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JOSHUA DONOVAN DALE
 Posted: Apr 18 2015, 09:11 PM
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283
POSTS
23-YEARS-OLD
FIRE
SYNDICATE BOSS
MARRIED TO NELL DALE

TAYLOR IS Offline




SPREAD YOUR WINGS AND SAIL OUT TO ME
Even through a medicated haze, Joshua knows enough to be afraid. "You were shot," they tell him, and he remembers the alarm, the gunshot, but not much else. He asks questions where he can and it doesn't sound good—critical condition is something they throw around a lot. It takes time to process the information and he's quiet, subdued, thinking.

"My wife," is one of the first things he says, "where is my wife?"

They tell him she's here, that she's been around, but that's not good enough for him. He's too drugged up to be angry but he summons as much force as he can to demand, "I want to see her," insisting, "I don't care," when they remind him of how much trauma he's been through. They tell him nothing about Nell, about what she's suffered during all this, and he's adamant. "I want to see her," he repeats. "I'm fine."

The nurse arches a brow, tells him, "I'll let her know."

He examines the equipment while he waits, reflects on how weak he feels as he lifts his arm to inspect the numerous IVs. He's hooked up to every machine they have, it seems, and he knows he'll feel it later. For now, there's nothing but a strong desire for Nell's companionship and the fear that lingers in the back of his mind.

Someone tried to kill me and he's intelligent enough to understand that it wasn't a random home invasion, that it wasn't sheer bad luck, that the Syndicate is swarming under its new management. If I don't pull it together soon, it'll fall apart, and then where will we be?

Nell arrives as an immediate distraction from his thoughts and the breath sticks in his throat. There's a twist in his heart when he sees her and he can't find words, wanting nothing more than to get up and throw his arms around her, kiss her, hold her until the world fades around them.

He can do none of this. He can do nothing but take her hand with a loose grip, tell her, "Ti amo," or I love you. "Are you all right, passerotta mia?"

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NELL DOE DALE
 Posted: Apr 18 2015, 10:36 PM
Quote



290
POSTS
21-YEARS-OLD
EARTH STUDENT
POKER DEALER/WRITER
MARRIED TO JOSH DALE

STARK IS Offline




But always come back home,
I never got to see you once more.
She's in the lobby when a nurse comes to get her, and she's expecting bad news despite the smile on the woman's face, because she's been waiting for this moment ever since she heard the words twenty-percent chance.

But the woman's telling her that he's stabilized, still in shaky condition, that he'd been asking for her.

"You can come see him now."

Air leaves her lungs in a whoosh, and she's winded, she feels like she's been running a marathon. She's so tired, she realizes as she heads to the room, she's lightheaded and she's not sure if this is real.

She'd slipped into a dream, when she'd fallen asleep on the couch in the lobby for an hour, where she and Josh had been cooking dinner. She'd told him about her day, a project she had for class, and he talked about the book he'd been reading, something about medicine. He laughed when she called him a nerd, and that's when she'd woken up to the hospital.

The chance of this being just another dream makes her tentative, nervous, when she walks through the door. He's hooked up to IVs and tubes, but he's awake. That's what shocks her the most. She'd thought he'd never awake again, but he's looking at her, his eyes are as grey as they've ever been, she's so happy to see them.

It takes a moment for her to move, to stop staring with a shy kind of wonder. She holds her breath in her chest as she walks over to him, only lets it go when he's finally holding her hand. He says I love you, asks if she's alright, and hearing his voice stuns her because she'd never thought she'd get to hear new words from him. She'd thought about that a lot, how she'd never hear him talk about new things, how they'd never have new experiences, new smiles, new anything.

She’s crying, now, she doesn’t really notice until she tries to speak, until the words scratch at her throat and turn into sobs. Her shoulders shake, and she knows she’s really loud, she tries to stop when she nuzzles her face against his hand, but that only makes her cry harder.

It takes minutes before she can speak, and it's through a sob that she says, ”They told me you were dead.”

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JOSHUA DONOVAN DALE
 Posted: Apr 18 2015, 11:09 PM
Quote



283
POSTS
23-YEARS-OLD
FIRE
SYNDICATE BOSS
MARRIED TO NELL DALE

TAYLOR IS Offline




SPREAD YOUR WINGS AND SAIL OUT TO ME
They're everything to each other, they can't survive apart, and Joshua can't stand the sight of his wife in so much pain, tears flowing freely down her cheeks, words turning to sobs in her throat. He bites the inside of his lip, furrows his brow, wishes he knew what to say.

