Trials and tribulations
Barely able to close his eyes that night, Bastian tossed and turned for at least three hours before he drifted off, and then only for thirty minutes or so at a time.
Somewhere around five am he sat up and grabbed his Blackberry, sent a few emails, organized some things on his calender, and then decided he needed his laptop. Dragging that out, he did a little net map and real estate searching, trying to figure out if there was anything interesting that he might be able to check out, as far as a place to live. The hotel would do fine for a few weeks, but eventually he would want some place more private, where he might even set up a boarding kennel. Having a place to house sick animals would be necessary once his practice took off, and he never had been one to sit around and do nothing when there were things he could be accomplishing.
More or less he was just killing time until he could call Reign's assistant, Jane, and work out a meeting...or, as Bastian considered it nothing less, a date.
Sometime later the phone rang, and Bastian woke up. He wasn't sure when he'd fallen asleep again, but was pleased to see it was now eight am. As had been the custom since he'd checked into the Piazza, breakfast would be delivered in an hour, so he went about his morning ablutions, then almost inhaled the meal once it had arrived.
Pushing himself as long as he could, he managed to hold off calling Jane until ten am, and then did so quickly. He wasn't sure what to expect of Reign's assistant, except a great deal of grief, at least initially. Bastian would have bet money on the fact that Reign would have contacted Jane as soon as practical, and left explicit instructions on how to handle Bastian.
Now...how would he handle Jane in return?
It had been exactly a week since he'd begun calling 'Jane', trying to schedule a meeting with Reign, and continually feeling it was all in vane. If he had to listen to that nasally woman tell him one more time..."I'm sorry sir, Ms. Sorenson is a very busy woman, but I'm sure she'll get back with you just as soon as she is able" he knew he'd put his fist through a wall.
However, because he believed this was all Reign's way of making sure he suffered, he was forcing himself to temper his temper. She had every right to be angry with him, and whatever she felt was necessary, as long as it resulted in the two of them getting together, he would go along with. This did not mean he wouldn't be effected though. It just meant he wouldn't show her how much it effected him.
It was bad enough she received daily reports from Jane, with regard to how often he was calling. But with Reign, Bastian didn't worry about appearing desperate or pathetic. She had seen him at his best, and she had seen him at his worst. Well, maybe not his VERY worst, but she'd seen him several times in a less than flattering light, and it never pushed her away before. He clung to those old memories now, as he faced the prospects of how she would react to the 'new' Bastian, once he told her. He refused to think of his plan turning out in any way but positive. It might take a while, but after all these years of working to find a way to be with her, he wasn't about to be foiled now.
Once again he dialed the number on Reign's card, and listed to the series of rings and options. When Jane again answered Bastian took a deep breath and steeled himself for what he knew was to come. Only this time his answer was so unexpected he exhaled deeply into the phone, just then realizing he had been holding his breath.
"Tomorrow afternoon? Four o'clock? The Grand Piazza lobby? Fine. I'll be there."
While it wasn't his first choice of places to meet, Reign had been adamant that there be no 'romantic' connotations, and that they meet in a very public and visibly place. With any luck, if things progressed as he intended, Bastian might be able to move the meeting to the bar, or restaurant, and they would have a modicum of privacy. Telling her he was a werewolf was one thing he didn't need the entire world hearing. But before he did that, he had to win back some trust with her. It shouldn't take a great deal, but even a small amount was going to be hard to come by.
He had faced some very difficult and trying things in his life so far, but this was proving to be the hardest, and most desired.
She dressed carefully, as she would for a televised tournament, jeans and a tee shirt didn’t seem appropriate for the local. The Grand Piazza wasn’t exactly her social circle but she’d let Jane talk her into it. You had to give her credit this certainly was public, and very impressive it had more class and a feeling of power that Reign’s usual haunts wouldn’t have held.
Finding an unoccupied conversation area about halfway through the lobby, close enough to the door that she could bolt but not so close they would be interrupted every thirty seconds she settled into wait, her arms and legs crossed already closing herself off. Just because she’d agreed to meet didn’t mean that she was happy to see him. What the hell could they have to say to each other after all these years? He certainly couldn’t expect she’d still be interested and it wasn’t like they had kids (thank god) so as far as she was concerned this was a closed chapter in her life. Not a happy or a pretty one, but a closed one and one that Reign was determined to keep closed.
