Author Topic: Complications  (Read 447 times)

Johnny Storm

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Complications
« on: March 27, 2012, 06:05:39 PM »
Toast in the toaster, water in the kettle, instant coffee granules in the mug, lean against the counter and try to wake up a little more. Liv yawned widely, rubbing at her eyes underneath her glasses as she waited patiently for her breakfast to be ready. She was a little later getting up this morning than she might usually have been, but she had been out late last night. It was either that or try to sleep through the noises coming from Lucy's room - it was bad enough knowing her sister was getting laid to a high standard regularly now. It was worse given that Liv knew who was doing the laying.

There was a reason Johnny preferred his apartment to Lucy's and that was Liv, but Johnny had Ben to deal with, and that was almost worse than worrying Liv might overhear them. He really had to get a place of his own. Living with Big, Orange, and Ugly was really starting to cramp his style. He'd been tossing and turning for a few hours, trying to steal the covers back from Miss Snorey Blanket Stealer. God, she was hot, and the sex was the best he'd had in, well, EVER, but her bedside manners leaved a lot to be desired. She wasn't exactly snuggly. He gave it one last attempt and was rewarded with a shove, which sent him rolling onto the floor with a loud thump.

In the kitchen, Liv heard the thump and rolled her eyes, trying not to laugh. She'd shared a bed a time or two in the past with her sister, and knew only too well what Johnny was contending with. She turned back to the counter, putting more water in the kettle in preparation for making tea or coffee for the company she was no doubt going to have in a few minutes' time.

"Aw, son of a..." He rubbed his bruised ego which just happened to be his ass, grumbling as he climbed to his feet to search for his jeans, which had somehow ended up in a discarded pile of clothing on Lucy's bedroom floor. He picked up a bra, turning it this way and that, tossing a peek over at Lucy. No, she was still asleep. He could tell from the snoring. God, that was irritating. He held the bra up to his own chest, just for kicks, wondering how women could stand wearing the damned things, before tossing it over his shoulder and continuing his search through the clothing pile. It was times like these, he wished he could just be normal and not have to wear that stupid uniform all the damned time. Finding his jeans finally, he pulled them on, carefully zipping so he didn't catch himself in the zipper. He didn't have any underwear, after all. "I'll just go make my own breakfast now, Your Majesty," he told the snoring twin, before turning to the door with a heavy sigh.

He didn't even get a snort in farewell, although the bundle of blankets on the bed shifted to seal itself up tighter. Lucy was definitely someone who liked her sleep undisturbed. Johnny's entry into the main room was greeted with the sproing of the toaster disgorging Liv's breakfast, and the sight of Lucy's younger twin tossing a slice of toast back and forth between her hands as she turned to toss it onto a plate, blowing on her fingertips with an endearingly wounded expression.
 
He froze in place when he stepped out of the room and wandered barefooted and bare-chested down the hallway to the kitchen, caught between two twins, a small smile crossing his face as he watched Liv trying to juggle the slice of hot toast between her hands. He glanced back over his shoulder, hearing Lucy still snoring behind him. The smile turned slowly to a somewhat guilty frown, as he debated whether or not to go hide in Lucy's room until she woke up or gather his courage and face her younger sister. He was going to have to sooner later. Might as well get it over with.

"Hot, hot, hot, hot, hot, hot ..." Shaking the faint tingle from her fingertips, Liv attacked her toast with butter, slicing it in two before taking a bite, leaving that half clutched between her teeth as she turned to pour boiling water into her mug. She certainly made for a charmingly domestic view as she went about making her breakfast, her robe hanging open to reveal the short pajamas she was wearing. One hand went up to push her unbrushed hair out of her face, her nose wrinkling briefly to push her glasses higher up. Johnny could feel remarkably relieved that she hadn't actually noticed his arrival yet.

Okay, he couldn't just stand there and watch that without snickering a little, pressing a hand against his mouth to try and stifle his laughter. He watched her quietly a moment, tempted to tease her horribly by pretending he thought she was Lucy, but he thought that would be too cruel and besides, they both knew Lucy was still in her room sawing wood, so he'd never be able to get away with it without looking as guilty as sin. He thought she looked adorable in her robe and jammies, so like Lucy and yet so different, and found himself wondering what it would be like to take those glasses off and kiss her. Would he be able to tell the difference between them? What did she taste like? He shook his head, forcing the silly fantasy from his mind, and cleared his throat to warn her she was no longer alone.

The sound of a throat clearing behind her - a masculine throat, no less - was definitely the best way to alert her to his presence. Liv pulled the toast out of her mouth, chewing hurriedly as she stirred her coffee. "Oh ..." The sound was a little muffled through the toast, which was swallowed a little too soon for comfort. She turned to look at Johnny, ready to smile in greeting. "Good mornin - oh, my goodness." Her gaze slipped from his face to his bare chest, and there went the blush. She went from her usual pale color to a delicate shade of pink that threatened to grow deeper as her eyes snapped away. "Um ... yes. Hello, Johnny. Coffee?"

He couldn't help but catch that blush, and it amused him to no end. Like most men, he didn't really think much of walking around without a shirt on, a little clueless as to the effect that might have on those of the female gender. He idly wondered if Liv was a virgin. No, no, no... Do not go there, he warned himself, clearing his throat again, from his own sudden and unexpected nervousness. "Um, yes, thank you. Don't mind if I do." The hell is the matter with me? "Um, instant or..." He glanced to her cup of coffee, almost wishing he'd stayed cooped up with Miss Snorey Pants a little longer so he didn't have to face her sweet, innocent look alike.

Nodding without actually looking at him, Liv managed a nervous smile of her own, turning back to pour out a fresh cup of coffee. "Do you take cream and sugar?" she asked, not bothering to ask about her sister. "I assume Lucy's still hogging the covers and snoring. I'll, um, I'll do her some breakfast when she wakes up."

