2007-10-25: The Truth


Trina_icon.gif Jack_icon.gif

Summary: Jack tells Trina what's really happening in the Empire of Derexia.

Date It Happened: October 25, 2007

The Truth

1701 - Prestige Midtown Apts. - Midtown

"That's not acceptable."

Frustrated, Jack pounds the heel of his hand against the kitchen counter. His eyes flash dangerously and he grits his teeth. "Do better, Troy. I paid for results, and I expect to see them." He reaches into his pocket and pulls out one of his injectors. His hands tremble as he stares at it, and even the sight distracts him from his conversation.

With a groan, he stows the cylinder and shakes his head. More quietly than before, he continues. "I don't have long." It's not clear if he's referring to how much time he has before Trina wakes up, or to something else entirely.

While the amount of ungodly painkillers has diminished over recent months, there's still a good amount that course through her veins. It makes Trina sleep a lot longer than she did prior to the accident and more soundly. It makes it so that waking up takes more time. However, even though she's still in bed and her eyes are closed, the brunette hears everything. Everything until Jack's voice drops.

That's when the dark haired woman finally pries her eyes open. She liked it better when she could hear him. He hasn't given her a reason not to trust him, aside from the delicately performed waltz that they danced when he left. A waltz that she still feels like she's dancing. Quietly, she slips out of bed and pulls a flannel shirt off of the floor on her side to slip over her tank top.

There's a moment where Jack just listens with the phone pressed tightly to his ear. Slowly, his jaw unclenches and the muscles around his eyes relaxes. As they do, a noticeable tic pulls the left side of his forehead and cheek upward several times in quick succession. "I don't know. A couple of months, maybe. It could be as little as a few weeks. The attacks are coming closer together and the drugs are starting to lose effect."

More seconds pass as he listens again. He shakes a cigarette loose from the pack on the counter and screws it between his lips. In the process of looking for a match, he pauses in mid-stride and sighs. "No, I understand. You're doing your best. Just remember, if you don't deliver, I'll never be able to pay you the second half."

Looking down as she buttons her shirt, Trina is still very quiet, listening. Once her task is done, she emerges from her place further back on the loft and sits on the edge, feet dangling partway onto the ladder. Her forehead crinkles as she looks down, her arms cross and rest over her thighs as she leans forward, and her lips curl downward into a concerned frown. The most audible thing that she does throughout the whole process is the large sigh she heaves at the very end.

"Don't get snippy with me, man. Just find me someone who can get the job done," Jack says shortly. He presses his fingertips to a hairline that feels permanently pinched into a frown. "And find me a new doctor. Isher is de—"

Trina's sigh is just loud enough to get his attention. Immediately, he snaps his cell phone closed and whirls around to face her. "Hey honey," he greets her, suddenly wearing a smile. He's got on a sleeveless undershirt and the bottom half of the flannel pajamas that Trina's wearing, which he fingers absently as he sets his phone down on the counter. Suddenly remembering his cigarette, he fumbles out the match he'd been searching for and strikes it. "Did you sleep well?"

"Like the dead," Trina replies with an emphatic lift of the corners of her mouth. They fall right back into place, however, proving the hollowness of the gesture. She's concerned. Going down the ladder on her rear end to prevent any nasty balance-related spills (it's always harder going down than up), she doesn't really speak again until she's got her feet on solid ground. "'m guessin' you don't wanna talk about it." From her sullen tone, it should be pretty darned apparent that she's not talking about her nap.

Jack's guilty glance at his cellular phone confirms her assumption. He shifts in place uncomfortably, then shrugs. "No big. Just running low on meds and looking to get my prescription refilled."

It's almost the truth. Almost.

With a quick shake of his head and another shrug, he turns back toward the kitchen. "Hungry? I thought I'd boil some eggs and make toast. There are still a couple of fresh peaches, too."

Trina's not entirely sure she buys it, but there are no grounds to call her boyfriend on it. Thus, she just responds to the last of it. "Sure." She, for a split second, thinks about trying to take those two peaches to make a cobbler, but then remembers her last attempt to laugh in the face of fate. It took four HOURS for her to scrub the oven out. She just sticks her thumbs in the waistband of her pants and shuffles bare foot towards the kitchen, but her gaze fixes on the floor passing beneath her. "You'd tell me if there was somethin' I could do, right?"

Jack stretches out his arms to catch Trina as she passes. Gently, he gathers her up in his arms for a hug. "I would," he promises. "I'm trying not to worry you more than I have to. I'm sick. I'll get better. I don't want to make more of it than that if I don't have to." He brushes a lock of hair back from her face with a tender touch and smiles down at her.

As she's all caught up, Trina looks up at Jack for a moment as he's there with that smile. He's trying to paint reality, but reality is not so easily overcome. Not this time.