Five minutes till four. She could leave now, she had shown up and on time at that no one could really expect her to wait. He certainly couldn’t, he hadn’t waited for her.
He had a fresh scrubbed look this afternoon, having just showered and shaved, and again sought anything he could do to put the odds in his favor. Understanding he no longer cast any kind of 'spell' on her, the little extra things he could do to look more appealing wouldn't hurt. The minute he laid eyes on her, he wished he could say the same about her.
She always had, and always would take his breath away. Even dressed casually, as was her standard garb, Bastian's eyes always devoured her. On the rare occasions he had managed to coerce her into a gown, he knew there was no lovelier woman on earth to be found. Of course he attributed much of this to the fact that she did not see herself in that way, and never acknowledged her own beauty.
He stopped in the hall the second he saw her, and took in everything about her. Sighing he could see she was poised for resistance, and totally closed off from anyone approaching her, including himself. He wondered why she had agreed to meet with him, if she already made up her mind not to give him a chance, but didn't consider that for more than a second or two. She was here, and that was the main thing. Now it was up to him to use the time wisely.
Dressed in his own standard garb of silk polo shirt, and slacks, Bastian squared his shoulders and began walking towards her.
"Hello Ca...hello Reign. You look very nice. Thank you for taking time from your busy schedule to meet with me today. May I?"
It was bad enough he had refrained from bringing her flowers, but standing on such formalities was really giving Bastian a headache. That thought reminded him of the nasty migraines she used to have, an he hoped she had eventually outgrown them.
Pushing the large wing chair closer to where she sat, Bastian sat down. He was now facing her, and close enough not to need to yell, but not so close as to make her feel uncomfortably crowded.
"I know it must be difficult for you to sit there and look at me, so I'll try to keep this short to the point, and not waste too much of your time."
He was afraid if he didn't get right to the point, she would take off, and he'd lose whatever chance she was giving. Leaning forward, resting his elbows on his knees, Bastian started in with his recount of the past few years.
"That night in the cemetery, back at school, when I was attacked? I was left with more than an ugly bite mark on my arm, as a reminder." Nothing like cutting to the chase, but if she gave him time to explain, and let down her guard long enough to actually listen, Bastian hoped there would be more time later to discuss less serious things.
"You do remember that night?" He couldn't see how she could forget, since it was her help that probably saved his life. But he couldn't risk assuming anything after all this time.
A few things about this were starting to nag at her as odd. For starters he’d not once questioned her schedule or why she had an agent. It was possible that he knew about the tour and her chosen career so that was easy to dismiss. Then there was the fact that he’d found her, her own family hadn’t found her or hadn’t wanted to.
She also realized she was sizing him up like a mark, looking for any weakness or vulnerability that she could exploit or play upon. Either he knew she would do that or he was trying to take her completely off guard because his question threw Reign. She raised an imperious eyebrow at him.
This wasn’t quite the trip down memory lane she’d imagined and it was an odd bid for sympathy. Something else would have been better timed and more appropriate. But, of course she remembered, she remembered being flipped out when he’d found her and half dragging him to the infirmary and she remembered going back looking for what ever had attacked him.
Maybe that wasn’t fair. Reign paused for a second and taking a deep breath forcing herself to be a little more open, not welcoming but not hostile.
“Listen Bas I’m sorry you got attacked but that was years ago. I can’t imagine you’ve spent any kind of time tracking me down and dealing with Jane to bring this up. What is it you want out of this mess?”
He did have to laugh when she mentioned rabies. He had really come to terms with what he was a few years back, so he was now able to find humor in the situation. But he didn't let the laughter get out of hand. Staying on course in the discussion was going to be difficult enough as it was.
When she called him Bas, his stomach did a small somersault, and it was then that he fully realized just how much he had missed her.
"I've spent considerable time and money to locate you, because yes, I need to explain why I left you in such a hurry, without word. I didn't leave on a whim, Reign. I didn't leave to be mean and hateful, to put you through hell. I left because I loved you more than my own happiness, and my own life. I left you because there was a risk I could have hurt you...even...killed you."
That part of his story was still very difficult to talk about, and as he spoke about it now his voice got softer and more quiet until his last words were barely above a whisper.
"What I want out of this 'mess', is for you to know why I left. What I dream of getting out of resolving this 'mess', is to have you back in my life."
