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.

Please Reign...


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.

Bastian 17 years ago
The look he gave her was one of skepticism, but he nodded just the same. Though she was quite adept at taking care of herself, Bastian had never seen Reign go out of her way to be rude, or even challenge authority. In fact, aside from the things she did when she played pool, and for some reason she had always had a different perspective when, she lived pretty much by the book.

"As you can see...neighbors aren't an issue here." Moving to the large sliding door in his bedroom, Bastian looked out on the expanse of land, lit up by the nearly full moon, that was rising.

"And as for going 'coach'...Cara, I always understood where you were coming from, but had the where-with-all to make things a little easier. Did it really bother you that much...letting me give you those things?" And yes, his money had been the topic of several conversations, mostly in the beginning of their relationship. But Bastian never thought she considered his use of it as more than a minor annoyance. Had he really been so stubborn as to not see it had mattered more?

"Surely you never felt you owed me anything because of my gifts...?" He would hate it, but if that was something that she might hinge a possible reconciliation between them on, he would find a way to stop. Though it might take a while.

The master bath opened off the sleeping area, and was easy enough for her to look into, if she had the desire. The rest of the room was 'L' shaped, and divided into a sleeping area, taken up with a extra large California king bed, and a small sitting area set up around the fireplace. At the far end of the bedroom was Bastian's haven from the full moon, that he had built with specifications different from the rest of the house. On those nights when he chose not to roam the woods and forests, he locked himself away from dusk to dawn, and the room was programmed to virtually keep him a prisoner in his own home.

Part of him learning to deal with his beast had been to recognize that should he be in a foul temper around the time of his change, he could become less patient, and even slightly violent, if pressed. It was those nights that he locked himself up. It was something he would need to discuss with Reign, eventually, but first he had to convince her that he really was a werewolf.

Shanking himself from his thoughts, he watched her looking at his room, and suddenly felt the need to apologize.

"I know it's luxurious, and modern, but it's also more austere than the downstairs. I've yet to find a way to make this room...personal." And because he knew the reason why he hadn't put his stamp on the rooms upstairs, but also knew Reign wouldn't want to hear, he said nothing more. He walked back out to the small landing, and opened the door to his guest room, and then the door to the guest or upstairs hall bath. Neither room was much more than a shell of a room, with minimal furnishings, because they had never been used for anything. Maybe some day...

Another topic he and Reign had never seen eye to eye on, was the subject of children. Bastian had always had a soft spot for the wee folk, and always considered one day he wanted to be a father. Reign, on the other hand, had always joked that kids hated her...were afraid of her. Bastian had an occasion, with one of his psychology classes, to take care of an infant girl for a short period of time, and in the course of this class thought he had dispelled Reign's fears. Sadly it wasn't long after that he had left her, and hadn't been able to follow through in the way he would have liked.

"Now that you're warm and comfortable, shall I take you outside and get you chilled all over again?"
Reign 17 years ago
“No it wasn’t an issue. But you were fighting years of habit and up bringing, you know that. None of the Sorensens have been too well off and those that stood chance had too many kids.”

He folks could have had money, a big house, and all the trappings but six kids really put a cramp in one’s style. Her mom, however, had often pointed out that their family had more than enough style to keep any one on their toes.

He got one of her sly pool hall grins

“I’ve never owed any one anything. Simply couldn’t let that happen. You know me.”

It was easier to give him a hustler’s answer than a real one even though she’d never felt like he was buying her affection.

The room was big and could be quite luxurious but it seemed bare.

“I think you’ve got a good start here, but it seems to need a little something. Haven’t the decorators finished?”

Even so she had an odd impulse to jump on the bed. Just flop down on it and be comfortable. She dismissed the idea as a hold over from having many occasions to do just that while with Bastian.

“Let’s I’d hate to lose the light and miss out on the rest of things.”
Bastian 17 years ago
He hoped he wasn't grinning like a complete ass, but Bastian couldn't be happier with the way things were going, and the way Reign was slipping back into that old, familiar way the two of them used to communicate.

"Yes, I know you...and am glad too see you've remained strong, and opinionated as ever." He wished now that she would rely on what she knew of him...deep she might begin to consider that what he had told her was the truth.

"The decorators are finished, I'm afraid, but because I couldn't decide on decorations for up here, aside from the furnishings, it remains as it is until I do." Or you do, he thought, feeling more and more positive about things now than he had since arriving in Nachton. "But I have time."

