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It probably had something to do with the screaming tortures of Hell. He couldn’t dream because they were so loud, that anything that he could have had was scared away by them. Fleeing in the other direction as anything sane should. But over the time that he had this Hellish curse on him, he had found ways to push it to the background, to let other things take up the foreground, whether it be concentration on movies, on music, on books, or on his favorite thing of all - the person who wore the matching wedding band.
Literature, to Thomas, was one of the best things that humankind had to offer. If he had gone on to further his education after high school, he no doubt would have gone into something like studying English lit, or something else dorky along those lines. But he never saw the point. He could read the same books and not pay exuberant tuition fees, thank you very much. And now he had the perfect person to talk these books with, get new ideas, hear what they thought, give his own opinion. Middle finger up college, he had his own education right here.
All of that very much attracted Thomas. On anyone else, the scent of something like cotton candy might have been too sickly sweet to his sensitive nostrils, but on her - she wore the perfect amount. And it mingled in so well with her natural scent. She knew his scars? He knew her. He’d be able to find her in any game of Hide and Seek around the planet. He wouldn’t need references. It was locked as easily in his brain as the smell of say, bacon or freshly mown grass.
He obliged his kitten, without a word. His mouth was too attached to her, lips, tongue, all of it, surrounding her. She grabbed herself and jacked it, while he started to palm the balls from behind, caressing them while his face was absolutely buried. He asked for nothing in return, though no doubt she would give him back the favor in some way or another. Those moans were enough for him. He’d wait until he finished her off, and then enjoyed licking his kitten’s cream from the sheets, savoring their very special taste.
Clopin was there, just watching Scout as she moved about the kitchen. He had missed that girl. All of the Laveaus were troublemakers but there was something special about a girl doing it. She was the biggest rejection of Cinderella of all - the blonde witch had wanted a stereotypcially perfect, pretty little daughter but they got the biggest badass in the whole world. Like damn.
He had to stick his fist in his mouth and looked over to Kuzco with a smitten expression. “Ahh - honeymooners,” He sighed contently, as he would be thinking of those two like that until at least their first anniversary. Or maybe it was never ending, like his and Kuzco’s. “The fun never ends.”
Sounds like Flotsam and Thomas would have made philosophers and lit buddies and can do it well enough without university right from their bedroom.
As for Valerie’s cotton candy scent, she was not however like Maddy with her signature only fragrance. Cotton candy was a favored if only because it reminded her of the night at the aquarium. It was like wearing a knick knack of a memory. But, she would wear other things. But, she did not like anything with musks, colognes, no toilete waters strong alcohol type fragrances, nothing woody, nothing known as oriental or spices, but loves vanilla sugar. She wears a lot of sugary fragrances, smells that seem like they should be edible. Vanilla, Watermelon, Mixed berries, Different fruits, Coconut ice cream. Citrus. She’s everything that isn’t a flower. She doesn’t like smelling like a seasonal allergy. She’d much rather be edible.
Valerie found herself panting and turned on her side after the fact watching him licking up the results and couldn’t help but smile and shake her head. “You never leave a drop, do you? Good gracious.” The man was even licking the sheets. She turned and propped herself up on her elbows to catch her breath, chest heaving, and added, “What a welcome back. What got into you?” She was not even complaining.
Now, of course Valerie would give back whatever Thomas wanted in return because that’s how she was. She was a giver, not just a taker. If he was satisfied or if he was ready to head on out she’d oblige. But, after she’d finally get dressed herself too. Flo and Val really weren’t all that different so some things just never changed no matter what name they went by. She threw on her Guns N Roses tank with a pair skinny jeans cut off into shorts and would touch herself up. She wore a black choker and tied in a thick belt. She liked her belts. Then she’d be ready to rock n roll. She would feel a little more empowered after talking to Thomas. So, she thought she was okay. She’d still give his hand a little squeezie before walking out.
Kuzco would smirk out front while all that was going on. “Another Big Daddy strikes again.”
When the pair would walk out Valerie would head straight to Clopin in some mental need to confront her own elephants even if she decided not to say anything direct after all. So, she went and mashed a big ol’ good mornin’ kiss on his cheek and said, “Good mornin’ Grumpy Bear. You ol’ worry wart. Let me give you another hug because everything’s going to be all right.” She started to pile him into her arms. “I didn’t know all your warts came from whores. You sly dog. I should have known.” She wagged a finger at him like he’d been a naughty boy.
