"Julian? Are you okay?" Jillyan asks, coming down from her bedroom to find him staring out of her living room window, "We don't have to go to this party if you aren't up to it." He'd been broody for the rest of the day after Fergus tried to find his memories, barely eating at all at dinner. Jill thought going out and socializing might snap him out of his funk, but maybe what he needs is a quiet night at home. Her home, to be exact.
"I have no past," he says, his voice quiet, broken and lost, "I don't know who I am." After Fergus told him his memories were very likely false, implanted in his mind under hypnosis, Julian had wanted to call his mother, to ask her about his childhood, to fill in the missing pieces. Fergus said it would be a bad idea; if the woman Julian believed was his mother when he called 'home' was a MorcuCorp agent, telling her anything about what he'd learned would tip them off that they are on to them, and if she was, in fact, really his mother, the questions he wanted to ask would just worry her. "When I think about her, my mother, when I try to remember growing up, I just get snapshots, like Fergus said. A scrapbook of memories, and they aren't even mine...I thought I knew who I was. Now, I just...I just don't."
"You're still you, Julian," Jilly says, wrapping her arms around his chest and pressing her cheek against his shoulder, "Losing your past doesn't change who you are."
Julian covers her hands with own, squeezing them for comfort, but makes no response.
"Do you remember Isla Paradiso?" she asks, her tone light and playful, "Do you remember camping out with me under stars? Do you remember the house on the private island Salty let us stay in?"
"Of course I remember," Julian says, smiling despite himself, "I could never forget that."
"Well, see, there's our past," she whispers as he turns to face her, holding her close against his chest, "And this is our present, tonight. The past is gone, but it doesn't matter. We have the future."
She lives in an eternal now, but Julian is not quite able to let the past go, pretend that it doesn't matter. Getting lost in her now, though, and immersing himself in her promise of a future together, that comes very easily.
The party they were supposed to attend is forgotten as they make their way up to her bedroom, discarding their clothes along the way, not even making it all the way to her bed. Julian makes love to her with a fierce hunger, a desperate need to connect with himself through her, to feel like his life is real, has meaning.
She groans his name, over and over, and this is all he needs to be. He exists to love her, whoever he was before he was hers, that man doesn't matter at all.
When they finally make it onto her bed, it's to collapse in exhaustion, legs tangled around each other, arms entwined.
"Do you want to turn out the lights?" he whispers, stroking her back as she presses her head against his chest.
"I don't want to move," she whispers back, her fingers toying with the hair on his chest. "I was thinking, since you stay here most nights anyway, maybe you should just move in here with me. What do you think?"
"I'd love to," Julian answers, "I love you, Jillyan."
"I love you, too, Julian. Everything will be all right. You'll see," she promises.
She falls asleep, contented, blissful, but a strange sense of foreboding keeps Julian awake, idly stroking her hair, listening to the steady rhythm of her breathing. He's fallen in love, deeply, truly...he should be happy, as contented as his sleeping lover. So why this worry, this fear that the simple fact of his love is going to be her doom?
Over breakfast, Jilly offers to put off her planned dive for the day to help Julian move his stuff to her place.
"All I have really is some clothes and my laptop," Julian says, turning down her offer, "I can grab all though in one easy trip. You go ahead and dive, I'll have dinner waiting for you when you get back." The sense of foreboding he felt last night still lingers, but, like his lost memories, it's not something Julian is going to let stand in his way. Jilly is right about that, they have a future, a future they will create together. If he has that, he can live without a past.
Jillyan comes into the kitchen as he's cleaning his plate to kiss him goodbye before she takes off for her dive.
"Did you bring in your plate?" he asks.
"Oh, no," she shrugs, "I left it on the table." Back at home, there was always someone who cleaned up the little messes the kids would leave behind; she never had to bother with things like washing her dishes, "I can go get it," she offers.
"No, it's okay," Julian says, smiling as he takes her face in his hands, kissing the tip of her nose, then her lips, and finally, nibbling bit on her chin, "I'll take care of it after I see you off."
Julian follows her out to her dock, and watches as she sails away.
He lingers a bit watching the water, even after she disappeared over the horizon, trying to just live in the moment the way she does, not caring about the past or worrying about the future.
Behind him, the boards creak as someone steps onto the pier. Julian turns, expecting Fergus maybe, since this is a private dock and no one else should be here.
"You and Fergus have been hitting it off really well," Cosette says as Tasha joins her at her table outside the student union, "I hardly ever see you anymore, except to wave at you as you are heading off into his bedroom. I am an awesome matchmaker, right?"
"You are," Tasha admits, "You were right, Fergus and I really clicked, as soon as you introduced us. I've never been so happy in my life."