"It's instant, I'm afraid," she added in apology, finally lifting her eyes to him with a wry smile. "Can't afford a coffee maker yet."

"No, just black. Full throttle." He answered with a slightly nervous but hopefully friendly smile. He didn't do anything halfway, not even coffee. He chuckled a little when she mentioned her sister. "Yeah, she's not exactly snuggly in bed." He cleared his throat again, almost blushing. Like that wasn't awkward. "Instant is fine. I'm not picky." He wondered if he should sit down or what.

She passed the mug over to him, almost relieved to find that he seemed to be as nervous as she was. Although, of course, this was the first time they'd actually spoken as Johnny and Liv, rather than Liv pretending to be Lucy. "So, um ... I can put some more toast on, if you'd like, or there's porridge -" Her Blackberry buzzed loudly against the counter, and she grimaced. "Sorry, just a second." Lifting the device into her hand, she bit off another section of her own toast, checking the message that had just come in.

"Porridge?" He snorted. "No, toast is..." He frowned as her Blackberry went off. One a doctor, the other a P.A., it seemed both were on call 24 to 7, just like him. "Your boss?" he inquired, curiously, as he stepped over toward the toaster to make his own toast. Should he do it the old fashioned way or the Johnny Storm way, he wondered.

The little kitchen space really was little, and as he stepped up beside her, it highlighted the main difference between Lucy and Liv - Liv was about two inches smaller, which was why she wore heels as much as she could. "Yes," she answered his question thoughtfully, tapping out a quick reply of her own as she spoke. "She messages me every time she thinks of something else she needs doing, no matter the time of day or night." Setting the phone down, she shrugged lightly, glancing up at Johnny with a certain amount of surprise on finding him that close. "Should I get out of your way?" Never mind that she didn't want to move, although Lucy would kill her if either of them twigged that standing close to Johnny and feeling the heat radiating from him was rather a stimulating experience for Liv.

"So, if she needs a loaf of bread, she texts you? That isn't being a P.A., Liv. That's being a servant." He pulled a couple slices of bread from the bag and fed them into the toaster, deciding it was probably good manners to do things the old fashioned way and not show off in someone else's kitchen. Once that was done, he turned to face her, only then realizing how close they were and how much shorter she was than her sister, privately filing away the differences in his brain for future reference, in case they ever tried to play The Parent Trap on him again sometime. He was tempted to reach over and brush a stray strand of hair from her face, but he resisted the urge. She's Liv, not Lucy. Down, boy. He blinked at her question. "Um, no, I..." He sighed. "Maybe I should just go."

"Oh, no, she doesn't do that," Liv giggled softly, shaking her head. "It's usually someone she's forgotten to call, or an idea that needs to be pitched to one of the departments in the studios. She doesn't ..." She swallowed, realising that she was taking enjoying standing close a little too far, and took a step back, her blush deepening as she bit her lip. "Please don't go, Johnny. I really don't mean to make you feel uncomfortable." Taking her toast and coffee around to the other side of the counter, she drew in a quick breath, preparing to offer a solution to the problem that was her. "I can make myself completely scarce whenever you're here, if that makes things easier."

He frowned a little as she moved away to a slightly safer distance. "Don't do that, Liv. It's not you. It's me. This is your home, and I'm... I'm intruding." He lowered his eyes, noting the blush again, thinking he'd embarrassed her. God, he was stupid. He turned away just as the toaster went pop. No problem at all taking the hot toast from the toaster, despite the fact that it was still steaming. He tried to remember when the last time was that he had his own living space. Hadn't he come to Rhydin partly to get away from the watchful eyes of the others, to find his independence, to be on his own for awhile? And they'd sent Ben after him to play babysitter. Why then, was he feeling lonely and a little homesick?

"No, you're not intruding, please don't think that." She perched herself on one of the bar stools, leaving her toast forgotten on the plate beside her. Her hands clenched as she drew her courage carefully together, closing her eyes to begin talking. This needed to be said, however awkward it was to say it. "I'm .... I'm feeling awkward because I was privy to something that should have been just between you and Lucy, and that's wrong, and I know me being around is making things uncomfortable for you, and I don't want you to be uncomfortable, I want you to be able to relax here because I know you said you don't really get much time to yourself, and this is a good place for quiet, and oh dear God, I'm babbling again." Squeezing her eyes more tightly shut, she lowered her forehead to the counter and banged it. Hard.

He set the toast onto a plate and turned to face her as she spoke, realizing it seemed she'd said more to him in five minutes than Lucy had in an entire evening because moaning and snoring didn't count. He winced at the head-banging. "Stop it, Liv. Stop blaming yourself and stop feeling guilty. I forgive you. Anyway, I was an idiot not to realize what was going on sooner, so it's my fault as much as anyone else's. I'm an idiot."

Lifting her head, Liv sighed softly, shaking her head with a faint smile. "We should stop with the blaming ourselves, it was all her fault," she said with comical sternness, and that sounded like the party line Lucy was trying to force on them both. The only problem there was that if Johnny accepted that he didn't need to feel awkward around her, she would have to find a way of relaxing around him, because her feeling awkward was only a tiny part of her nervousness. The bigger part - and the more pertinent - was caused by how much she liked him.

Johnny Storm

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Re: Complications
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2012, 06:08:05 PM »
He laughed a little as she pushed the blame off on Lucy, but then sobered as he wondered how long Liv had been playing the part of the passive twin and allowing Lucy to tell her what to do. It occurred to him at that moment that despite his intimate relationship with her sister, he really knew very little about the two of them at all. But then, he'd seen another side of Lucy that maybe she wasn't too keen on showing the world. One didn't become a doctor, after all, without feeling some compassion toward other people. "She apologized, you know. She was worried about you. She said she didn't want to see you hurting anymore." He turned back to his toast, spreading a bit of jam across the top. "She's your sister. She cares about you." He frown deepened as he thought about his own sister, but his back was to her, so she couldn't see it.

