All notes, disclaimers, pairings, etc are in chapter 1
By Jeannine Trevizo
Waking up groggy in a confined space is not fun, no matter what Dracula and any other vampire tells you. Of course, having been dumped here by someone who stole your identity isn't much more fun.
I open my eyes and find Nathan in front of me and see this stunningly large grin on his face as he looks at me, as well as watery eyes. His hands are holding mine so tightly, it's like he's been afraid to let go.
"Are you crying? Crying will not be tolerated."
Suddenly I feel Nathan's head on top of his and my hands and I hear him make some kind of noise that sounds… relieved? I hear Duke and Julia and the others behind me but I can't help but focus on Nathan. He seems so… emotional.
I try to ponder that, but my head is still fuzzy. The next thing I know I'm being lifted up and out of the thing… a trunk I guess… and then they're helping me upstairs to my room. Nathan's hands are on me the whole way and I find myself comforted by that. I can't remember the last time I trusted someone like I do him.
He's a good man, and I'm lucky to have him in my life. He gets me, which is more than I can say for… well, almost everyone I've known.
Before I know it I'm in bed being fussed over by Julia, Nathan still not moving from my side. She tells me I need rest and since its still hours before the boat will be back to get us off the island we should sleep. I'm still not quite recovered from whatever the man who stole my identity did to me, so I don't argue like I would normally. Everyone briefly checks on me and heads to their own rooms, Nathan being the exception. He's still there at my bedside when I drift off to sleep. I know I'm safe since he's there.
What probably is a few hours later I wake and we all slowly make our way to the boat, Nathan once again not more than a foot from me. I'm reassured by that… he's there for me, taking care of me. I'm starting to wonder what I did before him. Finally the boat docks in Haven and I'm getting off ever so carefully, Nathan watching me like a hawk.
I don't have a clue what this whole thing was like for him… to spend hours with me but not know it was me? To be afraid of what it was going to do to them? I just…
"I don't think he was a monster at all," I tell Nathan as we walk off the pier past the patrol car and onto the cement pavement leading to the parked cars and the town itself. "He came to me and he asked me for help and I told him I didn't know how to help him. He looked, he looked really sad. That's the last thing I remember before he became… me."
He's standing so close to me, and my lungs feel tight in my chest as I remember the look on his face and how unyielding his hands had held mine when I was coming to.
I wonder if the reason he's so clingy is because of the chameleon. Did something happen with him and me… it? Something that maybe… changed things between us?
"So, how me was he?" I ask even though I'm not sure I want to know the answer.
"Pretty you," Nathan says, his smile lighting up his face and a slight laugh breaks from his throat. It's a sort of strangled one though and it worries me again. "Pretty much exactly you."
"Yeah? And when did you realize he wasn't me?" I ask, curious exactly what had happened that he knew that the 'perfect copy' of me wasn't me; if something had happened with the fake Audrey that had tipped him off.
"It was… uh… I just know you…" he mumbles, as if that's not what he really wants to say.
"You know me that well?"
"No… not that well. What's your middle name?" he asks, and I start.
"My middle name? Really? It's Prudence… self inflicted at my Confirmation," I say self-consciously. "And yours?"
He smiles suddenly and looks down.
"Thaddeus," he finally replies with a sheepish grin.
"Thaddeus? Thaddeus," I say, grasping the full name of the man before me in my head.
Nathan Thaddeus Wuornos. A fine, strong name for a fine, strong man.
As I look at him I realize that I don't know what I would do without him anymore. It makes me wish I could…
"Inflicted by the chief," he notes suddenly with what sounds like a self depreciating laugh and I inwardly sigh.
"He's a bad, bad man."
I can't help but smile at the thought of little Nathan Thaddeus growing up with his gruff police officer father before I see the body of Eleanor pass us. I look up to regard Nathan and see Duke behind him; his eyes watching the stretcher pass us as well.
"How's Julia?" I ask him as all three of us focus on the woman who lost her life to this craziness.
"Not good. I think she's still in shock."
"I think we all are. I can't believe Dr. Carr's gone," I say solemnly.
There's a sudden shift in Nathan; I don't know why but he shifts away from me, standing straighter and I feel somehow… more alone after he does.
"See you at work," he says before he moves swiftly away and begins to stride towards the vehicles, the chief catching up with him.
I nod at him as I'm left standing here with Duke wondering what the hell just happened. I feel suddenly at a loss with him leaving, like a huge vacuum has opened up in my soul and I realize that I don't want him to go. I… like having him with me, being around me and I stop myself before I go down a road I can't go.
He's still mourning the thing with Jess. No matter what I might… feel, I don't have the right…
I turn my head, ripping my thoughts from Nathan to watch Dr. Carr's body once more. I can't imagine what it would have been like for Nathan if besides Eleanor that they'd been rolling my body out to the wagon as well.
I swallow hard and quickly push the thought away.
I need to put some space between me and all this, so I hurriedly move to my car. When I get the driver's side door open I note that Duke has followed me.
"Hey," he says as he catches the door in his hands. "Happy birthday."
I give him a slight smile but I'm not really feeling it.
"You're kidding me," I say, surprised at his words considering I could have died today and Eleanor did. I think this is one birthday I'd happily forget.
"Just because you got body snatched doesn't mean you don't get a present on your birthday."
I smother a shaky laugh as I take the little box with the red ribbon from his hands. I look at it curiously as I slide the ribbon off the carved wood box and open it, finding a silver oval locket with a square blue stone embedded in it within the confines of the velvet lining. I'm shocked. This is such a… personal kind of gift and I certainly don't have that kind of relationship with Duke.
Maybe Nathan, but…
Still, it's stunning and I'm taken aback at the thoughtfulness of the present in my hand.
"Wow, this is beautiful," I tell him as I lift the locket from the box. "Thank you."
"Look closer… at the engraving."
I turn it over and I see two letters in cursive across the back of the locket. He's giving me someone else's jewelry? Is this an antique, maybe something personal for him? I don't understand.
"Lucy Ripley," he says and I instantly tense, the shock at hearing that name coming from him filling me instantly and I think I visibly shrink back from him.
"How… where did you get this?"
I watch as he closes his eyes and I get the feeling that whatever he's going to say isn't going to be something I like. But then, how often is it?
"Lucy gave it to me," he says after he opens his eyes and looks at me, and I know my feelings must show as his face suddenly clouds over. "The boy, standing next to her in the Colorado Kid photo… that's me."
He… I can't form words at the moment. He knew, it was him and he knew I was looking for answers about this woman, this person who could be my mother. And he never said anything. He'd had this dam necklace all this time and never said anything.
I'm angry now and feel… deceived. Everyone in this place lies to me.
Everyone… except Nathan.
I continue to stare at Duke, my emotions all over the place as I think about him, this town, Lucy Ripley, the troubles… and Nathan. I guess Duke recognizes that I don't… can't say anything else and that I'm confused and hurt and he begins to ease back from the car door, putting space between us.
"Happy birthday," he finally says again before he moves to go, leaving me staring at the necklace in my hand.
I look at it again; my chest feeling like it will burst with more emotions than I can manage. I need someone to talk to, to show this necklace to that will understand me and won't play games with me. Someone that I can trust.
My hand moves to my phone and I start to call Nathan.
– End –
Thanks for reading – All thoughts and reviews are kindly appreciated. Ms. J.