His hand found its way back to the small of her back, as he gently turned her back to the stairs, and they made their way down. He even allowed a soft caress to the back of her neck, but didn't linger. He was trying very hard not to pressure her, or make her feel like he was taking advantage of their close proximity...even if he was.

Moving outside, Bastian led Reign around the newly landscaped front yard, and to the side of the house where there was a large walkway, partially hidden by trees. The trees were new, and young, but large enough to already offer some protection. Because they were as large as they were, they had been costly, but Bastian liked the way they supported the house, and the fact that it had been around for over a century. He also liked how they helped shield the path to the clinic, barn, and kennels from the outside world.

There were lights along the walkway, that had been set behind boulders, and bushes, and the soft sounds of the music from inside could be heard outside as well. Because he spent so much time outside, Bastian didn't see why he couldn't still enjoy the music. But the air was a bit frigid, so Bastian didn't linger, but headed for the clinic first.

Holding the door open for Reign, he followed her inside. The lights came on automatically, set to motion sensors, mainly because Bastian often had his hands full when he came into the clinic, and couldn't take the time to fiddle with lights. But then there was the whole 'state of the art' matter too, which he had insisted on as the designer drew up the plans.

"I doubt there is much here that needs explaining. Right now I have fifteen clients from the area, and two who have followed along with my move. I only have one employee at the moment, but for now she's more than sufficient, and only works part time."

Moving through the office part of the clinic, Bastian entered a hallway from which there were several examining rooms, as well as a small operating room, supply room, bathrooms, a kitchen, and then the door to the kennels.
While he was proud of what he had here, he intended for the tour to be quick.

Once he opened the door to the clinic his ears and nose were assaulted by the animals present. He focused immediately on the scent of sickness, and momentarily ignored Reign in favor of a large Saint Bernard, housed in the first 'kennel room'. Opening the chain link door, he went inside and stooped down next to the dog lying there.

"Hey's my girl tonight? Doing any better?" Petting the huge dog with one hand, Bastian felt along the back of her neck, and shoulder, pleased to see the sutured wound wasn't festering, but healing nicely. All the time he examined her, he spoke in soft words of Italian, and when he was finished he stood and remembered Reign.

"I apologize for deserting you there. Gracie here was attacked by a wolf, and her owner barely got her to me in time...she lost a lot of blood, but I think shes beyond the worst of it now." Uncomfortable talking about wolves, more than anything else, Bastian didn't go into further detail.

"At the moment, besides Gracie here, I only have one other dog being boarded, and its because his owner had to go to Europe for two weeks, not because he's ill."

Giving Gracie a last look, Bastian walked down to the opposite end of the kennel, and opened that door. A quick laugh escaped his chest as he watched the tiny, dachshund waddle across the threshold, and look up at him, barking furiously.

"Hello Havana...would you like to meet a pretty lady?" Bastian asked the dog, before scooping him up and holding him up for Reign to see.

"I think I need to get a couple pups of my own, to help keep these others company, when there are so few. I just haven't been able to decide on what kind of dog I want. Any suggestions?"

It wasn't by accident that Bastian was asking for Reign's opinion, but he hoped she didn't see through his ploy.
Reign 17 years ago
Reign raised an eyebrow at him. It seemed like an odd comment to make and she wasn’t sure she understood it, but she also let it slide.

“You should do something with it soon. I can’t imagine you can relax in such an unfinished environment.”

His hand on her back, on her neck, so many memories it was impossible to ignore them. She found herself wondering what would have happened if he hadn’t left her and even half wondering why and if she was still cross with him.

Of course she was, Reign chided herself. But it was harder and harder to remember that.

She watched with fascination as he checked on his patients. Having developed into something of a dog lover Reign didn’t at all mind being ignored temporarily although she chose to ignore the mention of wolves only muttering something sympathetic but not memorable.

The dachshund made her laugh.

“Hey there bite sized.”

She offered the little dog her hand to smell. He obviously smelled Sirius on her but that didn’t seem to be a problem for him.

“It depends on what you want the dog for. If its just companionship you might be better with something smaller.”

If you wanted some protection and something that would hold its own with a huge Shepard, he’d want something bigger. But she wasn’t willing to share knowledge of Sirius just yet. He was family and therefore deserved some protection until she was certain Bas wasn’t mad. That and he’d been a gift from Vince and Reign wasn’t sure how Bastian would feel about that.

