|Chloe Rose Montgomery // Demeter (_demeter) wrote in greek_swim,|
@ 2008-12-20 19:48:00
|Entry tags:||demeter, hestia|
Demeter/Chloe and Hestia/Aaltje: Hold My Hand
Who: Demeter/Chloe and Hestia/Aaltje
What: First meeting
Where: National Gardens
When: Late Friday Morning; Dec. 12
She'd taken up the scarf again. It was the last piece she'd added to her outfit; a simple blue tiered skirt that ended just above her sandaled feet and white cotton blouse with the same indigo hue embroidered along the hem. Lightweight and plain, the piece of white fabric was laid carefully a top golden curls with ends wrapped about her neck. In the mirror that morning, she'd seen for the first time, shades of her former self, but not the vision she would have liked to have remember. The woman that stared back at her was worn, shattered; a shade herself in her grief.
Demeter's stomach tightened with the memory as she walked the bath of the National Gardens, hoping to find some solace and peace in the flowers that still bloomed there. No blackberry, she carried only a pocketful of euro, her id and cardkey. Phoebus' gun likewise remained behind; the little blonde cared little if Hera happened upon her now. All was set: she'd return to the US in a few days. Would be back home - not LA, but home to Anderson - to see her parents and siblings and then possibly start arrangements to begin a family of her own and forget this trip had ever happened.
Taking a deep breath, the petite woman sat down on a nearby bench and watched the small group of ducks nearby, heedless of anyone else bustling by on their way to wherever they were going. The world continued and she felt stuck. Useless. The harvest didn't need her. Nor the seasons. Nor Kore, it seemed. Why bother? They were mortal now and she was going to live the rest of this existence far away from whatever storm was brewing in Athens.
Aaltje no doubt stood out as a tourist with a guide book sticking out of her bag, and a camera glued to her eye. The flowers were all so colorful, so fragrant, and of course not available at home during this time of the year. The bath was also fascinating to her, the whole city was, with all the history etched into every inch of it.
She aimed her camera now at the small group of ducks that were waddling around and playing with each other. In the corner of her shot she spotted a woman wearing a scarf over what Aaltje could tell was a set of brilliant golden curls. She was sitting alone, and if the scarf were not white, Aaltje would have thought the woman was mourning.
Aaltje shoved her camera in her bag and headed over to the bench taking a seat on the other end. She observed the garden, now, from where she sat, a soft smile spread across her face. "It's breathtaking... Can you imagine all the work that goes into caring for these flowers. I don't think I'd have the patience for it." She wasn't quite sure the woman would want to hear anything she would have to say, but there was no harm in trying to open a conversation. She felt compelled to. Seeing this woman, alone, and looking so distraught, caused her great pain personally.
Demeter's head dropped forlornly as the other woman spoke. She could imagine what work went into tending a garden of that magnitude as easily as she could see every detail of every flower and know that there was love in the soil tilled into the soil, not just nutrients. "They are very beautiful," she said softly with her hands folded in her lap. She didn't wish to be rude to the brunette next to her, but there were so few words that seemed to want to come. About the flowers. About the weather or any other small talk that might come up between them. The woman was just being friendly and Demeter could barely find it in herself to sit and listen. Still something kept her rooted there, and she, like the trees around the pair of women, could go no where. "But little has to do with patience; the grounds keeping staff here is probably very large which I'm sure means very manageable workloads in different areas."
A side of Aaltje's mouth curved down into a frown at the woman's response. "That maybe true," She said with a small laugh. "I just imagine the people that do work here pouring their heart into their work." Which was true enough, she'd didn't want to credit this beauty to a mass of people who were simply there to get paid.
"You're American?" Aaltje asked, deciding to change the subject. "I'm Aaltje (All cha) by the way, from New York," She could hear herself talking, and thought it was all rather boring, but she couldn't just ask a stranger what was troubling her...then again strangers were sometimes the best ones to pour your hearts to. "What's troubling you?" She spilled out before she could wait for an answer to her first queston.
Hazel eyes stared blindly at the landscape before them, her own mouth turned in a sad frown though she did nod at the first question. "American, yes. LA via Texas," Demeter said softly then sighed. Texas; she'd be back there soon. Maybe not soon enough.
