Author Topic: Confrontations  (Read 3745 times)

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Offline The Cedar Witch

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Confrontations
« on: December 09, 2019, 10:31:03 AM »
Quinn ended up spending the night after explaining what happened with his conversation with Jerry.  A secret part of Malakai was not completely convinced that this wasn't the beginning to a long, drawn-out end to their relationship.  Cognatively he had more hope than that, but it wasn't enough to convince the nagging in the back of his mind.  They'd spent the rest of the night mostly on the couch, talking about things that were lighter than what Jerry said, watching movies, and cuddling.  He didn't tell Quinn what he was planning to do, but he assumed the human would know that this conversation would be coming eventually.  First he waited a full twenty-four hours, giving himself enough time to cool down and come up with a plan.  Mostly trying to grapple with the fact that Jerry had opened his mouth again and he'd promised Quinn that he wouldn't hurt him. 

It wasn’t often that Malakai went over to room 509 unannounced, but he doubted such courtesies would matter to Jeremiah.  He wondered if such small considerations were even noticed, or why he’d even gone out of his way to make them to begin with. 

Twice he knocked and listened to the rustling behind the door. 

The door swung open to reveal a shirtless Jeremiah.  “Oh, hey,” he clapped Mal’s shoulder in greeting, “What’s up?”  Clueless as always - vampiric senses seemed to do nothing to give Jerry any kind of emotional intelligence.

“Can I come in?”  Mal asked softly, his expression a serious contrast to Jerry’s typical smile.  A flicker of something in Jerry's eye told Mal that it might've penetrated his facade on some level.  Or maybe he was just giving him too much credit.

Jerry opened the door wider, “Uh, yeah sure,” and moved aside for Mal to pass through.  With a sigh pushed heavily through his nose, Malakai walked through the familiar foyer straight into the living room.  He sat on one of the couches and motioned for Jerry to join him. 

“What’s uh, going on?”  the smile dropped from Jerry’s face as he sat, and Mal took a little bit of satisfaction in watching it. 

“We need to talk,” he stated simply, crossing his arms over his chest. 

Jerry let out a single laugh, “Uh, okay, yeah.” 

Mal sighed, glancing around the room and sucking on his teeth.  This cluelessness, learned helplessness or whatever the hell Jerry had developed, as much as it could be endearing it was mostly irritating. 

“So,” Mal rubbed the palms of his hands together, swamped with an awkwardness that he doubted he’d be able to shake.  He was starting to have second thoughts - would this conversation even be worth having?

“Am I in trouble?”  Jerry snickered, and Mal gave him a hard look.  That was one word for it.

Mal exhaled heavily, “You had a conversation with Quinn recently,”

“Yeah!"  Jerry brightened, "Dude, like, no hard feelings or anything I’m happy for ya’ll-”

“Jerry just-” Mal held up his hand, expression darkening, “That’s not the fucking point I’m trying to get to here.  I don’t need your permission-” 

“Yeah, no, that’s cool, but I-”

“Shut up - just shut up!  For once in your life!”  Mal snapped.  Jerry blinked slowly, opening his mouth to speak but closing it again like a stupid fish.  A moment passed while Mal swallowed the lump of anger welling in his throat.  “He didn’t know, okay.”  A look of confusion passed Jerry’s features and Mal let out an exasperated sigh.  “He didn’t know that I’m… Not… You know, into... sex.”

“H-how was I supposed to know that!”  Jerry retorted with a pout. 

“You’re not - you’re not supposed to assume who knows!”

“Well, did he dump you already like, Christ, what’s the-”

“No, he didn’t dump me,” Mal snapped, trying not to dwell on Jerry jumping to that conclusion.  Already, like he’s expecting it to happen.  “I just don’t need you spreading around my personal business like that.”

“You’re dating him, shouldn’t he know?”  Jerry’s face wrinkled in frustrated confusion.

“Yeah, when I’m ready.”  Mal pressed his fingers to his chest, glaring across the room. 

“So if you were going to tell him, why does it matter now?” 

“Are you-” Mal groaned angrily, “Are you fucking serious?”  Why did he insist on arguing every point?  Malakai stood from the couch and crossed over to the kitchen, placing both palms flat on the counter.  Jerry stood shortly after, tentatively turning to face him.

“Dude,”  Jerry’s voice was weirdly gentle like he was attempting to do damage control without knowing where to start.  “Like no offense, but don’t you think you’re overreacting?”  He closed a bit of distance between them, arms hanging loose at his sides with a pleading expression on his face. 