He settles on, "It's all right," and he repeats it just as he'd repeat it during a flashback or panic attack, "It's okay, cara, I'm fine, it's all right." And his voice is weak, his words are slow, but the medication can't suppress the affection, the concern, the love that saturates them. "Shh, it's okay. You don't have to talk." It's enough that she's here with him, by his side as she's always been, and he squeezes her hand with all his strength.

He wishes he could pull her into his lap, kiss her hair, wipe away her tears like he always does, but he's armed with nothing but words and a tentative grip on her fingers.

Anger clouds his eyes when she finally speaks. "What?"

And he doesn't care how close he'd come to death, doesn't care that they'd simply been trying to prepare her for the worst, he's furious that they'd put her through something like that. He wants to get up from the bed, wants to find the doctors, wants to strangle someone, but he can do little more than sit up a little straighter, gaze indignant.

He's quick to calm down—it's sapping his energy and besides, Nell doesn't need his fury. It's comfort she needs and he kisses her knuckles, gentle, then tells her, "I would never leave you, little sparrow."

Logic tells him you wouldn't have a choice but for once in his life, logic is the last thing that matters.


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NELL DOE DALE
 Posted: Apr 18 2015, 11:49 PM
Quote



290
POSTS
21-YEARS-OLD
EARTH STUDENT
POKER DEALER/WRITER
MARRIED TO JOSH DALE

STARK IS Offline




But always come back home,
I never got to see you once more.
He's reassuring her so calmly, his voice slow, and she tucks the words into her heart, she knows she'll remember this for the rest of her life as the first words she heard after she thought he'd already said his last.

But she feels bad, because he's the one in the hospital with a chest wound, he's the one with all those tubes in his body. He's being so patient, so warm, even when he's suffering. The love in his voice, the affection, hits her hard in the stomach. She thinks of how close she'd come to never hearing this again, to never hearing him call her cara, and she tries to stop crying but it's too much at once.

What if this is a dream, what if this isn't real, what if she's only imagining this because she knows, she's always known, that she can't live without him. She keeps thinking this over and over, so when he squeezes her hand, even though his grip is weak, even though words are all he has, she feels more grounded. She wants to crawl into bed with him, curl up against him and fall asleep. Maybe she could pretend they're at home, and all this never happened.

She lifts her head after telling him what the doctors, the social workers, everyone in the hospital had said to her. He's mad, she can see it in his eyes, and she wishes she hadn't said it because he should be worried about himself, and his injury. She looks down at their hands, sees the blood from when she'd been holding a towel against his chest, so she closes her eyes.

He's kissing her hand, and she blinks against the tears, hiccuping a little as he calls her little sparrow. Through the wrench in her gut, the pain of it, warmth leaks in.

"I love you so much, cari, I'm so happy you're alive." And he'd never leave, but she had, hadn't she? She left him, just for a little while, and the guilt brings more tears with it. "I'm so sorry." Her voice is shaky, it's still so difficult to speak, her throat burning and raw. She reaches a hand out to touch his cheek, smoothing over his skin, reverent—she thought she'd never touch him again. "I'm sorry I left, I'm sorry it took me so long to get to you, I'm so sorry..."

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JOSHUA DONOVAN DALE
 Posted: Apr 19 2015, 11:19 AM
Quote



283
POSTS
23-YEARS-OLD
FIRE
SYNDICATE BOSS
MARRIED TO NELL DALE

TAYLOR IS Offline




SPREAD YOUR WINGS AND SAIL OUT TO ME
It's such a powerless feeling, watching her cry and knowing he can't do anything more to help. It's reminiscent of their early days when her panic attacks had reared their ugly head for the first time and he'd kept his distance, kept his silence, left her alone to deal with her demons when he was feeling overwhelmed and confused. His distance hadn't helped then and it wasn't going to help now, for she needed touch and words and comfort and he has nothing but the words, nothing but his thumb exploring the ridge of hers.

He doesn't share with her his feelings of helplessness, for she's in enough pain and it's never been in his interest to hurt her, not even in those days so long ago. "It's all right," he says instead, "you're all right, we'll get through this. We can get through anything, remember, cara?"