She wore red lipstick today too. So, those smackers left big marks as she left a few silly more. “You get well soon okay. I’m gonna send you so many thoughts and prayers.”
Scout and Dale’s eyes went wide for the second time that morning.
Thomas was never going to stop admiring those legs. No matter if they were scarred up, tattooed up, pierced, burnt, rubbed raw with sand paper, soaking wet, drier than the sahara, he’d admire them. Course he had a preference for them being the way that they were and not in any pain and agony but - this was going to be alright. He would kiss it better until it healed and even after that. He wouldn’t even mind more tattoos to trace with his fingers and his tongue.
He’d read a chapter to get them both into a more calm state of mind, a distraction from what the morning would bring. He couldn’t help doing voices for the characters, even if it was subtle. He wasn’t reading to a child. He wouldn’t go all high pitched for a girl. Just a little softer, a tiny bit lighter. His accent was strongest during the narrarations. This time around, he was reading The Swan Thieves, a historical fiction with romance and some mystery. All they were missing was a crackling fire place - but they had the water bubbling in their aquarium and the breeze through the trees outside of their window, which was more than enough.
He enjoyed the slow love-making. There never should have been a doubt that he would. Even if he had grown accustomed to being the giver, taking was pretty damn nice too. The rare feeling of being in his lover, his husband’s, arms. They weren’t the strongest, but there was power in them. There was safety in there too. He kept it slow, loving, lots of kissing of arms, licking the saltiness of his skin whenever it was within reach, and then clenched himself tight to keep his husband’s seed inside of him for the time being. Lazy kisses. Lots of love. Even with the stirring, they stayed close throughout the night, though his own sleep was deep, his mind dark. That was one of the plus sides of not really remembering his dreams. There wasn’t anything to stress about.
Not a wrinkle on that face. As smooth as water. Sometimes there would be a little twitch at the corner of his mouth, a little smile when he felt himself being touched, when he felt his spouse brushing by him while they were moving about, but that was not enough to wake him. On his back, open to the world. Book tucked half under the pillow, being too caught up in love making to put it back on the table. He didn’t snore, but there were a couple of times when he would breathe louder than others. Peaceful, like a child, he was when sleeping.
And he woke up to find his wife again. Naked as the day that they had been born. He laid there with her for a while, eyes going down the line of her spine, the way that it curved. He could hear Scout, Piper and Dale up to something. He wasn’t sure what. But it was a happy sound. Maybe a full house wasn’t so bad after all. He’d get up and take a quick shower, quiet as you please, to not wake up his girl and would put on a pair of jeans that she loved him to wear. Something about his ass, he didn’t get the full appeal. But he loved hers. The way that she could enter a room and then her ass would enter in a minute later, it was gorgeous.
He’d throw on one of his lighter white-beater shirts. It was gonna be a warm one. He wasn’t planning on doing too much work today, but might as well try to beat the heat while he did. But first - he’d lay down beside his girl again - and buried his face right into the cleave of that gorgeous ass and give her some warm and wonderful things to wake up to.
It always baffled Flotsam how sound Thomas could sleep, especially with those sensitive ears of his, and that sensitive nose. Because Flotsam was the lighter sleeper he’d often watch the other and wish they had the same ability. But, it also meant they’d get to enjoy plenty of lazy and peaceful time in his arms. He’d get to remember it being such a restless person. They rested. They just didn’t sleep all the time. They enjoyed the closeness. They enjoyed their werewolf warmth even warmer than the average person’s. It didn’t matter that it was summer. Somehow that was always something preferred. Maybe it was because they were so skinny and more prone to being the one that would want a jacket first as night fell or seasons changed. They didn’t have much meat on their bones to keep them warm and snuggle up with Thomas always felt like a fine way to keep the heat to them.
The Swan Thieves was yet another Flotsam had read on his own. He was becoming quite well read in different genres than he usual delved into with Thomas around. He liked it.
