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Old 03-28-2008, 05:57 AM   #1
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Earth, Sky, Fire and Rain - Chapter 21 (28/3/08)

Thanks again for reading, everyone!

Disclaimer: Not true, all fiction, etc...



end of chapter 20:
--------

I pulled my hands away from Glen's, and rubbed my face again. "I'm tired. I can't do this now. I need sleep, and if we go any further before I get any, we'll probably both regret it. Now, am I sleeping on the couch tonight?"

"Come on, don't be like that."

"I'm too tired to guess at what you're thinking." A touch too sharp.

"I am not going to make you sleep on the couch." Overly patient.

"All right then. I'm going to bed."


Glen followed me up about half an hour later. I pretended to be asleep, but he probably knew I wasn't. I lay awake for a long time, almost wishing I had stayed on the couch. It wasn't until I heard his breathing change, and I knew he was asleep, that I managed to relax enough to fall asleep myself.



-----------
Chapter 21:
-----------

My dreams that night were not pleasant, but they were mercifully mundane. Alone in the dark, calling for Glen, but there was no answer. Not a stone in sight, thank god.

I slept late, and by the time I woke up the next morning, Glen had already left for work. I was relieved, to be honest. I was even more relieved that I hadn't dreamed about Mag again.

It was over, I was away from that place. No more dreams.

I had work to do, but I spent the day shopping for food for dinner (for the next week of dinners, in fact), cleaning the house from top to bottom, and doing all my laundry (and Glen's, too). I'd got flowers for Glen as well, and considered doing the candle-light thing, but decided it would be a bit much. My guilt had driven me to attempt a roast, and it would be a small miracle if I managed to pull that off successfully.

I didn't hear Glen come home, because I'd cranked up the stereo while I was cooking. The volume suddenly dropped, and I turned to see Glen walking in from the lounge room, looking bemused almost in spite of himself.

"What IS that?"

"That," I said, pointing to the oven, "is a rack of lamb. That," pointing towards the stereo, "is Rammstein."

"Well, I'm just glad that wasn't supposed to be English."

"You'd better stop distracting me, if you want this to be supposedly edible," I said, summoning a smile. Glen went upstairs, still bemused.

"You didn't have to do this," he told me, halfway through what even I could allow was a good meal. "The flowers, and the house as well..."

"I did. The house probably needed it, anyway," I said, gently teasing, but only for a moment. "You said trust is fragile. Your trust in me is damaged, and I need to fix that. I'm not sure if this is the way to do it, but it's all I could think of at short notice."

Glen just nodded, accepting that.



-----------------------------
"Hello?"

"Hey Reg, it's me."

"So it is."

"How are you?"

"Been better."

"We were thinking of havin' everyone around here for dinner tomorrow, do you guys want to come?"

"Sorry, we have plans. ... Have you called Adam yet?"

"No, I was going to call him next. Why?"

"I was hoping he'd be free to watch the kids for a couple of days. But I don't want to stop him joining you for dinner, I'll find someone else."

"... Is everything all right? We haven't seen you since you got back, and now you're off again..."

"To somewhere else, and not alone this time, obviously."

"Just you and the missus?"

"Yes."

"So...?"

"So, thank you anyway for the invitation. I'll probably see you in a week, maybe less."

"Okay, sorry. Look, why not let the kids stay here while you're away?"

"Are you sure?"

"Of course."

"That would be great, thank you."

-----------------------------



We nearly had a fight over who was going to wash up, of all the inconsequential things. I wanted to do everything, out of guilt, wanting to make things up to Glen. He insisted we maintain the 'one cooks, the other washes up' rule. There was a tense stand-off, the irresistible force meeting the immovable object. Usually I would have bet money on Glen yielding first, but not this time. There was a very uncharacteristic hardness in his face as he ordered me out of the kitchen.

"Go and listen to Bamsteen or whatever that was," he said.

But I wasn't in the mood for angry German metal any more. I flipped through my CDs, but couldn't find anything to fit my mood. Possibly because I'd never been in a mood like this before. I curled up in an armchair with my laptop and tried to do some work, but my mind was elsewhere. Mostly trying to figure out exactly how I could repair Glen's trust in me. Had I broken it irreparably? Heck, it wasn't even me that broke it... I felt an absolutely irrational surge of anger towards Mag. Whether or not she had ever existed, she had got me into this.

I shook my head. That really was ridiculous. I couldn't go blaming anyone else. It had been me who'd made the choices that led up to that moment, even if I'd had no way of predicting what would happen. Circumstances aside, the responsibility was still mine.

"I hope the wind doesn't change, with your face looking like that," Glen said, and I looked up to see him standing over me with a cup of tea. I accepted it with a self-conscious grimace. Glen took his own tea to the other chair. I put my cup down and tried to remember what I'd been writing in my report.

"Did you sleep well last night?" Glen asked.

"Well enough," I replied guardedly.