“Either way you’re probably better off getting two. They are pack animals after all.”
Bastian 17 years ago
When Reign reminded him that dogs were domesticated pack animals, he nodded and laughed, again...something he had done several times tonight, and not nearly enough over the past several years. He missed feeling good, really good, and he became even that much more convinced that his coming after Reign was the best thing he'd done since he left to begin with.

Sure, he loved his work, and his home, and hadn't lived a totally morose life these past ten years, but until now, he couldn't honestly say he felt...happy.

Returning Havana to his temporary home, Bastian shut the cage door, and motioned for Reign to follow him. Opening the door at the end of the kennels led him to a large outside concrete padded 'room', affixed with four bathing areas large enough to use for the largest horse, down to including small tubs for the tiniest kittens. There were heat lamps in two corners, to prevent the animal from becoming chilled if it needed to be bathed during the colder winter days. And because he hadn't been terribly overloaded with 'guests' yet, everything sparkled as if it was all just cleaned, and polished.

Across the way the sound of horses could be heard. Just as Bastian had smelled the dog on Reign, the horses always knew when he was coming, and tended to get a little antsy until he was up close and next to them. He imagined the horses must be confused as hell, smelling a wolf and yet seeing a human, but with regular handling and contact, he'd gotten them rather used to being around him, and they mainly just nickered now.

Leading her into the stable now, Bastian stopped, and smiled.

"Think you can find Tempesta?" Curious to see which of the horses she would see him on, he hoped she'd accept the small challenge. As was his nature with horses, Bastian always chose a larger stallion, finding geldings just not as spirituous, and mares much too docile. His current riding companion was in the last stall, separate from the other horses, for everyone's protection. Not that had ever given Bastian reason not to trust him, but Bastian wasn't ready to test the horse's limits just yet.
Reign 17 years ago
“Now your making fun of me!”

Reign protested good-naturedly. Horses had been his passion and she’d never quite developed quite the same knowledge or insight where they were concerned, but she couldn’t turn down a challenge.

Walking the aisle, she stopped two or thee times to stroke a soft nose and try and get a feel for personality. She reached the end of the row and started back before pausing and turning around. Offering a flat hand to the large horse in the last box, she grinned as he shoved his head into hand and began speaking to him in a combination of broken Italian and Latin.

“Something about him reminds me of Drago.”
Bastian 17 years ago
If he had needed any proof at all, that she still cared for him, Bastian just got it.

"You learned a lot meeting Drago, and yes, you are correct...that is Tempesta. Sadly, Drago died five years ago...but I think even he would have appreciated my choosing Tempesta, though I'm equally sure they probably would have hated each other."

Bastian had walked to stand next to Reign, and handed her a carrot to give the horse. His new mount was a fine horse, spirited, and strong, but no one would ever take Drago's place in Bastian's heart.

"It looks like Temp sees in you, what Drago did. My horses are never stupid." Bastian would have turned Reign now, and kissed her soundly, were they both living ten years in the past. But as much as he would have liked to do nothing else now, he stopped himself. Things seemed to be progressing well, and there was still enough evening ahead to risk losing.

"What say we go see if the lasagna is ready? I know I am."
Reign 17 years ago
She frowned at the news that Drago was no longer, the horse had meant a great deal to Bas and she’d been rather fond of him too. That was the one thing about animals she hated, while they were life long companions they had shorter lives. She dreaded the day something happened to Sirius.

“I’m sorry to hear that. He was a good friend.”

Accepting the carrot, she gave it to Tempesta. He certainly had a personality and Reign approved of it. It took no effort to continue to lavish him with attention. Horses were almost as easy as dogs for her to relate to.

“He’ll be good for you.”

She said with some authority before giving him a final pat and turning around.

For a second there she’d remember what things between them had been like. It was bitter sweet. So much of it she missed, yet so much of it still hurt.

“Yes, lets eat. I’m a bit hungry.”
Bastian 17 years ago
When Drago died, Bastian had taken it even harder than he had imagined he would, but that was partially due to Reign. Drago was a connection he had shared with Reign, and when the horse was gone, so was that tie. Of course Bastian still had his love for the woman, and knew that would never leave him, but losing that other connection only made him resolve to find her and get back together with her that much sooner. He refused to think about how easy or difficult she was having in letting go of her feelings for him. That was something he knew he would have to deal with when he found her. Until then he would just hope for the best.