Mal hung his head, shaking it slowly from side to side.  He wanted to punch that stupid face so badly but he’d promised Quinn he wouldn’t.  “You really are something else, Jeremiah, you know that?”  He seethed, lifting his gaze to meet Jerry’s eye. 

“Can you just like, calm down for two seconds?”  Jerry exclaimed, holding his hands out in a stopping motion.  “I seriously don’t think you’re being fair-”

Fair?”  Malakai scoffed incredulously. 

“Yeah, like, I didn’t mean anything by it, so, like, maybe lay off?”  Jerry’s mouth was a squiggle, brows furrowed.

It was Mal’s turn to gape, a cold fury passing over him.  Somehow everything was an argument, somehow it turned into Jerry being the victim of a misunderstanding, somehow he managed to expertly evade the point of their conversation - except he’d done it purely by accident!  Because at the end of the day, Jeremiah Peterson was just not that smart.

“Jerry.”  Mal’s voice barely contained his rage.

After an awkward silence, Jerry hesitantly replied - “Yeah?”

“Even if it was an accident, what you did hurt me.”  He spoke slowly and paused to let it sink in, wondering if what he said would even compute.  “You don’t just go...talking about that kind of thing like it’s common knowledge.” 

Jerry scoffed, flicking his hand out toward Mal to emphasize how ridiculous he must have thought Mal’s words to be.  At least that’s what it felt like.  And that was all Malakai needed to storm angrily past the other man through the foyer. 

“Mal, wait, I'm-” 

The door slammed, shaking the walls of the apartment. 
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline pentagrandma

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Re: Confrontations
« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2019, 10:20:03 AM »
Zachariah was no social butterfly. It was a rare case for him to have an engagement that didn’t involve either the band or Jerry. Tonight, though, he’d had a date. Rebeccah - Becky, she preferred - had been her name, and they’d met at a show (where else?). She’d snubbed Jerry’s obvious flirtations in favor of smothering Zach with flattery. It had felt good at the time; good enough that when she’d asked if they could get together outside of the venue, he’d agreed.

It hadn’t gone as well as he’d hoped. It hadn’t gone well at all. Loathe as he was to typecast or criticize, she’d had the sort of personality that matched her name. The cliched sorority girl; vanity at the forefront of an identity that came across as painfully contrived and excessively judgemental. If there was one thing he’d learned tonight, it was that a person’s seeming lack of interest in his brother wasn’t enough on its own to qualify them for romantic partnership. Still, it helped.

He’d called it an early night, formulating a series of polite excuses when she’d hinted she’d have liked to take him home. In spite of having no desire to touch base again, he told her he’d call her. That had been a fucking mistake; already, he was kicking himself for it. He was still stressing over how to best convey his lack of interest without causing offense when he’d made it home, and reached for the door handle only to pause at the sound of a commotion inside.

“Shut up - just shut up! For once in your life!” ... Malakai?

Zach withdrew his hovering hand, and retreated a few paces down the hall; far enough that he might be able to tune out whatever feud was taking place inside. He involuntarily garnered the occasional tidbit, best efforts aside, wincing as those tiny ribbons of conversation wove their way unbidden through his thoughts. Fuck. Jerry was a god-damned idiot.

When the walls shook against the force with which Mal slammed the door, Zach stiffened. He shoved his hands awkwardly into his pants pockets, a deep pinch at his brow as he turned to face the storming approach of his bandmate and friend. “Uh, hey,” he offered, following it up with an added explanation of, “I wasn’t trying to listen in.”

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Confrontations
« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2019, 09:33:00 AM »
Malakai, glaring, interrupted Zach's "I wasn't trying to listen-"

"Neither was he."  Mal hissed, gesturing with his thumb toward the closed door.  Continuing his frustrated trajectory toward the elevator at the end of the hall, he jabbed his finger on the UP button.  Since Zach arrived a minute or so before the end of their conversation, the elevator was not immediately available, leaving Mal to stew awkwardly in the hallway while he waited.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline pentagrandma

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Re: Confrontations
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2019, 07:46:05 AM »
Zach, having been cut off at the tail-end of his statement, pressed his lips into a frown to match the furrow at his brow. He nodded slowly in a wordless bid to convey his sympathy. There were no magic words to impart that would allay his friend’s frustration. So, when Mal showed no signs of stopping to vent, Zach kept quiet - trusting that he knew he’d be there for him if ever he was needed. Sure, he could let on that he had every intention of giving Jerry a stern talking-to, but that sentiment was unlikely to provide any measure of relief. Not when Jare should have known better, without having to be told.