"I know," Liv agreed with a slow nod, and she did know, far better than he could have imagined. "I love her a lot," she added. "We weren't massively close when we were little, but things are better now, and I don't want to rock the boat." And yet even as she was saying this, her eyes were travelling over every sculpted plane of his back with very tightly suppressed jealousy that Lucy got to touch and she didn't. It was just as well he wasn't looking at her, really. "Johnny, you really don't need to feel uncomfortable around me. I promise, I'll behave myself if you do."

"I don't feel uncomfortable," he lied. It wasn't uncomfortable exactly.  "I like you, Liv. I do. If I hadn't met Lucy first..." Okay, not a good idea, Johnny. Try again. He sighed. He turned to face her, in those ridiculously cute pjs and way too old fashioned looking glasses. "Let's just start over." He brushed the toast crumbs from his hands on his jeans and leaned toward her, extending an arm to offer a hand, with a smile. "Hi, I'm Johnny Storm."

Not a good idea, but infinitely wonderful to hear. That was the second time he'd implied a wish to have met her first. Thus, when he turned to face her, Johnny found himself the recipient of a soft, rather delighted smile, despite the blush. Wiping her own fingers on her robe, she slid her hand into his, relishing the heat of his hand wrapped about hers. "Hello, Mr Storm, it's a pleasure to meet you. My name's Olivia Broderick, but please call me Liv."

He flashed that should be patented Johnny Storm smile at her, a firm but gentle grip on her hand, radiating heat. He chuckled a little as she offered her full name. "Jonathan Lowell Spencer Storm, but that sounds a bit pretentious, so everyone just calls me Johnny."

"Oh, well, if we're going that far," she giggled quietly, probably holding on a little too long before releasing his fingers from her own gentle grasp. "Olivia Melisande Broderick. Liv." She shrugged, a little less shy now the physical barrier had been broken. It might only have been a handshake, but it had been contact offered directly to her. And if he was any good at noticing certain signs, Johnny would be able to recognise the shy attraction in her expression as her smile gentled once again.

He, too, found himself holding onto that hand a little longer than necessary, looking past the thick rimmed glasses into the soft brown eyes that looked back at him, so like Lucy's, and yet unique in their own way. He mirrored her smile, feeling a little uncharacteristic bit of awkwardness as he thought he sensed a certain shy attraction toward him. "Melisande. Wasn't she a fairy or something?" The name sounded familiar, but he wasn't quite sure where he'd heard it.

"Oh God, I don't know," Liv laughed quietly. "Mum just liked the name and didn't want to name me after a saint." As she shrugged again, the shoulder of her robe fell down her arm, and suddenly she was acutely aware of how undressed she was in front of him. Her cheeks lit up with another brilliant blush as she grabbed the edges of that robe, wrapping it tightly about her waist and hoping like hell she hadn't been suffering from chilly nips syndrome all this time. "She got it from a film she really liked, one of the Hollywood golden-oldie musical things with Dean Martin."

"Oh..." He wasn't quite sure what to say to that. He didn't have any cool stories about his own name or how his mother had come to give him that ridiculously long and pretentious name. His gaze flicked briefly to her bare shoulder, before returning to her face, and noticing that blush yet again, he turned to fetch his toast and coffee. He wondered if he should continue this game of "We've just met and I don't know anything about you" or not. "So, what's it like being a twin?" he asked, impulsively. "Did you two used to play tricks on people when you were kids?"

Liv blinked at him over the top of her toast, a little surprised by the question but more than happy to answer it, since it seemed as though Lucy hadn't been sharing much, if anything. "A little bit," she admitted, swallowing her mouthful quickly. "We were always in competition when we were kids, she was always getting me in trouble. But when we hit our teens, well ..." Her blush turned guilty as she looked down at her plate. "We sort of developed one trick in particular. I was better at it then. I didn't give the game away the first time I was allowed out alone."

Both brows lifted at the implied hint at that particular game, one which he'd been the target of only recently. Reminded of the incident again, he frowned a little, his question coming out a little harsher than he'd intended. "And how'd that work out for you two?"  He thought maybe he shouldn't have asked that question, if he didn't want a straight answer. He'd promised to forgive and forget, but the sting of being made a fool of was still a little too fresh.

Liv winced, not lifting her gaze from the plate at all under the harshness in his tone. "It worked out for the best, at the time, I suppose," she said very quietly, wrapping her hands round her mug as her shoulders rose. Her whole posture seemed to have folded in on itself as she sought to give Johnny the honest answer he seemed to want without making her sister look bad. "Lucy got to keep her boyfriends happy, and I could be popular when I was pretending to be her. God, that sounds so stupid now."

He was quiet a moment as he took that in. He'd always been pretty popular in school, too brash to care much what anyone thought of him, or so he let people think anyway. One incident in particular had changed him, but he didn't want to think about that, much less talk about it. He settled himself on a stool, keeping a polite distance, one empty stool from hers. He wondered if he should just say what he was thinking and then it was coming out of his mouth before he could stop himself. "Liv, I don't know why you seem to think you're... I don't know... inferior to Lucy, but you're not. You're pretty, sweet, smart... You've got so much going for you. You could have anyone you want. You don't have to pretend to be Lucy to be popular."
"Don't let her overshadow you. Just be yourself."

Her blush settled into a dusky rose, flattered by the compliments he gave her but not really believing a word of it. But it was enough, just for those few moments, to pretend that he actually meant that he found her as attractive as her twin. She smiled, lifting her eyes to look at him with those shy eyes once again. "It's very sweet of you to say so, but it's really not true, is it?" was her matter-of-fact response, dismissing any conception of herself as attractive with the ease of practise. "If I could have anyone I wanted, I could have -" She stopped herself just in time, clearing her throat loudly. "Not that it matters. You and Lucy are happy together, I'll just bask in the radiated happiness and remember to wear ear-plugs when I go to bed."

