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Shuffling Contingency: Roadblocks In Relationships II - When I Grow Up
Marriage. Wedding. Commitment.
They were just words, the whole lot of them. Anyone who said differently was either lying through their teeth or selling something. It was the thoughts, feelings, and actions that transformed those words into something else entirely.
And usually those words (marriage, wedding, commitment) were followed by other such words like love, joy and blissful. Again, they were only words without feelings behind them to enforce them.
Except that Remy never felt anything of the sort, least of all towards the one person he should. Which was why when words like marriage, wedding, and commitment should have been going through his head it was instead filled with phrase like miles per gallon, twenty-four hours, and two in the morning.
Ultimately, those words led him to the situation he found himself in presently: wheeling his motorcycle down the long drive of his family's estate with no more than a duffel as luggage. He cursed silently for having to wheel the bike manually down the drive in the first place when it would be far more time efficient to just start it and go.
But, then the house would wake up and he'd never get out.
Really, what he was doing took a considerable amount of courage, and tempting fate further by tearing down the path would take more than he had. He didn't think he could take the disappointment on his family's face. Not to mention his Tante would be out of the house in a second, wooden spoon in hand. And she ran deceptively fast for her age.
She called it good genes, he suspected she took something.
As he neared the end of the drive, Remy gazed longingly at his childhood home, taking in the once white columns that lined the front. He would never be allowed back there, let alone into the state. This was perhaps the worst thing to come of his actions. To never see his city, his house, his family again. Not Mattie, not Lapin, not Henri and most certainly not Anna.
He sighed, pushing the bike the last few feet down the drive and through the iron gate. He swung a leg over the small machine and rested his weight on his left leg in order to kick the bike into motion with his right. He drew up his leg, knee bent, and muscles bunching—
"You plannin' to leave without so much as a goodbye?"
—And let it sink to the ground with a heavy air of defeat about it.
He shifted, moving to stand fully instead of half crouch with the bike between his legs. Glowing eyes slid sideways to rest on the young girl wearing a short cotton nightgown that was well suited for the muggy night. The solid stripe of hair that lined her face was illuminated in the moonlight.
Avoiding her eyes, he noticed her stance, leaning against the tree with her arms crossed belying the tension in her body and the rage that she was feeling. His eyes lowered, further hiding from her gaze to settle on the tree roots. "W'at're y' doin' out here, Anna?"
"Ah really think the better question, brother, is what are you doing out here?" There was so much disdain in that voice, a voice that was usually full of warmth that it took him a moment to respond.
"Don't you Rogue me, Remy." She seethed, her eyes blazing dangerously. The sound of the nickname only angering her more rather than the appealing effect he had been searching for. "You know you deserve this. Were you just going to leave without telling anyone?"
Remy scuffed at the dirt with his foot. This was almost worse than Tante and her spoon. He took a breath, trying to solidify his resolve. He was leaving no matter what Anna said or did. "Non. I left a note wit' everyt'ing t'at they need to know."
She snorted, tilting her head to the side and letting her eyes widen as the plastered smile worked itself unto her face. "An' what, Oh Wise One, do they need to know?"
"That they shouldn't look f' me. An' that I won't be back," he answered plainly. It was the truth. It was too late in the game to start lying, especially when he was so close to exiting it all together. He needed to wrap this up quickly and leave. Otherwise the rest of the family would find out.
"You know why."
"Yeah, well, Ah thought Ah knew you too. But Ah guess Ah was wrong there. So enlighten me," Anna's palms briefly turned outward towards him in a sweeping motion before returning to settle on her forearms. They curled into barely concealed fists.
"I can't marry her, Anna. She's not—I…I just can't marry her." He rubbed his hand through his hair, nervously, as his eyes flitted up to meet her gaze. He quickly looked away. He didn't like what he saw reflected in her eyes.
"So tell them that!" She exclaimed as she walked away from the tree's support and towards him. His eyes met hers and widened slightly which seemed to catch her attention. She hadn't realized she'd moved. She hastily backed up to the tree again. "He's your father, Remy. He'll understand." She added in a softer, more controlled, voice.
"He's not my father," he muttered.
"Oh, don't pull that adopted crap now. The man would do anything for you. He loves you." She said it with so much conviction that for a minute, Remy almost believe it was true. Almost. Too much had happened in his life for him to truly be that naïve.
"Mais he loves the Guild more."
Anna threw her hands up in the air in frustration. "Guild this, Guild that. Gawd, if Ah knew this family was going to be such a pain in the ass Ah would have just stayed in Caldecott. Would have been a hell of a lot simpler."
Remy snorted, knowing that was far from the truth. Her life in Caldecott was far from simple, and her continued existence there would have only made it more complicated. "Sure y' would have."