Noticing that he was spending too much time tonight, analyzing her every word and action, Bastian decided to try and shake that off, and just enjoy the moment. And in acknowledging that decision, Bastian put his arm around Reign's waist, when she turned, to walk her back to the house. It was a bold gesture on his part, and took a lot of nerve, but the worse she would do, he counted on anyway, was to pull away, or give him an elbow into the ribs. Reign was too spirited to let a little thing like an unwanted arm make her need to leave. Or the 'old' Reign did, and Bastian was letting that Reign be his guide now. If the 'new' Reign was that much different, now would be as good a time as any to start finding that out.

"I'd really like to hear how your life has been going...what you've been doing...but more you've been feeling. I know some of the more superficial things...from the few letters and calls I've had with Helen...and I know you're not so easily turned around that you would have changed the way you feel about me, from just being invited to dinner. Rebuilding trust is an arduous task, and not always successful, but I will do anything I can, Reign, to get that back."

He talked as they walked quickly back to the house, where it was warmer and more inviting than the cold night air. And while he was aware his words were not going to accomplish what he wanted, he hoped they helped, when coupled with his actions. It would take time, but even though Bastian was more patient now, than he had been ten years ago, if he could push something along, he would certainly try.

Besides...knowing where she had been and what she had been doing, as told to him by her sister, wasn't the same as hearing it from her own mouth.

"Do you think you might feel at all comfortable, sharing even a small part of that with me now?"

He ushered her to the dining table, and pulled out the chair for her. All he had to do was get the lasagna from the oven, the garlic bread from the other oven, the salad from the refrigerator, and the wine, and he could sit down and join her.
Reign 17 years ago
That was an interesting move, at least he hadn’t yawned before sliding his arm over her shoulders. Reign, however, just raised an eyebrow at him. She didn’t object to the move at all, which surprised her. But then again she’d let Will hold her hand nearly the whole time they’d been out. Maybe she just missed the contact. Either way she did nothing to discourage or encourage him.

“Bas with us I’m not sure arduous is the right word. I think we need something stronger, I’m not sure you understand just how messed up I’ve been.”

Sighing she simply stopped talking and just followed along with him, allow him to seat her. Once at the table Reign began to toy with the two rings she still wore on her right hand, both white gold one with a stylized mobius strip etched into it and one with a bezel set diamond. The diamond she took off entirely and studded as he finished in the kitchen.

“Since you’ve talked to Helen you know most of it. I graduated, I got married, got my masters, can’t finish my PhD for beans, tried to teach and failed miserably, found a sponsor and got on the tour and have been a bit successful with that. Got divorced and lost most of my family in the process. Most of the guys won’t speak to me, or haven’t, and I haven’t been home in over a year and have tried to drop of the radar. I suppose I’m trying to make things easier for them. … … you know that’s a lie. It’s easier for me.”

She slid the ring back into place. Every time she looked at them she got a little depressed. It had been a spectacular failure and destroyed life long friendships in the processes.

“What particularly would you like to know? I know the cliff’s notes version isn’t very satisfying, but I suppose you should know what you’re up against.”
Bastian 17 years ago
"I understand that I hurt you Reign, and even though my reasons were the best of my options at the time, I know you won't believe that...not until I can convince you otherwise. I can tell you I'm truly sorry, a million times, but I doubt that will resolve things. If I could change the way things turned out for you, and take away your pain, I'd do it in a heartbeat."

He set the lasagna on a trivet, then placed the other things around it. When he sat down, he watched her put her ring back on, and yearned to pull her into his lap, and kiss away her sadness, as he had done once upon a time. Things were not that simple now though.

"You must know your family has not deserted you. Helen misses you, and would like nothing better than to see her big sister."

Why she had assumed her family had left her after the divorce was beyond Bastian's understanding. In truth he still didn't understand the dynamics of families fully, but with the exposure he had to Reign's, he had learned a great deal. As sure as he sat there now, he knew her parents loved her, and would be there for her under any circumstances. His own family had been utterly opposite in their affections for him, that it had taken quite a lot for him to accept the friendship her parents had offered him. If anyone had lost Mr. and Mrs. Sorenson, it had been Bastian, when he hurt their daughter so much.