He opened his mouth to argue with her, to tell her how wrong she was. How could she think she was any less attractive than her twin? It made no sense. They were almost exactly alike, in looks anyway. But he stopped, his jaw dropping open when she continued. He might play the fool, but he wasn't stupid. He was smart enough to understand what she was not saying, as much as what she was. God, he was dense sometimes. Thick as a brick. It hit him like a brick. She liked him, too. Idiot. It took him a moment to gather and redirect his thoughts, his eyes never straying from her for one second. "It's true, Liv. Why would I lie about something like that. All you have to do is believe in yourself."

Johnny Storm

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Re: Complications
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2012, 06:14:07 PM »
His expression was a dead giveaway that she'd utterly failed to keep her attraction to him a secret. Whatever else he said after that realisation made itself known was completely lost - Liv was too concerned with making sure Lucy didn't find out. "You can't tell Lucy," she said quickly, twisting to face Johnny, her expression pleading as she reached out to grip his wrist with both hands. "Seriously, she can't know I like you. And I won't get in the way, I'll be completely invisible, you won't ever have to even speak to me again if you don't want to, just ... please don't let Lucy find out. She thinks I'm over it, she'll think I'm trying to steal you away if she knows I'm not."

He felt something twist inside him, not guilt exactly or remorse, just the sad knowledge that he was unintentionally hurting Liv with his very existence. The sad knowledge that if he had met her first, there might have been something between them, something beautiful and meaningful, just got a roll in the hay whenever the urge struck. Was that all he was to Lucy, or was it something more? He wasn't really sure of anything anymore. When Lucy had come to him to apologize, his first angry thoughts had been how much she'd hurt her own sister with her little game, but then she'd apologized and he'd realized she really did care about Liv, as much, it seemed, as Liv cared for Lucy. It was him who was in the middle, him who was in the way.

God, he wanted so badly to kiss her. She was right there, grasping his wrist. All he had to do was lean forward, just a little. "So, what... you get sloppy seconds for the rest of your life?" He winced again, not meaning for that to come out the way it did. It just seemed so unfair. He felt something twist inside him, not guilt exactly or remorse, just the sad knowledge that he was unintentionally hurting Liv with his very existence. The sad knowledge that if he had met her first, there might have been something between them, something beautiful and meaningful, just got a roll in the hay whenever the urge struck. Was that all he was to Lucy, or was it something more? He wasn't really sure of anything anymore.

When Lucy had come to him to apologize, his first angry thoughts had been how much she'd hurt her own sister with her little game, but then she'd apologized and he'd realized she really did care about Liv, as much, it seemed, as Liv cared for Lucy. It was him who was in the middle, him who was in the way. God, he wanted so badly to kiss her. She was right there, grasping his wrist. All he had to do was lean forward, just a little. "So, what... you get sloppy seconds for the rest of your life?" He winced again, not meaning for that to come out the way it did. It just seemed so unfair.

Her hands snatched away from him abruptly as he said that, wishing that she hadn't said anything now. It always hurt when people hit the nail firmly on the head - she'd spent a lifetime making sure Lucy got what she wanted, and just when Liv had started to make a life for herself away from her sister, Lucy had showed up in Rhy'Din and made life complicated again. She shook her head, her gaze avoiding his. "I've never had sloppy seconds," she told him quietly. I've never had anything, was what she didn't say.

He felt that knife twist in his chest again. Again, it wasn't so much what she was saying, but what she wasn't saying that made him understand. He couldn't just sit there and let her hurt this way and not give a damn. That was the problem, wasn't it? He did give a damn. He gave a damn about both of them, but he couldn't have them both, and he didn't really want to choose between them. "Listen to me, Liv..." He leaned closer, reaching across the space between them to turn her face toward him, fingers hot against her cheek. "You deserve so much better than me. I'm not good enough for you. I'm not..." He trailed off, running out of words, his chest heavy with the weight of guilt and remorse. He thought he was happy with Lucy, until now. Now, he just felt confused.

She gasped as he touched her cheek, the sound almost imperceptible beneath his voice as she gazed into his eyes, feeling very small and very stupid and embarrassingly close to tears. As he trailed off, she lifted her hand, touching her own fingertips to his lips. "It doesn't matter," she assured him quietly. "I couldn't care less what you think I deserve, I want ..." But again, she wouldn't let herself say it, shaking her head for a moment. "You're with Lucy," she reminded him regretfully. "If it helps, I'm used to it. As long as she's happy, that's what matters, right? And you make her happy." There was another pause as she bit her lower lip. "But I'd like to be your friend, if that's possible."

He found his heart beating a little bit faster when she touched him, not so unlike the reaction he had to her sister's touch, but for a completely different reason. While Lucy wanted his body, Liv seemed to want something else, something more, and he realized with a sinking feeling that this sweet and beautiful girl was falling in love with him. All the if onlys started going through his head. If only I'd met her first. If only I wasn't so in lust with her sister. If only there were two of me. If only, if only. To love and be loved, instead of just lusted after. Did Lucy love him? Did she care about him at all? He dropped his hand from Liv's cheek and pulled away from her touch. "Right. Because your happiness isn't important at all," he remarked, sarcastically, moving to his feet, his toast and coffee untouched.

As he pulled away, Liv felt her heart sink yet further. He didn't even want her friendship, it seemed, and that was more painful than the prospect of being his friend and knowing he was with her sister. That embarrassingly close to tears feeling welled up, and she went very still for a long moment, forcing herself not to cry, biting hard into her lip to keep the tears at bay. When, finally, she thought she had it under control, she spoke. "Apparently not. I'm sorry I've made things awful for you. I'll stay out of the way." She, too, twisted to take to her feet, wrapping her arms tightly around herself as she headed swiftly in the direction of her own bedroom. The last thing he needed was to feel guilty for the tears she was unsuccessfully stifling now.

