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Where Truth Lies

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76 Re: Where Truth Lies on Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:05 pm

"But," I say, holding up a finger as I smile toward her. "I got you to smile, and I think they call that a 'win'."

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77 Re: Where Truth Lies on Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:38 pm

I rest back against the window with a small smile, my arms curling into the sleeves of my sweater as I watch the buildings grow more grand in both size and style the closer we get to Marnin's house. The trip is much shorter than it would've been had we walked, and I'm still waiting for the second tea to work it's way into my system as we pull up to the front drive. 

"How bad is he?" I ask after a moment, taking another swig of tea as we wait for the gate to open.

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78 Re: Where Truth Lies on Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:48 pm

"He's spent a few nights in the tub, but I've seen him worse," I respond, any joking fading from my voice as I look out the window at the house. I never know what my visits to this estate are going to turn up. It would be fun if they didn't sometimes end in weeks like these past two.

"I got him cleaned up this morning and put him to bed in real clothes," I sigh, glancing back over at her as Hensley parks the car outside of the garage. "With any luck, he'll have slept most of the day, and still be mildly sober when he answers the door.

"Do you need me to hang around?" I ask as I raise an eyebrow in her direction. "Or are you good?"

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79 Re: Where Truth Lies on Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:52 pm

I sit up a bit, the thermos still hugged to my front as I peer through the window at the house nervously. 

"What do I do if he's not sober..?" I ask, "Or... Or if something happens? How long do you want me to even stay?" 

Glancing back at Richard, I can feel guilt working it's way into my gut. Trading this forced interaction for whatever it is he's offered me.

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80 Re: Where Truth Lies on Fri Nov 18, 2016 9:56 pm

"Just let it play out organically," I shrug as I continue to watch her, noting her body language as her hands wring anxiously around the thermos. "If he doesn't want you there, fine. If he does, even better."

I pause for a moment before sighing as I pull an extra phone from my pocket to offer to her. "If something happens, message my number. I'll drop in to check on him. Just... don't take the phone out around him. He'll know, and he'll be furious."

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81 Re: Where Truth Lies on Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:16 pm

Taking the phone, I tuck it into one of the pockets in the inner layer of my dress and nod. Thermos in hand, I push the door open and inhale unsteadily. 

"Thank you," I say again, turning back to look at Richard as I linger with one foot out the door, "For everything." 

With that, I climb out of the car, making my way through the manicured lawn around to the front door. There's nothing but anxiety as I walk up to the door and ring the bell, any of the giddiness from the weeks before long gone. No. I dreaded this.

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82 Re: Where Truth Lies on Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:25 pm


I barely hear the doorbell over the sound of the blood pounding in my ears. I've been awake for hours now, Richard's absence coming as a relief when I'd finally lifted my face out of the mountain of pillows and blankets that I had managed to twist around myself in a fitful sleep. I'd gone back and forth between grateful for his company to downright hateful over the fact that he wouldn't go the fuck away. I can't quite remember, but I'm fairly certain I had managed to get a few punches in at some point.

It hardly makes me feel better, though, and I carry on beating on the punching bag dangling from the rafters. Every time the doorbell rings, it spikes the adrenaline flowing in my veins, mixing with the cocktail of narcotics and stimulants I'd gotten my hands on not even ten minutes after waking up. My knuckles are raw under the tape, and I can taste the coppery tang of blood on the air as I punch the bag with more force than before - just to spite my hands for succumbing to the abuse.

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83 Re: Where Truth Lies on Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:46 pm

After the dozenth time hitting the bell, I wring my hands against the cool air and look around at a loss. I don't dare look back to see if Richard is still sitting in the drive, unwilling to risk defeat so quickly as I reach down to test the door. Thank gods.

Pushing the heavy door open, I slip in and look around. Music hums throughout the house, it's volume so extreme it's just a barrage of noise at this point. Padding through the foyer, I stop in the center of the room and try to listen for the source of the music before remembering his offhand remarks about things hidden in the basement. 