It was the second question that snapped her out of the freeze. Her sister's question, so innocent, so unknowing made her heart shatter a bit more. "He's judging. He's going to rule for Hades and I'll have lost my daughter for good. I've already lost my Kore; she's no longer the girl she was before she was taken but to lose what she's become as well, I do not think I can bare it."
Demeter blinked back the tears that came to her light eyes. "I've lost something very dear to me," she said simply, wringing her hands. "Something I don't think I will ever get back."
Her eyes grew wider from seeing the smaller girl on the verge of tears. Instinctively she moved closer, taking one of the blondes tiny hands in her own. Of course this was inappropriate for strangers, but Aaltje didn't feel that way at all with this woman. She wasn't sure what to say about her loss, but hoped that she felt better at least having someone to listen to her.
Smaller, trembling fingers instinctively wrapped around the hand that took hers before Demeter finally looked the other woman in the eyes, causing her breath the catch much as it had when she spied Hera or Hades for the first time. However, this recognition didn't come with the belly of ice the others had. No, there was a warmth; comforting and cozy like a blanket or campfire. More tears came, joyful ones that mixed with ones of pain and she held her sister's hand tighter. Hestia's eyes were like beacons in the storm, saving her from drowning.
"Thank you," she said finally, when her voice returned. "There's just been so much confusion and insanity, lately. I'm Chloe." Blooming one. Green one. The spring and summer. Lady of the fields and harvest. Demeter Chloe, the young goddess who danced through the flowers and drank dew drops from their petals.
She stroked the top of the others hand with her thumb, the corners of her mouth curving downward. She wished that she could take the pain the other was feeling on herself, but that would be impossible. She gave the others hand a firm squeeze as the small smile returned to her face. "I'm very glad to be meeting you Chloe." The words sounded odd to her. She was of course glad to meet the smaller woman, but it didn't at all feel like they were meeting for the first time. She held the others hand in silence a little while longer, but when she thought she could no longer take it she spoke. "It's not really any of my business, but if you want to talk about the confusion and insanity. I've got all the time in the world, and I'd love to listen." She laughed a bit, "Unless of course you are the type of person who doesn't feel better talking about that kind of stuff."
"Being able to talk to someone," Demeter admitted, "would be wonderful." A little sniffle and she wiped at the tears that threatened to fall with her free hand. "My daughter and I have been separated for many years; I wasn't able to see her because her father took her from me but we recently found each other. Here." Her eyes sparked with a hint of joy though the happiness was laced with pain. "I loved her dearly, still do - more than life - and her father isn't in the picture right now. However, her husband is. And he and I don't really get along. Complete opposites and all of that trashy TV nonsense." She continued to frown as she dropped her eyes back to their joined hands. "I know she loves him and it kills me because I know if I force her to choose between us, she'll pick him and my heart will be shattered again like it was when she was taken from me."
This time the tears did fall and the blonde woman could do nothing to stop them. There was too much pain, too much sorrow that still followed her and the memories of that time. "I'm going to leave. Make the choice for her so it will never come to that. I can't ask her to choose because I know it will hurt her as much as it will me but I... I can't be near her husband."
Her eyebrows furrowed a bit as she listened to the others story, and it did sound awful. She reached with her free hand into her purse and pulled out a handkerchief, handing it to the woman so that she could wipe up the tears that were falling. Once her hand was free again she rubbed the others back in what she hoped was a soothing way. "I'm sure there is more than enough room in your girls heart for both of you," She didn't want to sound as if she was arguing against the woman because she wasn't, but she didn't want her to leave, not at all! "Talk to her a bit more, she's young," at least she had to be, for this woman to be her mother, since she looked young herself. "Romance is... more important at her age I'm sure, but you are the one who brought her into the world, you're probably the reason she has grown into such a beautiful and wonderful woman." Though she had never met the girl, she didn't find anything but truth in her own words. "I'm sure she knows this, how could she not?"
Whispering her thanks, Demeter dabbed at her eyes and leaned into the other woman's caress. "It doesn't matter how much room there is in her heart; he takes up more of it. I've known that and have just refused to admit it: that I lost my baby again when I thought it was going to be different and we could start over." The blonde sniffled and then wiped at her eyes once more. "But it can't be because he's here. And I can't be in the same place as him. It's... complicated but we don't get along well and rather than fight and yell and make her choose, I'm going to go back home so she doesn't have to deal with a daily tug of war." She hoped Kore would visit her but didn't really believe that would happen.
