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Backslide and New Associates

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151Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 4:31

"Lady Petrovic," I smile, bowing deeply before muttering a familiar incantation under my breath, my body fading from view before slipping away entirely as I picture where it is I need to go. Ljuba's apartment is only the first stop of the night, my responsibilities stacking up quickly as Richard's outburst only adds to the work I had to do.

It's going to be a long night.

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152Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 4:35

***

With my shower behind me, and dressed in warm clothes - Marnin's clothes - I make my way back towards the master bedroom to relieve Luisa. She's eager to take her leave, stopping to check on the soup left downstairs at my request before exiting for the evening. Marnin is still sound asleep in his bed, a tenseness about him despite his slumber as I crawl onto the bed beside him. 

It pains me to see him like this, a sallowness in his cheeks and tired rings under his eyes despite his slumber. Crawling under the blankets, I tuck in at his side as my fingers wrap around his, squeezing his arm fondly as I settle in. I'm going to be here when he wakes up, no matter how long it takes.

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153Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 4:51

*Marnin*

I'm slow to wake, my awareness of the room remaining fuzzy and heavy around me. Instead, I find myself latching onto the warmth at my side. A soft hand is tangled in mine, gentle fingers tracing the scars on my ribcage from beneath the sheets.

My mouth feels dry and thick as I try to swallow, my whole body rebelling against me with an inexplicable weight as I try to turn my face toward the body beside me.

"Who-?" I manage to work the word past my lips, still too dazed to work out who it is.

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154Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 16:48

I know I'd fallen asleep at some point, but how long is a question left unanswered as Marnin's stirring rouses me back to consciousness. Squeezing his hand as I stretch along his side, I stifle a yawn before picking my head up to look at him.

"Marn?" I ask softly, shifting to look at him more comfortably, "Marn, are you okay..?"

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155Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 16:54

"Lju?" I groan in confusion as I try unsuccessfully to move away from her. "Noo," I mumble groggily as I tilt my head away from her. "You weren't s'posed to see me like this."

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156Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 16:56

"Shut up," I frown, squeezing his hand again before shoving the blankets off to sit up a bit more at his side. "How're you feeling..? Do you need anything? Are you thirsty, or hungry..?"

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157Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 17:01

I make a grunting noise in response, still struggling to orient myself as I smack my lips tiredly. "My mouth is really dry," I admit dully.

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158Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 17:03

"I'll get you some water," I say, patting his arm before crawling off of the bed to head towards the bathroom. One glance outside, and it's dark - but just so - and I absently wonder if I should be contacting anyone that he's awake. But the thought of anyone employed by Richard coming in to check on him is one I know will go awry. 

Instead, into the bathroom I go, filling a glass with water and returning to his bedside as I take the seat the nurse had pulled up. 

"You gave everyone a bit of a scare," I say, helping his hand find the glass and offering support as I sink into the chair. "What happened?"

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159Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 17:18

"I don't remember," I respond, my words coming out as a slur as I try to focus on taking a drink of the water. "Richard came over," I decide after dragging a hand across my numb lips.

"He was trying to help," I shake my head, laughing harshly. "I don't remember... he was talking about hiring someone to work at the shop for me, and someone to sit with mum so I could spend time with you instead. I don't know, it was all a blur after that."

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160Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 17:29

I frown sharply as I watch him, my hands never far from his glass as I rest against the edge of the bed. 

"I figured it was something to do with him..." I say softly, watching Marnin closely as I continue, "He's the one who reached out to me... Said something had happened and you weren't waking up. I came as soon as I could.

"Someone he knows is actually coming back in a bit," I say a bit more simply, sitting back as I look towards the sitting room curiously. "Or... did. I'm not sure, but- Marn, I'm going to stay with you for a few days, okay? I know you don't want to hear it, but someone needs to be here with you, and you won't have him."

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161Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 17:35

"You can stay," I frown as I work myself into an upright position before scowling sharply. "As long as it's not him. And as long as you're not here because he told you to..."

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162Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 17:48

"He did ask me to come," I admit softly, "But that's not why I'm here. Marnin, you're a good man, and you deserve better than this. You have to take better care of yourself."

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163Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 18:05

"Why?" I ask gruffly, my hands rubbing at my face roughly as I try to focus through the buzzing and the numbness. "I'm a puppet, a chess piece... comic relief. How can I be a good man when everything I stand for gets swallowed up every time Richard smiles in my direction?

