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Badar Consultant Agency
Co-Writer Blondemaverick*
Beta Reader HalenNikole
Beta Reader Heywood Williams
Co-Writer Z
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  • G: General Audiences
  • PG: Parental Guidance Suggested
  • PG-13: Parents Strongly Cautioned
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#69
1 - Entropic Spiral - 6E
Blondemaverick
Jun 2, 2018
1
0
16
11 Mins Read
No Plagiarism!orBTnXjmcS2XosCcBQLeposted on PENANA

“Do you ever think about her?” This coming from Woody with his eyes closed.copyright protection16PENANAAi7aBbQHZ0

Jude didn’t consider the question. He only said into the dark, “All the time.”copyright protection16PENANAforQhOOAb0

“We never properly mourned her.”copyright protection16PENANAteYSHA5iqQ

“No,” the Holland boy agreed simply. They’d immediately jumped into work-horse-mode, promoting the new image of their agency, and pandering to the public in the capacity of neutral peacekeepers with no horse in the race. There hadn’t been time to think. Rather, Jude had poured his everything into not thinking about the death of his sister. All besides, he had been preoccupied with his own death. The loss of the only family that had ever mattered to him was still a little too much to bear processing.copyright protection16PENANAx18EbJQ2qP

Woody’s gold eyes opened then, watery with sleep or something else. “Can I be honest?”copyright protection16PENANA2Gdtwvil5u

Jude took a deep breath and let it out. He wrapped his arms around the werewolf’s torso.copyright protection16PENANAlzIjrpUwHl

The elder took that as his cue and he whispered, “It’s not fair… that you got all that time.”copyright protection16PENANAmfmuTxeKzE

“Can I be honest?” Jude whispered back. He felt the other nod, adamant, insistent. “I’m jealous of the time you had with her. You know, the movies, the conversations… I wish I’d met you when she was still alive.” He was quiet for a moment and then he confessed, “When I was fifteen, I told Gene I was running away.”copyright protection16PENANAzBlN5Siodo

“What’d she say?”copyright protection16PENANASyXBSo0MVI

“She wanted to know why I didn’t think to invite her… It hadn’t crossed my mind. She was twenty. I thought she could do whatever she wanted to. She asked me what I planned to do if I ran away. I shrugged, told her that I’d probably pick up something easy like waiting tables or gassing rigs. She just smiled at me. She said if she came with, she could support us. I didn’t really like that. It was my idea. I wanted my space. I wanted out from under our parents. I didn’t want to be ivy league. I didn’t want to play football. I didn’t want to be a lawyer or a doctor or a priest. I wanted to bleed a little… I wanted dirt under my nails. If Gene was there, I dunno… I was imagining walking around my own house in my underwear, drinking wine. I couldn’t imagine that kind of future if Conna Gene was in it.”copyright protection16PENANA7hXtMR10BB

Woody chuckled under his breath, watching his face in the stillness. Could he imagine fifteen year old Jude? Twenty-one year old Jude definitely didn’t want those same things anymore, not since he’d gotten everything he’d ever asked for. Did Woody understand that?copyright protection16PENANAFbd0ZiSiH5

“Gene just laughed,” the younger man said after a sigh. “She told me I was being ridiculous. Then I told her I’d already dropped out of Carrington's--my charter school at the time--and that really floored her. She got really still… and really sad suddenly. She didn’t like it, but what was she going to do? Our parents were out of the country at the time. Gene didn’t have the power to force me to go back.copyright protection16PENANAGAEEbx3ckY

“She told me it wasn’t fair that I got to choose. I told her she was just jealous that she hadn’t done the same thing when she was my age. I thought saying that would make her mad--because it wasn’t her fault that I’d pushed her and ruined her whole fucking life--but it didn’t make her mad. She just got quiet after that. She made dinner. She poured both of us glasses of wine. We ate silently. Then she said she was going to bed…” Jude trailed off, lost in the memory.copyright protection16PENANAUsfSV1JX2l

Woody touched his face and he jerked his head up. “And then?” Sherwood prompted.copyright protection16PENANAyHwLHw4AOM

“That was the last time I would see her before coming back to the states. Mom and Dad were off the plane the next morning, demanding what happened. I said I didn’t know. They found the empty wine bottle--nice wine that they were saving, apparently--and they’d heard from Carrington’s. I couldn’t handle four weeks on my own without losing my sister and my common sense? Wasn’t I thinking about my future? What had I said to her? What was I thinking? Didn’t I consider their feelings? Who were Gene’s friends? In her condition, how could I say that to her? Where would she go?” The vampire let out a shaking breath. “They pinned it all on me… They pinned everything but Gene’s injuries on me…” He shook his head, the muscles in his jawline fluttering at the thought. “They found her, by the way. They found her a couple days later, holed up with an old high school boyfriend. My parents were livid. A lady of her caliber and with her conditions, hanging out with some deadbeat nobody from the West Side? Not their daughter.” He huffed a mirthless laugh.copyright protection16PENANAFvmk9yRcKc

