2008-01-28: Hard Choices


Jack_icon.gif Trina_icon.gif

Summary: Lies can't hide the truth forever. Eventually, someone's gotta make a choice.

Date It Happened: January 28th, 2008

Hard Choices

Jack and Trina's Apartment.

"Thirty-three… Thirty-four… Thirty-five…"

Jack hasn't slept. As soon as Trina resumed her gentle snoring, he carefully removed all traces that he'd ever left, crept downstairs, and spent the next few hours savoring his high. When the roaring pound of blood and adrenaline in his ears finally started to dull at about seven AM, he administered another dose and started working out. First stretches, then isometics, and now good ol' fashioned push ups.

For now, what's left of his stash remains carefully hidden in the hollows of table legs, in the wall behind the medicine cupboard, and tucked into an old shoebox full of ticket stubs and birthday cards. Even if one is discovered, hope remains that some of his stockpiles will go unnoticed.

She has no idea that their apartment has become a lie. Truth buried so deeply under other truths so as to be completely obscured. Trina was never one to go actively seeking reasons to distrust.

Maybe it's time she started.

For now, however, she simply pulls herself out of bed. The headache's only a whispered memory of what it was, and her stomach has forgotten the unpleasant roll that seized it earlier. Carefully, the brunette sits up and twists in bed so she might stretch out her legs and allow her feet to find the floor. Jack's sweatpants on her lower half and a ribbed tank top with a fair number of holes' beginnings on the hems and seams on her upper half, she wraps her arms about herself as she shuffles towards the steps down. There's a lazy, long yawn, one hand lifting from its place upon her crossed arm to momentarily scratch at the side of her head. After smacking her lips a few times and one more yawn, she calls down the stairs. "Baby? You up again already?"

Jack perks up at the sound of Trina's stirring and hauls himself to his feet. He's perspiring heavily, partly from the excercise and partly because he's still wearing a long-sleeved shirt. He's already moving toward the kitchen when he replies, "Mmmhm. I had plenty of time to relax yesterday."

Seconds later, he's standing in front of his baby with a smile on his face and a cup of coffee in hand. "You look like you're feeling better."

"I am," Trina agrees softly once she reaches the bottom of the steps. Planting her hands on his shoulders, the woman rolls up onto the balls of her feet to plant a kiss before stretching her hands out towards his coffee cup to steal a sip of it. "You sound better."

Rather than just a sip, Jack relinquishes the whole cup to her and heads back toward the kitchen with a spring in his step. This time it's for a towel, which he rubs briskly through his hair to dry it. "I feel better," he agrees easily, letting the cloth fall and drape over his shoulder.

Now that she has coffee in hand, Trina savors it for a little bit. She closes her eyes and breathes deep the curling tendrils of aromatic steam, and then she exhales through her mouth in a rush. "Good," she finally declares without opening her eyes immediately. "Because we have to talk." Then her gaze fixes towards the couch, moving towards it.

"Sure, hon." The body language is clear. Time to sit. Jack huffs out a breath, tosses his towel into the hallway hamper, and does just that. He settles in a little uncomfortably, as if he'd rather be up and moving. The tip of his tongue flicks out to wet his lips as he glances up at his lady love. "What's up?"

Settling carefully next to her lover, Trina carefully rests the coffee mug on her lap, nestling the ceramic in her hands. She stares at her coffee for a little bit, and then back up to him with a furrowed brow and her lips drawn into a straight, tight line. Might as well cut right to the punch. "Where'd you get the stash, Jack?"

Jack heaves in a deep breath and lets it out as a long, unhappy sigh. "It doesn't really matter now, does it?" he asks. "You flushed it all. It's gone. Over. Can't we just leave it that way?" His tone is questioning to the point of pleading, and there's a hopeful half-smile on his face.

Trina frowns, and there's a regretful hue that it paints over her whole face as she slowly shakes her head. "No, honey. We can't. Because I've flushed shit down the toilet before." Her eyes hold shut a moment, as she tries to communicate the problem. "You got more." When they reopen, their blue gaze looks back to him. She asks the question again, more firmly. "Where'd you get the stash, Jack?"

Now that the peaceful route has failed, Jack shifts abruptly to defensive anger. He stands, glaring down at Trina through narrowed eyelids. "It doesn't matter where I got it," he insists through clenched teeth. "And it's none of your business what I put in my body."

Nevermind the fact that Jack likes to put part of his body in Trina's body. That's beside the point, and you're obviously focusing on the wrong part of the issue.

Trina repays his fury in kind to the penny, one hand clenching about the coffee mug now and gaze darkening. She'll take a lot of crap, but it would seem that he chose the wrong place to start up with this. She won't be spoken to like that. Not yelling, certainly, but it is through force of will alone that such is so. Her free hand lifts to offer a upward pointing of a finger, thought not the middle one. It's a pointing finger, just barely kept from Jack's direction by hunting the ceiling instead. "It's every bit my business, Jack Derex. I am your gawd damned fiancee whether we told anybody else or not, I live here, and I have a right to know who's been pushin' their gawd damned science experiment on you. Where'd. You get. The stash?"

"Pushing? Pushing?" Jack crosses his arms over his chest and his lips press into a thin, unpleasant line. "I chose this. Nobody pushed me into anything this time."

Unable to contain his energy and frustration at the same time, he starts to pace with his hands clasped together at the small of his back. "It came from my dad. It always comes from my dad, okay? He didn't hand it to me personally, but he's where it came from. And whatever, that's fine. It makes me better. Stronger."

Whether or not that's actually true is open to debate, but it certainly seems like he believes it.

Up to her feet at that, Trina sets down her coffee on the small table nearby and then looks to Jack with no small amount of incredulity. "Chose? You chose this?! What happened to 'we'll talk about this'? I knew it! I knew I was being to patient to talk about this. You promised me we'd talk about this. Not even shit like this. This." Her hands come up to her temples, only to thrust in Jack's direction in desperation, as if she might hurl memories directly into his brain. "Do you even remember that? When you looked me in the eye and told me that we would talk about this crap?" There's hurt there in her eyes, and disbelief. Her voice drops. "When did I lose any say?"

Jack just shakes his head tiredly and rakes his fingers through his short, damn hair. "Things changed," he says. "Too many people have tried to hurt us or take from us. People have died."

He turns his back on Trina slowly and deliberately. Not out of disrespect, but so he won't have to see that look in her eyes, and it turn so she won't be able to see the look on his face. "I need the edge," he admits quietly. "I'm afraid I won't be able to protect you without it."

"You're gonna lose me with it. I won't be the reason you kill yourself with that poison." Her arms cross and her chin lifts, Trina looking Derex dead in the …back of his head. He's making quiet admissions. Her voice shakes. "So we got ourselves a big problem, baby."

"We do," he agrees, his voice a calm and even contrast to Trina's shaky one. He stands there for a long moment in contemplative silence. Even with his back turned, it's easy to see him wrestling with the issue. His love, or his need? His fiance, or his 'mistress?' They both call to him.

"I need some time to think," he continues a little less steadily. "I have to get out of here. Walk. Clear my head. Something."

Trina's doing her best to not to cry. She really is. But here he is fostering and nurturing doubt, and her grandmother's insults and admonitions are ringing in her ears with frightening clarity. One of her legs starts bobbing, the knee refusing to stay still. "Whatever you gotta do," she replies at last, readjusting her arms to hug herself more tightly. "But you gotta make a decision. This won't just go away."

Jack pauses in the doorway.

"I love you."

And then he's gone.

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