A/N: This song is Running Again by Gaetan Bergevin. This is the song that inspired the whole theme of this story. I adore this song. Unfortunately, the only place to find this song is on youtube. Luckily, it's easy to find. Gaetan actually contacted me here on FanFiction(dot)net. I guess he googled his name and found my story. I definitely fan-girled for a week.
I do not own Twilight
This is the fully edited version posted on Twilighted(dot)net
The next two weeks ran by too quickly. I tried not to let my feelings show, but I was becoming more and more enamored with Carson. I found myself wanting to know absolutely everything about him. When we were in the car or eating lunch together, we took to asking "rapid fire" questions about each other. We were both so hungry for knowledge about the other. The drive down to our first date was no exception.
"What was your first pet?" Carson asked.
"My dad had a German Shepherd named Rorschach." I smiled, remembering my dad's funny obsession. He had a connection with one in particular that I didn't understand until after my first phase. I was trying to think of a question to ask Carson when he jumped back in.
"The psychologist, the test, or the comic book hero?"
"Nuh-uh, wait your turn." As impressed as I was at his knowledge of the many facets of Rorschach, we had rules for our little game. The first being, you get one question per turn. That's it. If you wanted to know more information than a yes, no, or one word answer, you had to word your question so that it included the need for an explanation. The other rule was that you couldn't copy the question that you just answered. "What was your favorite TV show as a kid?"
"Home Improvement." Well, that couldn't have made more sense. Carson was Mr. Fix-it/Tool-time/whatever, himself. "Back to Rorschach. The psychologist, the test, or the comic book hero?"
I would have to mess with him a little now. "Well, I guess it all goes back to the psychologist now, doesn't it?" I said with as innocent of a smile as I could muster.
"Hrrgruh." He actually growled at me. It was so easy to get him riled up when we played that game. If only he knew how ironic that was that he growled at me. If only I could have actually told him how ironic it was. Stop it. Not today. Let today just be a nice, fun day, I scolded myself.
"Bocce Ball versus Tether Ball. If one could be an Olympic sport, which one would you pick?"
"Bocce Ball, every time. Okay, you can't get out of this one. Explain your smile when I asked what your first pet was."
I'm sure I could think of a way out of this one, but I didn't want to fight him on something he was interested in. I would just have to censor a little bit of what I was going to say.
"I was thinking about how my dad loved comic books, and Watchmen was his favorite. One of his favorite quotes from it or philosophical questions or whatever, was 'Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?' It means 'Who will watch the watchers?' But he used to think of it as 'Who will guard the guards?' It was discussed by all the greats: Juvenal, Plato, and Socrates. I think that Plato was right in saying that you have to make it so that the watchers rule because they believe it is the right thing to do and not because they want to rule, but I also think the watchers have to believe that their lives, their wants, their desires, are forfeit until their job is done. Too many people get hurt in the process."
Then, my words fell silent on my tongue. I knew I had broken one of my personal rules of the game; I let my mouth get away with itself, and I regretted it. I reminded myself that I shouldn't be with Carson. He deserved so much more. He was a god among mortals. Hell, he would have even been a god among all the 'more than meets the eye' types back where I come from. I was just a freak among the freaks.
There was nothing I could do to get myself out of that state of mind for the next few miles. I just drove, the leather of the steering wheel squeaking under my knuckles.
Luckily, Carson took my pause the wrong way.
"You miss him a lot?"
While that wasn't the reason I was upset, it was true. I inhaled deeply and replied, "Yeah, sometimes. Sometimes I just wish I could ask him for advice. You ask the questions. I can't think of any right now."
"What was your favorite TV show as a kid?" he asked with a soft smile. He was trying to keep it light for me. I knew he would try to avoid the heavy topics for a while.
"The Power Rangers."
"Which one did you want to be?"
"I wanted to be the Red Ranger, but I usually felt more like the Blue Ranger or the Yellow Ranger. You know, the dorky ones on the side. But I always had a crush on the Green Ranger."
"The Green Ranger," he said as if he was thinking over my answer or filing it away for later use. Probably the latter. He seemed to know everything about me and remember everything that came out of my mouth.
