Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Chapter 41: The Girl He Gave Everything To

"Farrell, why don't you leave it down?" Aouregan asks.

"Leave what down?"

"Your hair," she says, giggling just a little at her husband's confusion, "I like the way it looks."

Farrell has worn his hair in a braid for as long as he can remember. "I suppose I could do that," he agrees, somewhat reluctant but unable to deny his wife this small request.

When Farrell comes downstairs, Jack has already arrived. School is out for leisure day and Jack wants to take his son to the festival. Jace, however, is insisting that Farrell come along.

"I'm with you all day," Farrell says gently, "You should spend today with your father."

"But I want you to come, too," Jace protests.

"Hey, it's cool," Jack says, "Don't stay home on my account. It's a family thing." 

"I was going to bring Aouregan," Farrell admits.

"Then we'll go together," Jack decides.

Jack and Jace team up against Farrell and Aouregan in a waterballoon fight.

Any ideas Jace had about spending the day basking in Farrell's attention are quickly dispelled. As fond as he is for his nephew, Farrell's attention belongs to his wife today.

Playing horseshoes with his dad is so much fun that he doesn't notice when Farrell and Aouregan slip off to pay a visit to Elliot and Claire at their house.

By the end of the afternoon, Jace has made a new best friend.

Shadow and Iola spent their Leisure Day picnicking at the Stone Troll Fishing hole.

"I think I might be pregnant," she tells him, "I made an appointment with my father tomorrow to confirm it." As soon as they married, the couple decided to stop using birth control and start a family right away, so the news is hardly unexpected. And though still unconfirmed, they spend the afternoon suggesting names for their baby, and making plans together.

While Delaney is out of town, Jack spends the night in her room, so he can be with their son as much as possible. And what's a sleep over without a good pillow fight?

The first deja vu happens while she's clearing her breakfast dish. Outside, the schoolbus' horn blares, and she hears Jace running down the stairs to catch it. Next to her, Jack is telling Shadow that he'll be heading out now to the warehouse, and that he has work tonight, but he'll be back here after school is out to have dinner with the family. None of this is important, just a typical moment of a normal morning, yet it bears the stamp of significance. Time is a chain forged of moments, and each link that is added determines the next. This moment, this link, is important only because of its place in this chain, a precursor to the links already beginning to take  form, ready to become real. Something is going to happen today, something Iola has seen in one of her visions. But which vision will it be?

The next deja vu happens while she's in the shop. There haven't been any customers today, so she's working on her writing, but also distracted by thoughts of her upcoming appointment at her father's office. 

The third comes along with a wave of nausea, and when this one hits, she knows. She's sees it clearly now, she'll be in her father's office, Aurora will be there, too, to tell her the good news. They will be happy, celebrating. And then the scream of sirens as an ambulance pulls into the hospital, a sound rare for their sleepy town. Her father's practice deals mostly with sniffles and minor injuries. But today, someone is going to die. Jack is going to die.

Iola joins Shadow out in the shop's garden, where he's sitting and reading. In telling fortunes here, Iola has made a point of keeping to the lighter side of prophecy, knowing full well that telling people that something bad will happen will cause them to try to avoid it. And more often than not, their actions will be what causes the very fate they are trying to avoid. But so far, Iola has had the luxury of not seeing anything more tragic than small accidents and mishaps. This is the first time she's burdened with a presage of death about to come true.

"You don't have to be worried," Shadow says, seeing his wife's distress and mistaking its cause, "You're not sick. You are very definitely pregnant. I can feel him now, our son's spirit inside you."

For just that moment, Iola is too joyful to sustain her fears. "I knew I was pregnant," she whispers, snuggling close to him. "You're sure it's a boy?"

"Mmm," Shadow murmurs, his lips too close to her neck to form real words as he nuzzles her.

Her husband has a great gift, Iola thinks, one he's nurturing and growing. And she has her own gift, which she has to find the strength to use.

"Shadow, my love, you have to find Jack, and help him. You mustn't let him drive this afternoon."

"What have you seen?" Shadow asks, alert to the concern in her voice.

"I think the less I tell you, the better," she sighs, "Just, be with him today. And don't let him ride his motorcycle."

"Where is he now?"

Iola presses her lips together as she thinks. In her vision, she hears the EMT tell her father Jack was leaving a bar when the accident happened. "A bar," she says, "I don't know which one."

"I'll find him," Shadow promises, leaning in to kiss her before he leaves.

"Are you still going to see your father?"