"You're telling me what you've been doing...not how you feel."

Handing her the spatula for the lasagna, Bastian dished out some salad, that had been tossed with a light, homemade Italian dressing, and poured both Reign and himself a glass of red wine.

"I'd probably be safe in assuming you're still in a lot of pain, and I don't want to dwell on that. The last thing I want is to give you more to hurt over. What I think I'm trying to find out is...what can I do to help? What is there, I can do, to make your life easier...more comfortable...less painful...more enjoyable again? You deserve so much much happiness and pleasure...and things beyond what you find in the pool halls these days.

You don't owe me a thing, but if I can help, any way, I want to." He knew he was opening himself up to rejection. She could simply say, 'Bastian, stay away from me, and I'll be happy.' It would kill him, but right now he would do it. He would still show her what he had to, but then, if it was her wish, he would never call her again.

Maybe he was feeling magnanimous because underneath he believed she would never tell him good bye again. He had no basis for that assumption, other than the love he felt for her, and the hope that there was still some spark in her for him, not matter how small. But since he'd found her, and seen the pain in her eyes, his determination to do anything to bring them back together had been recognized as being unrealistic.

Just because he wanted her back, more than he wanted to breathe, was no reason she should accommodate him.
Reign 17 years ago
Reign just shook her head, she still had a lot of pride and it was one thing to deal with her own hurt but quite another do deal with any hurt she’d cause her family and friends. That she’d caused that upset her a great deal, but she was having a hard time dealing with the only way to start to undo it. That would mean going home, showing her face and admitting she was a screw up.

“Truth be told I’m trying not to feel much of anything and getting rather good at it. My fella and I get along just fine.”

Even if we are a bit lonely from time to time.

“I like my pool halls, nothing wrong with them and hustling a game now and then. Besides, I’m high class now it’s not as risky and the money is better.”

To her own ears that sounded like a non-answer and Reign stalled for time by taking a bite of the lasagna. It was quite good. Not quite Mrs. G’s but well above par in her opinion.

“If you want to know, I’m not sure what, if anything would qualify as making me happy any more. As to deserving happiness, I’ve had my shot maybe even two and I blew it. I think I’m as good as I’m gonna get and I’m OK with that.”

Wine, that was a good way to get herself to shut up. That was the brilliant thing about dinner dates, you always had a socially acceptable reason to keep your mouth closed, at least for a few minutes.

“What about you? Moving to a strange city for no reason? No girl, just living way out in the boonies with some critters. Sounds like you’ve been putting life on hold.”
Bastian 17 years ago
Bastian ate, as he listened, but wasn't distracted from the fact that she really didn't answer his question, other than in a very vague way.

"You can't live like that Cara...unfeeling, whether you're good at it or not. That's not living...that's existing."

The mention of her 'fella' threw Bastian for a moment, until he remembered the scent of dog, and put two and two together. He refused to believe she was referring to the surfer he had seen her with at the diner. If things were that good between her and another man, it wouldn't stand to reason she would be sitting where she was now, in his company. Any legitimate excuse would have been used, he was almost sure of.

"I've heard you're doing better than well on the circuit, and I still remember how much you love the sport...and how well you were at could you not have gotten better at it?"

Reign and her pool tables, was much like Bastian and his horses, though she far excelled in her ability with horses, when compared to his ability at pool. He had gotten better as well, playing quite a lot since leaving her, but he still wasn't in more than an apprentice league. Given the choice, he'd much rather watch her play.

It pained him to hear her refused to accept she was entitled to happiness, or that she had her chances and was now out of any more.

"Damn it Reign, you shouldn't be OK with it. People aren't given a limited amount of happiness, that can be used up. Happiness is like sadness, or anger, or even love...we all have the ability to experience as much or as little as we want. And you didn't blow anything, with anybody."

Obviously she wasn't referring to blowing anything with him, since he had done that all on his own. But even her relationship with Vince didn't fall apart solely because of her actions. Vince had no business marrying her in the first place.

"You know Cara...Vince is an adult, and knows you well enough to know the two of you weren't suited. He took a chance that didn't pan out, just as much as you did. There are no villains in that piece, just a couple of friends who tried to make friendship into something it wasn't. Anyone who holds you responsible for that, doesn't deserve your concern. And that includes his family, and the other 'guys'."