"Liv..." He reached for her arm as she turned from him, to stop her from retreating, even though he knew he should just let her go. He thought maybe he should just let them both go. The last thing he wanted to do was cause either of them pain, and it seemed that's all he was doing by being here. He waited to see if she'd stop or slip away from him to the relative safety of her bedroom.

She did stop, just because he wanted her to. She didn't turn, she just stopped, her eyes closed as she drew in one slow, deep breath after another, forcing herself to calm down. Forcing herself to a state where she wasn't going to present him with wet eyes that would make him feel worse.

He felt that overwhelming desire to kiss her again, but that wouldn't be fair. Not to her, not to Lucy. Why'd she have to fall in love with him?  And the harder question... Why'd he have to feel something he didn't quite understand in return? "This isn't your fault. None of it is your fault. I'm the one who should stay out of the way, not you. I... I like you. I like Lucy." He sighed again, almost wishing he'd never left New York City. Things seemed so much simpler there.

"I shouldn't have said anything." Liv turned to face him, confident that the tears that had almost fallen were definitely buried now. "It isn't anyone's fault, Johnny. I know how the world works, especially when Lucy's involved; you don't need to feel bad for preferring her. And if being friends makes things too complicated for you, then that's fine. I've got my work, I have my friends -" if you can count work colleagues I only see at work as friends "- I can look after myself. I'm the only one who's responsible for my feelings and what happens to them, and I'm saying it's fine. Don't let worrying about me ruin your relationship with Lucy." She glanced toward the corridor warily. "I should get her up, really."

Now it was his turn to feel rejected, and he wasn't sure why. He hadn't rejected her offer of friendship. He hadn't said anything about it at all. And here she was telling him she didn't need his friendship. He didn't understand women at all. "I wasn't the one who made things complicated, Liv." There he was speaking without thinking again. He wasn't sure who was to blame really. Lucy, Liv, himself. But somehow a fun fling had turned into something more serious and now there were three hearts at stake. One of them was surely going to be broken. There was no way around it. He didn't want it to be hers. He didn't want to hurt either one of them. "I should just go," he lowered his gaze, feeling like a heel.

"No, you shouldn't." How had this happened? How had she, again, somehow ended up being the one to reassure Lucy's boyfriend? "Don't leave, Johnny. Just speaking for myself? It would hurt a lot more if you weren't around. And as much as I want to be your friend, I don't want to make it difficult for you to be with Lucy." She stepped closer, gripping his hands as her knees bent, trying to catch his gaze with her own. "Please don't leave. Please."

Johnny Storm

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Re: Complications
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2012, 06:15:42 PM »
He paused again, her stopping him from leaving this time. How had this happened? He was just going to have some breakfast, and now he felt like the weight of the world was resting on his shoulders. He felt tempted to kiss her again, but he didn't because it wouldn't be right. Say what you want about Johnny Storm, but he wasn't a cheater, though the look on his face might give him away. "You're not the one making it hard. I am."

"Then stop thinking about it. As far as we're concerned, we're both completely off-limits." Thus spaketh the inexperienced but well-meaning Olivia. She hesitated for a moment, her fingertips stroking over his palms unwittingly as her hands fell from his. "Do ... do you think we can be friends?"

It seemed the crisis had been averted, for now, thanks to Olivia. No help from Johnny. He paused another moment in thought and then nodded slowly. If they couldn't at least be friends, that would just completely break his heart. "I'd like to be, if you'll let me."

Her lips curved in a faint smile. "I wouldn't ask if I wasn't going to let you," she assured him. Crisis averted just in time, it seemed - a door opened behind her, and Lucy's voice broke into the conversation as she shuffled into view, looking even more disheveled than Liv did. "Let him do what?" the elder twin asked with a sleepy grin. "Are you two playing sex games out here without me?"

He held Liv's gaze maybe just a fraction of a moment too long for mere friendship, pulling away from her when he heard Lucy's voice chime in from the direction of the bedroom. A small smile played his lips at her remark. The thought had crossed his mind, but somehow he sensed Liv's heart was too tender to toy with, and the last thing he wanted to do was hurt her. "No, dear. We were just having breakfast."

"Dear?" Lucy snorted with laughter, looping an arm around Liv's shoulders to kiss her sister's cheek fondly. "Morning, Livy ..." Liv hugged her back warmly, her gaze flickering to Johnny's briefly before she twisted away, murmuring about getting dressed and having errands to run. Lucy watched her sister head into her own bedroom, frowning lightly. "She really needs to learn how to leave work at work," she said, turning back to grace Johnny's lips with a very affectionate kiss. "Is there coffee involved in this breakfast?"

He watched the two of them, gazing darting from one to the other, noticing how Lucy was the dominant of the pair, his eyes briefly tracking Liv's retreat at her sister's appearance. "I don't think she can. It follows her around on her Blackberry." He returned Lucy's kiss, a little awkwardly for some reason. Despite his torn feelings for the pair, he managed to summon a smile for Lucy that without affection. "If you don't mind instant. Or you could get dressed and we could go out."

Lucy laughed quietly, looping her arms around his waist to lean close against him. "I can cope with instant, I used to live on the stuff," she assured him, squeezing fondly as the heat that radiated from him bled into her. "You know she doesn't do anything but work, right? Liv, I mean. She goes to work, she comes home, she eats, she goes to bed. It's not healthy." Apparently her concerns about jealousy over her sister were forgotten today as she tugged him to the kitchenette, stealing a slice of his cold toast as she flicked the kettle  to boil.

He got tugged along, glancing at the kettle, with a roll of his eyes. "You don't really have to do that, you know. When I say instant, I mean instant." No need to wait for water to boil while he was around. It was one of the advantages to his condition. "So, her middle name is Melisande. What's yours?"  He grabbed a cup and filled it with water, a touch of two fingers to the cup and it was almost instantly rolling to a boil. He just had to be careful that he didn't get overzealous and break the crockery with too much heat.