Iola hesitates. Logically, her presence at her father's office when Jack is brought in is a mere coincidence, and staying away won't help him. "I should. Even though we know what he'll tell me, I think he'd still like to be the one who gives me the news. He was very excited when I told him why I needed to see him."

"It will be good for you to be with him," Shadow agrees, "Try not to worry about whatever you've seen...I will take care of Jack, I promise."

"So, you're really okay with Delaney being alone with the boss?' Ian asks.

"Sure, why not?" Jack replies.

"Dude, he's alone with her in his house. Doesn't that make you the least bit concerned about what he's doing with her?"

"I'm not concerned, because Laney would never cheat on me," Jack says confidently.

Ian snorts. "If the boss came onto her, she'd be all over that," he says, "Hell, she slept with me and I'm just an underling."

"Tell me right now that you're full  of shit. Tell me what you just said did not happen, or I swear, I'm going to hurt you," Jack shouts, rising in anger, his fist balled and ready to strike.

"Uh," Ian hesitates, his self-preservation instinct vying with his ready candor for dominance.

"Say it!" Jack insists.

"I screwed her," Ian blurts, "While you were in jail."

"You piece of shit," Jack growls, and lets his fists fly.

Ian tries to defend himself, but Jack overpowers him easily. "Hey, Pie Man, I told you the truth. It's for your own good. If she'll sleep with me, she'll sleep with anyone. You can kill me, but it won't change the fact that she came after me, and she's probably screwing Cole right now, and she'll fuck any other guy she fancies. Or who she thinks she can get something from. I was nothing to her but a way to get into this organization."

"This isn't over," Jack says, turning away from Ian, walking away from this fight before he really does kill his partner.

Shadow tried the Toadstool first, and not finding Jack there, he went to the only other bar in town that was open, the sports club.

"Leave me alone," Jack grumbles when Shadow takes a seat beside him.

"I can't leave you alone," Shadow says, "You're my friend, and you're in pain. What happened?"

"While I was in jail, Delaney was screwing my partner," Jack tells him, getting it out there. It doesn't make him feel any better.

"You're sure?"

Jack shakes his head, then nods. Ian's a lying sack of shit when he wants to be, but he'd never take a beating to defend a lie if he could use the truth to get out of it. "I'm sure," Jack sighs, "I should have seen it."

"Laney is impulsive," Shadow says, his heart breaking for his friend, "She does things without thinking. But she does love you, Jack."

"I thought so," Jack sighs, "But now, I just don't know. Is she even capable of love? For all I know, she's with another man right now."

"Come back to the house, have dinner with your son," Shadow offers, "Sitting here drinking isn't going to help."

"No, but it dulls the pain."

"Actually, it doesn't. Alcohol dredges up pain and amplifies it," Shadow says, "I'd like to do some dream work with you. I think it will help you."

"Shadow, you're not my therapist."

"You have a therapist?"

"No," Jack says with a harsh laugh.

"Then, let me help you."

Jack reluctantly gave up his plans to drown his sorrows in beer and goes back to the house with Shadow. He keeps himself in check during family dinner, not showing his pain to his son, and joining their celebration when Iola announces her pregnancy. After night falls and Jace has been put to bed, Jack and Shadow retreat up to Delaney's room.

"So, what is 'dream work', anyway?" Jack asks, wondering what Shadow is getting him into.

"You're going to go to sleep, thinking about Delaney and focusing on your relationship with her. I'm going to help guide your spirit towards hers as you dream, so you can meet her and begin to workout your issues."

"That sounds a little....sketchy," Jack says, one eyebrow raised quizzically.

"I've never done this before, with another person," Shadow admits, "But, I've guided my own dreams. This will work, Jack. Delaney's spirit is heavily invested in this room, her presence is strong here even though she's physically out of town. And you're part of that. Look around, she's made this room into a shrine for her feelings for you. Making a connection with her should be easy here."

Jack looks at the walls, covered in pictures he and Delaney took together as teens. She loved getting pictures with him. And, even with the turmoil in their lives, his getting expelled and kicked out of his father's house, her pregnancy and her father getting him thrown in jail, they had been happy, in love. Or so Jack had thought. Now he wonders if any of it was real, or if it was just what he wanted to believe.

"All right, let's do this," he says, not really believing in any of Shadow's touchy feely new age crap, but, mentally and physically exhausted from the day's events, he is ready to close his eyes and sleep. If shadow wants to chant or whatever while he does that, that's fine with Jack.