"Okay, so why do you look like someone pissed in your corn flakes?" Cosette asks, "What's going on?"
"I just got back from the health center," Tashs groans, "I had a pregnancy test yesterday."
"Oh...shit, Tasha," Cosette says, "Have you told him, yet?"
Tasha bites her lip at that, "Well, he knows I was getting the test, but I haven't told him it was positive yet," she finally replies, not wanting to get into the way the whole pregnancy topic had come up in the first place.
"Are you afraid of what he'll say?" Cosette asks, "He doesn't seem the type to flake out on you."
"I'm sure he's not," Tasha answers, "I know he'll want to be there for me. I just...I don't know, Cosi, I'm crazy about him. And I think he might be the one, you know. I mean, I know he is. But this, I didn't want it to be like this."
"It is kind of a lot all at once," Cosette sympathizes, "But, at least you know you've got a good guy, right? If you really love him, and he loves you, it will work out."
Talking with Cosette did help Tasha feel a little better about her situation, but still not up to facing Fergus, she decided to walk around town a little, to clear her mind with a little window shopping. But less than an hour into her stroll, Tasha couldn't help but notice she was being tailed by two men in black. Everywhere she went, they were behind her, every time she stopped to look into a shop window, they'd stop a few yards behind her.
I'm being paranoid, she kept telling herself, what could anyone want with me? They probably just work in one of the offices around here.
After another half hour of internal debate while the men in black still stick close by her, Tasha finally ducks into a shop and pulls out her phone.
"Tasha!" Fergus answers, obviously thrilled to hear from her, "I've been worried about you! Is everything okay?" he asks, his voice heavily implying that he wants to know if she's confirmed what her told her about being pregnant.
But Tasha has bigger concerns at the moment, "Fergus, I'm scared. There are these two guys in black suits following me. I've been window shopping along Oak Street, and everywhere I go, these guys are there. I know it sounds but crazy, but I don't know what to do."
"Did you go for testing at the health center?" Fergus asks.
Tasha frowns, annoyed at his one track mind, "Have you been listening to me?" she demands, "There are guys following me."
"I think they're MorcuCorp agents," Fergus tells her, "I'm sure they have access to the school's records. If they know you are carrying my child..." Fergus stops there, kicking himself for not thinking of this sooner, "Okay, stay where you are. Stay in sight of other people, and I will be right there to get you."
"Wait, what's going on, Fergus?" she pleads, even more frightened now that he's accepted her story so readily, and seems to know who is tailing and why.
"I'm coming for you. I'll explain everything later," Fergus promises.
As he approaches the shop Tasha said she was waiting in, Fergus spots the black suits who'd been tailing her, hanging around, pretending not to notice him.
She falls into his arms as soon as she enters the shop. "Oh, Fergus," she breathes, her voice catching on a sob, "I'm so scared."
"I's all right," he soothes her, "I've got you now. And we're getting out of here."
The men in black watch as Fergus leads her out of the shop. MorcuCorp has a history of keeping their doings under wraps, and Fergus' bet that they wouldn't do anything as conspicuous as abducting people off a busy public street paid off as the agents stand helplessly as the couple make their escape.
When he gets her back to his room, Tasha sits on the floor, drawing her knees up to her chest protectively. "Why is MorcuCorp following me?" she asks, her voice tiny and frightened, as Fergus sits beside her, wrapping an arm around her shoulder. "And, how did you know it was MorcuCorp, anyway?"
"It's a long story, Tasha," Fergus sighs, "But it's one you need to know if..." he pauses, realizing how much danger he's put her in, just by being his girlfriend, "I should have warned you, before we started dating. But, if I had...well, it sounds crazy. It is crazy. But it's real, and it's something I can't dodge."
Tasha unfolds from her cower slightly, to rest her head on his shoulder, and a hand on his knee. Encouraged, he takes a deep breath, and tells her how MorcuCorp created Pearl, his great-grandmother, in a lab, and sent her out to seduce Heath Brannon as some kind of breeding experiment, and how Pearl betrayed them by seeing to it that their son, Farrell, was raised in the real world by his father instead of in some MorcuCorp facility. And he tells her the story of his grandfather, Farrell, who invented a time machine and met a witch named Aouregan Avendale in the middle ages and married her. Fergus tells her how MorcuCorp managed to abduct pregnant Aouregan and bring her back to the present, and how she gave birth two her twins, Shadow, his father, and his aunt Aurora while imprisoned in MorcuCorp's labs, and how Farrell eventually got his children and wife back back from them, and about the family's flight to Drake's Hollow, a town protected by a dragon ward and a pair of friendly fairies. He had already told her about his father, his magic and his beliefs, and now Fergus tells her about his mother, and the Hawksquill curse, a curse that will pass down to any child Fergus fathers.
