|whiskey_jack (whiskey_jack) wrote in paxletalelogs,|
@ 2010-10-05 15:33:00
|Entry tags:||changing woman, coyote|
Who: Jack and Kamillah
What: A reunion... of sorts
Where: The stairwell just off the eighth floor
When: October 4, after this thread and this thread but before this little exchange
Warnings: Language and one pissed-off Kami <3
By now, Jack was pretty thoroughly convinced that the new decor adorning the hallways and apartments of Pax Letale was not an elaborate movie set. So far he had explored the fringes of the reeking, weapons-strewn fourth floor (and oddly the seventh floor looked -- and smelled -- similar; he wondered if this was the same sort of smell that guy up on the Deluxe level had been complaining about), the Egyptian fifth floor (yes, he had to investigate one of the clay jars Mirza had warned him off -- and came away wishing he'd listened to the advice), and the eerily still, cool Greek decor on the sixth floor. He was now on the eighth floor, and for some reason this floor was really getting to him. Maybe it was the clearly Native American rugs on the ground -- well, floor technically, but it looked like dirt -- or the clothing and feathered headdresses hanging from the wood walls that was speaking to the drops of Ohlone blood that his hippie mom swore her side of the family had. Or something. He didn't know, and right now he really wasn't in the mood to try to figure it out.
That honey mead that was supposedly free for the taking in that guy's apartment was sounding better and better.
Jack decided he wasn't going to stick around; the whole place was tickling the same spot in his hindbrain that had gotten tickled way back when he'd done that ayahuasca as a teenage ne'er-do-well in San Francisco. He made his way to the stairwell more quickly than he otherwise might, head whipping around to glance over his shoulder as the sound of people laughing startled him again. "Shit," he muttered to himself as he hit the first step. Yes, straight on up to the floor with the free booze sounded like the best plan at this point.
Unfortunately, the building had one more surprise for him and his plan for seeking oblivion. As he soon as his foot settled on the first step, a faint and fast tapping caught his attention and he paused, just barely into the stairwell. Dismissing the laughter over the new noise, Jack began to turn his direction for investigation.
Cheered and energized by meeting her new way-upstairs neighbors and lighter by a good dozen candles, Kami skipped down the stairs at a breakneck pace. Her fingers barely skimmed the railing and she felt her grin all the way through to her toes. This place was weird, sure, but it had so many amazing people living within its walls. How could she argue with a few strange bits of redecoration when she foresaw plenty of fun in the future? Without thinking, a happy little hum started in the back of her throat - a familiar song that she had done her best to push to the back of her brain.
The tuneless noise became words in a sweet, fuzzy alto. "Ain't never had a...Oof!" Even as her body connected, words stopping, and the sensation of falling took over, Kami reflected that she really was going to have to start watching herself more closely in the stairs. Instinctively, she grabbed and felt her hands close on soft denim. With a gasp, she tightened her grip and pulled her victim closer in an attempt to keep upright. She was damned if she was going to bruise her butt again. Eyes screwed shut against the impending collapse, Kami hoped whoever she had hold of had good balance.
And if he hadn't prepared himself in case whoever it was hadn't been expecting someone else there, they both would have surely gone tumbling. Grasping the railing with one hand, Jack tried to steady the small, singing whirlwind who had collided with him with his free hand. "Aaaah, whoa whoa whoa," he yelped as he suddenly found himself with an armful of long dark hair and decidedly feminine curves, clinging to his shirt and dragging him along with her momentum.
Jack grimaced and used his height as leverage to keep her from pulling him off-balance and ending up on their heads on the next landing down. Clutching her tightly against his body, he shifted and steadied them both on the landing. His heart was pounding in his chest, and he could feel that hers was too. He could feel other things too, the curve of her hips and the small of her back beneath his hand and the softness of her body pressed against him. Her scent, warm and sweet and spicy, filled his nostrils as he sighed, the adrenaline leaving his system. Well, he'd been hoping to meet some of the female residents of Pax Letale - just not quite like this.
"You should really be more careful running up and down these stairs," he gently admonished with a little smirk, still holding her. "You never know who you might run into."