His smile is equal parts pained and fond at her words. "I'm happy, too," and it's uncomfortable to laugh so he manages little more than a chuckle but the sentiment is there and he tells her, "I love you too, Nell, so much. I'm glad you're here." Until they'd met, he'd suffered through everything alone but she'd been a blessing, a light shone through the darkness, and he reminds himself how lucky he is to have her.

So his brow furrows when she apologises, and he frowns. "For what?"

It's another callback to earlier times, the guilt and the feelings of responsibility, but he's more understanding now. No longer does he get frustrated and confused, no longer does he react with exasperation—he shakes his head, assures her, "You've got nothing to be sorry for. I'm glad you weren't home." He pauses to let that sink in, says, "They could have hurt you, too, and then what?" There could have been two funerals, not one, and now there's none at all. "But you're okay, and I'll get there. I'm in good hands."

Then something sinks in, and he swallows. "Hold on—get to me?"

He remembers the phone call, then, the last thing before he'd blacked out, the ringtone used only for his wife. There's a dawning horror as he realises it would have been Nell to find him, for he hadn't called the hospital, hadn't gotten the chance. And she'd saved his life for the second time, the parallels were endless, but this time it had been her husband and not a stranger that they'd taken away in the ambulance, her husband they'd told her wouldn't make it.

And the anger is weighed down by the despair and he whispers, "Oh, god," because she doesn't deserve to have gone through that, no one does, and he assures her once more, "but I'm okay now," and he hopes it's what she needs to hear, because what else can he say? "Nell, if you hadn't got there..." He trails off, for it's a path too dark to journey down. Nell already has, she's had to face the reality of his death, and he doesn't want to bring her back there, so he's quick to amend, "but you did, babe, you did, and it's all right, I'm all right, okay?"

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NELL DOE DALE
 Posted: Apr 21 2015, 02:12 AM
Quote



290
POSTS
21-YEARS-OLD
EARTH STUDENT
POKER DEALER/WRITER
MARRIED TO JOSH DALE

STARK IS Offline




But always come back home,
I never got to see you once more.
She’s sunk in her despair. It’s not supposed to be like this; she hates that it is. Every time she tries to catch her breath, it sticks hard, and she ducks her head down when he reassures her. We'll get through this. She’d told him the same once, but that'd been before they took him away, before she'd known what had been at stake. She'd thought she couldn't make it through that; she knows now she could make it through anything as long as he's out there.

It wouldn’t have been so simple had her last memory been him in pain, if his goodbye earlier that day had been the last words he said to her, so she doesn't think about it, she won't think about it until she goes home without him to feed their pets, to tell Annabel the news, to try and sleep in a cold bed.

He's here now, she wants that to be enough reassurance, but she’s still wiping at her face with her shirt collar. A smile comes weak when he says he loves her, fades when he tells her she has nothing to be sorry for. He’s glad she hadn't been home, so she doesn't let him know that when she had thought him dead, when she'd been filling out paperwork for him, she'd realized having been killed with him wouldn’t have made much of a difference to her.

"I know…I know you will, you're so strong," she says when he tells her he’ll get there, just like she had when he'd been in jail. She'd waited for him back then. She always waits for him. She should have waited for him when the social worker asked her about the funeral, his will, and her thoughts wind circuitously back to that. She's crying again when she hears him speak.

Get to me, he's saying, and she nods even though she doesn't have to. He knows what she'd seen, and what she can't unsee. Maybe that's why she watches him differently now, with a shade of fear, like he's only seconds from slipping from her grasp, and this time, she’ll lose him for real.

Josh reassures her that he's okay, but when she looks at him, she can't paper this image over the one of him bleeding out in her arms. The IV in the crook of his elbow only makes it worse, she traces the vein up with the tip of her finger, freezes when she reaches it, her breath hitching.

"You're alright," she repeats, sounding it on her tongue. Her hand tightens, reflexively, when she says, "But do you know…are you…” She drops her face into her hand, a shudder wracking her body.

When she raises her gaze back to his face, she thinks he’ll be able to tell how disoriented she is by the look on her face, it's the same look she has when she wakes from a bad sleep and she doesn't know where she is, or if she's safe.