He was treading on thin ice there, knowing Reign always had, and always would have, a tender spot in her heart for those guys she grew up with. He had hoped over time she would come to see them all as the flawed humans they were. He also knew he was being more forward with his responses in general, but for him it really was the only way he could be with her. He could only dance around for so long, before it became just too difficult to keep up. Though she still had deep seated issues about him, for him being with her now was almost like waking up the next day ten years ago.

When she turned the tables, he answered honestly.

"Nachton isn't all that strange, not after living in New Orleans anyway, and I had a reason...remember?" He was referring to tracking her down, which he thought he had previously made apparent. But in the off chance he hadn't, he would do so now.

"And no, no girl...which goes along with the reason I'm here now. There is no one else Reign...never has been...never will be. I am glad for the 'critters', they help me pass the time, and I enjoy the work, but you're correct. I have been putting a large part of my life on hold, and don't foresee that changing, unless I get some assistance from an outside source. However, since that same part of my life has been on hold for ten years now, I know I can live like this indefinitely, whether I like it or not.

It sounds like we're in the same boat...both of us okay to just live with what life has given us to live with at the moment."

Sipping his wine, he decided that wasn't a completely honest answer.

" there is where I'm different, for the time being anyway. I know what I want, to be happy, and I'm doing my damndest to get it."

He studied her face when he spoke, and searched for some small twinkle of what he might construe as love.
Reign 17 years ago
“Ah Lupo I should have known better than to get involved with Vince. I never worked at it, not like he did. I did my best to pick it apart, to ruin it. If anyone is to blame it me and quite frankly he’s right to despise me.”

If he did. One of her guys still tried to keep in touch with her, despite her best efforts to put him off, and if he was right she hadn’t killed the relationship just wounded it. Regardless Reign deliberately made sure she took responsibility for the divorce. She really did blame herself and hoped Vince would blame her too, it wouldn’t do for him to dwell on this he was a great guy who deserved better than what she’d done to him.

She glowered at him with blatant hostility as he went after the guys and Vince’s folks. They were family and hers to protect as she saw fit. Bristling a bit she almost growled.

“Family is family and if I’m going to worry about anyone’s opinion it will be theirs. Just because I’m a screw up doesn’t mean they’re at fault for any of it or how they feel about it.”

Backing down a bit she went back to poking at her food, with a little less enthusiasm than she’d had before. She still hadn’t worked things out as far as family was concerned and it always left her more than a little off kilter. Some day she’d go back, maybe she’d go visit Pyro. He’d be able to keep a secret and he’d always been the sib she’d been closest to.

“What were you doing in New Orleans?”

Her smile was almost sad. It wasn’t that she wasn’t still fond of him, she was even starting to forgive him for leaving her now that she’d had the chance to pop him one. But here was another fine example of a deeply wounded relationship.

“I want you to be happy but I can’t think for the life of me why you’d want to chase me down and try again. Obviously something wasn’t right or we wouldn’t be here like this now.”

She almost wished he’d give up and find another woman. He’d stand a better chance at being happy than with her, she was sure of it.
Bastian 17 years ago
He was used to her purposely not hearing some of what he said, when it went against the way she already felt. As much as somethings might have changed, somethings rarely did. But he still found it endearing and said nothing, about that specifically.

He still became irritated when she refused to let anyone else take some of the responsibility for her relationships. In their case he was totally responsible for the break up, considering he just left, and gave her no ability or opportunity to follow up, or try and change things.

"I understand what you're saying, but I still believe Vince should be grateful for the time he had. If I hadn't left, he wouldn't have had that much time."

Bastian cringed inwardly as he said what he felt, but didn't think Reign would want to hear. He wasn't being any more boastful about the way things had been between them than she was when she spoke of her talents, but things hadn't gone down that road, and instead she was hurt by the road they had traveled.

"When was the last time you talked to Vince? Or your family, or his? Instead of tearing yourself up over something, perhaps you might try and resolve things. I wasn't putting Vince, his family, or the boys down, Cara...I was just trying to get you to see another side to things. You are one powerful woman, but even you can't rule the way other people think and feel. Disappointment is one thing I'm sure everyone experienced, but people get over that. You didn't kill anyone, and you're not a screw up. Unless..."

He hated it when she put herself down, but was lucky she never delved into self pity, at least she never had in the past. He could only hope this was temporary as well.

