2007-04-03: Severed


Eliana_icon.gif Jack_icon.gif

Summary: Eliana and Jack finally talk. It doesn't go well.

Date It Happened: April 3rd, 2007


Enlightenment Books

It's the need for her own copy of Activating Evolution that has brought Eliana into Enlightenment Books this afternoon, and it's her own personal need to avoid contact with Cass that has prompted her to act a little skeevy. She moves slowly and browses a bit, not taking off her sunglasses and wearing a cap to cover her hair as she walks about the store. Still, tell-tale bits of pink poke out from under the cabbie's hat, and the glasses aren't so large that it her identity is hidden. She's browsing the Sci-Fi magazines at the moment, genuinely interested in the reviews of new titles.

Jack doesn't spend a lot of time in bookstores as a general rule. Today he's in search of Cass, hoping for some female insight on the recent Eliana-oriented craziness in his life. He pauses outside the door, take a final draw from his cigarette, then negligently flicks it over his shoulder and into the street. Then he tugs his grey suit coat straight and slips inside. He spots Eliana immediately. It doesn't take a whiz kid to see through her disguise, after all. He stiffens, and for a moment he seems as if he may turn and leave. Then, finally, he squares his shoulders and strides up to her. "So. You changed the locks on me."

The last person Eliana expected to run into today was Jack. She thought he might come to the Pink Pony during one of her shifts in order to try and talk to her, but on her day off, Eli was convinced she'd be free of the confrontation. So when Jack comes up and speaks to her, she jumps a little, reaching up to pull her glasses from her face and reveal an expression that is, at first, shocked, but which quickly turns to pained resentment. "So? You changed Jews on me."

"That's it, eh? No 'there has to be some rational explanation'? No benefit in your doubt?" Jack shakes his head slowly. "Cohen is a friend. She was playin' up bein' my girl because there was a barfly hittin' on me an' I wanted to be left alone. Your lack of faith is heartwarming, though." He crosses his arms over his chest and frowns, deeply lining his mouth and brow.

"Well," Eliana says after taking a deep breath. Getting too upset in a public place is certainly not the way to go. "She certainly…she certainly seemed to be good at 'playing' at it." Eli isn't buying it. "And you /own/ a bar, Jack. You can't expect me to believe that you don't know how to avoid a flirtatious barfly. You don't need to let some /other/ barfly latch onto you with her…with her kurveh claws to get another to go away." Taking a step closer to Jack, Eliana lowers her voice to a hissing whisper and lifts the magazine to hide her face from the better part of the store. "You can't expect me to believe /now/ that she didn't spill that drink on /purpose./" Writers have crazy imaginations, and Eli's has gotten away from her. "What is it? That she coos at you in Hebrew and Yiddish? Do you wish I sounded more like my /grandmother?/" Is that a stab at Yael's apparent age?

Jack blinks owlishly. For once in the Irishman's life, he's completely flabbergasted by someone /else's/ outlandish and ill-conceived notions. "Wha.. Wait, what?" Then he snaps his slack jaw shut with a clack. "Are you /fucking/ serious? After everything I've put up with and everything I've done to help you, you think I just run off with the first hussy that passes by?" Yael is not a hussy, but that'd hardly fit into his arguement. Though Jack's narrowed eyes and flushing cheeks are a sure sign that he's getting angry, his voice is a low, carefully controlled murmur. "I'm not so flighty as that. And don't think so highly of yourself. Cohen doesn't know you, and wouldn't care if she did. She's a drinkin' buddy. Like Lachlan or the Petrelli boys."

"You can imagine my /shock/ then, when I saw you cozied up to her like that!" Eliana says with a shiver, her face pinkening. The gas starts to seep from her, but it doesn't quite leave her personal bubble, and she's wearing a jacket over her t-shirt, which definitely helps dampen it. "I'm sure she only knows what you've told her about me, and if she was willing to do /that/, then I can't imagine it's much." With a sigh, some of the color starts to leave Eli's face. "I…fuck, Jack, I thought we were /fixing/ things!"