Valerie had primped so late or so very early depending on how one looked at it that even by the time she’d given her wake up call, she’d still look rather fresh, and hair flouncy, like a boudoir
photography still right in his bed. Even the smell of her cotton candy body spray was still aromatic. Apparently all that attracted Thomas in because she started to rouse with the stretch of her arms, some soft moaning noises, and a feeling that coiled in the core of his body. It made her arch herself little ass up as reflex pulled her knees in. It wasn’t a startling feeling. She knew his touch. But, it went from a slow rousing wake up, to Thomas getting his girl real horny the waking moment she was back. The first words out her mouth were, “Oh fuck yeah, Big Daddy. Oh God, don’t stop! Whatever you do, Daddy, don’t stop, don’t stop!” She was reaching back quick desperate to jerk it while he did that.
Now, Dale, Scout, Piper, Kuzco, presumably Clopin too were in the kitchen when this big cry out came pleading through the walls. Everyone paused in their coffee pouring, cereal eating, cabinet opening and looked around at each other, faces trying so hard not laugh. Dale would speak first. “Feels good to be home.”
“Hell yeah he will, he’s a mama’s boy,” Thomas teased, but he was super pleased with the tattoo that Dale got. That was fucking hilarious but also adorable. He was going to have to get a picture of that, of Val and Dale both showing off their tattoos. It was too good. “I love this family.”
Thomas meant it too. He could handle this level of crazy most of the time. And the majority of that was fucking fun. It was like being on his favorite amusement park ride constantly but never being able to see the turns or the corkscrews that were coming up so it was always a pleasant adventure.
No, his leg wasn’t the prettiest, but Thomas was well aware that he wasn’t in a position to go around judging any sort of scars. “I think you’re just trying to compete with me, but I think I still got you beat,” He would joke, scratching at one of his own scars, the reminder of it making him itch. “Yeah, you’re still perfect, love. Now don’t go thinking that because I’m saying this, I’m approving of you getting hurt but - I kinda love taking care of you.”
He was pulling a leaf out of Bastien’s book on that one. He took care of Flotsam best. Or at least tried his best.
“Yeah, that’s totally what you should have done. Want me to scribble over a piece of paper and you can pretend that it’s that and we can do that tomorrow?” He asked, very willing to do just that if it would make Flo feel better. “How about we finish the night by reading something good?” He offered, reaching over to the book that was on the bedside table that they were currently working their way through. Reading to his spouse at the end of the night was one of his favorite things to do, and he never passed up an opportunity to do it.
“I can be competitive.” They sighed trying to make light of it too. But, they sat up to find Jesula’s bag. God damn, what a waste. They hoped it’d be enough as they sighed looking at how much was in there. Being new in New Zealand, they were really going to have to up their game on the stores in the magical elements cabinet. Valerie was going to want to throw a fit about her leg. Luckily it was high up where even the shortest of dresses would cover anyhow, but still. Was she going to have to start getting tatts on her legs too? She would at this rate. Not that she had anything against tattoos obviously, but Thomas was so obsessive about her legs she was almost scared to alter them. All the thicker skin from Jet’s old belt mark pulling finally blended away too. They were so damn perfect. Ah, well. Figures. Then Thomas said the sweetest thing and it made them smile yet again.
Thomas definitely took care of Flotsam best. He and Bastien could keep their titles with their special people. They knew what they were doing. Every now and then someone would come along and screw something up, apparently even a best friend, accidentally could do it, because they just weren’t the best even if they were good, Clopin wasn’t Thomas… just that simple.
“You don’t have to scribble. I’ll just tell him I read it.” They laughed at the idea though. They’d snug in close how they always when it was reading time. It always made them feel like they were back in Mambo Laveau’s shack only even better. Traditions carried on in every line read. This how Flotsam would finally fall asleep listening to the story another chapter in before he was nodding off.
Of course he wouldn’t sleep sound. He’d stir a time or two. Flotsam had a full mind that was so hard to turn off sometimes. Thomas wouldn’t get out of a very slow and lazy romp, tender really, mostly a thank you for getting him through another Flo-Flo-go-loco and cut it off before he could really spiral out. Being Flotsam and not Val he’d take his chance to top and make love to his husband in a way that wasn’t just topping, but a more Flotsam touch. But, he’d fall right back to sleep after. It was that sort of night for him. Up and down. Awake. Asleep.