"After the trip to Aurora Skies, where he met Geoffrey Landgraab in person, my dad truly believed MorcuCorp was going to back away from this, " Fergus finishes the tale, "Otherwise, there's no way the family would have let me and Jilly go away to school. But, obviously, Geoffrey lied to my father when he said he wasn't interested in pursuing my family anymore, he was just biding his time until one of us left the safety of Drake's Hollow. MorcuCorp has been using Julian to spy on me, maybe to seduce Jilly. And now, because you are carrying my child, they are after you."
"Your life is like a science fiction novel," Tasha observes, finding herself riveted by his story, "Only an insane person would believe it. Which, lucky for you, I just happen to be."
Fergus' voice drops to a strained whisper, unable to meet the levity of her jokes, "I am so sorry I dragged you into this mess. I'm not an action hero, I don't know if I can protect you."
"I don't know, Fergus, you were pretty heroic today when you swept in to save me," Tasha teases, wrapping her arm around his waist to hug him, "My hero."
"This isn't a joke, Tasha. The danger is real."
"I get that," she answers, letting her voice grow serious, "But we can't let them ruin everything for us. We'll find a way."
"You'd be safer without me," Fergus says, with deep regret.
"Maybe," Tasha says, "But I wouldn't be happy."
And neither would he, Fergus decides, holding as she climbs onto his lap. His father and his grandfather before him had found ways to protect their families, and he can do no less than they had.
Jilly climbs the stairs to her back porch after she ties her boat to the dock, returning from her dive in the late afternoon. As she gets to the sliding glass door to her kitchen, she notices the breakfast plate she'd left on the table, the one Julian promised he'd clean up before he went to move his things here. It's not like him to leave a dirty plate, she thinks, he's normally really fastidious about cleaning up after himself, and her. But she shrugs it off, he has had a lot on his mind, after all.
The back door is unlocked, which isn't a surprise, since Julian should have gotten his moving done by now. What is surprising is the dead quiet of her house. He had promised to have dinner ready when she got back, but the kitchen is as she left it this morning, with no smell of food being prepared, and no sounds at all to indicate Julian's presence here.
"Julian?" she calls out, "Are you here?"
Getting no answer, she checks all the rooms upstairs, and doesn't find him or anything of his that hadn't been left from the night before. Her side of the bed is still unmade; since Julian started sleeping here regularly, he'd made up her side of the bed for her after she finally decided to roll out of it, usually right after he'd gotten out of the shower. It's like hadn't come back into the house at all after she'd sailed off.
She discovers that her front door is still locked, as she left it this morning, as she goes down to look for him in the garage, hoping he might be doing laundry. Not finding him anywhere, she goes back in to her house, looks around again as though he might be hiding behind a chair. He obviously isn't here, she decides, and he hasn't brought his stuff over yet. Maybe he's back at the warehouse now, getting his things, and he just forgot to lock the back door on his way out, leaving her priceless collection of vases and gems unprotected.
Julian got a new phone after he and Jilly handed his old one over to Fergus to see if he could find his way past any security codes that might have been placed on it, and Jilly dials his new number now, telling herself that he'll pick up and apologize for not being here, and making her worry about him for nothing.
As the phone rings in her ear, she hears the ringtone they picked out together for his new phone playing behind her.
She turns, following the tone to an end table behind her, where his phone sits, playing its tune, waiting for Julian to answer it.
So, Tasha...I've mentioned on the thread at MTS that SP had messed with me a little on my main save. What happened was, on day one of playing my main save with Jilly, I got a pop up announcing that Fergus was dating a girl named Tasha. So, I noted that and figured I would have to work Fergus' unplanned romance into the story somehow. Then, a game day or so later, a pop up informs me that Fergus has knocked up Tasha. So, great, now I had to work in an unplanned pregnancy.
All the scenes with Fergus are shot in an alternate save where she's not pregnant. In my real save, I've used Cmar's pregnancy mod to pause the pregnancy, otherwise Fergus would already be a daddy.
I had to kind of scramble to get Tasha and her pregnancy into the story, and work it in so it didn't seem bolted on.
I didn't even consider that this character out of nowhere would look suspicious to readers, but she set off a lot of red flags. I do see why, in retrospect. But, really, I promise, Tasha is not a spy or mole.
In other news, I recently got a pop up that Cosette and Niles are expecting as well. Yay for them. But, poor Cosette will have to have her pregnancy paused as well, so she doesn't give birth before Tasha. =P