"I despise everything he represents, Ljuba," I admit with a tired laugh that threatens to turn into tears. "And here I am, sitting with a pretty girl who might be able to relate in some way, and he's already trying to get his hooks in you - even if it was just to send you my way. Just because I like you, he has to touch you. This is what he does. You're a nice girl, and he'll find a way to get inside and find all your demons and he'll compromise every ounce of good you're capable of just because it's fucking fun and he knows how much it wounds me. And I could cut you loose right now; I could save you from him.

"But I won't," I admit flatly. "I won't because I don't want you to go, and I'm a selfish man, Lju."

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164Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 19:36

"You're not giving me nearly enough credit," I frown, sitting back in my seat as I watch him sadly. "You brother is just a man, Marnin. At the end of the day, that's what it comes down to. He's no more the boogeyman than you or me. 

"Don't you worry about me, Marn. I'm a big girl, and I'm not going anywhere regardless of what your brother does - he's not my keeper. I'm here because I want to be." I say firmly, watching Marnin closely. "I'm here because I like you, too.

"Or, I did. I liked the man I met in his shop, who got excited at the prospect of building tech to help me. Who showed up at my place to try it out and bungled my name. I like the man who cooks with me and tells jokes and- But this..?" I sigh unsteadily, sitting up slightly to reach out so my hand can rest against his arm, "Marnin, you're killing yourself. And if that's your goal, then fine. So be it. But I'm not going to sit here and watch a stranger die, not when just a few weeks ago I was so eager to get to know him."

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165Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 19:47

"I don't want to die," I force out, my expression pinching with grief and confusion as I rub my palm across my forehead roughly. "I don't think..? I don't know what I want, Lju... I liked how I felt before... but I dunno how to hold onto that. I don't want to have to expect you to be there when I need something to make me feel. I don't want to be your problem."

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166Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 19:53

"You're not someone's problem, Marnin." I say, half-scoldingly as I squeeze his arm before leaning forward to take the glass from his other hand so I can set it aside and hold his hands in mine. 

"I'm going to stay here for a few days, at least, if only to keep you company. Not because you're my problem, but because you're my friend and I want to see you get better."

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167Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 19:58

I nod weakly, trying to swallow the emotional response her words have warranted as I brush a hand across my eyes.

"I really ruined our date plans, didn't I?" I ask with a laugh, my hand trembling suddenly as I fumble for hers, squeezing it tightly. "I'm sorry."

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168Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 20:03

"You did," I laugh softly, squeezing his hand as I run my fingers through his, "But you're going to make it up to me, so don't worry."

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169Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 20:19

"What can I do to make it up?" I ask as I tug her hands gently, silently asking for her to join me on the bed.

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170Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 20:44

I smile softly as I rise from my seat to slip into the bed beside him, taking what little space was left between him and the edge as I settle in over the blankets. 

"You're going to cook me a full course dinner," I say matter-of-factly, "And dessert is going to be espresso chocolate mousse, but the fancy sort with chocolate shavings on top to let you know it's the real deal." I add with a grin, waiting for him to settle back into the bed so I can rest my head against his shoulder. 

"And cheese cake. Separate but at the same time, so I can eat them together." I nod, stifling a slight yawn as I ramble.

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171Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 21:26

"That sounds amazing," I grin as I wind an arm around her, still feeling a little unstable as I bury my face in the edge of her hair. I frown a little as the smell of my own shampoo greets me, the aroma mingling with hers. I'm further confused to find the familiar fabric of one of my undershirts hanging loosely from her soft shoulder.

"Are you wearing my clothes?" I ask, perplexed as my other hand ventures to her waist in confusion.

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172Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 21:30

"Ha, yes." I laugh softly, twisting my head to look up at him as I smile, "I wondered when you'd notice.

"I made you a soup when I first got here. You had this nurse sitting with you, and I felt a bit helpless so I had to find something to do." I confess, "So I made you this soup, but when I was bringing a bowl up, I spilled it everywhere. Your foyer might smell like broth for awhile, sorry..."

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173Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 21:37

"Ugh, Lju," I groan scoldingly, my head falling back on the pillow as I smile to myself, my fingers tracing her hipbone probably a little more boldly than I would be if i were sober. "What am I supposed to do with you?"

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174Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 23:15

"I don't know, but I know what I want to do with you," I remark, shifting slightly so I can rest my chin on my arm, looking up at him. 

"You need a bath, you sort of stink." I confess, "Like sweat and bad decisions. C'mon, I'll go run it for you... And I think that soup is still down stairs..." I frown, patting his chest as I move to sit up. "I should probably go cut that off, too."

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175Backslide and New Associates - Page 7 Empty Re: Backslide and New Associates on Fri 2 Dec 2016 - 23:19

"A hot bath and soup?" I sigh, nodding vaguely as I let her help me up, my feet not entirely cooperative with the plan.

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