Another time they’d get up and mess with their leg again. Another time they’d stand by the window with Dug. He’d watch Chip deal with a killer Raya on the loose who had a snapped moment through the camp in the middle of the night. She actually got someone too. Such was life in camp. He’d curl back up with Thomas. Tick tock. Tock tick. They’d stare at Thomas and think of what he said. We have Dale nothing can go wrong. It made them kiss his cheek. All this changing was making them feel weird. Their skin felt weird. They got up one more time in the middle of the night and actually primped themselves like it was daytime and came back to bed. Thomas promised them nothing bad was going to happen. They wouldn’t let anything bad get inside them. They’d do the magic.
Thomas would wake up with Valerie asleep and resting soundly at his side finally and she’d sleep late into the day from how little she slept at night. But, when it all finally sunk in, she came back. She’d probably be clingy as Hell, but she came back.
Thomas had hope things could go peaceful. It was Flotsam and Clopin. Maybe an unlikely pair from the outside looking in but they had gone to war for one another, literally. This would get solved. He felt sure of it. He’d be the optimism in the room right now, since Valerie had hidden away. “She still might, don’t write it all off just yet. And either way, we have Dale, nothing’s gonna go wrong.”
“I believe it,” He nodded about Chess. Just seeing Wonderland pop up on the TV when it had taken over a couple of streets was insanity. It brought all of the crazies and all of the thrill-seekers out to play. “I couldn’t even imagine what you’d be like if you were from that place. You’re perfect the way you are.”
“I know,” He said. “He’ll see us in the morning, with our kickass breakfast, and our awesome family and our incredible piece of paradise here, and he’ll be like - what’s that? Is that rancid custard? Nope, that’s my poem. Nothing to worry about here,” He continued on because that’s really what life felt like to this Laveau. They didn’t have a barrier around their property but they might as well have. “We don’t let anything bad in here,” He motioned towards the house around him, and then went back in to tap his finger against Flotsam’s chest. “-And we’re not going to let anything bad in here.”
“So - let’s laugh?” He suggested. “Laugh at the silly old one-legged man and his grumpy worries.”
Maybe he was being a little too light-hearted, but sometimes he felt that he needed to be for both of their sakes. “Laugh like he’s Charlie Chaplin in the scene from Modern Times when he’s rollerblading around and keeps nearly missing falling through a hole in the floor because that’s where Clopin is right now.” He’d smile, taking in all of those touches, the skin that Flotsam knew so well. That only he knew. No one else had touched him like this before, and in fact, he hadn’t really let them. Not Punz. He’d been too ashamed, too scared of triggering her, so he hid himself. But he wasn’t hiding in New Zealand.
We have Dale? Nothing’s gonna go wrong?
Flotsam whirled a pointed finger around in circles around the perimeter of Thomas’s face.
“What is that? Because Dale makes everything better?” That got them laughing. “I love that. Like you know Dale will back us up no matter what.”
Then Thomas said they were perfect just the way they were, just the perfect amount of crazy basically. Flo probably needed that about now. “Even with a wine bottle sized, circular, gnarly, gash in my leg? I really hate it when I get like that. I can’t feel things right. I can’t even feel myself.” They looked at their leg a little pissed off at themselves wondering how much special salve they had left if any. It wasn’t pretty.
Rancid custard. No, my poem. Okay, that made them laugh too. Thomas was good. Flotsam had to give them that. They were smiling pretty good now.
“Yeah, okay. It sucks. But, I think I can do that. I’ll try. It’s just weird. I never thought I’d have to do the water off a duck’s back shit with my closest, ya know? I let it in. I let it in, man. Because believe it or not, somewhere along the way, I think I started to give a shit what a few people think of me. Just a teeny tiny few. Fuck it. Fuck it, right? See where that got me? I just gotta blow it off like I usually do like everything else and everybody else in the world. Fuck ‘em.”
Flotsam nodded his head up and down like okay, okay, okay. He was getting on board. He could do that.
“Laugh at the silly old one-legged man and his grumpy worries.”