"I've been working on it. I don't know what the bloody hell you've been doing," Jack replies. He arches one eyebrow and lets out a puff of pent-up breath, his greatest outward show of frustration thus far. Inside, however, there's a running countdown to track his pending explosion. "I can't believe you'd just toss me without so much as a goodbye. I tried to follow you and explain, but when I got there you were gone."

"I got a job, didn't I?" Eliana says as she turns toward the rack to replace the magazine with its fellows. "I changed the locks because… because I didn't think I could trust you." And suddenly, the conversation is about more than infidelity and flirtatious barflies. "Maybe it was drastic. But… dammit, I was /pissed/ at you."

"And you were acting infantile." Jack is relentless. Fidgeting, he unlaces his arms and stuffs both hands into his coat pockets. "If all it takes it one glance at a misunderstanding for you t'grow angry and distrust me, then it's better that I find out now." Though it's left unvoiced, the hurt that Eliana's declaration inflicted is visible in his eyes, which are now wide and surprised. "Bein' as my loyalty means so little to you, I think it's best I go now."

"Jack," Eliana says with a frustrated tremor of a plea. "Jack, I sat and I watched you. I watched you with her. I…" but there's no debate to be had inside Eli's brain. "I should have spoken up, but honestly? I wanted to avoid a scene." Running her fingers over the tops of the magazines in her own little fidget, Eliana bites at her bottom lip. She doesn't want… And he's never lied to her /before./ Eliana's own guilt starts to seep into her again, much like the gas seeping out. "Jack, I'm sorry," she finally says, her voice laced with the first indications of tears.

Where most decent men would gather Eliana up into there arms and reassure her, Jack instead takes a few steps backward. He hasn't spent a couple of months dating the walking mickey without learning a thing or two, after all. He sighs. "You should be," he responds. "You owed me better treatment than this." As fast as they accumulated, the visible signs of his anger and sadness are gone, replaced by a distant a vauge disappointment. Pulling one hand from his pocket, he tosses his spare key to the floor without breaking eye contact with Eli. "There. That won't do you much good, but I don't want it anymore. I shouldn't have to prove myself to you."

Eliana winces at the clatter of the metal on the wood. "You're right," she mumbles. "But…" and after a swallow, Eli's able to finish her sentence. "…I do have an extra new one. These things come in pairs."
"No thanks." Maintaining his cold, detached front, Jack stuffs his freed hand back into his pocket. "Now we have a new problem. /I/ have to decide if /you/ can be trusted."

Eliana slowly turns her head to face Jack, thankful at least that he's still standing there. Her eyebrows are furrowed upward, and her lips are drawn in a timid frown. "…okay," she says slowly, getting a handle on her heartbeat. "I…how do I help you do that?" While Jack is icy, Eliana is shivering.

"I don't know," Jack replies grimly. "I've never had this conversation with someone before. I need some time to think it over. We've been through so much together, I never imagined…" The end of his sentence trails off, then he shrugs. "I'll call you. In the meantime, stay outta the Den. I don't need to have my business disrupted as well." With that he turns and slips outside. With shaking hands, he fumbles his flask out of his pocket and empties the half-pint in one go. Then he fishes out a cigarette and lights it.

Books and magazines can wait for now. The guilt that's been bubbling up in Eli for the last few minutes finally wins its battle against her fear, and she follows Jack outside, only a few paces behind him. "Jack," she says when the door closes behind her. Yes, make sure /that/ door is closed. "Jack…" but she can't ask him not to get mad. "You didn't find me the other night because I didn't go home." Easing in seems…well, easier at this point.

Jack scrapes the last vestiges of his willpower together and pastes on his detached expression once again. Unfortunately, he's only partially successful. He's got the look down, but the attitude is harder to reclaim. A little confused and overwhelmed, he takes a drag from his cigarette to buy himself a moment. "Ok, I'll bite," he says, partially obscured by exhaled smoke. "Where were you?"