Aaltje wanted very much for Chloe to stay, but she couldn't say it bluntly. Chloe was a stranger after all, and Aatlje didn't want to seem weird, or scare the woman away. "Does she have to choose between the both of you? She loves you very much I'm sure. I know she'd be very sad if you left." She did not want to guilt the woman, but she worried she was beginning to sound like that. "Maybe you could put yourself in her position," She held a kind smile on her face, still worried she was coming off to condescending. "Haven't you ever been in love before?"
The blonde woman nodded and wrung her hands harder. "He and I have never gotten along. There's too much bad blood between us and I know she loves him but I still can't stop feeling that he's so wrong for her." Her precious daughter was not meant for cold or darkness. She was a child of the light, her petal princess. Life not Death. She would wilt and fade, her mother was certain. "She and I have spent too much time apart and she's... she's become a different person. Yes, my leaving with upset her but it's better that it just be now, this one time then having to endure it over and over and over again. Summer passed and with it came with heartache. The same, every year. She lost her child to the Darkness and Winter would set it when loneliness took over.
Demeter sniffled once more then hiccuped before looking once more into the other woman's familiar eyes. "I loved her father with my whole heart, even after we separated. But he betrayed me when he took her. For a time, she and I were inseparable; we were everything to each other and now, I don't even know who she is." She wanted this woman, Aaltje, to know the truth but found she couldn't speak to words. Instead she squeezed her hand and took the comfort that was so freely given. If she closed her eyes, the smaller woman could almost imagine sitting, cuddled with her around the hearth once again, sharing secrets and concerns.
Aaltje leaned back into the bench they were sitting, removing her hand from the woman's back, moving it to her arm. She allowed room for Chloe's head to fall on her shoulders. Aaltje had always wanted children of her own, but she was getting too old now. She wished that she could understand Chloe's situation better, wished that she could be more comforting. For now all she could do was picture herself in that situation. How terrible it would be to lose something so precious, and how terrible it would be to have the one you love betray you, the girls father too.
She let her own head fall lightly on top the others. She was no longer conscious that they were strangers, my sweet sweet sister. This is where Aaltje was supposed to be right now, here for this woman, my sister..."If it's any consolation, I don't want you to go."
"You don't even know who I am," Demeter replied with a watery laugh as the two women held each other. It was so familiar; felt so right to be wrapped up in the embrace of this woman once more. Her Hestia. Her dearest beloved sister. "Thank you, though. It is some consolation." There was one on her side; Hera was about and Hades still held her sweet Kore, but at least the bountiful goddess had found the sibling she was closest to. Both arms encircled Aaltje's waist and Demeter held her closer, inhaling the sweet scent of fire and freshly baked bread. "I'm just not sure I can do this anymore. Be here, with them."
Her smile widened, she really didn't know this woman, how strange that was! It disheartened her that Chloe didn't think she could do this anymore, but Aaltje knew she was strong enough to withstand anything. This didn't mean however, that Aaltje wished to see her suffer anymore than she had. "I don't want you to see you in pain like this, and if going home is what it takes..." But she was sure the woman would be in pain long after she returned to her home, she was also sure Chloe knew this.
"I have so much back home. So much I've built up with my life; responsibilities and other family..." None of it really mattered, however. That was Chloe's life. She was Demeter now. Again. But really, was it better to stay in Athens where those who betrayed her and those she fought with would remain or was she better off back in Anderson or LA, living the mortal existence the way she had before? Chloe had her family; her mother and father and siblings. Charlie. Her career. Demeter had... heartbreak. More wandering and loss. The blonde heaved a little sigh then sniffled away the last of her tears. "She was my everything and as much as I tried and fought to keep things from happening to her, to keep her safe, it wasn't enough. I wasn't enough. She has someone else now to do that so why shouldn't I go back home if there is no cause for me to be here?"
This wasn't right, Aaltje thought Chloe's daughter couldn't think she could replace her mother with a husband. Mothers always provided a certain kind of love that was available no where else. "What about when she needs someone to talk to that isn't her husband? She fights with her husband I'm sure, and she'll want to come running into your arms," Even if Chloe had lost her daughters innocence, there had to be some part, even if it was very small, that was still that same girl who wanted to be with her mother forever.