She followed his glance toward the kettle in vague confusion before bursting out laughing. "You're right, I completely forgot. Take it away, maestro." Stepping back out of his way, she hiked herself up to sit on the counter as he boiled water in a mug for her. "That is incredibly sexy, you know." Grinning, she crooked a finger at him, beckoning him closer. "And if you think Melisande is bad, just you wait ... I'm Lucy Agnes."

Both brows arched as he feigned innocence, giving her a "Who, me?" look and pointing to himself with a small smirk. He started toward her, beckoned closer, the cup of hot water left sitting on the countertop. "Agnes?" He laughed. "Okay, you win. That is bad. But not as bad as mine. I have two middle names."

Her legs reached out, hooking around his hips to draw him close enough to let her brush her grin against his lips. "Two? Do tell ... how hyphenated are you, everlast?" Her hands smoothed to his sides, revelling in his skin all over again. This was her last day of freedom before work began tomorrow, and Lucy was determined to make the most of it.

"Not hyphenated at all." He leaned, her legs pulling him up against her, his body radiating heat. Despite what he might have been feeling for Liv, his body couldn't help reacting to Lucy's kiss and her obvious desire for him. Thankfully, he was wearing pants. "Are you sure you want breakfast or are you hungry for something else?" he smirked, not yet revealing the truly awful name his parents had decided to christen him with.

"I'm always hungry for something else," she laughed softly, easing her hands up and over the back her sister had been fixated on barely half an hour before to slide as close as she could. "But I'm not playing until you tell me the bad. You know my bad, and my sister's. You owe me an embarrassing name or two." Brown eyes twinkled invitingly as she spoke, deliberately stroking her lips to his with every word.

He smiled, her lips doing very little to discourage his body's desire. He laid his hands against her thighs, slowly sliding them upwards toward her hips. If she was just angled a little bit lower... He nipped at her lips playfully, blue eyes twinkling back at her. "Maybe you should just ask Liv," he teased, not wanting to let the cat out of the bag just yet.

"Mmm, I might just do that," she laughed huskily against his lips, teasing her fingertips up his chest to loop her arms around his neck. "Did you remember to ask her about phoning home?"

His arms circled her waist as her arms looped around his neck and he dipped his head to brush a trail of kisses against her neck, feeling a stab of guilt at her question. No, he hadn't. They'd had other more important things to discuss. Matters of the heart. He frowned, unsure if he could go along with this charade much longer. It was becoming clear to him that he liked them both, but he had no idea what to do about it. "No," he answered, without looking at her. "Do I look like ET to you?"

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Re: Complications
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2012, 06:19:29 PM »
She tilted, offering him as much access to the curve of her throat as he wanted as she leaned into him, dipping her own head to brush her own lips to his bare shoulder, her legs tightening around his hips. "You certainly don't," Lucy murmured against his ear provocatively. "But that does beg the question whether you need fingers like his to take me out of this world." "Oh, God, I did not just hear that," Liv's voice declared as she reappeared, fully dressed and hiding her face behind her bag as she advanced speedily across the room to the main door. "Don't mind me, I'm not here, just passing though. Carry on." As the front door closed, Lucy burst out laughing, pressing her giggling face into Johnny's shoulder.

And that didn't bother him in the least. Nope. And if you believe that he's got some swamp land to sell you. He felt all twisted up inside with confusion. He really liked Lucy, but he didn't want to hurt Liv. "It's not that funny, you know." What the hell was wrong with him? Where had his sense of humor gone? Was he the same guy who had constantly and ruthlessly played practical jokes, albeit harmless ones, on an unsuspecting Thing? "She has feelings, you know, Luce." Well, of course she had. Duh. He bit his tongue, not wanting to give Liv's secret away.

His lack of amusement in her sister's exit brought Lucy's laughter to an abrupt halt. "I beg your pardon?" she asked in a dangerous voice. "Are you implying that I somehow don't care about my sister's feelings? Or is it that you think I'm being heartless by enjoying spending time with you in front of her because she's still single? She's a big girl, Johnny, she can look after herself." She'd leaned back, her legs unwrapping from him as she frowned, vaguely insulted by the imagined slight.

He mirrored her frown, but for different reasons, whatever passion she was feeling for him a moment ago, seemingly fizzling, but he couldn't just blatantly ignore Liv's feelings now that he knew what they were. Still, it wasn't his fault this had happened. It was theirs. "No..." he said, turning away to fix her coffee, having to reheat the water a little. He scooped some a spoonful of instant coffee into a spoon and stirred it into the almost boiling water. "I just... think we should be a little more sensitive of her feelings, you know? I mean, she is your sister, and..." And what? He frowned, brows furrowing, glad she couldn't see the look on his face as he faltered.

Lucy eyed him, her frown lightening a little as she took his words at face value, drawing her heels up onto the counter to hug her knees. "Oh, I see," she said thoughtfully. "I suppose you wouldn't be very comfortable about spending time with her then, would you?" Her lips twisted as she rethought what she had been about to ask him, briefly making her face sharper than Liv's.

He dared to dart a glance over at her, and oh, God, she was hugging her knees and he got a glimpse of her panties, all lacy and... Crap. Focus on the question, Jonathan! "Spending time with her?" he echoed, looking a little dumbfounded by this turn of events. "Why would you want me to spend time with your sister?" He was stirring the coffee a little more than it needed to be stirred.

Lucy shrugged, not even having realised how distracting her position could be for her lover as her toes wriggled off the edge of the counter. "Well, you know I'm going to be working really long hours - 36 hour shifts - and that leaves you and she without company. Well, more Liv than you, I know you have friends. She doesn't, from what I can see." She scratched her head lightly, flicking her hair over her shoulder. "I was just wondering if maybe you two could be friends; if you could, you know, look out for her while I'm at work. But if that's a problem, that's fine," she added quickly. "I could, I dunno, put a lonely hearts ad up for her or something."