She heaves a sigh and then slips out of his arms again, even though it feels like she's ripping her own skin off in the process. She wants a hug. She does. But sometimes what a person wants must be sacrificed to make a point. She furrows her brow more deeply and slants her head, arms crossing nervously over her chest. "'m already worried, Jack. 'nd you're not bein' a hundred percent honest with me. I live here. I think I know you pretty well. 'nd maybe 'm not as smart as Laney or Nathan or … or a whole lot of other people I'm sure you know, but I ain't stupid, either."

The words are enough to elicit a wince from Jack. He crosses his arms over his chest, unconsciously copying Trina, hugging himself and filling the void left when she slips away. He sighs, and his grey eyes crinkle up sadly. "I'm not doing you any favors by keeping this from you, am I?" It's an empty, rhetorical question that they both already know the answer to. As if it's operating on independent orders, one of his hands slowly slides down into his pocket. When he notices the movement he starts slightly and frowns, but pulls out the injector he'd been eying earlier.

Trina's ice blue gaze follows Jack's hand very keenly. She's paying attention. Then there it is. That horrible little device that the motorhead has so quickly come to despise. The dreadful thing that has become the symbol of a lie. It's much easier to be angry at that than Jack.

With a great deal of effort, she smooths her features to her very best poker face. Admittedly, her poker game sucks and her inability to completely mask her emotions that is mostly to blame. In this particular instance, her lower lids lift slightly as she considers and assesses. Then she readjusts her arms to wrap them more tightly about herself. Go ahead, her posture seems to say. I'm waiting to hear what you have to say.

Jack's gaze follows Trina's to the penlike unit that's come to run his waking hours. Well past his initial initial ration of two per day, he's now taking two at a time. Only he knows how many times a day, but it's more than two, that's for damn sure. When he looks back up at Trina's face, he's wearing a pleading, forlorn expression. Dejected. Guilty.

He pops the safety cap from the injector and stabs it into his leg.

Though he longed to administer the dosage closer to his heart, the signs are still instantaneous. His muscles immediately relax, though there is also a sudden wariness about him. A keen, animalistic awareness and energy. He blinks his eyes into focus and glances at Trina again. "You're going to want to sit down. This is going to take a while, and you aren't going to like it."

Finally. Finally. The truth. Heaving one last breath — this one to brace herself — Trina makes her way to the couch. He says sit down? She'll sit down. Her knees are drawn up to her chin, heels resting on the edge of the couch. Once her arms are wrapped around her folded legs instead, her attention wordlessly goes back to Jack, blue eyes peering out from behind the wall of that leggy fortress as she hides her face up to her nose behind her knees.

With his face set into a grim, drawn expression, Jack launches into a retelling of his adventures during his time away, starting with his encountering a 'mysterious stranger' on the street in Midtown. He carefully skims over details concerning his family, only revealing that he has more brothers than he'd previously revealed, and that they and his father were responsible for both his absence and his condition.

He smokes a great deal of cigarettes. He paces. He drinks whiskey at at nine in the morning and coffee at nine thirty. The events themselves are gruesome and vicious. Stories of betrayal, not only of Jack being betrayed, but also of him turning on his closest friends. Murders. Bank robberies and jailbreaks. A crazy ex-girlfriend and her angry father. Revenge.

And the drugs. Oh, the drugs. He finally confesses to Trina how much he needs them. Now he thinks about his medication when he's away from it, sometimes just minutes after his last dose. He shows her the track marks not only above his heart, but where he's concealed them from view in places like the webs of his fingers and the soles of his feet.

"It was bad," he finishes some two hours later. "It was terrible and I did a lot of shit I'm not proud of. It's what I had to do to make it home to you."

Trina continues to just look at Jack for a long time, watching and listening without so much as a peep of interruption. After a few, terribly long moments, the young woman exhales a breath that feels as though it's been trapped in her lungs for a thousand years. He was right. She doesn't like it. At all. But that's not the point. The point is that he's telling her the truth. Lifting her head to rest her chin on her knees, her quiet voice tentatively cuts the air and reinforces the end of Jack's monologue. "Is that it?"

"For now," Jack answers quietly, unwilling to meet her eyes. Now well on the way to being drunk before noon, he shoves his feet into a pair of shoes and throws a coat on over his undershirt and pajama pants. With his cigarette in one hand and a pint of whiskey in the other, he turns to leave. "I have to go. Out. Walk. Something." He pauses again with his hand on the doorknob. "If you're not here when I get back… I'll understand. There's money in the second drawer of the dresser if you need it. I love you."

WHAM! The door slams shut behind him.

As Jack prepares to leave, Trina looks up from her place on the couch. Instead, her voice stays very calm, steady, and level. "I'll be here, Jack." And with that, she just looks out towards the window with a deeply etched frown before he's even gone. Maybe the time apart will give her an opportunity to calm the raging flood of emotions coursing willy nilly through her brain. "I love you," she says very quietly, once the door has declared Jack's action to the whole of the apartment and likely the closest of the neighbors. It can never be easy, can it?

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