A.N./ I'm pretty sure this chapter sucks. It's completely, insanely unrealistic, so I expect nitpicking. The only good part, I think, is the line: "I accepted the bread, laying it like a blanket on the peachy faces of my eggs." Yum.
Anyways, the Jacob results are in! Two of you guys said I didn't even need a Jacob...but then two more asked for Pyro.
Ohhh, joyyyy. An Aussie accent for me to scratch my head over, hahahaha.
Me, I'm still not sure on what I'm going to do, so I might just ask the friend I dedicated this to on her opinion.
O P E R A T I O N
"Drive," was all he said.
And he rasped it in such a light, strained voice so unlike the deep timbre he'd had last. The lids over his ruby eyes were low, eclipsing the unnatural light usually exuded by them. A thin film of sweat lit his blood-drained face like a plastic film stretched over skin, providing a starkly contrasted canvas to the blood splattered all over his clothes and now, Worthington's painfully clean car interior.
I was still standing, legs apart, fists balled outside of the vehicle. He appeared close to death and I was about to attack him. What might have happened if I had struck out at him had me in wide-eyed panic.
After a pause, I nodded mutely at his request and braced my hand on the edge of the door, about to swing myself in when I felt a sharp pain shoot through my finger. In a daze, I brought the appendage to my face, barely able to make out the small bead of blood that had gathered on my fingertip. Not even pain held that much of an impact when I was so badly shaken up as this.
I absently sucked the blood off and repositioned myself before the steering wheel. I dug the keys from my pocket clumsily, missing the ignition slot several times because of my shaking hands. As the engine started up, I slammed my hands on the steering wheel, gripping it so hard that the skin was turned a bone-white in the gaps of my fingerless gloves. However, feeling the hard power of my muscles working helped calm me a little.
I cursed silently, then asked in a surprisingly calm voice, "Aneh particular place we're goin'?"
I was almost afraid that Remy wouldn't answer in his battered state, that I'd have to take him to Worthington's place. And then we'd somehow get closer, walking away as friends...if that happened, if he ever got too close to me, he was as good as dead. Hell, I might as well have just dumped his wounded body on the side of the road, or drive him to a hospital somewhere. Only I didn't know where any were.
"Jus' tell meh where the hospital is," I quickly amended.
"No!" I jumped at the snarled protestation. A painful-sounding groan followed shortly after. Even talking was a strain.
"Why not? Yah some kinda criminal or—" I ducked my head back to make eye contact with him as I interrogated him, but I immediately clammed up again. The image of his body after someone played target practice with him was enough to remind me that he was in no condition. That I should have just done what the poor man said. He couldn't exactly pull anything that I couldn't easily get out of in his current state. And he'd already proved to me once before that he meant me no harm.
"Give meh some directions," I mumbled quietly, bent over the wheel with it once again tightly grasped in my hands.
"Off of...I street...take a left a' the...nex' ligh'...an' then the second righ'. Big apar'men' buildin'...numbah fo'..." His words were barely annunciated, breathed out with each labored gulp of air he took. He was going to go under, fast.
I quickly pulled the car in reverse and out onto the street, hoping to God that no errant cop would catch me in the intense speeding offense I was about to commit. I didn't have a license, and with a close-to-dying man bleeding all over the place, it certainly wouldn't have looked very good. I hunched further against the wheel, pushing my tennis shoe against the gas urgently and keeping my head craned for the turning for I street. It would have been located in the downtown area, I knew that. But I hadn't really ever navigated the sprawl of skyscrapers and corporate complexes that made up this part of the city. Hopefully, I street would have been located just after H street.
As I passed what seemed like twenty street markers, the panic that I'd just wrestled under control threatened to bubble up again. My hands were lubricated with unbelievable amounts of sweat; both were numb from the amount of pressure I was exerting on the hard wheel.