He lingered in the hallway for only the briefest of moments, then made his way toward the door of his shared apartment. With a conscious gentleness, he withdrew a hand from the refuge of his pocket to reach for the door handle. After stepping quietly inside, he closed the door with a solemn and muted snick.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Confrontations
« Reply #4 on: December 20, 2019, 11:25:10 AM »
Jerry poked his head around the corner.  "Mal, I-"  As soon as he realized that it wasn't Mal coming back the hope fell from his expression and he let out a sigh of defeat.  Obviously, it was Zach - that was what that feeling tickling the back of his mind was.  His lack of attention meant that Mal had already begun the ascent to his floor by the time Zach entered the apartment.

Did Zach hear the whole thing? 

"Hey."  Jerry rubbed his bare chest and averted his gaze.  He didn't wear embarrassment well.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline pentagrandma

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Re: Confrontations
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2020, 09:28:03 AM »
Zach met Jerry’s focus, however briefly, with a somber expression; different from the inherent gloom his countenance usually bore. “Hey,” he answered, following the utterance with a slow and deep intake of breath. Yeah, he’d heard. At least Jerry had enough sense to be ashamed. Maybe he wouldn’t need to be schooled on the wrongness of his actions, after all.

With one hand still pocketed, Zach shuffled through the foyer, past Jerry, and into the great room. He deposited his keys on the kitchen counter as he passed, then deposited himself on the couch, leaning forward to drape his forearms over his knees. There, he waited – allowing his brother the opportunity to either follow (and, perhaps, speak first) or evade.

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Re: Confrontations
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2020, 09:41:57 AM »
He watched Zach move through their apartment, debating whether or not he wanted to even talk about what happened.  He puffed a sigh through his nose, unconsciously clinging to the feeling of comfort in his proximity to his fledge - and only family - by means of following him like a puppy. 

"I uh, I think I fucked up," he groaned, plopping down on an adjacent armchair.  "But like, I don't get it."  He sighed again and ran a hand through his hair.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline pentagrandma

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Re: Confrontations
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2020, 05:10:12 PM »
Likewise, Zach released a heavy sigh through the passage of his nostrils. You think? The thought was transmitted unbidden along the tight line that was their bond. When he spoke, however, he did so patiently. “What about it don’t you understand?”

Expecting Jerry to have understood what he’d done wrong, he supposed, was an overestimation of his emotional competence. He wanted to get it, though, and that was almost enough to redeem him in Zach’s eyes. Maybe it was brotherly love that allowed for Zach to always give Jerry the benefit of the doubt, or maybe it was the sire bond - but he knew his brother would never intentionally cause Mal any harm. If he’d truly understood the impact of his actions, he’d have never made them in the first place. He could be thick as hell, but he did care. His guilt was proof enough.

Offline The Cedar Witch

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Re: Confrontations
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2020, 05:56:57 AM »
So he did hear their conversation.  An almost hurt expression flashed across Jerry's face after Zach's thought passed into his mind, but it was quickly replaced by one of confusion. 

"I dunno, like - Ugh."  His forehead dropped to his hands where he rubbed for a second while sorting through feelings of frustration.  "I just don't get what the big deal is, like -" he paused, lifting his eyes to meet his brother's.  "Well, did you hear the whole thing or..." he trailed off, hesitant to explain.  "I mean I could show you," he muttered quietly, crossing his arms over his naked chest.  Letting Zach see the memory would be easy since it was fresh, and it bypassed the need for him to talk through it.  Verbally recounting the conversation was something he felt surprisingly resistant to. 
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente

Offline pentagrandma

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Re: Confrontations
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2020, 12:44:47 PM »
Zach was quick to shake his head. “I didn’t catch it all. I was trying not to eavesdrop,” he explained, the pinch at his brow deepening marginally. Unintended or not, he couldn’t help but feel his own measure of guilt at having intruded on their private conversation.

After a pause, he settled against the couch-back and rose a hand to his nape; restless fingertips worrying in some semblance of massage. “... If you want,” he responded, punctuating the statement with a shrug.

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Re: Confrontations
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2020, 05:27:30 AM »
Clumsily he reached through their bond, eyes unfocussed and angled downward at the floor space between them.  He played the memory back like a movie from his perspective, complete with feelings of surprise and confusion, then frustration and regret.  The memory ended with Mal slamming the door, and Jerry quickly retreated his mental fingers from his fledge's mind.

"Should I like,"  he puffed a sigh and sunk back against the chair, "Leave him alone for a while, you think?"  Mal would get over it, right?  After giving people space they usually did.
Anna/Odessa/Sonya || Astrid || Chtahzus'aak/Zeus || Extasis || Fler || Jeremiah || Laurent/Va'tamal || Malakai || Rachel || Vai
Old things have strange hungers. - Catherynne M. Valente