He repeated it a couple times and let himself get a feel for it. “Yeah, I like that. I forgot to crumble up the paper after I read it and give him a big ol’ middle finger kiwi bird while sunning on my Lothlorien rooftop with my man while Scout’s bots pour me a new drink. I don’t know what I was thinking.”
I watch this video and feel like it’s the influence Valerie has on the ladies at the PTA when she gets them all to go out to the pub together and causes way to much of a spectacle for a group of moms everywhere they go.
“No, I know, I just - don’t know how to interpret his shit,” Thomas said with a little shrug. It was more of a I don’t know what to tell you sort of situation because he didn’t know that this River story existed until this very minute, and it was more than just a little irritating that Flotsam didn’t bring it up, but he sorta got it, it was a plain old irritating topic that they just didn’t bring up - like ever. For good reason.
“Yeah, you’re handling it,” He said, nodding, and rested his chin right up on Flotsam’s shoulder, leaning his forehead against the side of his spouse’s head. He hadn’t gone for anything worse than wine. He hadn’t gone off of the property. Those two things alone were achievements. They were big for Flo. So he was going to show his appreciation with his affection, the way that he did know how to do. He could do romantic words but not really calming ones. “You didn’t destroy shit, come on. What you’re showing me is all love, especially when it hurts like this. That’s more dignified than you know.”
He’d get up for a moment while Flotsam went down, kicking off the shorts he had been wearing for the day to get ready for bed cause they both needed it. Maybe something more because it felt like Flotsam needed a sort of reminder that he had Thomas on his team no matter what. And then off came the shirt and then he laid back down, legs swinging off the side of the bed, turning on his side to look at the beautiful person beside him.
“You’re the craziest person I’ve ever met,” He said, though there was a little bit of a smile there. “And I fuckin’ love it. But I get it now, it makes sense. With that context, yeah. I just was missing a few pieces, that’s all. But as long as you know that a couple of fancy dancy poems aren’t gonna change anything. Look, I just rhymed too. Clopin is poo. Brilliant.”
He’d kiss Flotsam’s shoulder, and then nuzzle his nose against it. “What does he know, anyway? He isn’t here. He doesn’t have the eyes. We’re fucking blessed. He’ll see that and eat his words with a slice of humble pie by the time tomorrow is out, if he didn’t already.”
“Oh, I will. Come tomorrow if I decide to actually confront him. I’ll destroy everything. That’s why I have to put on the mask again. Valerie was so happy. God she was looking forward to this. Now, I don’t know that she’ll come out.”
Flotsam put their hands over their face. Valerie was in there feeling so crushed. But, then they saw through their fingers Thomas getting undressed and they couldn’t help but take a little peek and slowly uncover them completely.
Then it seemed Thomas was trying to cheer them up. He managed to pull some smiles though Flotsam didn’t feel dignified at all. “That’s what Chess says too. Only they usually tack on ‘outside Wonderland’ so apparently there is crazier out there.” They laughed.
Then Thomas went for some Clopin bagging while rhyming. Nice touch. It perked a bit of smile. They didn’t think a couple poems mattered until Thomas didn’t disagree then the sky started falling on top of them, the dark clouds completely suffocated them. But, now that it had been talked through they could smile and nod. All Val had ever really needed there was a ‘fuck Clopin’s poem. Whatever it means, whatever it’s supposed to mean, it’s hurting my baby. So fuck Clopin’s poem.’ Flotsam was finally getting it.
They sighed. Maybe they’d just get over themselves and do nothing. But, Valerie was hiding now. Everything felt off.
All the kisses and nuzzles had Flo reaching forward and smoothing over his marred skin, the dips, and bumps, Flotsam knew them all. He would know them blindfolded.
“I’m not usually one to sweep shit under the rug. But, fuck man. I’m just so not stoked for morning. I wasn’t prepared for all this. I just wanted to laugh and shit.”
Other than a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year text, Thomas just hasn’t really interacted with River, not like he had with the other boys. It wasn’t that he didn’t care about the boy it’s just - he was connected to Summer and so when Thomas’s own connection split, it left them in a sort of limbo. And he wasn’t gonna go dredging through all that when he was happy. River was a vampire, he didn’t need Thomas, nor any sort of advice anymore. That’s how he considered that relationship. So no, he didn’t know about the poem.
