Please accept these flowers as a token of my respect and never-ending affection. As difficult for you to believe, I have always held both of those things in abundance for you, alone.
An invitation to dinner is being extended, along with these flowers, for the next evening you have open. As my practice allows me to create my own schedules, barring any emergencies, I am available whenever you deem fitting.
Provided you deem a dinner invitation acceptable.
Knowing you do not owe me a thing, and that I still owe you quite a lot, I won't be surprised if you reject this offer; however, that will not deter me, and I will continue to seek your company.
He had paid extra to assure the bouquet she was sent resembled the one he was looking at online. It was a very festive arrangement of pine, red and white roses, babies breath, poinsettias, and white carnations. Deciding it was getting close enough to the holidays to switch over from the oranges, yellows, and browns, of autumn arrangements, Bastian hoped Reign would enjoy these. He had always enjoyed sending her flowers in the past, even if she wasn't the biggest fan of the sentiments. It pleased him to know she would have something pretty to look at, and to remind her of his feelings.
The note was both easy, and terribly difficult for him to write, but he recognized it was something he had to do. After seeing her with that other man last night, Bastian had come home to a cold and empty bed, and not slept at all. His reflection in the morning mirror was a startling affirmation of his mood...bleak and grey.
Fortunately, he wasn't near ready to throw in the cloth just yet. If that had been the case, he wouldn't have moved to Nachton, or tried to locate Reign to begin with. And though he wasn't quite yet obsessed with his plight, he was one hundred percent focused on having it turn out the way he hoped.
The note included his cell phone number, again, just in case she had tossed the rest of his cards. And as he dressed and walked out to his kennels, he patted the phone in his pocket. A silent prayer to the heavens was all he could do now, besides wait.
The trust between them, that had taken Bastian so long to build, just wasn't there any longer. He still had hope that one day he'd see it in her eyes again, and even without a call from her today, he was going through with his plan. He would try giving her the space to come around, for a while, and then he would become more proactive again. It was the second most difficult thing he'd ever had to do, but knowing what the results were sure to be in the end, gave him all the incentive to proceed that he needed.
Walking back into the house, Bastian showered and changed clothes before going into the kitchen to find something to put together for dinner. He had vacillated between hiring a cook and not, and for the time being was relying on his own devices for meals. He could cook, as long as the meal was somewhat simple, and more often he would order things to be delivered. Tonight he only wanted an easy bowl of soup, so there wasn't really any issue.
He pulled the newspaper open as he sat down at the table with his soup, and began to eat. Now was the time with which he also caught up on local current events.
No matter what she did though the flowers always seemed to be in her, field of view and that made it very hard to forget about them. To some degree, she still felt bad about Bas catching her with William. Not that she had any thing to regret or be ashamed of nor did she have any reason to answer to him, but she had perhaps been a bit harsh.
Half a dozen times, she picked up the phone and set it down. It was dark and she’d finally turned to her pool table for comfort. Stalking around it for a couple of hours and losing all sense of time, she finally snarled a brief bit of profanity moved to the living room and dialed.
What if he didn’t answer? Would she leave a message? What would she say? No, if he didn’t answer, no message, she might try again but she wouldn’t leave a message. She wasn’t begging for anything.
Her fingers tapped both nervous and impatient on the sofa, half hoping she’d get lucky and he wouldn’t pick up. That would solve a lot of problems.
Once he'd finished up what he had to do, he placed everything neatly into the appropriate folders, and then leaned back into the couch. Rubbing the bridge of his nose, he knew he should just call it a night and go to bed, but somewhere in the back of his mind he still thought Reign might call. Logically he doubted it...it was late after all...but he couldn't shake loose the glimmer of hope, and instead fell asleep on the couch.
When his cell phone began ringing, Bastian was involved in a pretty elaborate dream, and didn't wake quickly. But once he was awake enough to realize what was making the music, he flipped it open and put it to his ear. His brain still quite foggy.
Still too asleep to even think who it could be, Bastian waited for the other voice.
“Li ho svegliati?”
The Italian was rusty (probably the wrong words and/or poor grammar) and a bit oddly accented but for some reason it just sprung off her tongue knowing he was a bit out of it.
She couldn’t make herself say anything more. She didn’t know what to say. She wished for a time they hadn’t been this awkward and she could have just given him hell for falling asleep on her or for waking her up with the flowers. They didn’t have that now, and for the first time in a long while Reign regretted that.
Rubbing his hand over his face he tried to force alertness upon himself, and sat up straighter.
"Si...no...I'm awake...now." He chuckled when he heard his own befuddlement in his words.
"Cara? Reign? This is you, right?" When there was silence on the other end, he momentarily panicked, and wondered if he had received a call from someone he didn't know.
“Yeah. Its me.”
For being a fast talker tonight words were not her friends, everything felt hostile, awkward or pathetic so she was opting not to say much. Hell just then she’d been about to accuse him have having lots of late night phone calls and had no intention of sparing the innuendo and sarcasm, but she’d bitten her tongue just in time. After all, she had no call to be jealous.