He snorted at the suggestion he had friends. He had Ben, who was so cranky he made Johnny look like a clown in comparison. And he had his teammates, who were definitely not friends. He realized the only real attachments he'd made to anyone in Rhydin was to the twins. He sighed. That's great, just great. What are you gonna do now, Johnny? You're playing with fire. "You want me to babysit her?" he asked, knowing full well that wasn't what she meant. He turned to hand her the coffee mug and then went about making fresh toast.

"Of course not." Lucy snorted, shaking her head as she took the coffee cup from him, hugging it close to her chest as she watched him move around her sister's kitchen. "I just mean, you know, spend a little time with her, get her out of this place. Make her have fun. Unless you don't want to. I can see how it might be a bit awkward for you, what with her having pretended to be me and all."

He arched a brow over at her, thinking that she'd only pretended to be Lucy because it's what Lucy had wanted, but he held his tongue. "You want me to take her on dates that aren't really dates, is that it?" He wondered just what was going through that pretty little conniving head of hers really.

Her brow rose as she looked at him over the rim of her coffee cup. "No," she said flatly, and in that dull tone was the first real evidence of why Liv had begged so hard for Johnny not to let it slip to her sister how she felt. "Not dates. Be her friend, that's all." She frowned a little harder, obviously not liking the idea of him taking Liv on dates, even if she'd asked him to do it.

"Okay..." He turned back to the toaster, popping in a few slices of bread. "Let me get this straight. You want me to take Liv on not dates and keep her company while you're working at the hospital. Is that right? Should I take her bowling?"

"If you want to," Lucy rolled her eyes. "How hard is it to take her out once a week, maybe get a take-out another night? Just socialise with her, that's all I'm saying." She set her mug down, twisting to look at him as one foot fell to dangle over the edge of the counter. "How is she ever going to meet anyone if she spends all her time at work or here?"

"So... you want me to get her out and introduce her to people. Is that it?" He wanted to make sure he got this straight in his head. He had a mental image of himself and Liv wasting away on the couch making out. No, no, banish that thought. Bad thought. Well, good thought, but no! Bad. The toaster popped and he withdrew the slices, setting them on a plate to spread jam over them.

"Yes! Yes, that's what I want," Lucy said, giving up on trying to convince him to be her sister's friend. "If you'd rather fob her off on someone else rather than be her friend yourself, that's cool. Just don't give her to anyone who's going to, I dunno, eat her or something."

He had that confused look on his face again as he turned to her, gesturing with the jam-covered knife. "Wait a minute. Let me get this straight. You want me to be her friend, but it's okay with you if I unload her on someone else? Do you want her to meet people or just hang out with me?" He had that look on his face that said, "Please tell me what you want because I have no clue! And I'm not going to give her to anyone! God..." he sounded really exasperated.

"How hard is this to understand?" Lucy demanded impatiently, ignoring the fact that she was not being particularly clear. "I'm giving you a choice - either look after her yourself, or hand her over to someone you trust to look after her. It's not difficult, everlast."

"And how is this not babysitting?" he demanded back, just as impatiently, if not more so, confused and agitated by her inability to explain herself fully or his inability to get what she meant. "God, you're just like Sue, sending Ben to look after me, like I'm some errant child who can't possibly manage to take care of himself for five minutes without screwing up." He winced, knowing he'd just put his foot in his mouth as soon as he'd said it.

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Re: Complications
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2012, 06:28:06 PM »
It was just as well she'd put the coffee cup down, really. "I'm sorry, did you just compare me to your sister?" Lucy asked, that dangerous tone back in her voice as she slid down onto her feet, her hands finding a place on her hips. "Because unlike you, my sister doesn't have a life. She never takes risks. She never does anything. And suddenly I'm the bad guy because I'm asking you, someone I trust, to keep an eye on her while I'm working and make sure she doesn't start ossifying in this s*** hole of an apartment all on her own! What have you got against Liv that you would rather see her completely on her own than give up one or two nights a week to spend a couple of hours with her?"

His face flushed and he felt his temperature rising for just a moment, shoulders tensing in response to her angry outburst and then all the anger went out of him, and he turned back to the toast, shoulders still visible tense, a pensive expression on his face, but no longer angry. "Sorry, I didn't mean that the way it sounded. I like Liv. She's a sweet girl."

Lucy was angry, and she wasn't entirely sure what for. She just had the feeling that she was missing something, that there was something he wasn't telling her, and it had something to do with why he didn't want to spend time with Liv. "Yeah, she is," she agreed in a terse tone. "But apparently that's not enough to earn her a friend, is it?" She sighed, shaking her head. "You know what, forget I asked. I'll get her into a book group or something, something boring that'll appeal to her, instead."

He sighed again, having the presence of mind to set the knife down this time before turning to face her. "You know, if it wasn't for that little stunt of yours she might actually want to be my friend."  He had a hand against his hip now and was looking slightly miffed. "It's not my fault the two of you decided to play Tag with my heart, is it? And now I'm just supposed to act like nothing happened. I warned you that if you play with fire, you get burned, but did you listen? No."

"Oh, don't you dare lay the blame on Liv for that, I told you it was my fault, the blame is entirely mine, and you're the one who said you were going to move past it!" The usually cheerful doctor was close to shouting now, incandescent with rage at the thought of Johnny taking out his resentment on her sister and not herself. "You agreed not to mention it again, you stood there with me and you agreed, and now I find out that you're blaming Liv for it all. No wonder she doesn't like to be in the same room as us, she probably thinks you hate her!"

That was just it. He wasn't taking it out on Liv. Or at least, he hoped he wasn't. He didn't want to, though she'd been at least partially to blame for it, albeit unwilling. His face flushed again and then all the fight went out of him. What was the point? "I'm not... I'm not blaming Liv. I'm not... I'm sorry. Just forget I said anything." He pushed away from the counter and started toward the bedroom.