Without a word, I make my way downstairs into the darkness of the basement, what few windows there are offering nothing but a dim orange glow of street lights and moonlight. I can hear metal clanking over the abrasive music, and the smell of sweat and an unkempt body lingers in the air. None of it manages to prepare me for the flurry of movement of the man brutalizing the punching bag just beyond the corner, though. 

"Marn-" I say, not much volume making its way out as I feel across the wall for a light switch. "Marnin!"

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84 Re: Where Truth Lies on Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:55 pm

My last blow falters, my wrist glancing off of the bag as I use my forearm to steady the bag so it won't swing back and hit me as I cock my head back toward the sound of my name. I fumble for the remote clipped to my belt, a shaking finger finding the button to silence the music as my chest heaves from exertion.

"You're not Richard," I say, nearly panting with my back still to the woman as I try to catch my breath. Sweat is pouring down my temples, drenching my shirt and plastering it to my back, and my heart is pounding - both from the drugs and the exercise - buzzing against my ears. I couldn't focus on Ljuba's heartbeat if I wanted to, but I know it's her. The nervous shuffle of her feet gives it away.

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85 Re: Where Truth Lies on Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:00 pm

"No," I respond, "I'm not... Your door was unlocked, and I rang the bell..." 

My words trail off as I cock my head as though it'll allow me to see him better, my nails tracing anxiously against my thermos as I frown.

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86 Re: Where Truth Lies on Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:26 pm

I continue to stand there at a loss for a moment before inhaling sharply as I turn to nod toward the kitchen. "Sorry, there's a light in the kitchen," I stammer, making my way haphazardly to the switch as tape and rags and empty beer bottles scatter under my feet.

"I, um," I find myself at a loss as I flip the light on and stand there awkwardly to scratch my neck. "I'll be honest, I wasn't really expecting you to show back up after... after last time. You know, with Mel coming in and making a scene, and Richard..? Did he say anything to you? Because you took off so fast, I was kind of worried..."

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87 Re: Where Truth Lies on Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:31 pm

Marnin looks exhausted, the bags under his eyes nothing compared to his distorted complexion. Combined with the state of the room around us, I don't even need Richard's word to let me know his last two weeks haven't been that different from my own. 

"Your ex kinda threw me off." I say lamely, looking down at my tea as I shrug, "And then I was sick, so..."

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88 Re: Where Truth Lies on Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:42 pm

"Oh," I frown quickly as I take a hesitant step toward her, my hand coming up and hovering near her cheek for permission before I feel for a fever. My expression twists to one of exasperation as I fail to feel anything of significance, both because of my own elevated temperature and because of the thick layer of tape around my hands.

 "Are you okay?" I ask as I drop my hand back to my side, my head tilting toward her with concern. "Do you need to sit down or anything?"

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89 Re: Where Truth Lies on Fri Nov 18, 2016 11:54 pm

"I could sit," I nod, looking around at a loss as my gaze drops to the floor. It's littered with empty bottles - a few of which have been broken - and various bits of refuse. Combined with the humid smell of his binge, the basement isn't the most appealing place right now. 

"Could we go upstairs, though?" I ask as innocently as I can, not wanting him to take it the wrong way as I hug against my sweater. "I was kind of hoping you'd kept my shoes somewhere, thought I could look for them."

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90 Re: Where Truth Lies on Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:01 am

"Yeah, yeah," I nod, more than a little aware of the state of the basement and eager to get her upstairs. "I think Hilda put them in the living room or the sunroom," I carry on as I usher her up the stairs and slowly start working the tape off of my bruised and tender knuckles. "I'm going to make some food; you hungry?"

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91 Re: Where Truth Lies on Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:09 am

"No, I have my tea," I say as I shake my thermos slightly, taking a drink as we head back out of the basement. There's something off about being here, and it's a feeling of anxiety I can't quite shake as we hit the foyer and I slow down to let him lead me into the kitchen. It feels wrong, unnatural. Like I've intruded on this vulnerable private moment in his home, and he's invaded my own moment with my being here. 

As we head into the kitchen, he's quick to cut on a light, and for the first time I really see just how worn down and bloodied his knuckles are. 

