.: Chapter Six: Struggle of the heart and mind :.
[size=9].: Sept 21st :.[/size]
Seeing Azure was something that set things into a spiral. Ebon's sister who had passed away and to whom his eldest was named after was alive and well. From another time and another universe but alive..
There had been a few of these type of instances but even more were loved ones coming back from the dead.
It scared her...
...for such a selfish reason it scared her...
What if his wife returned?
What if Clayton's dead wife...came back.
Why wouldn't he? She was the love of his life. His wife long before he had met her.
Over the course of the weekend the worry grew, escalating to the point where she was starting to distance herself from him.
It was safer that way...
That was likely why when he entered the inn that day she didn't look directly at him and found herself hesitant to follow when he silently gestured to the door. While she did accept the silent invitation she felt the overall urge to flee.
The night was nice. The sun had just set and the breeze was gentle. She didn't mind walking and she surely didn't mind walking with him.
He was lost in his own thoughts she figured as he was quite silent as they walked. She was fine with this. The question kept nagging away at her mind and not giving her any peace of mind. In fact it seemed to grow increasingly so since he was near.
They were nearly halfway home before he came to a halt, turning to Katt as though he had suddenly, irrevocably reached some great decision. He waited until she reached him, near to arm's reach, before he spoke. "You know...Andu told me something interesting, a week or so back...something I've given a lot of thought to..."
Pay attention. She blinked and raised her eyes and nearly bumped right into him. "Mrm?"
He seemed hesitant for a moment, and he actually blushed - something he had not done for some time with her. "He...he told me...that he had met a young woman from an alternate reality...that referred to me as her 'uncle'..." He hesitated again, blushing slightly brighter, seemingly as if he were unsure how to continue.
"Oh." She nodded a single time. "Much like I have been called Aunt by many of these..Nexus-Kids. It seems that..it is normal for kids to call someone non-related as such even though they aren't related?"
He nodded. "Alex's children used to all me 'uncle', though he and I were not related by blood, or..." Here, he blushed quite a bit brighter. "...marriage. But that's not the point..." He paused again, silent and thoughtful, before he went on. "Andu also told me tat you and I are together in the world this young lady came from...and that...you were happy, being with me...so happy, in fact, that...that you..." You'd think he couldn't get any redder, but there it was! "...that you took my last name...as if we were...married."
Wow he was bright right now wasn't he. She felt a knot in her stomach when he said that. "I am happy with you.." She murmured and lowered her eyes. "Her name is Lila..the young woman that Andu was speaking about. I met her today."
Clayton gave her a smile as she said the first part, nodding as he reached for her to settle his hands at her waist. ?I know you are, my love...at least as happy as I am with you.? Her second statement also got a nod as he chuckled. ?I know. Andu told me her name...Lily Kathryn.? He let out another purring chuckle. ?Somehow, I do not think that name is a coincidence.?
"Lila." She corrected him quietly. "She said how she spent a lot of time with us and that we were more like parents to her then her own." She shrugged a bit and glanced off to the side..away from him. Actually she was looking everywhere but him.
He let out a rather rueful chuckle as he was corrected on the name. ?Lila...right.? He watched her for a long moment, his hands resting lightly at her waist, curiosity in his gaze. ?I know...it is a rather uncomfortable subject for you...marriage, that is.? He paused, yet again, hesitating as if uncertain. ?If you would prefer...we can save this discussion for another time.?
She blinked and shook her head. "It isn't so much a discomfort. It..I don't know what to think about it really. In another life..another time..I'm married and have a child no less.." Her eyes tilted as she moved a hand to rest against the curve of his inner elbow. "It means somewhere..sometime..I haven't screwed up. But..that is there..Not here..I know that.."
He smiled at her, letting out a purring chuckle yet again. ?We are each a product of our own lives, my dear Kathryn...of our own experiences. Yours have been...at least as trying as my own...but I don?t view them as a screw-up, as you put it. Somewhere, some time, things are different..but that doesn?t mean that such things couldn?t happen with you...with us...here, in our reality.?