Now he was beating around the bush, but suddenly second thoughts were creating havoc in his brain. Now that she was sitting in front of him, so close he could easily reach over and grab her into his arms, could he continue on with news that still might send her running for the hills?
All this talk of killing and injury she just didn’t believe. Certainly if he had decided to get violent Bastian was a big enough guy he could have hurt her, she would have given as good as she got but in the end he’d probably have won. But knowing him, who he had been, it was all dismissed.
“And that’s good enough for me. Ending a relationship is never pretty after all.”
Reign sighed, she’d been afraid he would say that. But there wasn’t a future, not any more she was a different person.
“You can’t expect me to leap into your arms right now, you know that right? Even if you had a reason” other than the bimbo “you have no idea what I went through when you left and then once I finally accepted I’d been dumped things changed.”
I got married, got divorced, quit my job, walked out on my family and cut myself off from anyone who even remotely cared for me. Not one to express self-pity she kept those thoughts to herself.
"I did not DUMP you! Cara, if I had stayed with you once the change had begun, once it had really taken over..." He shook his head sadly, and rubbed his hands over his face. He had to tell her. It wasn't getting any easier, but he had to tell her now, while she was still sitting there. Looking up he wanted to take her hands, not only in the event she still decided to run, but because he ached to touch her. But out of respect for her, he again refrained.
"What I'm about to tell you...you must promise not to tell anyone else. It's for your own good and protection that I need your promise..."
Bastian, still very knew to pack ways and laws, wasn't sure what might happen if news that a human knew of his condition...but he doubted it would be pleasant. On the other hand, whether or not she trusted him, he did still trust her...and now it would be with his life as well. Once she gave her word, he would fill in the rest of the blanks.
"Please Reign. Please just promise me that, and I can tell you what happened as a result of that night in the cemetery."
Bastard. Why was she still sitting here? She should get up and walk out right this very second. This was more consideration than he deserved. Something in his tone held her attention though and his words, while insane, sparked just the tiniest bit of… curiosity. Not caring, she was past that. But she did wonder.
Again crossing her arms and her jaw set Reign glared at him from behind her glasses. Ten years of anger, worry and loss were not a trivial thing and didn’t fade in a week.
“Who am I going to tell?”
She wasn’t exactly swimming neck deep in friends and family here. The only person Reign was likely to share anything with was the mutt and he kept his mouth shut well enough.
"As incredulous as it sounds, and I know your first reaction will be to not believe a word I say...when the wolf bit me...Michael...Kalahni's boyfriend...when he bit me, he acted as a sort of catalyst for a virus that was inside me." He had to keep talking...he didn't want to...the closer he got to telling her the truth the more he wanted to protect her. Maybe coming back was wrong, it was surely selfish, but he just couldn't see going through the rest of his life without her.
"Reign...once a month, like clockwork, without fail...I change. The virus causes me to change into what Michael was...I become a wolf...just like he was. No matter what I do, nothing will stop it. And though I've been able to learn how to control it, it took me years to get to the point where I didn't fear hurting people. That's why I left...I was scared to death that if I stuck around, I would end up hurting you physically. It was a choice between hurting you mentally...something I knew you could recover from, and hurting you physically...something you might never..."
He sighed again. There was more to tell her, but what he had just laid in her lap was sufficient for a few moments. His eyes never left her face as he waited for her to react. Laughter would have been expected...he could see how she might just not believe what he had said. After all this time she might truly think he'd gone off the deep end. Disgust was also a possibility. He had run, he had good reasons, but he had run...she might not be able to believe he truly was a threat, and might see his actions as a sign of cowardice. His wish was that somewhere deep inside, she would begin to see, and understand why he did what he did.
"I did try to handle things at school. Remember Dylan had moved out...I had the dorm room to myself, and tried for a couple months to get through what was happening to myself. But each month things got worse, and each month I was more afraid my secret would get out. Worse yet, I was afraid the change would come over me one night when the two of us were alone..." And as always, when he got to a point where he could see how easy hurting her would have been, he instinctively shut down that thought.
"I could have told you, but Reign...I couldn't run the risk. You wouldn't have let me go...you would have insisted on trying to help. I was afraid, not only of hurting you, but of seeing that love you had for me change to disgust, or fear, or both. I spent those few months at school trying to come up with an alternative to leaving, but there just wasn't one."