"Did you set out to marry Vince, and screw him over...or his family? Did you have deceit on your mind when you married him? I think not. Mistakes happen Cara, no matter how careful we are, but we have to learn to forgive ourselves before we can expect others to..."

He wasn't really much of a philosopher, but when it came to making mistakes he had learned the hard way, that what he said now was the truth. He hoped she didn't need to endure anymore self-flagellation, before she came to terms with her own mistakes.

"I worked in New Orleans, for a firm Sabine put me in touch with. Made some money, but finally decided I'd rather work for myself, and I'd rather work with animals. It was just one of the stops in my life, between 'then' and 'now'."

Noticing his plate was empty, as was his salad bowl, Bastian hoped Reign had been sufficiently distracted, not to notice. Since he'd become a wolf, he had to concentrate heavily while eating, or he nearly inhaled his food. Having been caught up in the conversation tonight, that was pretty much what he'd done.

"Something wasn't right, as I've tried to tell you, but it was because of me, not you, and until I had a chance to 'fix' me, I couldn't give you what you needed. Besides, the fact that we are here, like this now, only proves to me that there is a chance for us. Otherwise, I would have never found you, or convinced you to see me, or're in my home, talking to me, breaking bread...if there was no hope at all, do you think we could have gotten to this point again?"

He could have probably eaten another two plates of food, and just been slightly full, but he didn't want to give her anything else to be distracted over. He was anxious to do what he had set out to do, and needed Reign alert, and open minded. The first he was pretty sure she still was, as they hadn't drunk much at all...the second, well that remained to be seen.
Reign 17 years ago
“But you did leave! What the hell was I supposed to do? Wait for you? Fuck that. I am not now nor have I ever been some tragic heroine.”

Aside from punching, him that was the most emotional Reign had been about things since they’d met up again. Hurt anguish and accusation blended in her voice and she tried not to shout.

Oh, Bastian was batting a thousand just now. Instead of letting her anger dissipate, he struck another nerve and Reign kept going.

“Of course I didn’t but I didn’t think it through either did I? Not really. So no, I haven’t seen my family since before the divorce. I left and let an attorney handle it, I just signed the papers and when my family came looking for me, I left again doing my damnedest to drop out of sight. Is that what you want to hear? That I left my friends and family in order to protect myself, because I couldn’t stand being hurt again especially when I was the one at fault this time?”

About that time, Reign realized she was out right shouting and leaning forward rather aggressively.

Taking a long deep breath, she sat back and took a long drink of her wine forcing herself to calm down. She hadn’t acknowledged her own feelings on the matter, not honestly any way and confronting them like this was a bit shocking. It wasn’t at all pleasant to hear from her own mouth how alone she currently was and why.

Despite her outburst, she stubbornly refused to apologize or even acknowledge it. She just hoped not to repeat it.

“Do we have a chance Bas? Really? Do you even want one? It’s been so long. I know I’m not who I was then and I’m not sure I can forgive you leaving the way you did.”

And you’re losing your mind, thinking you’re a werewolf.

“I’m not sure exactly why I came tonight. I think I felt bad about the way I handled seeing you in town, you deserve better than that.”
Bastian 17 years ago
What he was afraid of happening, happened, and yet now that it had, Bastian wasn't sure that it hadn't been for the better. Reign seemed to have been running away from things for so long, and now possibly she might stop, and face them. Until she did, he doubted she would really be happy again, whether with him or not.

He sat back in the chair, and let her vent. Sipping his wine, he regarded her with total seriousness. When she seemed spent, and began speaking in a normal tone again, Bastian leaned towards her, and set his wine down.

"Yes, Cara...I want a chance. If I didn't, I wouldn't be here now. Whether or not we can make things work will depend on how much we want to. Neither one of us is who we were in college, we've both got a lot more time, and experiences under our belts. But I think you just hit on something undeniably pertinent to whether or not we can be successful together. You will need to forgive me, but more importantly, you need to forgive yourself first."

What he deserved he had gotten...a chance to speak his peace. There was only one more thing he needed to do before he said good night to her.

"I need to go upstairs for a few minutes...will you give me about fifteen, and then come up? I need to show you something, and after I do, whatever you decide to do, I'll abide by your wishes. I really don't want to make your life more difficult Reign. But I need you to please just grant me one last favor...fifteen minutes, then just come upstairs and into my room. I promise I've no intention of trying to seduce you, or pressure you into anything...I just need to show you something important."