And so he didn’t really know that they were all misconstruing it but alas. No knowledge was getting to be a common thing around here.
Clopin had big balls, sure, but did they really think that he would go shit talking the family like that and then show up on vacation with them? They weren’t that big, man. He wasn’t there to create problems.
But that’s what he gets for trying to put morals into a story for the Laveaus. Facepalm @ Self on that one.
Thomas, for now, was keeping his mouth shut cause like he said, Flotsam knew Clopin better than he did, so who was he to speak on what was and wasn’t meant. It just didn’t sound like the old jester at all, that’s all. He couldn’t have been the only one thinking that. There was something else at play, clearly, but until he had even the slightest idea of what, it felt useless to put that forward. Flotsam knew better.
“I’m not gonna speak for the guy,” Thomas said, cause frankly, he just - wasn’t. “So - I don’t know Flo, but whatever it is, you guys are going to have to have a talk about it eventually. We’ve both been saying, been seeing, that he’s got a lot of shit going on, so you’re probably right he’s just unknowingly taking it out on you guys. But you’re also right that it’s probably not malicious. On either end, either to you or to River.”
“Makes sense now why you brought her up. It just seemed out of nowhere for me, given that we’ve just - washed our hands of it, you know? It scared me a little. Like it’s done, she’s not gonna creep up on us, fuck that, we’ve come too far, literally and figuratively.”
Laveaus don’t want anyone’s morals but their own. That’s pretty standard Laveau.
“I’m not asking you to speak for him.”
Flotsam shook his head in a big wtf way like he so didn’t ask him to.
“Dude needs to stick to rhyming about crocs and alligators and being funny because he SUCKS at giving advice and morals.”
That’s what he’d say about that.
“Oh, I know. He actually thought he was being helpful. I could tell. In that self righteous I know you all better than you know yourselves so listen well and take ol’ Clopey’s supreme advice kinda way, when all it did was gut me like a knife. But, it’s cool. I’m cool. I’m calming down. I’ve only had to slice up my leg and take away happiness, destroying my dignity in front of my husband yet again to get there. But, I got this. I’m all over it. I handling this calming the fuck down thing.”
“Well, great then. Just as long as you don’t think I’m crazy then. Well, I am crazy. But, not THAT crazy. I’m not just bringing her the fuck up out of nowhere NEEDLESSLY harboring shit in me all the time. It was fucking triggered. God damn. She’s the last thing on this earth I ever really want to talk about, so If I bring her up, there’s a fucking valid reason. There’s nothing I fucking do that’s needless. That’s what I have to say about that.”
Then he plopped backwards on the bed and stared up at the ceiling.
Thomas saw the electricity flow through the room, and right to that drawer. Black and charred wood. The smell filled the room. He could fix that. No, he could make a new drawer. That’s what he was thinking.
“Alright, we’ll stay here,” He nodded, scooching in even closer. That meant something, that he didn’t want to run from the problem. That they were going to stay here and - and would have to be faced with what they were going to do in the morning.
Flotsam was known for his mouthfuls of words and this was no different, and Thomas would take it all in, would listen carefully to each one because though there were a lot, they weren’t wasted. Even the sprinkling of swear words had their meaningful places.
“I wanted to go and say something tonight but we should wait until morning because this is Clopin that we’re dealing with here, and you’re right, this could be a colassal fuck up if we just go on in yelling.” Not the least because if Piper caught anyone, even Thomas, yelling at her Papa, there could probably be hell to pay. But also - this anger, this is where Thomas grew lost, this is where he didn’t know how to properly respond, hence his bad habit of trying to duck under it, swerve around it. Yes, it sometimes ended up right here, things maybe worse, but he didn’t know any other way. He was not perfect. He was still just Thomas.
Thomas did the clean up. Not the demolition.
“You caught be a bit off guard when you made it about Summer, when that’s not how I read it,” He admitted. “If anything, just to me love, don’t shoot the almost-english major, it sounded more like he’s worried about you than trying to make you miserable. I only looked over it twice, I can’t remember most of the exact words.” Even if it had brought up that there might be issues, there was a shit ton of positive in there, he remembered that much. “If you’re taking it as him shitting on you, then I have your back and I can call them a cab right back to the airport before breakfast is served.”