“She was twenty,” Woody stated.copyright protection16PENANAaEEpwArgxt

Jude snapped, “She was Conna Gene Holland. Twenty or not, she was expected to do and say certain things and if she didn’t… she wasn’t Conna Gene Holland.” He did a slow shrug like a stone statue grating and grinding in a poor facsimile of casual movement. “I was sent to finish school in Morocco. I was told Conna would be fine. I didn’t see her at the airport… I just remember my mother telling me it would broaden my borders--that I needed to get out of town, because clearly my heart was set on more ambitious horizons… What trash.copyright protection16PENANAC6b9RTFWtt

“I found out later that it was really because my father wanted me on the other side of the world from Gene. Gene had told him that if I was going to run away, she would run away to. Dad threatened her, told her she was being crazy… and that she was a bad influence on me--their unblemished child. Next thing she knew, Daddy Dearest actually had her committed. In application, he pressed that her obsession with me wasn’t healthy and that the idea of independence was to be weaned out of her. She was too fragile, in body and mind… With the money he was throwing at the institution, he may as well have bought her diagnosis. Better yet, he should have used that money to flat-out buy the drugs they pumped her full of twenty-four-seven. Then, at least, she would have been home, instead of being subject to the university’s psychoanalysis students trying to play God.”copyright protection16PENANAI9Y5u8Dmkn

“Jesus Christ,” Woody whispered, a forearm covering his expression.copyright protection16PENANAyu2cUzMmPk

Jude considered then that Woody and Conna probably had more in common with each other than either of them ever realized. That was the true pity of it all, wasn’t it? They never got the chance to find out for themselves that the world had scorned and blessed them in mirror-like ways. Conna Gene had been confined and drugged by the system. Glenn Sherwood had been captured and poisoned by a psychopathic vampire. Both of them… tormented by the demons in their pasts.copyright protection16PENANAQrq1BiVgeo

“She ran away from the institute. How she did it, I never found out. She didn’t like talking about those days. She insisted she couldn’t remember them for the most part, but I think they tortured her there.”copyright protection16PENANAKXyI32QGob

Jude shook his head, continuing with, “I did some of my own running away. I ran south, starved for a while… I was found by a Mardenite called Attabaya. He was like a father to me. His family was my family. He had seven children, a wonderful wife… and all of them died in the first bombing of the civil war. It was like the starting gun of something. I still remember it… pieces of it. The smoke, the stone, the sting of mortar dust, that iron tang in the air, the sounds of dogs barking, a baby just…  screaming… I pulled Attabaya from the rubble. He said we were bound after that. We owed each other our lives. He was right… I still miss him.”copyright protection16PENANA4WF68AFVXv

“Is that how you got into mercenary work?” Woody asked softly and Jude blinked. He’d almost forgotten the man was laying in his lap, so caught up in his story as he was. He wiped at his face and sniffed. He didn’t know why it was all coming up now. Maybe it was the dark, maybe it was just the simple need to get some secrets out of him. Like bleeding an infected wound, he concluded absently in his mind.copyright protection16PENANAfNXFPyXKOc

“Yes,” Jude whispered. “Attabaya’s revenge… Both of us were so consumed by it. After joining the company at eighteen, I was marked. Atty did the honors. There was a test of manhood, a toast, some psychedelics… It was the most violent time in my life and I’d never been happier.” He rested his chin on Woody’s shoulder. “Fast forward two-hundred-and-seventy days and Atty died. I came back to Dareklind. I found Conna. A year later, Conna died. Ups and downs and ups and downs. I’m tired… My heart hurts. I don’t know what I’d do without you, but… Fuck, all I know is… I’m so fucking done with all the bullshit.”copyright protection16PENANA9zaHhdK8U8

Jude felt Sherwood’s corded arms snake around him and constrict. He closed his eyes.copyright protection16PENANAkZ505eAL9x

Woody said in his ear, “You’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by the best and the worst mankind has on offer… The only thing you can do is…”copyright protection16PENANAhole4aN2UC

“Is?”copyright protection16PENANAe4bpLtDwCy

“I dunno. I’m trying to think of something profound, but I’m just as done with the suck as you are. I mean, I brought some of the pain on, so I… I wish I had the answer. To be honest, I feel powerless most of the time I’m with you…” He let out a breath. “I’m a fixer. If I can’t make a problem go away, I get broody.”copyright protection16PENANAEWxJWDXxo7

Jude blinked, then he laughed under his breath at the confession. “You are a worrier, Pookey,” he agreed, then he said airily, “Get a paddle, I guess.”copyright protection16PENANA5FwqUAAHCv