Briefly, Anna allowed herself a wry grin. "Well, Ah would have only stayed there for another month or so anyway." She steeled her emotions away as soon as she realized he had changed the subject though. "Why're you leavin', Remy? They'll all be heartbroken."
He noticed how she didn't mention herself. An old habit she had never kicked, one that he could admit he had never kicked fully either. When you have no family, real family, you don't admit to your feelings. If you admit to them, then someone can use them against you and then they can use you.
Deciding to just remain silent, he was finally able to meet her gaze directly. He knew now how much his leaving was going to hurt her, and he felt he owed her at least this much, probably more. Worse, he knew that if she asked right now, he would stay.
It was all wrong. Wrong decision, wrong girl, and wrong feelings.
"Ah thought you liked Belle," she admitted quietly, her arms shifting faintly, making her arms into a protective stance rather than a wrathful one. Her body posture closed in on itself by the smallest degree that most wouldn't notice. But he did.
"As a friend, oui, mais not as a wife," he decided that he probably owed her a little more explanation. Or at least, he would be required to supply more of an explanation before this was all over. "M' not ready t' get married yet, and Belle definitely isn't who I want t' be my wife."
"You've thought about it?" She asked genuinely surprised by the information.
In fact, he had thought about it right after the decision had been relayed to him. He had thought that if there was ever someone he could see spending the rest of his life with, it wouldn't be Belle. It would be Anna. Anna, who was happy simply to spend time with him rather than be seen around the city with him on her arm.
"Un peu. Nothin' real serious, t'ough. Like I said, m' not ready t' get married, chére" Remy replied as he reached into the pocket of his trench for a cigarette. It seemed that this conversation was not helping to calm his already frazzled nerves.
"So, you've got someone in mind you'd rather marry, then?"
"Yeah, I do." His eyes squinted ever so slightly as he assessed how her voice had softened and her body had closed in on itself more than before. It was just about how she had been the first few days she had come to the house: insecure, unsure of what her feelings really were towards him.
Anna didn't say anything after that. She just alternated between starring at him and at the house. Which, to tell the truth, irritated Remy to some degree. He really needed to leave. He lit the cigarette with the tip of his finger and too a deep inhalation.
It was a few empty minutes more before he decided to break the silence. "Dere somet'ing else y' want t' say, chére? Otherwise, I've got to leave."
"Jus' hold your horse, Cajun. Ah'm tryin' to—" She stopped, looking up to meet his gaze before her expression set in a scowl and habit took over. "Get that cancer stick outta your mouth!"
Remy smirked, back on familiar ground. "Y' goin' t' have to get it first." He taunted in an old, easy banter they had gone over several times in the past years. He smoked, she hated it.
She snarled, her lip curling up as her body posture expanded to rage once more. "Don't think Ah won't!"
"Go ahead an' try, chére, y' never catch Remy."
Her eyes narrowed, whether from the taunt or from the third person he never knew, and without further notice she lunged forward across the few feet between them. He dodged away from his bike, leading her away from it, hoping that it would escape any harm. She feigned left, and he twirled off that way when she went right.
He laughed, and it only angered her more.
This time, when Anna feigned, it wasn't a feign at all. And to ensure victory, her calf curled around his and yanked backwards viciously. He fell with a heavy sound, foot catching hers at the last moment so that she fell right on top of him.
Quickly, she took the cigarette from his mouth and crushed the head in the dirt. She tilted her head with a satisfied smile, her breaths coming in pants. But there was still a tension lined throughout her body. His brow furrowed in confusion despite his annoyance at his sloppiness.
"Ah keep telling you those things will kill you some day."
"Maybe I don't listen."
"Well, obviously you should. Otherwise this will just keep happening." Her air was easy and self-assured. And it was almost a sort of light-hearted happy, letting only a little of her previous displeasure shine through.
He smirked despite this. She hadn't bothered to secure him down effectively. He gripped her wrists, legs rising to wrap around her waist as he rolled unto his knees with her trapped between them. "Yeah, t'is will keep happening because y' never remember to hold down th' extremities."
She grimaced and tried to wiggle out from under his hold. But he had her pinned effectively. Something besides the sour taste of defeat caused her to continue fighting against him. And he intended to figure out why she was struggling so much.
"Let me up, Remy."
He ignored her, favoring instead to bear down into her eyes with his gaze. It didn't work as well as he had hoped when all she did was narrow her eyes in response and set her jaw determinedly. "Why did you come out here, Anna?"
She avoided, again. "Let me up."
She sighed, rolled her eyes. She puffed a bit of air up to move a piece of hair from her face, shaking her head at the same time to move it as if to distract her, or him, from her words. "Ah wanted to talk some sense into you."