Pulling himself into standing position, and thereby helping to wake up better, Bastian changed hands with his phone, and nearly dropped it in the process. However reflexes made quicker by his altered chemical make up allowed for a swift bending, catching, and juggling before returning the ear piece to his ear.
"Were the flowers too much?" His note had included a question, yet she had yet to answer it. He could have come out and just asked if she was going to take him up on the offer, but fearing rejection he chose to prolong hearing her answer. So the next course of action was to hope she wasn't angry with him for sending flowers.
Looking over at the flowers as he asked about them, she softened slightly and smiled. He’d always been prone to sending her flowers and she still didn’t understand why.
“No, they weren’t. I haven’t gotten a tree so…”
She trailed off. Reign didn’t much care to celebrate the holidays without her family and the lack of noise and festivities made her feel a bit more lonely than usual. However, she didn’t care to go into that right now.
Afraid she might think he was responding to her 'thank you', he scrambled to cover with another topic. Unfortunately, aside from the pain he was feeling, from her apparent lack of emotion for him, the only thing that came to mind was the dinner, and he still didn't want to go down that road. He suspected even more so that she now called to tell him she didn't wish to see him again for any reason.
Yet he still couldn't allow her to say the words.
"I don't have a tree yet either. Well, I do have a tree, but I need to cut it down, then drag it home and decorate it. I found one, a perfect size, on the northeast perimeter of my property. If I didn't have a virtual forest out there I wouldn't bother, but I think a little thinning will be for the best anyway."
He grinned in a small, wry way, and shook his head. He wondered if he sounded as pathetic to her, as he did to his own ears.
"Are you going back to Chicago for Christmas?"
He was grasping, but he needed to keep her talking.
“Sounds like fun.”
That was weak, but what else was she going to say.
His question about Chicago was something akin to twisting a knife in her gut and hurt more than she had anticipated.
“No… I haven’t been…”
‘Home in a long time, not sure when I’ll be going home (if ever)’ Reign didn’t want to say any of that. Still, she did miss home, with out a doubt all of her sibs would be back for the holiday. Alex would bring his wife, Jason was still in the city, Helen and Portia would come back from school and if she knew Pyro at all, he’d be flying in from California where he was working.
The Giacalones had been very understanding and forgiving of the divorce and she was certain the two families would share some type of celebration. And The Guys who had left town generally made it a point to come back for a day or two during the holiday season.
There were a lot of good memories there. Good or no, suddenly Reign was very depressed.
“I hadn’t planed on it.”
Her admission that she wouldn't be going home for the holidays threw him, and he really was at a genuine loss for what to say. It sounded so unlike her not to be going home. Reign always had the kind of relationship with her parents and family, that Bastian had envied. And when he had left her, and effectively left her family as well, it had hurt twice as bad. Wanting to show her how much he loved her, Bastian had let down his walls when it came to her family, and they now all held a special place with him. But something must have happened, to turn her away like this.
"No? I'm sure you will be missed." And he knew that had to be an understatement. He had seen the love Reign's mother and father had for her, in their eyes, and their actions. But he had no room to inquire, or argue the point.
"I'm sure you have other plans, but if something happens and you find yourself free, you are more than welcome to share the day here, with me."
Funny - he couldn't broach the subject of dinner, but Christmas didn't seem as taboo.
She didn’t want to be missed, she didn’t want to hurt anyone she wanted to be invisible and didn’t want her family worrying about her at all. Maybe she wasn’t being fair to them, but Reign just couldn’t bring herself to share the mess that she’d created.
His invitation almost made her laugh, not quite a friendly laugh either.
“I’ll probably scrape up a game or five. There’s usually some pool bums hanging around playing.”
It would be her Christmas present to them, to be beaten by the best. Of course if she got lucky and they didn’t know who she was then it would be a nice present to herself.
Taking a deep breath, she finally pressed on.
“I got a note with the flowers too…”
Please god, let him take it from here she prayed.
Yet, he just couldn't bring himself to press her. He felt like the tightwire he walked was more than tenous, and he really needed everything he could muster to keep from falling off.
Listening as she talked of playing pool, in a hall full of drunks, on a day when she should be tucked warmly on a couch, with love and family around, made Bastian ill. If only...
"A note? Yes...an invitation to dinner." Since she hadn't come right out and told him she wouldn't be accepting, Bastian concluded she had called to agree to meet him. Reign could beat around the bush like anyone, but he didn't recall her ever shirking things just because she found them unpleasant. If she truly didn't want to go to dinner with him, she certainly would have told him by now.
No...more than likely she was accepting, but having a harder time of doing that, than she would have had in refusing.
He grinned. If he was correct, and she did want to go to dinner with him, maybe he 'should' let her tell him. Why take all the fun out of the moment by putting words into her mouth.
"Is that why you called?"
Just say no! It hadn’t worked in the 80s and it wasn’t working now. She couldn’t turn him down flat. She should, Reign knew that. Her head and pride were well aware of that, but something else was eating at her. Prodding her into giving him one last chance, another opportunity to explain, and looking for proof he was sincere.