Lucy glared at his back as he walked away, advancing after him with long strides. "Don't walk away from this conversation, Johnny," she snarled at him, poking his back. "You've got something to say, you bloody well say it and get it over with. You've got something brewing in there, and it's just going to get in the way until you say it!"

Could she really be that dense that she didn't see what was happening right under her own nose? By asking him to spend time with Liv she was practically encouraging it. He didn't want Lucy to get angry with Liv. It was better she got angry with him instead. He continued toward the bedroom, stiffening when she poked his back, bending over to rifle through the pile of clothes for his. And he said nothing. Yet.

"Oh, great, so you're just going to ignore me now. Very mature, I'm sure your sister would be so proud of you." It was a low blow and one Lucy felt absolutely no shame in playing. She wanted a response, even if all he did was shout at her and storm out never to return. "What the hell is wrong with looking after my sister for a few hours a week?"

He was brewing all right, the kettle starting to boil. It would probably be better if he just left for a while until he could cool off and sort things out in his head, but then she had to bring Sue up and he felt his temperature rising again. Hotheaded Johnny. He had his shirt in his hands as he spun around to face her. "Don't you drag Sue into this. This has nothing to do with Sue."

Lucy scowled back at him, barely inches away as she stepped up close, radiating her own anger to battle with his in the charged air between them. "No, this has everything to do with your complete inability to accept an apology and move on," she snapped back at him viciously.

He was already feeling bad enough and then she had to go and pour salt in the wounds. What would Sue say if she knew about this little stunt of his? He blinked back at her, almost able to feel her anger as it sizzled between them. His anger melted away, leaving him feeling only distraught, confused, and guilt-ridden. "I'm not the one you should be apologizing to, Luce."

Well, that managed to completely derail her. She went still for a moment, fumbling for something to say as her brain screeched to a halt, her indignant anger denied an appropriate outlet. For a long moment she was silent, her mouth working impotently until she finally went with, "What?! What on earth are you talking about?"

He clenched his jaw, knowing he'd said more than he should. He didn't really want to give Liv's secret away, but it was going to become obvious sooner or later, and he didn't want to be the one to come between them. "Talk to Liv. Really talk to her and listen for a change." He snapped up his uniform and the rest of his clothes and started toward the bathroom. It was time to be going. He'd overstayed his welcome.

"Liv." Lucy stared at him as he walked away from her again, taking what she'd been told and jumping to almost the right conclusion. "For ****'s sake, Johnny, if you wanted to be with her, why didn't you just say so?" she snapped at his back. "It's not like you're going to break my heart, is it?" She snatched up a pair of jeans from the floor, hopping into them awkwardly.

He winced as she almost hit the nail on the head. Close but no cigar. He glanced over his shoulder at her, making no attempt to hide the confusion he was feeling. He'd thought he knew what he wanted, until he'd realized the truth about Liv's burgeoning feelings for him. "I don't know what I want, Luce. I thought I did, but I don't. I wish I did." He sounded about as sullen as he felt. This day had gone completely to hell. "I like you, Lucy. I do. I never lied about that. I never lied about anything." Breaking her heart or Liv's was exactly what he didn't want to do.

"So what's wrong, why don't ..." She trailed off before managing to make sense of her own sentence with coherent words, her hands falling from the button of her fly. She drew in a deep breath, forcibly calming herself down with less patience than her sister had for the same motion. "What did she say to you?" she asked very quietly. "You were obviously out here for a while together ... what did she say? Did she pull her 'oh poor me, I'm so alone' routine on you?"

"She didn't say anything. It's not her fault. This is my fault. I'm an idiot. I thought... I thought you and I... I don't want to come between you. You're sisters. What I want... It's not important.  What's important is that you and Liv..." He shook his head, unable to shake the feeling of guilt and remorse from his heart, though he'd done nothing wrong. He hadn't kissed Olivia or encouraged her in any way. Whatever she felt for him was not his doing. "I should just go."

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Re: Complications
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2012, 06:40:42 PM »
"We're sisters, Johnny," Lucy pointed out with a ruthless turn of phrase. "No one can get between us, not for long. I mean, she thought she fancied you for a while there, but she got over it. Just like I would have done if you'd chosen her over me. It hardly affected our relationship, did it?" She frowned at him, chewing on the inside of her cheek. "You're just going to leave, are you? Without even telling me why you don't want to be alone with my sister?"

"She didn't get over it, Lucy, but maybe if I'm not around, she will. You both will." Yeah, he was going to walk away because no matter how much fun she was to be with and how much he cared about both of them, it was too damned painful for all of them. And with that said, he went into the bathroom and closed the door behind him to finish getting dressed.

"Oh, for crying out loud ..." Lucy's teeth ground together. Liv hadn't gotten over it? That meant that someone had been lying to her, again, despite a promise when they were teenagers never to get into this situation again. Lucy huffed irritably, sliding her feet into a pair of shoes. "Make sure the door shuts when you leave, Johnny," she called to him, pausing for a moment before adding, "For what it's worth, I am sorry." Grabbing her keys, she marched to the front door and let herself out, moving in search of her sister. They needed to have a talk.

He wasn't the crying type, but at times like this, he almost wished he was. It would have been something of a relief, and there was no point in dressing completely because in about five minutes time, he was just going to burn through the entire outer layer. He left his jeans, shirt, and jacket laying in a pile on Liv's bathroom floor, and in a few minutes, if Lucy was paying attention, she might see him streak across the sky heading north away from the city, a flash of flame, moving recklessly fast

He was going to burn out quickly at that rate, but he didn't really care. He'd just keep going, until he was too exhausted to fly anymore and too tired to care. He knew he'd blown it again, this time with both sisters. He'd be surprised if either of them ever spoke to him again, but maybe it was better that way. They were sisters and the last thing he wanted was to come between them, no matter what his personal feelings might be.