"Yeah, I think it was the hair." I looked over to him in the passenger seat and winked. He was getting better at pulling me out of my funks, and I was getting better at letting him. Somewhere inside, I felt like I deserved to be happy, and I knew Carson made me happy.
We drove the rest of the way asking and answering questions and going off on tangents about the differences in Jeeps and why anyone would bother buying a Grand Cherokee when they could buy the obviously superior Wrangler.
I drove Highway 97 south and then east towards Kamloops. A little over two hours after leaving the ranch, we made it there. I drove into the city from the South and Carson directed me back north towards the Thompson River. He had me pull into a park that was along the river, and I realized it was where the North and South branches of the Thompson met. I hadn't yet asked what we were doing; I figured Carson would tell me when he wanted to.
"This is Riverside Park," Carson announced, getting out of the Jeep.
"Aptly named," I replied. Carson walked around to the back of the jeep and popped open the tailgate. He pulled out two long, skinny bags that held folding lawn chairs and a large, odd looking backpack.
"You see that mountain right there?" Carson asked, ignoring the backpack and pointing across the river to the North. He slammed the tailgate and started walking into the park.
"Yes." There was a mountain in front of us, across the river. I wasn't sure how he thought I could miss it, but I liked when Carson explained the surroundings to me. It felt like he was sharing a bit of himself with me. He had grown up in these places, and they were as much a part of him as his broad shoulders, or his patience, or his hearty laugh. I secretly hoped that one day I would share with him the parts of myself that were kept in La Push.
"Just beyond that mountain is a First Nations Reserve." In my time in Canada, I learned that while in the States, the pc-term for Indian was Native American, in Canada, the native people that were not Inuit, were members of the First Nations. "They are part of the Secwepemc Nation, and they named this place Tk'emlups. It means 'River Junction.'"
By that point, we had walked far enough into the park to see the Thompson River, and sure enough, it forked out away from us in three different directions. "So what exactly are we doing here at the 'River Junction?'"
"Took you long enough to ask," he said with a smile. "We are here for a concert."
I took a look around. There was an overhang that could have been used for a stage, but other than a couple of families with kids running around, we were the only people there. "A concert. Really?"
"Yes, really. It doesn't start for a couple of hours, but I wanted to get here early, have a picnic," he gestured towards his odd bag, "and make sure we got a good spot to see the stage."
Carson laid the chairs down and pulled open a zipper on the bottom of his bag. Out of the compartment, he pulled a large flannel blanket that he proceeded to shake out onto the ground.
"Carson, a picnic and a concert sound pretty romantic to me."
"I packed the most un-romantic picnic possible and the chairs are to make the concert less romantic," he said with a smile, but it wasn't one of his smiles. He wanted tonight to be a romantic night.
"Alright, what's on the menu?"
"Smoked salmon sandwiches, celery and dip, grapes, and Billot Logs."
"That sounds delicious. The salmon sounds a little over the top, and what are Billot Logs?"
"Well as for the salmon, Chef tried to persuade me to making prosciutto ham with figs and packing champagne and glasses and linen napkins. Smoked Salmon was the most un-romantic lunchmeat he had."
While calling the man 'Chef' sounded snobbish, we only did it because he asked us to. Siwash's head chef's real name was Ermenegilde. He was a Québécois, a French Canadian from Quebec, and Jillian told me his name meant 'all giving' in French. However, one day he grew tired of everyone butchering his name and decided to only answer to 'Chef.' I was impressed that Carson talked Chef out of the more romantic route, so I decided to drop it and let him continue.
"And you will soon find out what Billot Logs are."
We ate our sandwiches, fruits, and vegetables, and they were all delicious. Then Carson pulled the Billot logs out of what turned out to be the cooler bag. They looked, at first glance, like a pink and white sprinkled doughnut stick. He was right that it was in no way romantic, but I was a slightly concerned about the state of our dessert. Then I took a bite. "MMMM, Carson, it's like a HoHo, a Twinkie, and a Sno Ball all got together, had a three-way, and made this delicious little Billot Log Baby." There was no other way for me to describe it at the time. It had the rolled design of a HoHo with the sponge cake and cream filling qualities of a Twinkie, and the pink coconut frosting of a Sno Ball. How can something that comes shrink wrapped in plastic taste so good? I asked myself.