“I suppose we could meet somewhere if you want.”
It still seemed necessary to make it sound like she was doing him a favor. She couldn’t bend that much.
"I know I should just accept that as a yes, but I don't want you doing anything you're not comfortable with. I rather wanted to have you come here, so I could show you what I do for a living now. I'd really like you to see my small animal hospital, and kennels, as well as the house. I haven't had guests yet, and would appreciate an objective eye. But I can tell you would almost rather have dental work done than do that."
He tried to keen the edge of disappointment from his words, because her answer had been affirmative.
"So to make sure you are comfortable, I'll let you choose the place. Wherever you want to meet, where I'm sure there are many people about, to give you security. Though, honestly Reign...do you really fear me so?"
Not believing he was a were was one thing, but fearing him for other reasons, enough not to want to be alone with him, cut him to the quick. In all the time they had been together, he had never given her a reason for thinking he would do her harm. He thought she would have remembered that, at least.
He sighed, but hoped it was quiet enough that it wouldn't have been picked up by the phone. His emotions were a dichotomy. On one had he understood her distance, and her arguments for why she did not want to be in his presence, yet it hurt. On the other hand he saw her concession as hope, and that obviously pleased him, and that hope would keep him going for now.
"Maybe we should keep this conversation to deciding on the details of dinner, and continue any further discussion when we're together."
Too many misunderstandings could be generated by words spoken over the phone. Bastian wanted to see her face when she talked to him, and for her to see his. She had always seen through any ploys he had tried as well, and seeing that he was sincere could only help his cause.
Reign snapped, somewhat indignant. She was a bit afraid for him, he was obviously losing his mind persisting in this werewolf fantasy, but she wasn’t afraid –of- him. She wasn’t sure if he had gone wacky or if this was some messed up way to get her attention; neither spoke well for him.
Her plan had been to continue to ignore this fantasy of his until he gave it up, but it didn’t seem like that would be possible. On top of that she now felt pressed to prove she wasn’t afraid, to offer him a show of good faith.
That was a little harder to do than she planed and Reign stood and started to pace. Catching herself, she shoved a random CD in the player and hit play before wandering off to the kitchen. It was something to do, the movement offered a slight escape.
“Your place will be fine. I’m even flexible about the date and time.”
"It's good to hear that fire again." It was also wonderful to see she still had the spirit that had originally captured his heart.
As she left the final decision up to him, he thought he heard music behind her voice, but couldn't hear enough to figure out what song she was listening to. She also sounded like she was walking as she spoke, and he was sorry she couldn't feel easy enough to relax while they talked.
"My place it is then...how about tomorrow, say six thirty? There should be just enough natural light for you to get a glimpse of the land, and the animals will all have been fed, and will be receptive of company. We can enjoy a nice meal, and still get you back home before it's too late?"
The simpler he made their plans, and the more accommodating he could be, the less reason Reign would have for feeling uneasy about her decision. He didn't relish being manipulative, but until she came to believe him again, he had little choice.
The fact that the full moon was two nights away should also lead Reign to think there would be little discussion on the were subject. Bastian always changed the night of the full moon, but would soon be enlightening Reign to the fact that he could also change independent of the moon. It was the only way she would ever come to believe him, and until she did, he saw no way to bridge the gap between them. The gap that he had created, but now wanted more than anything to bring together.
She couldn’t for the life of her come up with a reason to put him off any further, and truly didn’t want to. Maybe if they tackled this head on it would go away. When the hell was the full moon? She’d better check up on that, just for research.
“I’ll need directions and did you want me to bring anything.”
There were some manners she could never shake, and even though she was hesitant to go to this dinner it wouldn’t due to show up empty handed or go without offering to bring something.
He gave her directions, which were pretty simple once she got out of town. There weren't too many main highways leading in or out of Nachton, so once she got on the main highway, it would be up to her to just find the turn off. Bastian himself had repaired the sign leading from the main highway to the road which lead to his road. He then built a simple, but sturdy sign from that road to his turn, or driveway. The driveway, was indeed as long as a road, and though it was now only comprised of oiled gravel, he planned to have it paved come spring.
"There wasn't much snow, but I cleared off what there was, from the highway in, so you shouldn't have any trouble."
Why was it so easy for them to talk about the mundane things, when there were so many much more important things they needed to address? He hoped dinner would put a big dent in those things, and truly become their new beginning.
"The only thing you need to bring is yourself, but if you want, something for dessert would be fine. I do have ice cream, or can go into town and grab something as well...?"
Sirius wandered over to her about this time and leaned into her leg, it was a nice mix of offering support and demanding attention. Reign smiled and scratched him behind the ears. This was a much simpler relationship, the kind she should stick to. Offer food, companionship and a few walks maybe toss a tennis ball and you had a devoted loyal companion with no emotional baggage.
“I’ll find something to bring. Its not a problem.”
Chocolate, it was hard to forget his fondness for chocolate. That would make it easier to find something.
“Alright then… I’ll see you tomorrow…”
She paused a bit giving him one last chance to say something before hanging up.