"Just think about Delaney and your relationship," Shadow advises as Jack closes his eyes. As if he could possibly have anything else on his mind right now than the girl he loves, the girl he gave everything to, the girl who betrayed him and broke his heart.

Shadow said he'd guide him to Delaney, but this isn't exactly what he was expecting.

"Hey, Jack!" she calls out to him, "Do you want to play with me?"

"Sure," he says, sitting on the swing beside her. So much for working out their issues, he thinks. How do you have a relationship talk with a child?

"I can go really high, watch me!" she cries, oblivious to his dilemma.

"You know, Jack, you aren't as much fun now that you're grown up," she observes, slowing down just a little, "But you're still my best friend."

"I'm going to tell you a secret, Jack," she says, pushing herself as high and as fast as the swing can go, "I'm friends with a dragon. For real."

You cheated on me with Ian, Jack thinks. Are you screwing Cole, now, too? But he can't ask these questions of a child. It's just like her, he thinks, even in dreams she finds ways to avoid serious discussion.

"Ice Cream!" she shrieks, and runs out to the truck parked by the playground.

"You'll buy me an ice cream, won't you, Jack?" she asks.

"Sure, Laney, whatever you want."

"I had fun today, Jack," she says, licking her freezer bunny popsicle, "Maybe you can come back tomorrow and we'll play again."

"Sure thing, Laney," Jack promises.

He walks off, leaving her to her childish pleasures. She hasn't changed, but he has, and Jack isn't sure anymore that he can wait on her.

Shadow doesn't leave Jack's side until he's moved out of the R.E.M. stage into dreamless sleep. When he goes back to his own room, Iola is half asleep, waiting for him.

"How's Jack?" she asks, "He'll be okay?"

It's the first moment they've had alone since she sent him off to find Jack. "He found out Laney was cheating on him," Shadow tells her. He has no secrets from his wife. "He was going to drink himself to death, wasn't he?"

Iola nods, "He was going to crash his motorcycle into tree," she sighs with contented relief. "I'm so glad I sent you to stop him."

Iola rises to meet him as leans forward to kiss her. Shadow felt the pain Jack was in as soon as he walked into that bar, his work has opened him up, exposed him to the feelings of everyone around him.

"I need you, Iola," he whispers, "I need your love."

"Yes," she answers, caressing him, understanding what he can't say, that his heart bleeds for Jack, that he's tasted Delaney's betrayal as his own, and he needs the comfort only his wife can give him, the reminder that their bond remains true and unbroken, that she's given herself to him completely and forever.


I mentioned on the thread at MTS that patching to 1.47 caused me to lose Farrell's CC hair. This has happened to one other person I know who was using this hair. So, I have no idea what happened, but nothing I tried got the hair to reappear in game, so, Farrell's got a new hairstyle.

Next chapter will focus on what Delaney is up to in the city with Cole.


  1. I agree with Iola, I too like his hair better this way.

    1. Thanks! I miss the braid, but it's gone and even redownloading can't bring it back, so I'm glad the new hair looks good.

  2. I'm worried about Jack. I love that Iola, though she knows that it is hard to circumvent fate, felt the need to try to save him. And she did, for today. I just worry what the day after and the next will bring.

    And Jack is right, he shouldn't wait for Delaney anymore.

    1. Thanks, heaven. If you are worried about fate catching up to Jack, the way I look at it is that what Iola saw was the result of a chain of events that resulted in Jack getting drunk and crashing his bike. When that chain was broken, he was saved from that fate. So, death isn't stalking him like a nemesis ready to snatch him at the next turn.
      If you're worried about his emotional state, that's valid. He's very hurt right now.

  3. Well, you distracted me from Farrells hair! (It's upsetting, he looks so different!)
    When I got to "Jack is going to die." I actually thought I was going to cry! Had no idea I was so attached to Jack! When he didn't die, I was relieved, but then started thinking of a 'Final Destination' storyline setting in, and got a bit worried. Reading the comment you made on Heavens comment has made me feel better about that though!
    I'm glad Jack knows about Delaney and Ian, although I wish he'd beaten Ian a little more. I'd like to see him break up with Delaney as soon as she's back, but I have a feeling she's got him wrapped around her finger and he won't be able to do it. I really hope he does though, and it doesn't make her flip out and stop him from seeing Jace.
    YAY can't wait to see an Iola/Shadow baby! :)

    1. I know, I find Farrell's new hair upsetting too. I bet it will be even more upsetting when he turns elder which is not that faraway.
      I didn't mean to make everyone think Jack was marked for death, that was just what would have happened if he was left to drink alone at that bar. So, he'll be okay now.
      And now he knows about Delaney and Ian, and he's heartbroken,poor thing. But, better he knows, so he can deal with it.
      I'm looking forward to seeing Shadow and Iola's baby, too. =D

  4. I'm so glad Iola and Shadow were able to stop Jack getting himself killed. I'm wondering if the dream sequence between Jack and Delaney indicates that Delaney hasn't really grown up from a child yet? I don't think he should wait for her either, he's too good for her!