Carson just laughed at me. It wasn't one of my finer moments.
Before the concert, Carson and I just sat on the blanket, watching the water flow slowly by. A few times, a train would pass over the river on one of the bridges. A couple kids skipped stones into the river, but when the concert crowd started to show, their mothers shuffled them off. An older man walked onstage and started to tune multiple guitars around five forty-five.
After a few minutes of warming up, I asked Carson, "So who are we here to see?"
"Are we here just for the fun of a concert or are we here specifically to see this Gaetan guy?"
"We are here specifically to see this Gaetan guy," Carson replied, mocking me. "He is actually really great. I think you will like him a lot."
"Okay, I believe you. When does he go on?"
"He starts at six-thirty, so about a half hour. Do you want me to get out the chairs?"
"No, this is good." Carson smiled at my words and put his arm around my waist. We spent the next thirty minutes people-watching as all of the concert-goers filed into the park and took seats on the lawn.
It was then that I realized why Carson thought it was so 'perfect' that I wear my holey jeans and my hair done up all crazy: We were surrounded by hippies. Everyone had on mismatched clothing and wild hair. A few were even barefooted. I had nothing against hippies, I just wasn't one of them. I liked bathing regularly and proper footwear. Well, when I was away from the Rez I liked shoes. But I should have expected it; we were in a park, at a free concert.
At six-thirty, the man that was tuning the guitars walked back out on stage and took a seat on a simple wooden stool. I had assumed that he was just a stage hand. Now he was wearing a billowy white shirt with the top two buttons undone, loose jeans, and leather shoes. He had shaggy, sandy blond hair and a thick goatee. He said no introduction for himself, as if he was a victim of stage fright. Instead, he just started playing. Instantly, I was drawn in. Carson was right: I did like him. He sang from the back of his throat with so much emotion, about love, and heartbreak, and family. He was folksy and rock and blues. There were a few moments where he sounded a little like John Mayer, or had Joshua Radin's soothing acoustic sounds, or sang with the emotion of Phil Collins, but every second of his concert was uniquely his. Gaetan's hurt was so real. I could feel it myself in some of his songs.
Carson kept his arm around me for the length of the concert and, just as the last song started, he pulled me to my feet, stood behind me, and wrapped his arms around me. He leaned down and whispered into my ear, "This song is why we are here."
Then Gaetan picked up his acoustic guitar and started humming. Carson hummed along and continued to do so even when Gaetan started to sing. He meant Gaetan's words for me. Over the next few minutes, he asked me to grow with him and to trust him, he sang about love like it was a long lost friend that he was welcoming home, he begged me not to run again. The night, the song, the moment with Carson wrapped around me like I was his lifeline, had tears in my eyes. I turned in his arms, grabbing handfuls of hair, and kissed him forcefully, with all the emotion I had been attempting to hide all the previous weeks. He kissed me back with complete disregard for all the people standing around us.
As Gaetan Bergevin finished the last chords of his song, Carson pulled away from me. He looked me in the eye and pleaded with me. "Leloo, sometimes, when we talk, you close yourself off from me. You run so far away from me. I worry that one day, I won't find you."
"I don't want to ever hurt you, Carson, and I know I will one day."
"I trust you not to. And even if you did, we would work through it together." He had complete confidence in his words.
"You can't know that for sure." It was killing me to say these things. I had only just realized that I was falling in love with Carson, so I forced myself to try one last time to push him away. He rejected my stance immediately.
"But I believe it."
At his words I could no longer convince myself that the two of us being together was completely wrong. Maybe it was kind of wrong, or mostly wrong, but something that evoked so strong of an emotion in such an unlikely pair could not be completely wrong. So, I gave into it. I let his love wash over me and mend my broken soul. I decided in that moment that I would stop fighting my own emotions and I would stop pushing Carson away.
I kissed him, and to his lips I requested, "Take me back to the ranch."