Love Found, Love Lost


delia_icon.gif jaiden_icon.gif

Scene Title Love Found, Love Lost
Synopsis Instead of taking the easy way out and running away, Delia finally goes to ease a bit of pain that she's caused to an innocent man. She's too much of a Ryans to have it work out.
Date February 27, 2011

Jaiden's Basement Apartment

She's been avoiding this moment.

From her time spent with her brother, she learned to ignore things and hope that they'd go away. This one though, stayed unfinished and niggled at her. Her conscience more than anything wouldn't let her ignore it any more. Today is the last day in the city, she had to make it worth it. Nick had offered to drive her everywhere she needed to go but this trip is the one she has to make alone. Her temporary room mate would just cause more problems needlessly.

Delia's still much too thin, but she's no longer emaciated and her skin has a healthy glow. Dressed in a pair of loose fitting jeans bought for her by an Asian man that stayed with her at the hotel for the duration of Eileen's disappearance, a long sleeved t-shirt with lacy ruffly bits on the hems gifted to her by another friend, and the shearling coat from her brother, she raises her hand to push the buzzer that would announce her presence. She's well dressed, except for the boots on her feet. Doc Martens to be more like Nick, only hers are a thrift store buy that look fairly battered. She couldn't be more like Toru because she can't afford nice Chucks and no matter what anyone says… Chucks have to be nice or they might as well be garbage.

Jaiden has no idea that a moment is coming. Or if it's even a moment to begin with. The dome fell and Jaiden went home to his warehouse. His notes, his e-mails, messages…all went away. No response. Not even a response from the read receipts to let him know she saw them. He didn't know what to expect when he got there - a note, flowers, maybe even Delia sitting on the couch like it was before the dream took her from him, but instead he found a dead Christmas tree, dead potted plants, and enough spoiled food to fill a bin three times over.

Quick safety tip - don't go near the dumpster for a while.

Right now, Jaiden is trying to get back into the swing of things. Not having any business for a while has depleted the operating budget of his shop - bills, minute as they are, still need to be paid - so he's started taking work again from loyal customers coming back. He's tired, dressed in a blue jumpsuit with oil stains on the knees, the zipper pulled down to around his stomach, keeping him cool while he works, a white t-shirt beneath, and is sitting on his couch when the buzzer heralds another's arrival. Usually Elisabeth would let herself in. Ygraine too, but the buzzer? He slowly gets to his feet and makes his way over to the monitors, peering at the grainy black-and-white camera feet. A pity it doesn't focus very well, otherwise he may be more observant, but that looks like Delia. "I'm downstairs." Anyone who knows about the buzzer is probably okay. "Come on down." Sounds cheerful and nonchalant, like usual. But what if it is Delia…what if it is her? He stabs the button with his thumb.

There's a buzz as the maglocks open, allowing the person into the garage and down into Jaiden's basement.

Whoever it is that comes down the stairs, they do it carefully and slowly. Stairs are still tricky and the vertigo felt when looking down the long expanse of stairs makes it necessary to take them one at a time, both feet on the step before moving onto the next. It's the worn out boots and fashionably faded jeans on thin legs that are seen first. The coat that was lost on November 8th had a stain on it from a previous owner. This one is much more expensive than that one, but they look almost exactly the same. Long red hair that coils down past her chest is next, right before Delia's face.

She's biting her lower lip nervously, and her large blue eyes just seem that much bigger when set against her gaunt features. Still, she looks much better than she has in the past few months. It's been almost a quarter of a year since she's been here and yet it seems as though pieces of her stayed.

Pieces like the drawing of the giant on the refrigerator.

The lights leading down to the basement are still on - one flickering now and again as the current surges, but not anything more than a bit of an annoyance. Something that could easily be fixed with the twist of a wrist if Jaiden could be bothered to get the screwdriver out and remove the glass enclosure keeping it out of the damp air that sometimes comes down here. The door to the basement is ajar, the sound of someone washing something up coming from within. It's the perfect scene, almost. A way for Jaiden to nonchalantly greet whoever comes down while looking busy at something in the sink when he's really just washing the accumulated grime and grease from his hands to be a bit more presentable. From his position behind the counter he can see the person descending, and as more and more comes into view, the color drains from his face.