Remy raised an eyebrow. "By making m' stay?" He didn't believe her. Staying wasn't the smart thing to do; staying wasn't even something anyone should do. It was being sentenced to a prison with extravagant parties and endless chatter. It was a death sentence. She knew this.
"You can't leave!" Anna exclaimed, her chest rising a little higher with the expelled breath. She inhaled deeply before continuing. "It'll hurt everyone if you do. Nothing will be the same anymore."
"Nothing will be the same if I get married either," he pointed out, slightly angered that she didn't get the horrible circumstances that would befall him should he remain in New Orleans, in Louisiana. And probably anywhere within the Sunbelt.
"Jean-Luc will see reason. He won't make you get married to her. Ah'll have Momma talk to him." A self-satisfied smile crossed her lips at the thought. Her mother was Jean-Luc's one weakness, and Priscilla could not deny her baby girl anything. In turn, it meant Jean-Luc was wrapped around her little finger.
But Remy knew on this matter, Jean-Luc wouldn't budge for Anna or Priscilla. Peace meant too much to the man, the Guild. He let out a puff of air from his lungs. "Chére, s'not that simple."
"Well Ah'm making it that damn simple!" She cried, a small sob escaping her throat. She swallowed thickly, trying to force the bile down her throat once more. Her breathing, as erratic as it had become, struggled to return to an even rhythm.
His concern rose as he watched her struggle with herself, her emotions rolling over him with acute clarity. "Rogue, why'd you come out here?" He asked softly, keeping his tone even and smooth to calm her roller coaster emotions. "Tell me the truth."
Her breath hitched, control shattering for the moment. Her emotions spiked and Remy sucked in a breath at what he felt. "Ah couldn't let you leave," Anna's voice was quiet and hesitant, wary of her words, wary of her feelings.
"Ah need you."
He rolled his eyes. He very much doubted that was the whole reason, if it could be considered a reason at all. And it would take more than that to get Remy to remain in New Orleans. "Y' need a lot of t'ings."
"No, it's not like that. Ah…" Anna bit her lip, hesitating while she thought of what she wanted to say. "You're my brother, Remy. But you're also my friend. Probably the best friend Ah got, and that's rare for me. Ah don't want to lose that—you. If you leave, Ah lose that. Ah'll lose a part of myself."
"Y' could come with me, chére." Remy allowed a little wistfulness to creep into voice as he entertained the possibility. They would be able to ride around the country, travel wherever they wished. And maybe with enough time, the impossible would happen.
She popped her hip, letting it jut out to the side and her hand rested on it. Skepticism along with disbelief flittered across her face. "Come with you? In what, my nightgown?"
Grinning cheekily, he gave her appearance a once over as he had done many times before. "I don't mind."
"Ew, dirty." The line rolled easily from her tongue as a smile stretched across her face. It was a banter that had passed between them quite easily for the past four years.
"We could pick you up some clothes," he said seriously.
Her smile disappeared when her face tell forwards, her hair covering her expression. A foot scuffed the ground nervously, in an unthinking gesture. "Ah can't leave, Remy."
A hand clenched, resting against his thigh. She had dismissed the possibility so easily, as if it wasn't even worth considering. It felt as if she didn't find him worth considering. "Why not?"
"Because this is the first family Ah've had in forever!" Anna exclaimed, her hands rising in frustration and her foot stepping forwards slightly. "Ah don't want that to disappear."
"And w'at, m' not part of that family?" The anger rose within him, swallowing anything else that he might be feeling at that moment. Nothing else was as important as the idea that she didn't even deem him to be family.
Another length of dirt fell underneath her bare feet as she moved closer. Her arms reached out for him, hands wanting to wrap around the lapels of his trench. "You are! Why do you think Ah want you to stay so badly? Ah want my whole family, not parts!"
He gave her a withered look, his anger unabated by her words. "So, y' want t' have your cake an' eat it too?"
She gulped, and nodded.
"It seems there's a problem then." Remy offered her a sad smile, which was ruined by the cruel twisting of his lips. He shook his head, as if he could hear her thoughts and disagreed with them. "Because I can't stay here, not while they want me to marry her."
"Why?" She cried, desperately seeking an answer. "What is the matter with Belle? She's pretty, beautiful even. She'd be able to keep up with you step for step. You've known each other since you were kids! She's perfect for you!"
"No she's not."
"Why?" She echoed her earlier plea. He stayed silent. "Remy, tell me why! If you told me, we could find a way around all of this. Ah need you to help me understand. Let me in, Remy. Tell me why." He didn't answer, only turned his back on her, which seemed to enrage her more than anything else.