Suddenly, there it was. I street. I made a hard left, actually feeling the tires screech and drag alarmingly underneath the car. Impulsively, I glanced back to see if my careless driving skills had somehow disturbed Remy. The only signs of life from him was the twitching of an eyelid. I floored it.
x x x x x x
Fifteen minutes later, I was standing in front of the opening to the passenger seats, looking frantically between the bleeding body of a sure-to-be heavy, six-foot-something tall man and the high, shining white walls of the apartment building he'd given me directions to. I wrung my fidgety hands in utter indecision.
What the hell did he expect me to do? Cart him through the front door, incapacitated and leaking all over the place?
Ignoring the overwhelming stench of blood, sweat, and something unidentifiable that wafted off of his body, I gently prodded the man. He slumped further down the leather, leaving a rather grotesque fan of liquid where his back had been. I poked him again.
"Hey, Swamp Rat. Wake up," I whispered. No dice. I bit my lip, surveyed the area for any witnesses, then placed both of my hands on his shoulders and gave a shake.
"Wake up! C'mon... Wake up, Remy!" Again, nothing other than an involuntary movement of his arm. I swore nervously under my breath. I was no doctor. Why didn't he want me to just take him to a hospital? He was seriously hurt!
After a moment of dangerous deliberation, I cursed finally and gave in. I placed one of my arms behind his back and tugged. It took several moments for me to drag his body partially out of the vehicle. He was too heavy for any stair-climbing, but I was sure that I could at least deposit him in the closest room to the door. Steeling myself, I looped my arms under his armpits and gave a strong heave. Remy's limp form was supported entirely on me the second he was out of the car, and I fought to keep from buckling under the slab of solid weight. Then, I began my walk backwards to the entry of the building. It was only a couple of easy steps but each awkward shuffle was an incredible struggle.
My back felt the smooth hardness of the entry door. I hesitated, then tilted his body in a way that would allow me easy access to his jacket. Balancing his weight, I shoved a hand into a deep pocket, rifling around for a set of keys. There was nothing of value, not even a wallet.
With a muffled groan, I shifted him to my other shoulder and checked his second pocket. Nothing but a small bit of folded paper, one that was admittedly worn around its edges. I hastily drew back and pulled out Worthington's credit card. If he didn't carry around a key to his own apartment, what else did he expect me to do besides break in?
I quickly unlocked the door, kicking it open wider. I didn't bother closing it behind me. I could already feel some of his sticky blood seeping through my thick sweater. It made me hurry to get him to a level area where I could attempt to treat him.
The building was eerily quiet when I stepped inside. There were few, if any, windows, so it was practically pitch black. I strained to hear anyone—or anything—but it appeared derelict. The only sounds that reached my ears were the echoes of my heavy breaths and blended footfalls. Remy's breathing was hardly there at all. If it wasn't there, shallow and gripping, in my ear, I would've felt like I was carrying a dead man.
I swallowed my trepidation and walked further into the entry. There was some sort of parlor as an offshoot to the entry, or at least that was what I gathered from stumbling over plush chairs in the dark. I shot out a hand and located what seemed like a long sofa. Carefully, I lowered the body onto the soft surface. Then I felt along the walls for a light panel. If there was no way to illuminate the area, then he was dead.
Luckily, there was. My blind fingers came in contact with a piece of raised plastic. I pressed it. The light that suddenly sparked to life was bright against my eyes. I blinked dazedly before turning around, mentally preparing myself for the full extent of Remy's injuries.
His hair, more red than brown in the gold-tinted light, was matted to his head with both sweat and blood. His face was a pallid, stone white from all of the blood loss; his eyelids being a shade lighter with the force he was shutting them. My eyes scanned down the pillar of his neck to where I knew the worst of the injuries were. From my distance away, I couldn't see the grisly particulars, but I counted three gray holes that glistened in little pools of thick liquid. Three bullets that I had to pull out.
My hands shook as I approached the plum-colored chaise, side-stepping the other overstuffed armchairs and pointedly ignoring the red stains that dragged along the expensive Persian carpet. Standing over his body, I found myself at an impasse.