"Delia…." he whispers, turning the water off with a twist, silence filling the basement, oppressive, almost like a blanket covering the entire room. He steps around the counter, letting her see him fully - He's lost weight since getting out of the dome - a bit more gaunt than he was before, but he's starting to fill back out. Starvation for three weeks'll do that. "You look…." he swallows nervously. "you look well."

Her lips are pressed together and stretched into a bittersweet smile at the sight of him. "You— you lost weight. You're okay though?" Or at least relatively so? The second question isn't one that's voiced aloud. The redhead doesn't move from the entry way, frozen in place by boots too heavy to move anymore. Nor does she take her eyes off the tall man, the one she ran beside when she was a little girl and called her giant.

"I'm sorry."

The guilt laced words are smooth, for once emotion doesn't crack them and a shower of tears doesn't threaten to flood her face. It's a simple delivery, not quite conversational but enough to start something. "I didn't know where you were— " at first.

"I'm….okay, I guess. Tired. The dome….that wasn't a fun three weeks, but I got through it." Conversational, Jaiden sounds, but the way he slides over to lean against the counter, to pull a stool beneath his not inconsequential weight, says other things.

Her words seem to stun him, his eyes going closed, tight, his large hands going up to cover his face, to hide the emotion that threatens to break through, like a dam bursting. The bulwark holds and he straightens, rubbing his eyes with the back of his hand. "I thought you were dead. Gone. I mean…I tried to contact you. I tried e-mail, phone, that iPad of yours. I even went by Russo's place but you weren't there. No-one knew where you were…but me….I was here." He pats the counter. "I was here, waiting for you to wake up. To come home. I mean…" he looks around, and if Delia does, she'll see the remains of Christmas decorations. Lights strung around the rafters, now dark, muted colors twinkling under the lamplight, mistletoe - now long dessicated - hanging right over the couch, and a Christmas tree missing all it's needles, a prickly carpet, the glimmering of ornaments still on the skeletal branches, a few presents peeking out from beneath the needles.

"You could have called…you could have sent a note…you could have done something to at least let me know you were alive. You could have come to my dreams….I mean…you did it all the time. It's how we met, in the subway…remember?"

"I couldn't, dream, not so far away… I don't have an anchor anymore." The redhead confides, for the first time since before she disappeared, she's actually trusting him with something so precious. Her eyes find the floor and she studies it for a long time, still chewing on her lip. "I'm— I'm sorry Jaiden. I was lost, then when I woke up— I just wanted to go back. I wanted to go back and be safe like I was at the end. I hated being awake, I hated having this…" A thin arm gestures down her own form. "I hated having this body. I wanted to go back."

Clenching her jaw, her cheeks tint a pale shade of pink and she looks away toward the door. "I cheated on you," a twinge of guilt is laced in the brutally honest statement. "Twice." The first time might have been the worst, when she let her heart drift. "I tried telling you, when you came to visit me at Brad's."

There was something Jaiden was going to say.

There was something reassuring, that he would help her find her anchor - the cross she carried around her neck - they found it once before, and they can find it again. They could go back to the way it was before - before the dream journey. Before the dome. Before everything. They could go camping like they wanted to.

And then…the revelation.

Jaiden sits there, gazing at her cooly with those olive eyes of his, and as she watches, she can kind of see him draw in to himself, shoulders going in, hands in his lap, knees together, heels hooked on the rung of the stool he's perched on. He almost rocks back at those words. That she's cheated on him. Twice. Who doesn't matter…it's that she has. That she betrayed the trust that he gave her with another, when he was completely, utterly loyal. He blinks, swallowing. his mouth opens then closes, no words coming out. He tries again, his voice a ragged gasp. "Why?"

"The first time, it was an accident… I didn't have anywhere to go. He woke up and I sort of just— I don't know. I froze inside of his mind. I stayed with him for over a week and I just.." One shoulder lifts to give a helpless shrug as she keeps looking anywhere but him. "I started having feelings for him. He— he doesn't feel the same way."

Dipping her hands into her pockets, her head lowers in shame and she shakes her head. "The second time was after I left Brad's house, it was— something that I needed. I was selfish." Delia's blue eyes rise to meet his for the first time since she entered the apartment and she presses her lips together. "He made me feel pretty."