The scootching in closer. Flotsam liked that even if the conversation might have seem heated. It was just frustrating, but not raging and woah Nelly Flotsam could be that. This wasn’t that.
“I didn’t exactly plan on storming up and screaming at him.”
But, it did seem Thomas was missing information and that was Flotsam’s fault.
“Ah, well. I made it about Summer because… let me back up. I was already stewing on River’s poem. I got to see it when Chip and Dale got to read over and he sent a copy to Scout. I read it many times. So, it’s just… damn really been under my skin and I’ve been trying to make peace with that one before he got here. I was trying to stay out of it like it wasn’t mine to read. But, truth is. It was about me too. He was encouraging my kid to make a choice and leave this family with that blonde bitch. Well, it was for him to decide either way, but he didn’t make it sound like one way was better than the other. Like you trying to lead my kid astray? What the fuck, bitch? It literally says don’t let your decision be swayed by a brother in the poem. Like what the fuck you know about my family, bitch? That’s exactly who it should be swayed by, not some blonde idiot that’s screwed up my world. That’s who not. Why people gotta interfere with my shit? I know my kid. I promise you Clopin has fucked with his head the way he just fucked with mine and it better be that he triggers him to dump that bitch real soon or I’m gonna want to strangle that reaper. Like everything was fine the way it was. Brigitte had him and me set up. All we had to do was trust in Brigitte. Why people gotta mess with my shit? That was a line cross, man.”
Flotsam took a cleansing breath. “So, sorry. I hadn’t mentioned that to you, but I was still processing. I was waiting to see if River was going to react and he hasn’t which means he’s stewing. So, I that’s why it was so easy for me to jump to Summer too. Like he just wrote that to River and then writes to me about discontent following me and creeping and will come back on me. Like bitch, he’s the only one stirring it up. So, maybe you can see how it would be easier for me to jump to that with that in the back of my head.”
Another big sigh, “And no. I don’t want to kick them out. At least not yet. I just need to breathe. I don’t think it was all malicious or anything. I just think he’s a serious dumbass for thinking that wouldn’t hurt me and not in a good way. I see all the good stuff too. I think he’s projecting his bullshit all over me and I’m just tired. I think he’s taking liberties with being how close we are and thinking it’s okay to ever fucking judge what’s going on inside of me. He crossed the fucking line. People don’t get what’s between me and my kids. Okay, you get what’s between me and my kids. But, just you… ugh. I just.. people don’t get me. Even my best friends don’t know me. You know me. My kids know me. I just kinda thought Clopin knew me better than that. Telling my kid a thing like that. Un-fucking-believable.”
While Dale was in town Scout wouldn’t be able to resist bringing him to the scrap yard that GoGo showed her. She had to show Dale this huge ant sculpture because it was so similar to the stuff Dale did. Sure, this was rusty and not as smooth. But, it was all the same concept. She knew Dale would appreciate it.
When he saw it he said, “Oh, shit. It’s just sitting there doing nothing, but sitting there.”
Scout started grinning. “I know. It drives me crazy too. I can’t stand not fixing it.”
Dale started to look around. “It’s so high. Someone’s bound to see us.”
Scout, “Yeah, that’s a problem.”
Dale, “Is it though?”
It wouldn’t be a problem in Nola.
“DaaaaaAAaaale.” She winged. “You know I’m working the Kiwis lowkey.”
He pulled the same drawn out winey tone back at her, “But, ScooOOOooout. Look at it. It’s just sitting there. It’s mocking us. It’s begging us to do it.”
Dale would slap his hands on her shoulders. She’d slap hers on his and they’d stare each other down.
“FINE. At night. We have to come back at night. We’re way too obvious. Nobody probably comes out here at night anyway.”
“Right. Absolutely.” Dale agreed even though he totally prowled all the junk yards at night so really that made no sense to him, but regular customers wouldn’t be there, so there was that. He just didn’t care about blowing her cover like she did.
Who wouldn’t want to play Honey, I Shrunk the Kids with a giant Anty like that? Dale had the power.