"Oh, Marn," I frown, setting my thermos on the island as I step towards him to take his hands in mine, "let me clean you up. These look like they hurt."

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92 Re: Where Truth Lies on Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:17 am

My initial reaction is a poor one as I jerk my hands from hers, my jaw clenching as I step back into the counter sharply. It takes me only half a second to force the tension from my shoulders as I lick my lips and flex my fingers guiltily before offering them to her slowly.

"Sorry," I whisper, clearing my throat uncomfortably as I feel my feet shuffling anxiously - a nervous tick brought on by the high still fogging my brain.

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93 Re: Where Truth Lies on Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:35 am

I watch him uncertainly as I squeeze his fingers, walking away towards the sink as I start looking idly for a rag to use. 

"I should have gotten in touch with you sooner," I start as I open drawers in my hunt, "And to be honest, Richard did say something... It was the standard you're not good enough for my brother, you know? And I saw that woman, and I-" 

I manage to find a rag as I head back to the sink to wet it, "I was sick because I ran through all of my moppy and couldn't afford anymore." The confession sits oddly with me even as I say it, my own joints aching as I wring out the water over the sink so I can return to Marnin. "It was by the grace of the Gods that someone took pity on me and got me more of my medicine. I still feel pretty awful, honestly, but I couldn't stomach being alone..."

My fingers work the rag over his hands gently, my hands squeezing it around his so the heat can soak through the blood to seep into his beaten joints. "In all honesty, I'm here for a really selfish reason, and it's that I'm scared to be alone."

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94 Re: Where Truth Lies on Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:44 am

I can feel any tension left in my body ease away at the confession, my lip twitching with an understanding smile. What Richard may or may not have said sinks into my stomach and sits there, a knot to be dealt with another time. For now, I'm just pleased she ignored him.

"I'm glad you were feeling selfish," I admit quietly, my fingers grazing across the side of her palm lightly. "Honestly, friend or lover or whatever... I don't care if you're the worst person on earth. I'm just grateful if I'm not alone."

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95 Re: Where Truth Lies on Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:46 am

"Then what do you say we just keep each other company for awhile?" I ask, letting my fingers squeeze against his hand before I reach for the other to clean.

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96 Re: Where Truth Lies on Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:51 am

I nod quickly, dropping my gaze as I swallow roughly. It bothers me how quickly the emotion rises in my throat, the high I'd been chasing to numb it only seeming to make it worse as I drag raw knuckles across my face in annoyance.

"I should probably shower, though, huh?" I laugh, nodding at my own question. "I smell awful."

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97 Re: Where Truth Lies on Sat Nov 19, 2016 12:53 am

"You won't hear it from me," I shake my head as I continue washing his knuckles, "But yeah... You sort of do."

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98 Re: Where Truth Lies on Sat Nov 19, 2016 1:02 am

"Yeah," I laugh, a resigned sigh escaping me as I pause to listen to her movements. Her breathing sounds a little rough, her heart rate abnormal, and the smell of withdrawals clings to her skin despite being freshly showered.

"I, um," I start slowly, pulling my hand from hers so I can flex my knuckles absently. "I'm sorry you had to see that... downstairs? I don't want you to think that I do that a lot... or that I had some kind of meltdown because you left or anything! I'm not that crazy. I just... I don't know, I have these spells sometimes... I get tired and angry and just frustrated, and I d'know, I turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms and I know that I have a problem, but... I guess in the heat of the moment, I just don't care that it's a problem, you know?"

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99 Re: Where Truth Lies on Sat Nov 19, 2016 1:07 am

"You don't have to explain yourself to me." I say, folding the rag closed once he's pulled from me. I rest against the island as I lay down the rag, reaching over to grab my thermos and take a long swig before holding it out in offering to him. 

"Would you like some?" I ask earnestly, "It's got a bit of moppy, and some stuff for my mind, and anticonvulsants. It might help relax you a bit."

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100 Re: Where Truth Lies on Sat Nov 19, 2016 1:11 am

"Is, um," I can't help but laugh nervously as I take the thermos hesitantly, sniffing at it with interest. "It's entirely possible I'm already flying a kite. This won't make that worse?"

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