"What the fuck is so wrong with Belle that you can't even try to marry her?" Anna screamed as she walked closer to him, her hands shaking with her rage.
He heard her approach, felt her hands as she roughly yanked on his shoulders to turn him around to face her. And then he saw her face, so full of anger and something else that twisted her emotions, her actions. It only served to push him too far over the already dwindling edge he had on his control.
"Because she's not you," he whispered, his breath mingling with hers in the early morning light.
There was only a second for him to glimpse she startled reaction, the anger draining away from her features and to feel that twist in her emotions stand alone. To see her face open up and show her vulnerabilities in that one moment. And everything he saw just made him love her more.
Remy leaned forwards, caught the back of her neck and the next thing he knew, he was kissing her. Before long, she was returning his kiss, moving so she was pressed tighter against him. And when she opened her mouth, it felt like—tasted like heaven.
And when she stiffened he thought nothing of it. Neither did it concern him that he was steadily getting weaker. The spike in her emotions, fainter feeling than before, held no sway over him. It wasn't until she pushed herself away from him that he realized what happened: her control had slipped.
Among the already tumultuous emotions she had been feeling, what he just said kicked her into overdrive and her fragile control shattered. Worse, he had felt that control slip and thought nothing of it. But it had been worth it, more than worth it to see the look on her face and to know the taste of her.
His gaze met hers, and he saw anger flashing behind those emerald eyes. Yet he also saw a gleam of despair among them. He felt her try and wrestle that feisty emotion back into the twisted equilibrium she kept herself at.
"Remy! You're my brother!"
"You know we've never thought of each other as siblings." Remy tilted his head to the side, offering her a small, satisfied smirk. "Friends, best friend's maybe, but never siblings."
"This…this doesn't change anything." She tried to work herself from his arms. He wouldn't let her. This was most likely the last time he would be able to hold her for quite some time. He wanted to remember it, relish it.
"I'd say it changes a lot. Y' wanted to know; now y' do."
"Ah don't…they won't…it doesn't." Her thoughts came too fast for her mouth to process, and her breathing increased as a result. She braced herself on her knees, took a breath, exhaling to a count of ten and then tried to speak once more. "Ah don't want you to leave."
His smile was all but gone as he felt the violent rend in her emotions. She was twisting them back, and hurting herself all the more in the process. "I don't want to leave neither, chére. But I can't marry her knowing you're out there."
"Ah love you, Remy, but not—" Stranding upright once more, Anna slouched her shoulders. Her gaze was fixed on the scant ground between them.
"Shh." He placed a finger to her lips partly because he didn't want his hopes dashed, and partly because he knew she needed time. "It took me awhile to realize, you'll catch on eventually. And by the time I come back, you'll have realized."
Her head shot up, posture straightening immediately. "Come back?"
"Way I figure, it'll take a few years before everyone misses me and allows this whole thing to blow over. And when that happens, m' coming back f' you," he had been smirking, but it melted into a smile with the last of his words.
"An' if Ah came with you now?"
He fixed her with a hard stare from his devil's eyes. "Then I wouldn't likely come back."
She sucked in a breath. She knew of his sense of betrayal from his family, had felt it from their brief transfer. But she hadn't realized how deeply it had run. "Then Ah'll stay. If only so you'll have to make amends with everyone else first. Besides," she lowered her gaze, looking up through her lashes with a coy smile, "Ah need to practice my control."
Remy laughed, striding over to grip her in a fierce hug before settling another kiss upon her lips. "I'll be back f' you, Anna. Y' can count on that."
"Ah know." She whispered.
He gave her am award winning smirk before turning and walking back to his bike. He finished the kick he had started so long ago and the engine roared to life beneath him. He settled, fixing a hard gaze into her eyes before tearing away from the house he grew up in and the girl he loved.
And it felt like he was leaving part of himself behind as he did it.
But he knew that when he came back, she would make him whole once more.
Author's Notes: I'm sorry? Part of the absence was my lack of a computer as I had crashed the hard drive the other part is because I've been extremely busy lately. Anyway, I'm really sorry for the long wait. On top of that, this isn't even the one I planned to do. But the other refuses to be finished. I swear, I've written about four different versions each with the same outcome. Madness, I tell you! Madness! And, I've got another one planned for this universe. I just haven't figured out how I want to twist that one yet. Decisions, decisions. Any suggestions, guys?
Handy reference guide for those of you playing along at home… Remy was 15, Belle was 14 and Anna was 13 in Roadblocks I. It's four years later now. Oh, I guess I'll do the others too; Henry was 18, Julien 18, Mercy 17, Lapin 17, and Theoren and Etienne are 13.