Thomas usually could tell. There wasn’t the Val like vibrancy. But it wasn’t as if he was going to shy away from such a thing right now. He saw the mixing and swirling, the crush of the wave against the water, but it was all alright. He’d give that soft hand the same loving squeeze, no matter who was behind those eyes. He took one of her hands with both of us, walking backwards through the woods, using his memory of the place to keep him from tripping too much.
Then again, this was Thomas, so there were a few trippity trips along the way, over branches and bramble and exposed roots but he managed to keep his footing through the fumbles. And kept his hands wrapped around her. “Have I ever told you that you look beautiful in the moonlight?” He said, unable to help himself. That wasn’t flattery. That wasn’t trying to give a distracting opinion. It was just what ran through his mind as he saw Flotsam’s hair glisten in the pale light and it came out through his mouth unfiltered and raw.
Back into the bedroom where the first thing that Thomas did was pick up the abandoned letter with the scratchy hand writing and he’d put it aside, put it away into a drawer. Wasn’t quite out of sight out of mind but at least he could keep his husband from rereading it. And then the first aid kit. He kept one in the bedroom now. Actually, just about every room. These things happened. And being a clumsy man who was really into DIY and woodworking meant that he had a lot of splinters and burns to deal with himself. He cleaned his husband right up. Even went as far as to kiss it all better, soft lips against skin. He only used bandages on what looked bad enough to need bandages but as long as he was around, he was sure that they’d keep clean. No rolling around in the woods.
And then he’d sit on the end of the bed beside Flotsam, watching the little hand movements, and when they were over, when the chest was back to being near-concave, he took one of them again and used the other to swipe the hair out Flotsam’s forehead.
“That’s fine, that’s good, you know I love you, Flo,” He said, his tone not changing, his motion not changing, and most important, his love not changing. Just holding on for now, not making any crazy suggestions like trying to sleep or anything useless like that. “I know, I saw, I followed you. Thank you - thanks for staying close.”
He was taking that as an accomplishment. It was. Flo had the tendency to walk away, and Thomas - after a little bit of thinking himself, usually followed.
The signal wasn’t given but Thomas was caretaking anyway. “Do you want to go for a drive?” He’d ask. Walking after hurting their leg like that wasn’t the best idea, and it was the best way he could think of to remove Flo from the situation for a bit. Maybe it would work the same way it did for a child. The drive could lull them to sleep. “Just you and me?” He had drank a bit but he was pretty sure this whole thing sobered him back up enough. He felt coherent.
“Probably. It sounds like something you’d say.” They blubber-laughed with a groan as they walked.
They watched that letter be slipped in the drawer. It didn’t go unnoticed, but they didn’t say anything about it. However, they were considering setting it on fire.
Yeah, that felt like what they wanted to do. So, they zapped right through the drawer. Their zap would burn a black hole through it and scorch the contents. That concentrated zap would make the whole room flash bright. Then it’d be gone the next second leaving the smell of burning wood and smoke behind.
“Sorry. I guess I could have just opened the drawer. Blame it on the alcohol.”
They shrugged for now. At least it didn’t catch on fire and keep burning.
“Nah. No.” He plead. “Then we’d have to be apart.”
They felt isolated and disconnected enough. “Just stay here.”
“Don’t worry about it. I’ll just sit here and continue being my sucky self. Get back to that somber brood I’m so good at. Fuck being happy and if everyone’s so damn sure of who I am, I guess I’ll just give it to ‘em. I got pretty fucking thick skin, Thomas. I’ve been put through some shit. But, I can’t take it from my friends. I can’t take it from you. Like dude, hon, I need you as back up. What the fuck are you my partner for if you can’t back me up when someone’s shitting on me? Explaining to me that he might think it’s needless and not disagreeing aint helping, baby. I NEED YOU. That is my best friend out there and I am trying so hard to not create one of the most catastrophic events to that friendship that could ever go down. My feelings aren’t needless. Everyone can fuck right the hell off. So right the hell off. That fucker wants to judge what’s in me and tell me what’s needless to MY life? I’m the asshole that’s going to destroy happiness needlessly. Then that’s what I’ll be. If I’m already judged and sentenced I might as well do the crime. Fuck everybody. Ya know? That’s how I feel about now.”