    1. Ys, that's exactly it, Delaney hasn't matured at all, and Jack is moving beyond her.

  5. I'm so glad you didn't kill Jack. I would have been heartbroken if that had happened. I'm really fond of his character. And I really love the friendship he has with Shadow.

    I agree with Jack's analysis of his dream. Delaney just isn't grown up yet while Jack is. I do hope for Jack's happiness, though.

    And I'm excited to meet Shadow and Iola's baby. I'm sure he'll be very handsome.

    1. Thanks, Tsuki! I'm fond of Jack a well, and I'm glad he and Shadow have become such friends, even though they are very different.
      Poor Jack has a broken heart, so it might be awhile before he can find happiness again. And he still has to actually deal with Delaney.
      I'm excited about Shadow and Iola's baby, too. =D

  6. Jack has a lot of thinking to do about what to do about Delanley, I am also looking Forward to seeing Shadows Baby

    1. Luckily for Jack, Delaney is out of town and he has a few days to think it through before acting.

  7. Ok. This makes me sad, but I think I like Jack more than I like Delaney. As such, I'm really going to miss him when he moves on. He's turned out to be a man who wants to do better than what society thinks he is fit to do and that's so awesome.
    And poor Farrell! He does look different. But at least it was just a hair and not your entire save that was lost.
    Jace is adorable! Such a sweetie, and I can't wait to see the new baby grow up!

    1. I think at this point everyone likes Jack better than Delaney. He's certainly more deserving of respect. Whatever he does with himself, he's not moving out this story, though, don't worry about that.

  8. *hugs Jack* (I'm glad he's safe!) Poor Jack. :( I knew he would find out eventually, it's a good thing that Laney was gone when he found out. This way he has some time to think things through, and figure out what he wants to say/do---instead of marching over and confronting her right away. I hope they can patch things up. It takes work, but I've heard that relationships can be even stronger after affairs, because the affair forces you to work on your issues.

    Farrell's hair doesn't look too bad. I miss the braid (in my own game too, lol!) but with that new hairstyle you can really see the family resemblance between him and Shadow. You'd think they were father or son or something, lol :P

    And baby! Yay! :D

    1. Yeah, it was inevitable that Jack was going to find out. And it is good it happened while Delaney was away, so he has time to think first.
      Delaney would have to be willing to work on their issues before any reconciliation could happen...we'll see how that goes.

      I really wanted to give Farrell the same hair Shadow wears, it looks better on him. But I figured it would be too much of the same thing.

  9. Yay, Iola changed the situation.

    I'm glad Jack and Jace bonded.

    Can't wait to see what happens next... though I feel we'll have to wait until chapter-after-next for Delaney and Jack to have a chat about this.

    1. Yup, Iola had her doubts but she decided trying to change things was better than just letting it happen. And it worked out.
      Jace actually rolled a wish to become best friends with Jack during their trip to the festival, so I went that way rather than where I was going to go. Plus,Farrell was all over Aouregan that day, too, so he wasn't exactly cooperating with the original plan either. And, Jack has enough problems, he doesn't need stress over his kid too, so I'm happy for them.

      Yeah, next chapter will be Delaney in another town, and I don't think it will get to her homecoming until the one after that.

  10. Well, I was going to say at the end of the last chapter that I'm all caught up, but well, NOW I'm all caught up LOL. This is great, and I'm glad I'm up to date.

    I'm worried about Jack still. The Grim Reaper usually gets his man someway somehow. If he doesn't die, I hope he can realize that Delaney DOES love him, she just royally fucked up.

    Yay! Iola is preggers! :D

    1. Yay, thanks for catching up!
      Jack isn't really marked by death or anything, so there's no need to worry. What Iola saw was what would have happened if Jack had been left to drink all afternoon and then drive off drunk. With that averted, he's safe. It's not like he was specially fated to die at this time, it's just his actions were leading toward his death on this day.

      I love the different reactions to Jack and Delaney; some want Jack to move on and other want them to work it out.
      And everyone is happy about Iola being pregnant, lol.