"No dreams?" His tone was too casual.

"None of those dreams," I replied. "Just me, alone in the dark somewhere, calling your name. But there was no reply." Glen looked away, sipped his tea.

And I sipped mine. I typed a few lines, scowled, deleted them. Typed some more. Consulted the map, flipped through my notes. Typed another paragraph. I could feel Glen's eyes on me, but I tried to bury myself in the report.

Finally, I couldn't stand it any longer. I looked up at him.

"What?"

He reddened slightly, but not from embarrassment. "I... I can't help thinking," he said. "If you hadn't broken your nail..."

"No," I said firmly.

"How do you know? If it was like you said, and you were truly unaware of what was happening..."

"There's no way."

But he had a point. What if I hadn't broken that nail? When would we have snapped out of it? I'd tried not to think about that.

"Does that mean you were aware, then? You had the choice to stop when you wanted?"

"No! I told you how it happened..."

"If that's true, then there's no way you could know what would have happened. You could have..."

"But we didn't, Glen. We didn't! I never would. There's no point..."

"You would never do that, but you'd kiss him? It can't be both. Either you were completely unaware, and you don't know where it could have ended, or else you were aware, and you kissed him willingly, but stopped short. Which is it?" That hardness was back in his face. I wondered if it had been wise to have wine with the meal.

"Glen..." I had to grit my teeth, but I had to be honest. "You're right. I don't know what would have happened if I hadn't broken the nail. But I have never, ever, been happier to break a nail in my life." There was nothing but heartfelt sincerity in my words, and in my eyes as I looked at him. "I would happily have broken my leg if it would have prevented that happening at all."

I don't know what Glen had been hoping or expecting to hear, or even if he knew that. He looked away again.

"I do want to believe you. Most of me does believe you, but..."

I had to bite back the angry retort that rose to my lips. Glen did not have to believe me. That was the whole problem. I had been nothing but completely honest with him, but the fact that this had happened at all was enough to make him doubt everything. And I couldn't blame him.

"I know," I said miserably. Resigned. "I wish I knew... tell me, how can I fix this?"

"I don't know." Glen sounded just as miserable. "I can't stop thinking about it. I didn't get a damn thing done at work today. Maybe it's one of those things that just takes time..."

"No list of Herculanean tasks?" I shook my head, dispelling the stupid joke. "Sorry. You're probably right. I'm so sorry..."

Glen was lost in thought. "Do you still have Ed's phone number?"

I went still. My first instinct was to tell him there was no point in calling Ed, to put him off somehow, but I knew how that would look. "It's probably in my email somewhere," I said. "Do you want to talk to him?" I was trying to imagine if I would want to talk to a woman I suspected Glen of cheating on me with.

"I don't know," Glen said, which was about the same conclusion I'd come to. "Part of me wants to give him a black eye. Maybe it's best I don't speak to him."

"I'll understand if you want to get his side of things," I said carefully. I could see that Glen and I both knew that, if there had been anything going on between Ed and me, it would have been easy enough for the two of us to agree on our stories beforehand. And that by even bringing that up, I could be seen to be inviting Glen to be told Ed's corroborating story. There was no point in my telling Glen again that there WAS nothing going on. He would either believe me, or not. He would decide he wanted to speak to Ed, or not; and if so, he would either believe him, or not.

"I'll let you know," Glen said at last. "If I get the number from you now, I'll probably just abuse him in a bad moment."

"If you want to do that, I won't object," I said, perfectly serious. It wasn't fair to Ed, I knew, but his feelings were the least of my concerns at that moment. If abusing Ed would make Glen feel better about this whole thing, then so be it.

He looked at me with a strange expression. "You mean that."

"I do."

Glen looked thoughtful again, and I wondered if I hadn't gone too far. Did he now think that I was inviting him to abuse Ed so that it would look as if I didn't care about him? All this second-guessing was making my head hurt. What a tangled web... and I'd never set out to deceive anyone.

Glen didn't say anything more about it that night, but I didn't get much more work done before I went to bed.

-----------------
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Old 03-28-2008, 06:42 AM   #2
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awww i want more!!!!!!!



really good !
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Old 03-28-2008, 09:15 AM   #3
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More more more more more more more more more more more more more more more more more more more more more more more more more!

Uhh...can ya tell I'm unhappy with the length of this chapter?


MORE!
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Old 03-28-2008, 09:44 AM   #4
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do I smell a fight coming up?
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Don't worry baby, it's gonna be all right. Uncertainty can be a guiding light...
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Old 03-28-2008, 01:48 PM   #5
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i like it.
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Old 03-28-2008, 07:52 PM   #6
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I didn't realise this was a short one too

May have some more tomorrow for you
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Old 03-29-2008, 02:12 PM   #7
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Purfect, Ali.

Oh, and whilst I think on it: Rammstein There's nothing quite like Rammstein turned up on full volume...
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