Now that the hard part was over, Bastian sat back in the chair, and relaxed. Whatever Reign did now, there was no way it could hurt as much as it did the night he left school. He knew now he didn't have to worry about hurting her. He knew now he could live the life he wanted, even if he had to deal with the monthly change. He could marry, and have a family, and no one would need to be the wiser.
But he also knew that without her, there wouldn't be much point.
Neither did vampires a little part of nagged and yet it was a vampire that had gotten her on the tour. But hell Reign only half believed Pakpao and she’d seen the fangs why should she believe Bastian now? She shouldn’t. That really was the answer. She shouldn’t and couldn’t believe him this was ridiculous, it was madness.
“You couldn’t do better than that? I mean really you’ve had ten years to work up a story; a terminal disease, dead relative, arranged marriage, kidnapping, some sort of amnesia those are all better, certainly more believable than what you just told me.”
She wasn’t exactly naiveté. Bastian knew that. Of course that he knew that and had told her this insane story any way gave it credence but she refused to accept it as reality. Werewolves didn’t exist, she just kept repeating that to herself.
The more she thought about it the angrier she became. This was just plain insulting. No, damned it she wasn’t going to sit here and take that. She stood and offered him her hand.
“It was ni… interesting seeing you again Bas but I’ve got to get going.”
Damned shame she’d bought that house, nice house too. If she hadn’t gotten herself tied down with real estate she’d have gone home, packed and taken off again. Not a mature way to handle things but it sure had some appeal to it.
Taking her hand, not to shake but to hold, Bastian gave it a squeeze as he stood and looked down into her eyes.
Such beautiful blue eyes, that still had the power to captivate him, even behind the glasses.
"Do you really think I am so stupid that if I was going to make something up, I COULDN'T come up with a better story? Think about it Reign. Have I ever lied to you? Was I ever given to such flights of fancy? I know you hate me now, but think back to when you didn't..."
Short of shifting right then and there, he had to find a way to buy more time. He knew the time would come when he would probably need to shift before her. Hell, for that matter if things progressed the way he wanted, shifting in front of her would become a way of life. But that was still too iffy a proposition to consider.
"There is physical proof I can give you, not here of course, but...maybe you should think about it...let the idea have time to sink in. I can prepare you for what you would see, but the words are really never enough warning."
Her hand felt so soft, and warm in his, and her lips...how much he wanted them beneath his own again. So easy. It would be so easy to just bend down and capture her mouth in his...
Could she see the desire in his eyes? Would it scare her more than the news he had just thrown on her? He shuttered his thoughts and returned his gaze to that of a friend.
"It's all true, Cara."
Reign exclaimed, clearly frustrated, exasperated and otherwise irritated with all of this.
And damned if just letting him hold her hand wasn’t putting other ideas in her head, against her will but there they were. She hadn’t been with a man since her divorce and it would have been easy enough to fall back into old habits with Bastian. It wasn’t like meeting William where they were new to each other. The evil side of her was screaming ‘one night stand!’ but she clamped down on that, it wasn’t an option.
“Can you start small? You know I’m still furious with you and sure as hell not in the mood to deal with this.”
She hadn’t gone to much trouble to hide that fact. It really was confusing enough just seeing him, being in the same room with him Reign wasn’t dealing well with the addition of hallucinations and wild stories to the mix.
“And after ten years there isn’t anything left of us. If you want something you have to start over and you need to know after that story I’m not likely to let you get to first base.”
Then why hadn’t she taken her hand back? Now, you need to do that now. She counseled herself and slowly withdrew her hand and sat back down.
Although why she was sitting back down she just didn’t know. She should be heading for the door.
His hand felt so empty when she removed her own, and Bastian could have kicked himself not for not following through with a more proactive move. However, when she still didn't run away, he too sat down again, and breathed slightly easier.
He heard her say there was nothing left between them, but that was not an option he would begin to consider. It was normal she would say that, and probably even felt it on a superficial level, but deep down he knew there was still something in her heart for him.
"I would expect nothing less than having to fight for you again. I can never take back the pain I caused you, but I would like to replace it now, with something else. That's more than I could have hoped for...your allowing the possibility for something between us again."
He gave her a look reminiscent of one from the past, that implied he still knew her well enough to expect a long road of pursuit ahead, but that he was still not one to be easily deterred.
"And as much as I'd like to 'get to first base'...correction...as much as I'd like to get to home plate, I can't change my story just to accomplish that."