What did I do first? I closed my eyes briefly, thinking hard. Operation, this is just like Operation, I said to myself to calm down and think rationally.
Of course, the only time I'd ever played that game was almost two years ago, when I'd sneak over to Bobby's house. It became increasingly more difficult for us to just sit and talk normally, as if there wasn't a gigantic elephant in the room called sexual tension. So, being the dork that he was, he broke out the board games. Operation was one of his favorites, although mostly because he would goad me into distraction as I was conducting the "surgery." I think I still had that somewhere, probably forgotten under the bed of my last house.
My heart ached. I shook my thoughts back into order, my green eyes once again looking over the tanned body. He was filthy. I needed to get him cleaned up before touching him.
I glanced around for the possible entrance to a bathroom or access to a sink. There was a sharp turn from the parlor, the flooring underneath the carpet melting into a glazed marble that dimmed into a dark hall. I followed the path, walking along the hall uncertainly. In the almost non-existent lighting, I saw an indent in the wall, presumably another hall. I ducked into it.
At the end of the hall was a small room. I flicked on a switch set into the wall, and found myself staring into a mirror with wide eyes. It was an intricately framed piece of glass, making my scraggly appearance seem unworthy of the glitz that encompassed it. The walls of the small room were an ambient gold, the sink just below the reflective surface a granite, polished black. A toilet bowl of the same material was fitted into the corner of the bathroom, and a shower occupied the space next to it. The tub was generously huge, wide enough to service as both a jacuzzi bathtub as well as a shower.
Suddenly, I had an idea.
x x x x x x
I stood above the smooth granite tub, carefully repositioning Remy's head above the rim. His head had to be turned away from the spray of the water if I didn't want to drown him. Then there was the issue of his clothes.
His khaki flak jacket looked heavy, and his simple shirt and jeans were already torn and bloodied beyond repair. I took a moment to shudder at the thought of what he must have run into as I attempted to tug the collar of his trench coat over his broad shoulders, exposing the tops of finely muscled arms. After a bit of a bit of struggling, the jacket came off. I tossed it carelessly behind me in a thick heap on the floor.
Next came his shirt. It was already torn in several places, so to save myself the trouble I just ripped along the seams until it parted, useless scraps of thin cloth left hanging onto his injured chest. I didn't want to move his chest around too much to disturb the wounds there, so I left it on, my gloved hands already in a frenzy over his jeans. I unzipped them easily enough, working them over Remy's slim hips, but I wasn't able to bring them past his knees. And for my own sake, I left his boxers untouched.
I pulled off my gloves. Then I turned the silver tap on medium heat and left a hand under the gushing spray of water to check the temperature as it heated up before turning the hose on the injured man. When I figured it was warm enough, I pulled the plug that would send the water jet to the sprayer head, watching mutely as each droplet landed on his head, drew in the particles of dirt and blood, and sent them in a river down his body. As soon as his torso was cleared, I turned off the shower. I placed his khaki jacket on his legs for warmth, then turned away from the bathtub and began rifling through the set of drawers under the sink.
Any decent bathroom would be equipped with a pair of tweezers, paper towels, and some sort of alcohol. I thought that even mouthwash was worth a try, though I knew next to nothing about treating injuries. I was relying on my common sense here. Hopefully, that would have been all I needed to rescue Remy.
In the end, all I could find was an unused toothbrush, a small bottle of exotic French cologne, and a pocket razor. I looked around helplessly at the mess of drawers and their contents that littered the marble floor, then snatched the roll of toilet paper that sat innocuously on the back of the toilet.
I twisted on the floor, materials balanced on the rim of the bathtub. Once again, the sight of his body caused me to flinch and panic.
What happened if the cologne wasn't strong enough and he got an infection? What happened if I accidentally severed an artery? What if—what if he died?