Eliana shrinks back a bit with a small wince, then looks to one side. "I… I went to Lachlan's. I should have gone to Oli's," she adds, turning to the other side and looking at the sidewalk rather than at Jack. "I should have, but I didn't. And I can't tell you /why/ because…because I was upset, and who's rational when they're upset?" Eli glances to Jack when she asks the question, but after another quick breath, she starts talking again, gesticulating wildly. And moving. In a circle around Jack. It seriously helps the words. "I was upset, and I want to his place…maybe it was his voice because of your voice… But that's stupid. Anyway, he made me feel better. Made me sing. And…" By this time, Eli is in front of Jack again, and that terrified expression has found her again. "Jack, you have to swear you won't tell gas. It was that damned scotch and the…the /gas,/" (the 'g' word is whispered, given their location), "and neither of us /meant/ to do it. I should have gone to Oli's. I'm sorry I was…I was stupid and…acting under false pretenses." Eliana sighs and swallows, as if bracing herself for a firing squad. "So…there. No more misconceptions, or lies, or…" cheating. Gulp.

For a moment Jack can only gape. Forgotten, his cigarette falls from his slack hand and patters onto the concrete. Then he flinches as if physically struck or burned. "What?" The robust energy has been sapped from his voice. Now he sounds weak, almost sickly, like an old man. Suitable, because he's looking a little green around the gills. "Uh. I." His breathing is fast an uneven, and his grey eyes have glazed over. Unconciously, he backs one step away from Eliana, then another, taking himself outside her pacing cirle. "No." More than a denial or refusal, it's a man pleading with what has already passed. He cups both hands over his face and mutters through them. "You didn't. He wouldn't." But he would, and Jack knows it.

Blinking, Eliana realizes that Jack has moved…that way. Oh. She swallows again, then shakes her head. "Jack, we didn't /mean/ to. Scotch is a bitch, and…well, I'm no help. I told you that when you first shacked up with me." Eliana squints as she steps toward Jack, slowly lifting her hands to at least press them to his chest. "Jack, I'm sorry. If I had known, then I wouldn't have even /left/ the club. And I should have gone to Oli's, anyway. I'm so sorry." While the gas remains in check, Eliana's tears start to brim again.

"Don't fucking touch me!" Jack shouts and pushes Eliana's hands away none-too-gently. Taking a deep breath, me masters himself again. His suspicion confirmed, the Irishman goes from disbelieving to furious in a heartbeat. "Don't touch me," he repeats, softer this time. He backs away farther, until he bumps into a newspaper machine and nearly trips over it. With his hands on the metal surface, he interposes the obstacle between himself and Eli. "Y-you. I c-c-can't. B-but." For the first time in his life, he's at such a loss for words that he stutters.

Eliana stumbles back, but internally, the push sends her over the edge. As the tears start to fall, she starts to lose her grip on her control again, and the gas slowly seeps out once more. "Jack, please," she cries out through her sobs. Such emotional scenes on New York's streets aren't entirely unheard of, but that doesn't mean that the pair don't earn their share of rubberneckers. Still, the number is small for now. "Jack, I'm /sorry./”

"No." This time it is a refusal, not just a vauge denial of the truth. Jack seems to shrink in on himself a bit, managing to look smaller and frailer. The keen observer might see a hint of moisture in his eyes, as well. He lets out another ragged breath and continues to back away. "Leave me alone."

It's perhaps the most hurtful thing Jack could have said in response, but it's not unwarranted. That might be why Eliana simply stands there a moment before she turns to go, lifting a hand to cover her face as she continues to cry. The further she gets from Jack, the brighter the ironic smiles are on the people she leaves in her wake.

Likewise, Jack turns and flees without another word. He's not so graceful about it though, and takes off at a dead run.

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