He hoped his small attempt at humor wouldn't set them back. Since things had to progress slowly, he saw no reason for them not to at least start out by trying to recapture the friendship their relationship had been built on.
Since he had given her such a big part of his past now to consider, he wondered if she would feel like reciprocating. Though he knew most of the basics...the marriage being the biggest bit of news he'd had to deal with...he hungered for anything she might want to fill in.
"But while you decide on when and where you want to see my 'proof'...might I ask you to share a little of how you've been doing?
I really did mean it when I said you looked...great."
Again he restrained his comment, not wanting to appear overly eager. In truth he didn't think he'd ever seen anyone so beautiful before.
Her voice was low, not menacing but authoritarian even as her old nickname for him slipped out.
This wasn’t a topic she was willing to consider. It meant that he was completely nuts. That then begged the question if he was completely nuts and there was nothing left between them what was she still doing here? That little voice got shut off. He was an old friend they should be able to meet and talk without it meaning anything else.
The quip about home plate made her smile. It was a wry slightly suspicious smile but the first she’d had in his presence since learning he wasn’t dead.
“Oh just peachy. Shall we start with me trying to convince the cops to look for you and being told you were a big boy and could take care of yourself or something else? I’m sure Jane sent you a bio sheet so that covers my career and I’m about half way through my dissertation.”
Reign clamed up suddenly letting things stew inside her she didn’t want to give him anything, not one inch but maybe he needed to know exactly how much ground he had to make up.
“Damned it! Do you have any idea? The cops didn’t care about any of it they just brushed me off. I tried to find you myself and couldn’t and then I figured you’d just dumped me and that was another few months in just a blur that I don’t –want- to remember.”
Apparently she’d been a bit reckless in that period and hustled a few games she should have among other things. It had taken some effort and ingenuity for her friends to keep her out of trouble.
“Not to mention the fact that you broke Helen’s heart on top of everything else.
I’ve been a teacher but walked out on that when I couldn’t stand another second of it and started playing pool full time, which I might add is a –brilliant- life style work all night sleep all day and never stay in one place very long.
And did I mention I got married? Some where along the line I married Vince and the kicker of it is we’ve gotten divorced, it wasn’t pretty. I’m surprised he didn’t kick me out long before it ended I’m sure I made his life hell. Once that happened I pretty much stepped out of my life I haven’t seen any of my friends, assuming I still have any, or my family for about a year.
So yeah I’m just hunky dory and in a wonderful spot in my life two kids and a white picked fence with a cat in the yard. Thanks for asking.”
Wow, that was bitter even by her standards. Reign hadn’t anticipated the tirade but now that it was out she felt good. Emotionally drained but good there it was in black and white and probably far too much to take in but if he had any question about how big a fuck up he would be dealing with it wasn’t her fault.
Her sarcasm was also impossible to miss, but again, not unexpected. She was doing what she could to prevent herself from being hurt again, he wouldn't mess with that. Memories of how he'd dogged her day after day when they had first met, until he convinced her he was seriously in love
with her came flooding back. He was older and wiser now, and certain he had both the stamina and desire to do that and more now. The longer she sat there talking, the more he saw his chances growing.
He did have the good grace to look truly apologetic, yet again, when she reiterated all the trouble she had gone through in trying to find him.
"Reign, I will spend eternity apologizing, but if I had it to do all over again, I would have. That is unless I knew then what I've learned since. It's no excuse, but you must remember that aside from being scared shitless about hurting you, I wasn't one with a lot of experience in relationships either. In hindsight I can see how I would have gone out of my mind with worry as well, if you had up and left me in the same way. But back then I really wasn't thinking all that coherently. Fear is what motivated me, and people can do some crazy things when they're scared beyond comprehension."
He would keep explaining, though he knew eventually she would grow weary with the reasons. Until she saw what he had been telling her was true, he didn't think anything would change her opinion of him. Time, and proof, and hopefully a love that was truly strong enough to be rekindled. Bastian was putting all his faith in those things.
He nodded when she mentioned Vince. Though a small part of Bastian had been and would always be slightly jealous of what Vince and Reign had shared, a part of him knew that was a union destined to fail. Of course it was the still perceived love Reign felt for Bastian that he was pinning that opinion on. Love like theirs never died. It might be ignored for a time, and even pushed down so far as to be thought gone, but he refused to think there were absolutely no embers remaining.