Anna Marie, you better get a damn grip on yourself before you pass out on top of him, I scolded myself angrily. The images behind my brain kept coming, though, and they were easy to picture: the man before me, dead. All he had to do was stop breathing, or lose just a little bit more blood. It would be so easy for that small bit of life in him to slip oh so silently away with me sitting here, agonizing over what-ifs and wringing my fingers pathetically.
Unexpectedly, the image of the broken, battered body of a young woman burned behind my retinas, an image that I knew well. The corners of my eyes stung and my dry throat ached. I fought down the urge to both gag and cry at the likeness between the two of them now, except one: I could choose to save him. I could choose to save Remy, where with Merry-Lewis, I was already too late.
I swiped up the razor in my palm, extending it with a tiny flick. Squeezing the flat, cool metal of the handle like a stress ball, I placed it back on the rim. I picked up the glass bottle of cologne, unscrewed the lid, and shook out several drops into my sweaty hands. Then I gently brought my hands down to the top of Remy's chest, just where his neck ended. He was still warm, and his skin felt soft but unyielding in a way that made me forget myself and flush. With light circles, I spread the spicy-smelling alcohol into his skin, applying more over his bullet holes until the room's air became the smell of cologne. He had three: one, off center and right next to his left shoulder; the second, just beneath his right nipple; and the third, one that looked to be embedded in his ribcage. The white of bone shone in a thin sliver next to the lead. I shivered, running my hands once more over the injuries.
He seemed to jerk involuntarily, twice. I took it as a good sign and armed myself with the razor. Once the blade was grasped in my hand, however, I hesitated. How did I go about this? Was it like pulling teeth, all quick and painful? Or did I have to go about it gently and work the lead balls out?
I stuck the sharp end of the knife into the hole closest to his shoulder, right between the bullet and skin. Using the flat metal as a lever, I pried out the object to have it rise and rest on the skin of his chest. He spasmed. I held him steady.
The same process repeated, again and again, until all three pieces of metal were laying flat on his skin. I unrolled the toilet paper and patted down the sweat that had broken out on his torso. I used up the rest of the cologne to clean up the little holes left behind.
Somehow, they seemed puckered, almost smaller. I brushed away the thought and attributed it to my fatigue.
I didn't know how long I'd been here, but in my mind it felt like hours. My back ached from bending over the bath tub and my neck and fingers were stiff with strain. I could feel the aching throb from earlier build up from behind my temples. I wanted to find somewhere to lie down and effectively pass out, but I felt some inexplicable responsibility for the unconscious man that tied to to where I was.
I sat back against the cabinet, desiring for at least a modicum of comfort. I braced myself for the long night, watching through half-lidded eyes Remy's peaceful body. I hoped he wasn't in a coma. I think that was my last thought before I gave in to sleep.
x x x x x x
My head was floating in nonsensical dreamland. That was all I could use to rationalize what I was seeing, or rather, the montage of images my brain was sending me. It was blurry; my vision seemed to wet. I was crying. The floor came up to meet me, but there was no pain, even as my cheek smashed against the ground. The sensation was light, a brief tickle against my bare skin. Somehow, I knew my jaw was broken.
The water in my eyes left me, little droplets plinking onto the floor to meet a sea of blood. I didn't have any control over my eyes as they slid around in their sockets. The glare of light on metal struck out at me. There was a shiny object laying next to my head, and my hand crawled pathetically to meet it.
I grasped the gun and where there should have been the icy coldness of metal in my grip, there was a strange warmth. I raised my hand and aimed surely. Then I pulled the trigger. The bullet flew precisely, shooting straight through the blue eye of Warren Worthington.
I woke up.
It was slow, not at all as dramatic as it should have been in the wake of such a violent nightmare. My eyes pried themselves open with lethargic sluggishness. I blinked several times, staring at a creamy ceiling. My head felt so much better, free of any swollen pain, cushioned on something soft. A pillow? I moved a leg. It slid across some smooth, uninterrupted plane, covered in what I thought was a thick blanket. I sat up quickly, looking around.