”Are you gonna get better all the way? Is there anything…bad?” because she wants to get back to him, to focus on his recovery. Apparently he'll get there; she doesn't know where there actually is. She’s terrified of the answer, and stringing sentences together is proving difficult. She’s stopped sobbing, but her body shakes, she’s still staring at him with that disarmed expression that she wishes she could wipe away as easily as the tears.

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JOSHUA DONOVAN DALE
 Posted: Apr 21 2015, 11:06 AM
Quote



283
POSTS
23-YEARS-OLD
FIRE
SYNDICATE BOSS
MARRIED TO NELL DALE

TAYLOR IS Offline




SPREAD YOUR WINGS AND SAIL OUT TO ME
Times like these, he wishes he couldn't read her so well. He can sense the despair in every line of her face, in every tensed muscle, in every word she forces past her lips as she shudders and trembles, sobbing. He can't feel his own pain but he can feel hers, a wrench in his heart and a twist in his gut, and he wants nothing more than to close his eyes and fade back to that morning when they'd ate breakfast together and he'd laughed at some joke she'd made and they'd had no idea of the tragedy that was to come. He wants nothing more than for things to be normal again.

"I am," he agrees, and she makes him stronger, has always been there to support him. "I'm strong, babe, I can fight this. I'm already getting better."

And he doesn't know all the details but he knows enough to know how frightening it must have been—critical condition, blood transfusions, multiple surgeries, a twenty percent chance of survival. He understands numbers and statistics, knows how grim his outlook had been, and he wishes he could erase those memories from her mind with a touch of his hand as his fingers ghost across her cheek.

He winces when she pauses in the tracing of his vein but it's out of empathy and not pain, hating the way he can hear her breath catch in her throat, see her muscles tense. "I'm all right," he reaffirms, twitches his lip into a faint smile, tells her, "I can't feel a thing. High as a kite."

The pain will come later but he can deal with anything, he tells himself, as long as it means going home to his wife and holding her in his arms, keeping her close. They both know what it's like to be alone and he can't imagine returning to those days, adrift and abandoned.

She's adrift now, when she looks at him, and despair seeps through the cracks. Oh, Nell. It's so hard to watch her fall apart in front of him but he's strong, just as she told him, and he knows she needs him to be. He needs to be strong for her, now more than ever, and he brushes aside his own concerns. They can be dealt with later—this cannot.

He never lies to her but he does say this, "It's not permanent."

It's not enough to be reassuring and he thinks of the questions he'd hounded the doctors with in the minutes they'd tolerated it and pieces together his knowledge of the future. "It's nothing time and a little physical therapy can't fix, okay? And it'll take time, passerotta, it will, but the worst part is over." In the back of his mind he knows he's lucky to be alive but he doesn't focus on that. He focuses on Nell, instead, thinks that it's less luck and more a will to come back to her. "I'm alive."

He doesn't believe in miracles but this time, he's not complaining.


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NELL DOE DALE
 Posted: Apr 22 2015, 12:25 AM
Quote



290
POSTS
21-YEARS-OLD
EARTH STUDENT
POKER DEALER/WRITER
MARRIED TO JOSH DALE

STARK IS Offline




But always come back home,
I never got to see you once more.
He speaks of his strength, and she’s trying to reaffirm the reality of it. His voice sounds the way it always has, even when weighed down by medication, and his skin feels the same against hers. These are details she wouldn’t get right in dreams, but that doesn’t matter because when she’s asleep, it feels real anyway.

She recognizes what’s off this time, the details remembered wrong. The doctor had said twenty percent chance, and there’s an order to these kinds of things. Her father had told her so, and he’d left on an empty, inconsequential day of a week. He’d left at eleven on a Saturday night. And her sister had died on Friday at nine PM, she remembers watching the clock in the waiting room. Her mother had died on a Tuesday. She doesn’t remember the time, and she doesn’t remember what had happened the rest of the day, but she remembers that.

Josh had died on a Tuesday. She’d accepted it at four AM.

There’s an order to these things; it always happens when you least expect it with the worst outcome. So she can’t be sure, when he speaks of not feeling anything, whether he’s actually saying it, or whether she’s making it all up. She’d needed to hear his voice so bad, it only makes sense that she’d hear it in her dreams. Josh can’t feel a thing, and she supposes that should comfort her, but she can only think of why he’s not in pain. Her smile is barely there, and so are her words when she says, ”Good, that’s—good.”