"God, I'm so so sorry," tumbled out against the front of his shirt, breathless and muffled. Her fingers still gripped his shirt in paroxysm of fear but, at his soothing tone and the way his hand rested warm at her back, she forced them to loosen before she tore something. Her body against his relaxed in installments until a portion of her brain registered the lean hardness of him and she took a deep breath to regain full control. She found the breath did not help much in the end; whoever her savior was, he smelled really nice and she thought of Flagstaff and the dry grasses around, the leather and smoke and heated bodies of a summer fair.
So she laughed, unsure of what else to do, as she forced her hands open more and drew back. "I'm not usually this clumsy, you know," she added, "but, if you can believe it, this is the second time this week that I nearly..." As his face came into view, she trailed off. Her eyes grew wide, mouth losing the easy laugh, and she hissed, "You??"
"Me?" Jack responded automatically, ever the comedian. His smirk faded, though, as he studied her face, recognition creeping into his blue eyes. "Wait a minute- Kami? Oh my god... Kami!" he beamed. No wonder her body had felt so delicious against his! His thoughts raced back to the last time he had seen her: half-naked, smiling and sated in the candlelight of the trysting spot he'd set up in the walkthrough area of Sleeping Beauty's Castle...
His grin vanished. Sleeping Beauty's Castle. Oh SHIT. What do you say to the girl you most likely got fired from her dream job because you wanted to well and truly seduce her?
"Um." That wasn't it. Jack cleared his throat and tried again. "Kami." He allowed a warm, friendly smile to cross his lips. "Fancy meeting you here! I just moved in - funky old place, isn't it?" The railing pressed in at his back. Nowhere to run. "So how have you been? You're looking incredible, as always," he soldiered on, mentally steeling himself for a royal reaming.
"How? Why?" Cheeks flushing red, Kami jabbed her index finger into the chest she had only just been snuggling into moments before. Her dark eyes snapped fire and the force of her dig echoed the rising fury. He leaned back harder into the railing as her finger poked again. "Jack, what the hell are you doing here?"
As if realizing how close she had gotten again, she caught her breath and took a quick step away from him. Safe distance, though, her body language told him, would only be achieved if he left the building immediately. Her curvaceous frame practically vibrated with frustration and anger. She reached up to rake a small hand through her loose, dark hair and shifted her gaze to the wall just past his ear. Biting her lip, she grimaced for a second before trying again. "Thank you for catching me... Now please get the hell out of my building."
"Sorry, but no can do," Jack shrugged, shaking his head, smile still firmly in place. "This is my building now, too. Just moved into an apartment here today - down on the third floor, for future reference." He could practically feel her dark, furious gaze searing a hole in his stomach. "Not that I'd ever expect you to drop by for coffee and a friendly chat, since it seems to me like you'd rather I drop dead. And you know, I wouldn't blame you." Maybe acknowledging his role in what happened - even though she was just as complicit - would soothe her anger enough for him to actually talk to her.
Kami's pretty face twisted into a sneer and she drew her shoulders back, chin coming up slightly, a tiny queen exerting her power. "That's nice," she answered, any warmth in her gaze drained from her voice. "Since you're the reason I can't do what I love anymore. I'll be lucky if I ever get a chance to do it again. I guess it should make me feel better to know you realize how you fucked me over... Twice."
The strange disembodied voices drifted faintly into the stairwell from the eighth floor hallway, carried on a warm, grass-scented breath of air that stirred both Jack's hair and hers. He blinked, and for a split second Kami... wasn't Kami. Darker, dressed in leathers and beadwork that glowed in the golden light of morning, she stood knee-deep in a stream, gazing at the horizon, watching, waiting... The knot in his stomach clenched, and two very different and powerful urges rushed through him: the urge to tuck his metaphorical tail between his legs and fall to his knees in front of her, begging forgiveness; and the urge to take her right then and there... or better yet, on the suddenly too-familiar woven rugs that carpeted the dirt floor within. Another blink, and the illusion/delusion was gone.
But the disorientation wasn't. And neither were the conflicting feelings.