The obvious comeback, 'I didn't make you feel pretty?' does not leave Jaiden's lips. He remains where he is, on his barstool, just looking at her, not saying a word. He can't right now, not with the revelation she just unleashed on him. "You…"

Jaiden's eyes close, tightly. There's a shudder of his shoulders, a quaver, that the Giant of her youth probably never would have let her see. A sign of weakness. A sign that those words cut him straight to the heart, leaving him wounded and bleeding. "you could have come home. You didn't need to do that…you didn't need to betray my trust like that." He looks up at her, eyes brimming with tears.

"It was too late by then, I already had feelings for him when I woke up." Delia murmurs, her eyes flitting away from his. She swallows, almost painfully as her shoulders hunch over into a shamed posture, like a dog that's been beaten. "I'm sorry, I— I didn't think about it hurting you. Then.. then when— " Logan's name isn't said. "When I actually— " a long breath is let loose and she looks up to the ceiling, trying to stop her own tears. "I wasn't thinking about you, I just felt like— we've been apart for so long, you know?" The quiet words come at the same time as the pivot of her heel and she gnaws on her lower lip.

The Christmas tree catches her attention and she furrows her eyebrows, the silence between them is enough to make her uncomfortable. Uncomfortable enough to want to hide. Stalking toward the tree, she bends down to pick up the fallen needles. Her eyes fall to the unopened gifts and she drops the bits of pine that she's managed to gather in a small pile. "I should— I need to get back. I'm going back to Pollepel tonight, the kids are dying."

"Yes, I do know. It's been nearly three months. I've tried to contact you, e-mail you, phone you, show up where you were last. Asked around. No-one knew where you were. You never even read the fuckin' e-mails I sent you…the send receipt never came back and I watched for them." Jaiden feels himself getting worked up, so he dials it back a few notches. "The question I have is why? How? I mean…You woke up and just were in love with someone else? I mean…"

Jaiden slides off of his chair, approaching a bit closer, to where the tree stands, a skeleton surrounded by a halo of brown, desiccated needles, but staying far back. "me giving you my heart in the dream wasn't enough? Me talking to the man who was holding you in the dream, while dressed as a yank cowboy, and asking him to let you go because I loved you wasn't enough? You had to go to someone else? Just because we hadn't seen each other? You couldn't talk after you woke up, but you could sleep with another man?" Jaiden's knees give out, the man falling to the floor on his butt, pulling them up to his chest. The impact of him falling shifted some of the gifts - one of which was a small velvet box with a bow on top, a blue in the same color as her eyes - that tumbles toward him. He reaches out to take it, turning it over in his hands, over and over and over again before offering it to her after unceremoniously yanking the tag off of it, so the words written there couldn't be read unless he saw fit to do so.

"You cheated twice." he takes in a deep breath, calming himself. "You didn't think about it hurting me because we hadn't seen each other. Haven't you heard about absence making the heart grow fonder?" He looks up at her, opening the box, looking at the contents for a moment, touching whatever is inside before closing it with a snap. "I love you, Delia. I thought we'd be together forever. Man and wife. All that stuff." He shows her the box…a ring box…opened, inside a diamond solitaire ring with a ring of emeralds and sapphires….not a cheap ring, but not hideously expensive, before closing it, hiding it in his hands again. "I wish I knew if you loved me still."

It's a lot to take in, the stream of questions gets wordless answers of a slight shake of a head, a small nod, the sheepish shrug of one shoulder, alternating where appropriate. It's the last statement, the wish, that causes her to freeze up. Slowly, she stands, looking down at her boots after seeing the ring. "I— I was confused when I woke up. I wanted to go back, back to him because I felt safe there. My anchor was inside of him… I built it." Something she didn't know she could do. "He didn't want me there. He doesn't feel the same way I do… but I started to dream about him after I woke up. There were pictures, almost as many of him as there was of you."

Reaching a hand up, Delia presses it against the side of her head and knits her eyebrows together into an expression of despair. "I didn't sleep with him, the man I slept with— he.. It was one night, it probably won't ever happen again." Not that it's any consolation. The word probably precludes it from being a statement of finality. "There's no excuse for what I did, for how much I hurt you… I'm really sorry." She doesn't add anything else, any promises or vows of fidelity. No word that she'll never do it again.

"I do, it's just— I'm split up into pieces. I'm different now than before all of this happened."