It’s not, and maybe he can tell it’s not, because she’s distant enough that the tears begin to ebb. If she can pull away, just enough, she can be the person she wants to be for him. She wants to be the strong one, she wants to be the protector, because she hadn’t protected him when she should have.

But he’s the one protecting her, he’s saying it’s not permanent and it’ll take time. She should be comforted by this, too, she knows this. He’s alive, he’ll heal—he wouldn’t say it if it isn’t true. It doesn’t stop the sob from bubbling up in her chest, and she’s crying hard again. She drops her head into her hands and thinks that if she cries hard enough, she’ll wake up from this. She’ll wake up in the lounge, and when she looks at the clock, it will be four AM.

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JOSHUA DONOVAN DALE
 Posted: Apr 22 2015, 02:02 AM
Quote



283
POSTS
23-YEARS-OLD
FIRE
SYNDICATE BOSS
MARRIED TO NELL DALE

TAYLOR IS Offline




SPREAD YOUR WINGS AND SAIL OUT TO ME
He's always been good with numbers and measurements but there's no way to measure the distance between them and he's losing her, feeling her slip away from him even as her hand remains entwined with his. He feels his throat constrict and bites the inside of his lip, wishing he knew what to say, wishing he knew what to do.

No, he thinks, that's wrong. He knows exactly what to do—it's the fact he can't do it that's got him feeling this way.

She's crying again, harder than ever, and he rubs reassuring circles into the back of her hand, soothes low in his throat, "Shh, cara, it's going to be all right." It's not all right, not for either of them, but he'll be damned if it doesn't get there. He wants to get up from the bed and walk right out the doors, prove his recovery to her, but he's familiar with his limits.

Foreign as the distance feels with them so far apart, it's familiar, too. He understands her, has understood her for a while now, and he knows she needs something more. He's not familiar with how to handle this, the lack of physical affection, for it's been a staple of their relationship since midnight cuddles and four AM talks, in the old days and the new, good times and bad. It's always been a thing, their thing, and even Josh feels lost without it. He swallows hard and takes a steadying breath.

"Nell," he murmurs, soft, "it's all right. Listen to me, okay? Just listen, you don't need to talk." Words are all he has and he uses them to the best of his abilities, weaving a description of the room much as he'd often described his office, their bedroom, the kitchen where they'd spent so many innocent mornings. The space is small but he's always had an eye for detail, talks for minutes, tells her everything there is to know. "And you're with me," he tells her, "we're together, we're safe."

He takes her hand in both of his own, meets her eyes and tries not to focus on the shine of tears. "I'm safe, because of you."


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NELL DOE DALE
 Posted: Apr 22 2015, 03:21 AM
Quote



290
POSTS
21-YEARS-OLD
EARTH STUDENT
POKER DEALER/WRITER
MARRIED TO JOSH DALE

STARK IS Offline




But always come back home,
I never got to see you once more.
Her time with him will be over soon. She’ll wake up, because she must have fallen asleep again, curled up on the sofa—she wonders how she’d ever gotten to sleep without him. There’s a lot she wants to tell him, and a lot she can’t, but she has to say something before her time runs out. The sand is already sucking at her feet as the tide recedes, it’s pulling her back out to sea, she wants to tell him that she can’t stay here, she wants to tell him she’ll leave. She’ll leave and when she wakes up, she will be jettisoned, just like she’d been back then.

(she’d told him about it late one night when she couldn’t keep it to herself anymore, because she’s the only one left who had known her sister, and she’d wanted him to know, too, she’d wanted him to know everything about her, so she’d told him, and he’d held her, just like he always does, he’d let her know that it’s alright, it’s alright…)

It’s alright, he’s saying now, listen to me. She listens, as well as she can when all she hears is the rush of waves. He’s talking about the room, and she lifts her head up, chest heaving as she gulps in breaths. Tears distort her vision, monitors and cabinets reduced to blurred shapes, but she still looks around as he describes it to her. There’s the window, overlooking the parking lot—she sees it. She sees the other chair in his room, and the television bolted to the wall, her breaths coming slower, easier.

She looks at him, and she sees the sky. She sees her north star.

And you’re with me, he tells her—she hopes she can stay. It’s a few more minutes before she speaks, and her expression is pained.