The walls were painted with an expensive looking cream glaze that offset the same ivory marble that made up the floor of the room. I was lying in a humongous bed. There were massive amounts of comforters piled on top of my body, all contributing to the unusual amount of warmth I felt. I heard the lazy whips of blades coming from the white fan hanging above the bed, but that seemed like the only appliance in the room. Although it was spacious, the place was devoid of any furniture other than the black, four-post bed.
Cautiously, I picked off the heavy layers of blanket from my form and stepped out of the bed. My feet were taken out of their sneakers and socks, bare and sticky against the cold stone. I peered down at myself, only to find that my clothes were off, too; at least, my shirt was. I was once again clad in a strappy camisole as I paraded around a guy's house. Or was I even still at the apartment building?
"Remy?" I called out uncertainly. No reply. I tried again, slightly louder. I thought I heard something clang in another corner of the building, but no real response met me. I walked out of the doorway, poking my head into the hall. It looked just like the half-lit passage from last night: white, wide, and marbled. I wasn't entirely sure I was in the same wing, though...
I thought I could hear a faint crackling noise along the same area that the metal clang came from. I followed it. As I walked towards the source of the noise, a heavy, flavorful smell filled my nostrils; a smell that I associated with frying bacon. There was another doorway to the left, and I silently glanced inside.
The small room was, again, furnished spaciously, but whatever little had been installed there were mostly kitchen appliances: a large chrome refrigerator, a small cooking stove, a microwave/oven combo, and just barely enough counter-top room to chop vegetables next to a polished sink. A large, clear window let cheery white sunlight into the space. I squinted my eyes against the harsh light, suddenly noticing the figure that had just stepped into the main space of the kitchen.
There stood Remy, clad in nothing but a pair of loose shorts, moving about like absolutely nothing was wrong. He was grasping the handle of a frying pan and walking towards the stove, gripping two eggs in his other hand. There was a sort of cheery jaunt in his step that matched the slightly familiar tune he whistled. He didn't seem to notice me. My eyes bugged.
"What the hell are yah doin'?!" I demanded in alarm, stalking over to him and impetuously tearing the frying pan from his grasp. I slammed the pan on the nearest surface, took him by the arm, and began attempting to lead him back to the bedroom I'd just come out of.
"Whoa, chere. Dontcha wan' to have some breakfast before we hop into bed?" he asked, a damn grin plastered all over his mouth. I realized that I wasn't succeeding in moving him an inch. And that my skimpily clad torso was pressed into his incredibly warm, incredibly toned chest... I felt heat rise to my face as I dropped his arm like it was diseased.
"Ugh, if yah realleh can joke like that, then yah're fine, an' Ah'm leavin'." I scowled, walking towards the door frame. I didn't know how to get out of here, but maybe I could wander around until I found the door?
"Hol' on. Have some breakfast," he all but ordered. My stomach chose that precise moment to growl thunderously. I spun around in embarrassed anguish, only to see his bright smile with the words "I-told-you-so" written all over it. My eyes traveled over his form, really studying his wounds for the first time. His tanned body was propped cockily against the wall, sculpted arms folded over equally muscular chest. I looked at him questioningly underneath my lashes. His unusual eyes seemed taken aback, but he made no move towards or away from me.
I stepped forward and watched as my hand made the contact with his tight skin. There was that odd, unsettling flutter of my stomach and the daze in my brain that made the situation dreamlike, unreal. The color of my skin was light against his, and the texture was smooth and hot on my palm. I ran my hand demurely down his clavicle and into the hollow beneath his neck, keeping my gaze firmly fixed on his chest, not daring to meet whatever could be on his face. My fingers around skated what was left of the hole around his shoulder, never once touching the sensitive scar.
"That's strange," I murmured to myself, craning my head to get a closer look at the healing wound. I could feel his hot breaths, warming my ear and very slightly disturbing a few strands of my hair.
"...What is?" he said, with what sounded like difficulty. My gaze darted down to his hand which looked like it was about to crush the two eggs clenched in it. I met his gaze with a frown.