He stood, and watched her eyes, hoping she would try to trust him just a little bit, but knowing if he didn't move quickly, he might lose that chance she spoke of.

Trying not to run up the stairs, Bastian kept repeating over and over again, to himself...'please come up Reign...please come need to need to believe...' and once he got upstairs he quickly undressed. Once his clothes were folded he kneeled on the floor, and did the thing he did every month, but for the first time because he actually wanted to.

Normally the change took about eight to ten minutes, but he wanted to allow just a little extra tonight for insurance. Seeing him in his wolf form was one thing, but seeing him do the whole change thing was another. Lucky for him, he had gotten used to the pain his body felt as it shifted. Not that it had ever been all that bad, but over time what little discomfort he had originally gone through seemed to vanish as well. And now that he was officially in his wolf form, he sat and waited. Poised in front of the door, Bastian wanted to make a dash for the outside, and run until morning, but that would wait for the next turn. Instead he waited to see Reign...hoped to see she climbed the stairs to meet him.
Reign 17 years ago
That little emotional outburst had left her spent; spent and embarrassed. Reign had every intention of getting up, thanking Bas for a lovely evening and walking out. She was a bit thrown he could be so calm after that, she deliberately tried to start a fight and it hadn’t worked out, which only added to the embarrassment.

A small sign of physical reassurance would have meant a lot right then. Something as simple as touching her shoulder would have made all the difference in the world. However, Reign figured she had no right to ask for or hope for that right now.

She held her silence as he left. It was fortunate for Bastian that she’d had her tirade and now felt bad about it. If she hadn’t Reign would have used his exit to vanish as well. But guilt was a powerful motivator, especially as there were very few who could inspire that emotion in Reign. Sitting in silence she picked idly at a stray piece of bread and debated another glass of wine. Maybe if she didn’t have to drive so far to get home she would have. Glancing up and finding a clock she noticed she’d been sulking for twenty minutes and decided it would be best to get this over with. The sooner she found him again the sooner she could legitimately go home and pull the covers over her head and sulk properly.

As she climbed the stairs she called to him.

“Bas? Bas you said you were up here.”

Giving the door a perfunctory knock she pushed it open.

She stopped cold and just stared. That was not at all what she’d expected to see.

Quickly she sought for and found a reason. This must be one of his patients, they’d just gotten out of the kennels, that’s all. Yes, that must be it. It was a perfectly logical explanation.

“Bastian one of your clients got loose, you might want to come and get him.”

She wasn’t afraid of the… wolf, it had to be a wolf, just very alert to it. She didn’t know how it might react to her and wanted to give it as little reason to act at all.
Bastian 17 years ago
He assumed, when she didn't come upstairs after fifteen minutes, that she had left after all, and he mentally cursed himself for handling things so badly.

But, she hadn't left. Bastian could hear her moving upwards on the stairs, and then her voice. Though he couldn't communicate with anything that wasn't wolfen at the moment, he could still understand perfectly. But he refrained from barking or howling at her, not wanting to scare her away when she was so close.

“Bastian one of your clients got loose, you might want to come and get him.”

He wanted to chuckle, but instead it came out a rather soft whiny whimper. Getting to all fours from his sitting position, Bastian stood for a few seconds before walking VERY slowly towards her. His tongue lolled from his mouth, and he kept his head low, and tail wagging. Whatever he could do to show her he was docile and not intent on anything aggressive, he did.

When he was close enough, he gave another soft whimper, and rubbed his head against her thigh, nudging her hand at the same time. He hoped to win her trust as quickly as possible, so he could change back, and get this part of the evening over with.
Reign 17 years ago
Reign grinned at the animal. He seemed like a sweet thing. Still she didn’t compromise herself; she had far too much respect for what a canine his size could do. Even being careful though it was impossible not to hold her hand out to him, let him get her scent and then pet him.

“Good boy. Pretty guy aren’t ya? But we’ve got to find Bas and get you back where you belong. Wolves are not house pets are they?”

Where the hell was Bas? It’s not like the place was so huge he could just disappear. Keeping one eye on the wolf she crossed the room, looking for a bathroom, closet, any place he could have snuck into.

Accustom to talking to Sirius she afforded her new companion the same courtesy.

“You don’t suppose he went back down to his office? Maybe he got a phone call or had to go out to the barn to check on some one.

Where do you think he went?”