”I didn’t know what to do, Josh,” she whispers. Her hand is tear-slicked, but he still holds it in his. ”I…I was too late. They told me it was too late, they were asking me about your funeral…” Her voice catches on the words, and she squeezes her eyes shut again. ”I’m just scared that this is a dream, cari. And I don’t wanna wake up without you.”

Her voice gets tight, a little too high. She’s crying, but not those shuddering sobs, because she’s here, just like he’d said, and she wants to remain. I’m afraid this is all a dream, and he’s always honest. She knows, even if she’s invented him in her mind, that she would get this detail right.

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JOSHUA DONOVAN DALE
 Posted: Apr 22 2015, 01:07 PM
Quote



283
POSTS
23-YEARS-OLD
FIRE
SYNDICATE BOSS
MARRIED TO NELL DALE

TAYLOR IS Offline




SPREAD YOUR WINGS AND SAIL OUT TO ME
Nell looks at him and he knows that she sees him, knows that he's getting somewhere, and his relief manifests as the ghost of a smile on his lips. The pain in her expression tempers his own and it fades fast but he tightens his grip on her hand, doesn't care that it's slick with tears.

He listens as he always does, quiet and patient, allowing Nell to take her time and struggle through the words she needs him to hear. His brow furrows at the word funeral and he feels it like a knife to the heart, twisting when she closes her eyes. He feels it as a distant heat, a spark of the anger that can't manifest, but his gray eyes are dark as he closes them, too, takes a bracing breath and decides, "I'm going to have a word with them about that." It's as forceful as he can manage, tight and terse, and he loathes the ones who'd led her astray. "I don't care how bad it was; I'm not dead, they shouldn't have you planning my funeral—"

He stops himself short, breathes, opens his eyes. The intensity is exhausting him and he pulls it together, tells Nell, "I'll take care of it."

There are a lot of things he's got to take care of, he thinks, and the sooner he's discharged from the hospital, the better. He doesn't imagine they'll want to keep him any longer than necessary—his doctors are at the end of their patience and they're always desperate to free up beds.

I don't want to wake up without you is tiny and meek, the fear is genuine, and he takes his time in forming a response. He wants it to feel right, wants her to know that she's not dreaming, wants her to believe.

"All of this is real," he tells her, "I promise. I've never lied to you, not once." In their early days there had been lies of omission, perhaps, hiding the Syndicate like a secret swept under the rug, but for a long time there's been nothing but honesty, no matter how dark the outlook. "I promise," he repeats, slow and emphatic, "Nell, I promise that it's real. You'll go to sleep, babe, and you'll wake up and I'll be right here, I'll be fine."

He'd never make her a promise he knows he can't keep.

His laugh is weak, quiet, and he says, "You need sleep, you look exhausted. When's the last time you slept? Or ate, for that matter?" He knows how difficult it is for Nell to look after herself in times like these and he's worried, it shows in the shape of his brow and the draw of his lips. "I'm all right—now you need to worry about yourself."

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NELL DOE DALE
 Posted: May 7 2015, 08:51 PM
Quote



290
POSTS
21-YEARS-OLD
EARTH STUDENT
POKER DEALER/WRITER
MARRIED TO JOSH DALE

STARK IS Offline




But always come back home,
I never got to see you once more.
Nell wipes her hand under her nose, expression pinched. She tries not to close her eyes. It’s almost enough, as he sets her world into place, clicks it back the way he would a puzzle. Her gaze picks out every little thing in the room—the speckled pattern on the floor, the flowers on an adjacent table—and she wonders how she will remember him if she wakes up. She would like to remember him on their wedding day, she wants to remember him smiling. She will remember him behind bars, too, and she’ll remember his blood all over her. That’s the awful part: she will remember everything.

It’s almost enough when he asks if shes eaten, if she’s slept at all—or maybe it is enough, and she doesn’t realize it yet. She feels like a bombed-out city. She feels like a disaster. Everything is still raw and sore and she wants to go home with him. She just wants to go home.

So she tells him, ”I couldn’t leave—I was waiting for you.”

She needs to sleep, but that can wait, too. The ache in her neck will last for days. So will the one in the space next to her where he’s supposed to be.