"The injuries...they're almost healed. It's like yah got wounded months ago, maybe even a year." I shook my head. Remy stepped away from me hastily, picking up the frying pan from earlier and turning his back to face the stove.
"Dat's weird," he agreed lightly. I stared at him, wondering how the hell he could take gunshot wounds and their subsequent disappearances so lightly. It reminded me of something. I leaned back against the counter, trying to peer into his face. He looked expressionless, almost like he was blocking any trace of emotion from making an appearance.
Remy emptied the contents of the eggs into the pan, the heat causing it to fizzle and crack. I pulled myself off of the granite and glanced down at my rumpled clothes, frowning to myself. I knew I was forgetting something. Then I looked down at the whitening eggs in the pan.
"Ah, shit." My hand flew to my forehead. Remy gave me a sideways glance.
"Ah forgot mah groceries. Damn..." My shoulders slumped.
I glanced at his back. "Huh?"
"I put dem in my fridge dis mornin'. An' I also drove de car back..."
"What?! What d'ya mean yah drove the car back?" I stared at the cowlick that was sticking up on the back of his head. He obviously wasn't going to turn around any time soon.
"I took it back," he said simply. "It wasn' yours, righ'? So, I drove it back t' where your house was." Remy ducked away from me with the frying pan, still avoiding eye-contact as he headed towards a cabinet and pulled out a plate.
I gaped at him incredulously. "Where d'ya get the right ta jus' take mah stuff?"
He was shaking the two eggs onto the china. "Well, correct me if I'm wrong, chere, but dat wasn' even your car to begin wit'." I could tell by his tone that he was struggling with his patience. I shook my head.
How the FUCK did he even know that to begin with?
"'Sides," he muttered, pinching what I assumed was salt and spreading it on the food. "I couldn' have jus' left those bloodstains." Remy picked up the plate and deposited it gently on the square island in the middle of the kitchen. Then he pulled open the handle of a shiny cabinet (a fridge?) and brought out a loaf of bread, one I recognized as the brand that I bought last night. He caught me watching it and offered a slice with a half-lift of his mouth.
"Sorry; don' have a toaster."
I accepted the bread, laying it like a blanket on the peachy faces of my eggs.
"What, yah're not gonna eat?" I asked, just as Remy walked over to another cupboard and brought me a fork. I pulled out the barstool under the island table and plopped onto it.
"Why, you wan' me to spoon-feed you, petit?" His voice was teasing, but his expression made him look so tired. Although his body seemed to be in perfect working order, there was a certain slackness to his movements, like he'd just performed an Olympic feat and now had to deal with incredibly sore muscles. It was something I'd just noticed, but only because he was trying so hard to hide it.
"Remy?" I asked quietly, stabbing my eggs with the silver fork tines in an effort to avoid his clear, strange gaze. "What realleh happened last night?"
A long pause ensued. I looked up, only to find that same closed-off, painfully blank expression on his face. It was hard to believe that he was smiling just seconds ago. Instantly, my little, now muted alarm flared. Somehow, I'd asked the wrong question, and now he looked just a little pissed off. He turned away from me, walking down the room to stop right before the doorway.
"...are you almos' finished wit' your breakfas'?"
I blinked, glanced at my barely-touched food and answered: "Yeah."
"Good," Remy replied in a hard voice. "Because now you have to leave."
He left the room. I concentrated on swallowing my eggs over the bad feeling that swelled in my stomach.
x x x x x x
Not much French here, mostly 'cause I wrote it all in Chem. class. -_-'
Alas, we get to see a bit of the (dark? mysterious?) Remy. Well, at least I was aiming for his dark/mysterious side...you guys can tell me how that worked out. We're just at the beginning of this story, folks, and I actually have a -GASP- plot! And it's (thankfully) nothing at all like Twilight, so my original intention may or may not pan out with this. But what do you guys care if it's a Twilight remake? You get a Romy fic!
Review! It makes the chapters come faster!