"I did know a lot of that already. As I said, I've spent a lot of money trying to find you, and in the course of that have received news of the major events of your life. I can't say I'm sorry about you and Vince, though I can imagine how crushed Vince must have been. Yet, at least he got what he had always wanted, if only for a brief time.
And as for Helen, I'm no happier about hurting her, but I think I may have made peace with her. I hope so anyway, and she's given me every indication that I have. I contacted her before she left for school, and explained as best as I could why I did what I did. Of course I didn't mention the 'wolf' matter." He hoped Reign would know him well enough to give him that much common sense.
"She did put me through the ringer, she's very loyal to her big sister, but...well, I guess something I said must have struck a chord. I suspect she's always had a bit of a crush on me, and admit I did play upon that a little."
Now...if only Helen's big sister would only give him a fraction of the opportunity to do the same, he would be eternally grateful to all the powers that be.
"I guess I'm offering that up just to give you more proof of how serious I am about trying to resolve things between us. I always did care a lot about your family...Helen particularly."
She was very probably never going to forgive herself for what she’d done to Vince. Nothing like killing a relationship you’d had since you were five… seven… very young to make you all warm and fuzzy. So no she wouldn’t be treating this lightly, what had happened with Vince had hurt him. Not only Vince but his twin John… hell the whole family. Reign had been her ex-mother-in-law’s adopted daughter for years before the doomed marriage. She’d been considered a sister, family before hand the two families were extremely close now there was an odd tension as everyone tried to sort things out. She could only hope that ended soon, it was bad enough she’d screwed her best friend in the world by marring and then divorcing him (not to mention making his life hell) but to cause problems in the family was unforgivable.
“We both got what we wanted, what I though I wanted. Regardless, he deserves better than what I did to him.”
He’s been in touch with Helen? That was truly dangerous ground. She could mess with her family, she could walk out on them but Reign didn’t take kindly to people messing with her relatives. She could be rather clannish and very protective when it came to them.
Even if she didn’t believe him about this werewolf thing Reign (funny she was using that word and he wasn’t. that was a bit odd) was slightly relieved he seemed to have some modicum of sense about it. Maybe she’d break down and call Helen see what her impression of things.
“It might be best if you leave her out of this.”
OK this was entering argument territory. Still leery of what might have transpired between Bastian and her sister Reign backed off slightly.
“What have you been up to, other than stalking me?”
But he had promised to play down her involvement in helping Bastian locate Reign, and he had no intentions of going back on that promise now.
It occurred to him, when Reign asked about his life, that he really did know a lot about her, but not vice versa. Almost all the time she had thought him dead, he had spent trying to find out where she was and how she was doing. He hadn't given much thought to what she might think of how his life had turned out. Now he seemed hesitant to tell her, mainly because it hadn't turned out anything like he had thought it might, back when they were in school.
"Besides stalking you...and Michael? Well, there was the whole getting to know the life of a wolf, and how I could continue to live among people, without worrying a neighbor might call animal control on me should they over hear me howling on the night of the full moon."
His tried to keep his tone light, since he needed her to understand the perceived horror and fear was no longer an issue. He still wasn't thrilled with what he went through once a month, but since there wasn't anything to do about it, he had accepted it and truly learned to live with it. Because she still didn't believe him, he suspected it would be sometime before she might adopt such an attitude as well.
"I got a job working in New Orleans...remember Professor Beauchamp? She got me hooked up with a great firm down there, and I did pretty well while I lasted. But it wasn't what I expected it to be, so I took some time to decide what I really wanted to do. Maybe that was when you were deciding you weren't cut out to teach?" He brushed off the possible psychic connection, and continued on.
"There was a rather...tragic plane crash over the Mediterranean about five years ago...both my parents were killed, along with all my brothers. The vineyards and wineries were sold, and all my connections there pretty much died at the same time." He didn't think his lack of emotion when describing that event would have come as a shock to Reign. She had met his family early on in their relationship, and for all the love and support her own family gave her, Bastian's was completely opposite. Though he had never wanted for anything materialistic or financially, there had never been any love lost between he and his family. But that was an issue he didn't think he had to remind her of.
"By then I had my beast controlled, so I started looking into other jobs, and rather fell into veterinary medicine. My love of horses partially led the way, but I also found I had a pretty strange but useful connection to canines. I figured it was some how connected to my wolf...kind of like a 'blood brother' kinship...but honestly I haven't taken a lot of time to analyze that. Instead I just accepted it was something I was good at. So...I went back to school, graduated, and started my own practice, which seems to be doing very well."