One small shoulder lifted and then fell. "That's what planes are for. And cellphones and email. For daughters to reach out to their mothers when they need them." And sometimes only then. When was the last time she'd called her own mother? She should do that tonight. "She wants to speak to me but what she did yesterday, knowing what kind of a state I was in, to invite him along..." Demeter's head shook once more and she forced the tears from falling. "I don't know what even goes on in her head anymore."
"Oh, I'm sure she wants you both to get along, the best of both worlds?" She did hope when Chloe met with her daughter, they would both come out feeling happy. It was a long shot but she especially hoped it for Chloe. Anything to get her to stay, but if she ended up in worse spirits then Aaltje supposed it was best for her to go home.
"She knows he and I will never get along," Demeter all but hissed, digging her nails into her palms. "She's had both worlds and I'm sure now that she has the choice, she'll choose to remain in his. I just don't have the strength to come back and forth anymore. Not now when everything's been turned upside down. It's supposed to be a fresh start and all it is is history repeating itself."
She thought Chloe might be stubborn, but she didn't know that for sure, she had some details but not the whole story. Her daughter's husband could be a creep for all she knew. That made it especially distressing that she wouldn't listen to her mother. Aaltje wasn't sure what to say anymore. All she could do was be here and hope that was enough for Chloe. She lifter her head from the smaller woman's and rubbed her arm slowly, in what she hoped was a soothing way.
Demeter took one last deep breath before lifting her own head off Aaltje's shoulder. "I'm sorry. I'm just rambling on about my problems and you've been so good listening." She fished a business card out of her small wallet and handed it over. "My email address is on there, let me know when you're available and I'd love to take you out to lunch."
"You're not rambling," Aaltje enjoyed listening to Chole, not that she enjoyed the smaller one was in pain. She just liked being with her. Aaltje took the card and examined it for a few moments, reading over the name and email. It was impressive that the woman had a card, at least Aaltje thought so. "I hope this means you'll be sticking around for a while longer, because I would love to take you up on your offer."
"I'm here until Sunday." She wasn't making any promises or changes in her plans. Not yet. She still needed to talk to Kore after all. Demeter wiped under her eyes, clearing away any make-up that might have run. "I'm staying at the King George II Palace. If you give my name to the front desk, they'll let me know you're there. Evenings are usually better for me; most of the meetings I have to be in are in the afternoon though now that they know I'm leaving, they'll probably be at least one more cocktail party but I can always sneak away for lunch." And she was rambling again. Demeter bit her bottom lip and gave another watery smile to her sister in apology. "Just let me know when's good for you and I'll set something up."
She frowned, disappointed that Chloe was leaving so soon, but what could she do. When the blonde started going on about her hotel and schedule Aaltje grinned, it was endearing. "I'm here visiting my brother and he doesn't like me to go to his digging sites.." She wasn't sure if that's what you called them, but that was her brothers realm, so it didn't bother who too much. "I should be fine to see you whenever I want," She pulled a pen from her bag and wrote the name of the hotel on the back of Chloe's business card. "So really tell me when is good for you, preferably before Sunday," but that was in two days. "So tomorrow maybe?"
"I don't leave until late Sunday evening but yes. I'll be sure to check my schedule and let you know. Email me tonight so I know how to get in touch with you." The smile was warmer now, a touch happier. "Thank you," Demeter said softly, holding Hestia's hands in her own. "You've really done more than you know. And I am very grateful for that."
Aaltje's own smile widened. "You really don't have to thank me, I'm grateful to have met you." She would surely e-mail Chole tonight, and hope that she would talk to her daughter and be persuaded to stay a little longer. She was glad at least, to see a smile that seemed happy, even if it was only a bit.
Acting on impulse, Demeter drew the other woman into a tight hug and even went as far as to brush a sororal kiss on her cheek before rising off the little bench. "I'm very grateful to have found you." For it wasn't a meeting. Only a reunion. "I look forward to speaking with you again. Unfortunately, I need to go back to my hotel. Thank you, again. Very much."
Aaltje stood with the other and beamed at her. She hadn't felt so connected with someone ever, it was like she was getting something back that she missed very much. She could only nod in response to the others farewell. Aaltje retook her seat on the bench and watched as the small figure of the blonde became less and less clear.