"What would you do if I were in your position, Delia? Would you shout? Would you pound your fists and tell me to get out? Would you open your arms and tell me it's okay and that I'm forgiven? Because, right now, I'm really…I don't know what to say to you. I really don't." Jaiden slowly gets to his feet, using the chair behind him to help him up, sitting back down and looking over at her with those mournful eyes. "You said you were sorry, but you've never said exactly for what. Are you sorry for hurting me? For cheating on me? For doubting the love that we…." he trails off. Had or Have could be added in there fairly easily, and he's not sure which one to put in. "Are you sorry for getting caught? For having to stand here and tell me that, despite what I did for you in your dream, despite what I did for you in the past, despite everything we've been and seen and done together, it seemingly didn't matter when you placed an anchor inside someone else's mind - someone who didn't want you but you did?" Jaiden rubs his eyes, sinking into the chair, looking at her, the ring still sitting in it's box on the floor where he left it.

"You can't even say that you're sorry and you won't do it again, can you?" This is said almost with a bit of wonder, as if he could not believe that she would ever, ever consider such a thing. That she'd be able to do that to anyone. Much less to him. "This isn't a romance novel, Delia. You can't stay out of your body…that's called being dead. You can't just move on to the next chapter after scattering the toys left behind to find it all put back the way it was, ready for a new day. This is real. The feelings I have for you, that you have for me, are real." Jaiden's really trying to avoid using passive terminology here.

"So what now? I figure you have a few choices right now. Will you just leave and go on with your life? Stay and work it out with me? Go with whoever that guy is? Because I already waited for you for three months. I'd like to know if there's a point to the waiting."

"I didn't get caught." Delia utters, looking away from him. Her pale features carry no blush or blanch of shame or shock. "I came here and told you because you deserved to know, you deserved something better— than— " Turning her back on him, the hand pressed to the side of her face goes to cover her eyes and then rub down her face. "I'm sorry I hurt you," she repeats, her voice strained to a slight whisper. "And you're right, I can't say that I'll never do it again. I don't know."

It's almost as though she suddenly feels cold and in response, she wraps herself into a hug, still facing away from him. "I raped him.." she rasps, "I did the most horrible thing someone could do to another person. I raped him…" Her breathing can't even be heard, it's so slight and shallow. "And then I wanted to go back after I woke up. Back to him again."

Rape has many, many different meanings. Sexual, dominating an opponent in a game, taking down a webserver. All are terms of rape. But this one….this one Jaiden is totally unsure of what to say now. "You….raped someone, and then wanted to do it again? Oh god…"

Pursing her lips, Delia gives a slight nod along with Jaiden's understanding of the situation. "I'm sorry, but you deserve someone better. Someone that's not— " She hasn't even given the story behind Mister Logan, it would likely sound something along the same lines as with the first. "— I'm sorry." It's all she can say.

Finally, she turns back to face him and raises her eyes to meet his. "I didn't answer the emails and texts and messages… I don't have a way to do that anymore." She has the iPad, but she doesn't use it. "I— I doubt you're going to want or need to get a hold of me but the only way is through the network. Brian is the best way, he always knows where I am." Most of the time.

Jaiden, somehow, gets to his feet, still looking at her, his hands pushed into the pockets of his coveralls, just looking at her. "I don't care if I deserve someone better….I wanted you. And if you ever decide….something….you can always come here. You know how to get in. I haven't changed the locks…my number's the same." He bends to pick up the ring box, looking at it, turning it over in his hands again and again. "here…" He tosses her the ring. "You can keep that. To remember." To remember what you lost. to remember what you had here, in this place. "And if you ever want to come back, I'll be here."

Catching the box in her right hand, Delia turns it over in her palm much the same way he just did before tucking it into her pocket. She doesn't look at him at all before she disappears up the stairs. It's a painfully slow endeavor, taking half again longer than it took her to get down.

It isn't until many hours later that the box is pulled from the pocket of the coat. She's already back safely at Nick's, packed and ready to leave. Possibly for good. From the window of the apartment she shares with him and Toru, she stares in the direction of the garage. Her eyebrows furrow a little as she opens the box again to look at the tangible representation of what she lost.

A slip of paper twirls down to the floor to land softly at her feet and she stares at it for a moment before reaching down to pick it up. When had he put that in there? She saw him take it out but… A soft sigh escapes her nostrils and she unfolds it and allows her eyes to drift over the neat cursive imprinted there.


Ever since you were a child, I've loved you. That time in the park in New York, when I was your giant - I just wanted to take you into my arms. To keep you safe. With this ring, I pledge to do so. Will you marry me?


24 December, 2010

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License