Even if Bastian wasn't already wealthy from his family money, his practice would have allowed him to live a very comfortable life. He really did have a knack for healing animals.
He realized he had been going on for some time, and wasn't really sure if Reign was interested, or just being polite. So he drew his trip down memory lane to a close, even though there was a lot more he could have told her. He made up his mind that he would be seeing her again...and there would be a lot more time to flesh out the empty spots of his history. Just as he was hoping she, herself, would be doing.
"Funny though...through it all, I never felt whole. There was always something absent, and it went beyond missing someone to share things with."
And because he knew she wasn't ready to extend any sympathy his way, he dropped that line of thought as well.
Listening intently she nodded in the right places and interjected sympathies at demise of his family. Happy or not that must have been quite the shock, there had to be some kind of loss there.
He was –so- not getting his hands on Sirius. That was her first thought when he mentioned being a vet. Nope that dog was worth more than she’d ever like to admit and she wasn’t letting him near a crazy person/former lover with ulterior motives.
“Sounds like you’ve kept busy. What brought you to Nachton?”
‘Don’t say me, oh please god don’t say me.’
How much work went into getting a restraining order she wondered. Did she want one? Damned this was irritating. She hadn’t felt so awkward since they first met and she’d been convinced Bastian was hitting on one of the other girls.
Bloody hell she wanted a drink.
It wasn't her fault. He could hardly blame her. But he couldn't help the way he felt either. Her seeming indifference was more difficult to deal with than her anger was. He had experienced her anger on many occasions, but the thought that she just didn't care was too rough right now to take on. Not after everything else he had put forth to her emotionally.
No, she needed time to let all the news sink in, and time to decide if she wanted to see with her own eyes, that what he had told her was true. He hoped so, because if she didn't the process of getting her back was just going to take all that much longer.
But he had seen her, and she had voluntarily sat down to talk to him...and no matter how hard or long she protested, Bastian was certain he saw feeling for him in her eyes. He refused to think it was an illusion.
"I came to Nachton for several reasons, the least of which was a very sick, very valuable horse."
He stood up then, and held his hands to her, offering to help her stand as well.
"But I think, before I wear out what little patience I'm sure you carry for me, I'd better take my leave. Be assured I'm not going far, in fact I've already got feelers out for a ranch to buy on the outskirts of town. I know my words can't be trusted, but I am making Nachton my home." He didn't see the need to add that he made his decision after he found out she too had been looking to buy a home. Money never seemed to fail him when he went looking for information.
"I also know I have no right to ask you to consider anything I might want, but I'm going to ask anyway. Please think about what I've told you, and either let me know when I can call you again, or have Jane...I need to show you Reign. I'm not delusional, and I'm not psychotic. I do change...once a month...without fail. The next change is due to occur a week from Thursday, and I'd like you to be there. But if that's too soon, I can wait. I can also force the change, if it would be more convenient for you to see another time."
He hated changing, so to offer to voluntarily do so when he didn't need to meant a great deal more than Reign might ever imagine. But for her...nothing was too great to ask of him.
Standing there, speaking in low tones, so passing guests wouldn't be able to overhear anything he said, it might have appeared that two lovers were conversing. Bastian longed for that to be true, and hoped by giving Reign space, she wouldn't fight the idea so severely.
But he couldn't take anything for granted.
Reign chewed at the inside of her lower lip, something she hadn’t done since college, hating the indecisiveness Bastian’s arrival was inspiring in her. He'd done that the first time they'd beet too, hadn't he?
Old habits died hard and she accepted his hand to help her stand.
“You can call Jane. She knows my schedule and she’ll be a bit more reasonable this time around.”
She’d give him a fair shake. She wouldn’t indulge this wolf fantasy and would give Jane instructions not to schedule meetings for the full moon, maybe not even at night, just to be safe, but she’d let him set up a … a… what ever it was.
Couldn’t he just let her get her feelings here sorted out without throwing total nonsense into the mix.
“Good luck with the ranch. Maybe I’ll see you again some time.”
She half smiled and turned to excuse herself. If she could get out first she’d have kept some semblance of control over this meeting. It wasn’t much but it’s what she had.
((OOC… Reign out.))