gently in the cold dark earth. No grave can hold my body down, I'll crawl home to her
...

"My baby never fret none about what my hands and my body done. If the Lord don't forgive me, I'd still have my baby and my babe would have me. When I was kissing on my baby, and she put her love down soft and sweet, In the low lamp light I was free. Heaven and hell were words to me.

"When, my, time comes around, lay me gently in the cold dark earth. No grave can hold my body down, I'll crawl home to her.

When, my, time comes around, lay me gently in the cold dark earth. No grave can hold my body down, I'll crawl home to her
."

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91 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Wed Feb 24, 2016 8:45 pm

At first, a silence fell over the van as Marnin's rich voice took over, mixing with Cael's guitar playing in a way that took me entirely by surprise. I'm almost frozen at his side as he continues to serenade us, the words sinking in like a weight as the song rises then falls to it's end. 

"Sing another," I whisper warmly, an arm wrapping around his tightly as I look up at him with a broad smile. "Please?"

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92 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:10 pm

"What do you want me to sing?" I ask, my cheeks flushing warmly as I try to hide a sheepish smile in her hair. Cael, on the other hand, already seems to have an idea as he gets out a clip and places it on the frets of his guitar before strumming at the strings in a familiar rhythm.

"No," I say quickly, looking over at him as I shake my head and drop my voice quietly. "Not that one."

"Fuck Richard," he responds firmly. "It's a great song, and you haven't sung it in ages."

"There's a reason for that," I frown as he starts the song over again and looks at me expectantly. I keep my jaw clamped shut for several intros before he rolls his eyes at me.

"I'll stop swerving to hit potholes for a week," he barters, his fingers resting on the strings as I hesitate thoughtfully. Sighing, I give him a nod and he grins broadly before he starts the song up again. My eyes fall shut as I rest my cheek against Ljuba's head, listening to the chords once more before I start to sing the words I haven't given so much as a thought to in years.

"Her eyes and words are so icy - Oh but she burns like rum on the fire. Hot and fast and angry as she can be - I walk my days on a wire. It looks ugly, but it's clean, oh momma, don't fuss over me." It hurts, just remembering the history that created the song, and the emotion can be heard as my voice cracks on the words.

"The way she tells me I'm hers and she is mine - open hand or closed fist would be fine. The blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine." I swallow roughly as I wait for the next part to come up, my hand rubbing across Ljuba's arm in an anxious gesture that does little to still the hammering of my heart or the painful rattle of my lungs. "Calls of guilty thrown at me - all while she stains the sheets of some other. Thrown at me so powerfully - just like she throws with the arm of her brother.

"But I want it... It's a crime - that she's not around most of the time. The way she shows me I'm hers and she is mine - open hand or closed fist would be fine. Blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine.

"Her fight and fury is fiery, oh but she loves like sleep to the freezing. Sweet and right and merciful, I'm all but washed in the tide of her breathing. And it's worth it, it's divine - I have this some of the time.

"The way she shows me I'm hers and she is mine - open hand or closed fist would be fine. The blood is rare and sweet as cherry wine."

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93 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:00 pm

I settle to the floor as I listen to his singing, the words sitting uncomfortably with me as his emotions taint each word. With my head in his lap, my eyes threaten to close as his fingers trail through my hair, my own hands holding at the fabric of his slacks absently. 

"You should be the one singing in bars." I say once Cael's tune mutates into something new, to fill the silence. Twisting onto my back, I look up at Marnin as I smile. "I never knew you liked to."

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94 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:15 pm

"I like listening to you play better," I admit with a smile, my fingers trailing through her hair lazily. "I've thought about it, though. I was sort of just waiting for the right time. I wrote a lot of songs to go with your music - it's just hard practicing it when I don't know how to play.

"It's a bit different on the road, though," I shrug. "Cael likes to collaborate - damn well insists on it. And it gets so boring sitting in the quiet, so we wind up singing a lot. He tried teaching me to play, too, but that was a disaster."

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95 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:20 pm

"Ah, so is that why you asked me?" I smirk, nuzzling against his touch fondly. I've entirely forgotten anyone else is even there, lost in my own world.

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96 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:33 pm

"You won't pinch me when I get frustrated," I smirk as I settle back against the wall behind me. Cael has started in on another song as I run a finger along one of the scars on Ljuba's jaw and hum quietly to the song he's chosen.

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97 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:41 pm

"Depends on how much you frustrate me." I coo in response, smirking contently as I pull the blanket up to my chin, sinking against him comfortably.

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98 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:50 pm

"I'd let you pinch me, though," I respond before yawning widely.

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99 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Wed Feb 24, 2016 11:04 pm

**Teagan**

I shut my book as I watch Cael play, smirking just a bit at the two in the rear as they slip into a quiet exchange of teasing remarks. Jean seems secluded in the front seat, pointedly ignoring the jovial atmosphere in the back. Setting my book down, I glance at Cael - who's entirely lost in his own music - before crawling up into the front to kneel next to Jean's seat. 

"Why the long face?" I ask quietly, offering him a smile as he looks down at me.

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100 Re: Mirror, Mirror, on the wall on Wed Feb 24, 2016 11:07 pm

*Jean*

"Not long," I respond, clearing my throat as it threatens to close from disuse as I adjust the hand under my jaw. "Just tired. What are you up to?"

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