“Same boat… Just a’rowin’ down the river o’ Life.” Woody unraveled himself to wipe at Jude’s face. “Oh no, our canoe’s sprung a leak!”copyright protection16PENANAjRAvhmYUSA

Jude couldn’t get mad. He laughed again. “You’re stupid.”copyright protection16PENANAswx0gtDe11

Woody’s hands lingered on either side of his face and Jude finally opened his eyes. The sadness he’d always seen in the lines of the older man’s face were mirrored now in the werewolf’s chocolate eyes. He did his best to force his characteristic expressionless mask back onto his face, but he couldn’t. He felt like a ball of mush, but he ultimately attributed the feeling to his bone-deep tiredness. The both of them had been on edge of the last week, and now that they had time to breathe, they were figuratively gasping. He squeezed the werewolf reassuringly, but didn’t speak.copyright protection16PENANAl6HRwBs7j4

Woody filled the silence by saying, “We’re going to get through this… You are going to get through this. At the end of it all, we’re gonna take a vacation.”copyright protection16PENANADDWd8dz77r

“A vacation?”copyright protection16PENANAIAYfBfJetK

“Yeah.”copyright protection16PENANAgPRYHnz9vT

“Where?”copyright protection16PENANAe9wamFnWMv

“Where do you wanna go?”copyright protection16PENANAou6nKHCtW6

Jude thought about it. “Anywhere.”copyright protection16PENANAecW5aDtKNZ

Woody frowned. “Anywhere?”copyright protection16PENANAE28advQBsC

“I’d go anywhere with you,” he said before he could consider the weight of his words.copyright protection16PENANA6Q7deSUQlQ

Woody smirked. “How about Detroit?”copyright protection16PENANAXA3TFex9Zl

He barked a short laugh. “Over my dead body.”copyright protection16PENANA8DnhOAMEbe

“Vancouver.”copyright protection16PENANAhi5pvjhqaC

“Over my extra-dead dead body.”copyright protection16PENANAh7dk0Syx2y

Woody pinched his cheeks like a saucy aunt. “Where then, Sucker?”copyright protection16PENANASabgrZReD3

Jude shook his head, shaking free of the man’s calloused palms. “Where would you go?”copyright protection16PENANAtVlykRSBi2

Hmm.” The quiet consideration was a deep rumble in his chest. “Vegas.”copyright protection16PENANAezarUaktIm

“Why Vegas?”copyright protection16PENANA1BwcRYcJcQ

“Never been there. Vice City sounds like fun.”copyright protection16PENANAMGL8e6Z7Hi

“Do you know the meaning of Relaxing Getaway?” Jude mumbled.copyright protection16PENANAaWRknMvIfd

“Ever hear about folk needed a vacation from vacation? Enter Las Vegas… Why not?” Woody laughed, his eyes squinting at their corners. Another stolen expression of warmth. Another moment of realization hovering just under the vampire’s skin. He needed Woody. He needed him to keep him sane. What would he be without him? Who would he be, he wondered?copyright protection16PENANA4gPBtHAFqN

“Hey,” Woody said softly, wrapping his big arms around him again, “We need you.”copyright protection16PENANAvcthkInkP5

You don’t know how much that means to me, Jude thought to himself, but he didn’t say it. He couldn’t say it. Woody was just trying to keep him together. Sherwood needed him at his best if they were going to survive their situation. Jude’s focus… His ability to keep his cool in the coming crap storm might well make all the difference whether they came out of it smelling like shit or roses. Despite knowing that the werewolf was just trying to be a brother, he squirmed internally.copyright protection16PENANADZ1ujphO7w

I need you,” Woody insisted in a whisper, closing his eyes.copyright protection16PENANA2cNRNhynWZ

Dammit, Jude thought, feeling his cheeks warm. Thank the darkness, Glenn couldn’t see in the shadows like Jude could. Thank his already feverish vampiric body heat, Glenn wouldn’t notice he was blushing like a middle school reject in a girls locker room.copyright protection16PENANAbscEKwm7Rb

“We’ll be okay,” the werewolf said against him sleepily.copyright protection16PENANAcubeZuDgjL

Wrapped up in each other, Jude willed everything in him to think about dead puppies, his parents doing nasty things to each other, and the state of the American economy. That helped, marginally, but he didn’t feel as tired as he had before. Body beginning to ache with the strain of pretending to be at ease, sleep was a hard won affair.copyright protection16PENANANmXBdLSM9P

He didn’t dream about the fire inside him, burning to get out.copyright protection16PENANAMkhYY2vl9n

He dreamt of the things he wanted to do after feeling Glenn’s steady breath on his neck.copyright protection16PENANAxmRIARde8x

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