"It doesn't mean that other things couldn't happen." She pushed his arm and stepped away, her eyes lifting to his chin but never meeting his eyes. "Lately a lot of..loved ones have been coming back from the dead. What..will you do if your..." Her brows furrowed and she swallowed down the lump in her throat. She had to get the question out otherwise it would continue to eat at her. "What will you do if your wife returns..?"
The question had him falling silent for a long moment, a rare frown touching his features. His expression spoke volumes - it was plain that the thought had occurred to him, more than once. (vs)?It would be a lie to say that I haven?t thought of that, Kathryn...? His eyes dropped from hers, and he looked away a moment, into the darkness of the night. (vs)?...there have been many times, since my family was taken from me, that I have wished I could have them back.? He turned his gaze back to her again, and there was a sudden, almost heated strength in his voice. ?But the past is just that...the past...there is no going back to what was. Since being with you...that wish isn?t what I want any longer. Even if my wife, my children to appear now, in this moment...I have moved past that. You are my life now, Kathryn...you are my love...my family.?
She watched him, immediately regretting asking. While he spoke she felt her heart drop. She wanted to believe him. She really did... But it was jus her luck. She knew what would happen. She dreaded.. She didn't meet his eyes. In fact struggled against it..looking elsewhere. "To be honest.. I expect you to return to her if she does.. I wouldn't ..I wouldn't blame you if you did. I'd...."Her eyes lowered to hide the fact that while she meant the words..they were plenty hard to say, "I'd be happy for you.."
He let out a purring chuckle, shaking his head as he brought his hands up from her waist to cup her cheeks, raising her face so that it was directed to his as he looked into her eyes. ?My dear Kathryn...I don?t think you understand.? One hand remained at her cheek, as the other dropped to snag her by the wrist, lifting her arm so that her hand was against his chest, over his heart. ?This is yours, my love. Even if it were possible for me to go back, I wouldn?t...not because of obligation or duty to the present...but because you have claimed this for your own.This is yours, my love...no one else, living or dead, past, present, or future, may have it. You told me that even if Leo were to come back, even if he were to want you back, you would stay with me. Why should it be any different for me with you??
Her limbs moved with his guide easily enough and when he settled her hand against his chest her lips parted faintly. This is yours. There was one big difference in his comment. She and Leo..weren't married. They didn't spend years together and had children. Her eyes closed and she nodded meekly. "(vs) Okay..I'm..I'm being stupid. I know. I just..I'm scared.."
He nodded, leaning down to touch his forehead to hers with a smile as he did so. (vs)?I know, my love...and I can?t blame you for that...especially with all that has been happening. I would be too, in your shoes.? He chuckled as he pulled back and moved to wrap his arm around her waist, turning to start them for home. ?Heck, I have been in your shoes...I guess it?s just easier for me to get past...I haven?t had to go through the things you have. But I?m still going to show you that you needn?t worry when it comes to where my heart resides.?
Her eyes closed and she savored the simple touch of his forehead against her own. She sighed, her breath shaking as it was released. "I love you, Clayton. I really do..And I am glad..in some life somewhere..that we..I haven't scared you away or turned you away or..anything. I'm..happy to have you in my life.."
He smiled at that. ?I love you too, Kathryn, very much indeed. In case it escaped your notice, you haven?t scared me away in this world...and I have seen you in times that I am certain would have sent many fleeing for their lives.? He chuckled softly as he walked with her towards home. ?If you haven?t succeeded in scaring me off by now, I?m pretty sure you?re not going to be able to, ever."
She started to walk, her hand moving to brush against his arm. "Never able to..I ..kind of like that. Keeping you around for a while longer.." She smiled a bit as they continued to walk and talk on their way home. The worry of losing him was put to rest for now and she felt better...like some great weight had been lifted from her shoulders.