Her glance back to Josh is uncertain. He looks so worried. She must look worried, too, because she’s thinking of the if, the fear that this is a figment of her imagination that she will wake up from, maybe she’ll wake up in the hospital, or maybe she’ll wake up in their bed. She thinks it would be best for her to never wake up at all.

”Just in case this isn’t real...” Her voice is quiet again and she feels like she’s bracing herself as she squares her shoulders. "Just in case…I love you more than anything in the world. And I’m really glad I got to spend four years of my life with you. I wish I'd met you sooner, though, because we could have had more time. I always thought we’d have all the time in the world. I thought I’d get to know you longer.” She takes a shaky breath. ”I guess I was hoping it would stay perfect forever, but…nothing stays forever, you know.”

Maybe it’s better when you don’t have the choice to say goodbye. When you have the chance, you never remember the things you’ve always wanted to say. And later, minutes after, or even years, it all comes back to you, and she’s already regretting that she can’t get the words out.

”Uhm, I’m…I’m sorry for all the times I messed up. And thanks for staying with me despite all, and I—thank you for everything, for sticking around and helping me and making me feel like I was worth helping, and not like something…awful, and thank you for letting me in your life.” She’s talking fast, she wants this all out, she wants to keep holding his hand, she wants so many things she starts to shake. ”I love you. I love you, I love you, I love you.”

There’s more she has to say. She can’t remember, but she knows there has to be more. A thousand little, subtle things that she can’t find words for. The realization steadies her. He understands. Everything she’s trying to say, he already understands, and she licks her lips before speaking again.

"I’ll miss you.”

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JOSHUA DONOVAN DALE
 Posted: May 7 2015, 09:29 PM
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283
POSTS
23-YEARS-OLD
FIRE
SYNDICATE BOSS
MARRIED TO NELL DALE

TAYLOR IS Offline




SPREAD YOUR WINGS AND SAIL OUT TO ME
His expression is pained as he listens to her, biting the inside of his lip and maintaining a careful silence. I was waiting for you, she tells him, and it hurts, because he's here and he's present but he knows it's not enough.

He wants to interrupt her, doesn't want to hear the words that sound so much like goodbye, but she needs this and he understands and he listens as best as he can, closes his eyes and feels the dull ache in his chest. It's not from the wound that's left him hospitalized but from a different sort of injury, the sort that can't be seen nor treated but only felt, slowly expanding and draining him of all the energy he's got left.

His eyes open when he feels her start to tremble and there's a tightness in his throat that imprisons the words he wants her to hear.

"I love you, too," he murmurs after a time, and he's tired but gentle. "It's real, cara. We do have time, all of it, and I love you. More than anything."

He parrots her earlier words, stresses them, wishes he could erase the effects of the past twenty-four hours and begin anew. He wishes he'd never went downstairs, wishes he'd called the police, wishes he'd called an ambulance so she hadn't been the one to find him, wishes he was all right, wishes a lot of things—wishes that are useless now.

"You can stay as long as you want." He wants her to go home and get some sleep, finds himself studying the bags under her eyes and the shine of tears, but he knows that she's in no state to be left alone. "You won't wake up. It's not a dream and I'm not going anywhere, I promise."

And though it's strained, he smiles, jests, "Not that I have a choice."


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NELL DOE DALE
 Posted: May 7 2015, 10:20 PM
Quote



290
POSTS
21-YEARS-OLD
EARTH STUDENT
POKER DEALER/WRITER
MARRIED TO JOSH DALE

STARK IS Offline




But always come back home,
I never got to see you once more.
Time had always been a terrifying concept, how it measured out her life in demanding increments. It never let her stop. Until now, when she looks at him and she realizes that instead of her future, somewhere along the line, she started thinking of it as their future. Their family's future.

It startles her as he says I love you, because he has for four years.

She doesn't remember when time stopped being the enemy, and when it started being what she looked forward to. Trying to stay as long as she could in the library with him, drawing out their dates, spending nights with him because she didn't want to go to sleep. All her minutes and hours filled up with him and she thinks, if she wakes up, that time should stand still. She can't remember how it passes without him.

But she's not waking up. He's looking at her, he's talking to her, and she's not waking up. She's closer to where she needs to be, and she hopes when she grips her hand tighter around his, that he can tell. Her smile is less watery when he makes a joke.

She's not okay. But she will be.

"I'll stay," she says, "for a little longer."

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