  11. Poor Jack.
    I had to giggle at Shadow's undies, though.
    Look forward to hearing what Delaney is getting herself into.


    1. Haha, I do tend to go overboard when a guy's favorite color is pink.
      Delaney's chapter should be fun.

  12. STOP.




    Seriously, I read this like as soon as it was posted while I was on the bus and refused to make the effort to type a response on my phone because I was mad at you. I was SO sure you were going to kill Jack off for a while there (I was thinking of destinations instead of paths). I'm kinda glad you didn't kill him, but now I'm worried that staying alive will just lead him to more pain. : (

    I want him to hurt Delaney like she hurt him. Maybe that'll make her grow up, and they can try to work things out at a later date.

    1. Sorry, Cece! =(
      Jack is hurting right now, Delaney really broke his heart. But I do think he'd prefer being alive to being dead. Losing Jack might be the wake up call Delaney needs. Though it's hard with her, she's so oblivious. Certainly if she can't step up to try to keep him and make it work, she doesn't deserve him.

  13. Awww, poor Jack! He finally gets to really bond with his son - and then he finds out the truth about Delaney! Gah! It was, of course, extremely well done and heartwrenching, though, so I look forward to whatever comes next to them... and to magic babies for Shadow and Iola!

    1. Yeah, the truth does hurt. But he did need to know, I think. And now he has to figure out what to do about it.

  14. I think I like Farrell's hair better down. :)
    I didn't really like Jack when he was a teenager, but now I'm liking him more and more because he really is maturing.

    1. Thanks!
      I had actually planned to give Farrel this hair as his nude/sleepwear hair, figuring he wouldn't wear the braid all the time, but I never got around to it.

      Jack has been maturing, but Delaney hasn't been keeping up.

  15. I was so happy to see Jack spending time with his son. And I love that Shadow and co. offered him Laney's room while she's gone so he can be close to Jace. <3

    I was so worried that Jack was going to die, and I'm glad that he didn't, but his death *might have* given Laney a wake-up call. Hopefully she and Jack can work out their issues and I think Jack is doing the right by taking a stand and realizing that he doesn't deserve what Laney is putting him through. At least that's what I took from the dream sequence with Jack/Laney.

    1. Jack and Jace are seriously adorable together, They autonomously hug all the time now, and I just squee every time.

      I'm glad Jack didn't have to die to give Laney a wake up call...she does need one, badly, but killing Jack off for that, ouch!
      I think you are right in what Jack took away from his dream, now we just have to see if he has the cojones to actually take that stand in real life.

  16. Phew. Glad you didn't kill of Jack. I really grew to like him, and I would have been seriously bummed at his death. Even if Delaney does deserve to lose him permanently. Hopefully she wakes the hell up and stops behaving like a child.

    Also...OMG. Shadow and Iola baby. CAN'T WAIT.

    1. I couldn't kill off Jack, I adore him.
      I can't wait to see what Shadow and Iola's baby looks like, too.

  17. I was panicking for a moment there about Jack. Crisis averted it seems. I'll be interested to see if the dream therapy helps Jack at all, but his confrontation with Delaney is not going to be pleasant, I'm sure. Ian totally deserved to be punched for being such a creep.

    Hooray for Shadow and Iola babies!!

    Farrell looks good with his new hair, but I do miss the braid a bit. Ah, well.

    1. Ian definitely had that coming.
      I miss that braid, too. Farrell isn't the same without it.

  18. That jerk Ian deserved to be beat to death.

    That crap about saying it for Jack's sake was bull.
    He was just waiting to use that line to hurt him....
    -_- I dislike him very much, very much indeed.

  19. I am so glad that Jack is not dead. I really like his character.
    The dreamwalk was a real eye opener for him. Maybe he has it right, he has changed, become more responsible and lost his childish ways. Sadly, maybe it was Delaney's true self that he met in the dream.
    Shadow and Iola are awesome.
    Farrell would look good bald. His personality and his heart outshines any shallow pretty boy.

    1. *hugs*
      It's so great to see you around again. I've missed you.
      Jack really grew on me.He was originally supposed to be a minor character that broke Laney's heart and walked out. But he really didn't want to go that way, and Laney didn't want to be a victim, and they changed my whole story.
      He has matured more than Laney, and his dreamwalk showed him that.
      I love Shadow and Iola.
      And I agree, Farrell's personality is what makes him, far more than just his looks, which is something he's never cared much about. I'm still sad that his hair is broken, though, lol.