Shaking his head slightly, Jack tried to collect himself. "Twice?" he echoed, bringing one hand up to his forehead and pushing his dark hair back. "I'll cop to once - you know, my bad for not realizing the stained glass windows were real. So yeah, I fucked up, and fucked you over in the process. I really fucked up and I'm sorry." He finally met her angry gaze, his blue eyes hurt and pleading. "But twice? Have I overlooked some cardinal sin I committed?" He almost immediately bit his tongue; smart-ass remarks were NOT THE BEST IDEA at this point. Curse his rapier-like wit.
"Metaphorical and actual, jackass." Kami sucked in a tiny, tight breath as soon as she finished biting off the insult and a flicker of tension chased along her delicate jawline. A voice in the back of her head was urging for control and kindness; she told the voice to fuck off. Her gaze never left him, though there was something newly strained in it now. She took another careful step away from him, putting her nearly in the doorway to the strange realm of the eighth floor. Another stray breeze shifted her hair and she wrapped her arms around her torso. "I still have a job, by the way," she murmured and her quieter, new tones were somehow worse than the initial screaming. There was a bitterness mixed with the ice, tangled with an underlying panic. "In case you were worried. I mean, it's not like you showed up the next morning... I'm a shop wench."
Kami's words stung like a slap across the face, which, Jack figured, would have been well-deserved. "I had slightly more pressing matters to attend to," he stated as non-snarkily as he could manage. "I got kicked out of my apartment that night and had to call in a favor or two so I didn't end up under the freeway or something." He stepped toward her as the warm breeze from within wafted over them; with a small frustrated growl, he fought off the disorientation that once more threatened to take over and forced himself to focus on Kami. "Besides," he continued with another step, pushing his hair back with an unconscious smirk that was decidedly more toothy and wicked than he would have liked, "I'd already been fired. What was I going to do, come in and get fired again?"
His steps forward found an opposite mirror in her motion; for every one he took, she took one back until she stood just inside the arching doorway of the eighth floor, dust and patterned rugs beneath her feet. As much of a retreat as it appeared, though, the new surroundings straightened her spine and she again lifted her chin regally to stare him down. The sweet wind teasing at her dark hair, the sunshine and wood behind her lush figure - Kami seemed to almost glow with a fierce pride, more at home and in her power than the stairwell had allowed. "It's not about that," she informed him tightly. "It's about being a man, showing your balls instead of just using them. Hell, it's about being there for a friend. At least that's what I thought we were but maybe not. Maybe it was just all Princess Bingo for you."
She lifted a hand, finger pointed into his chest. "So maybe I'm sorry you had your own problems but these were yours, too."
Jack stopped at the doorway and rested a hand against one of the wooden beams, effectively blocking the passage back into the stairwell. "So I should have sacrificed a roof over my head to hold your hand in front of the boss?" Immediately he cringed at the sharpness of his own words. "I'm sorry, Kami, that was... uncalled for," he murmured, lowering his eyes. "I didn't mean it. I'm a self-centered jerk, and I should have been there for you. I was too busy thinking of myself and my own situation. Poor pitiful me, teetering on the edge of homelessness." He sighed again and shook his head. "And that sounded sarcastic. It wasn't meant to be. At least not toward you."
Looking up, he met her gaze again. "It was never Princess Bingo with you, Kami. Ever. You were my friend. I... really liked you," he said with a soft wry laugh. "I wish things had turned out differently." He snorted and shook his head. "Man, if that's not the understatement of the year."
"Pretty much." The anger in her eyes remained but something else had appeared and Kami looked away for a moment. Her hands fidgeted for an instant and then she wrapped her arms around her torso tightly, hugging herself as she returned the look anew. "I don't need my hand held," she continued. "Not like that. Never did. I don't need you to make it better. You can't, anyway. Just like I think it really was Princess Bingo and you still can't fucking admit it." She swallowed hard, chin lifting, and now he could see the worrying, threatening shine in her eyes. "And, if it's about friendship and we were friends, then you don't have a clue what that word means."
Dropping her arms suddenly, Kami shook her head and took a step closer to him. "No one lets a friend go homeless if they have a bed to share," she pointed out quietly. "Now... Get out of my way."
Jack, however, didn't move. Dropping his gaze again, he gave a short laugh, only this one was dry as the dirt floor she stood on. "Do you know what the best part was, Kami?" he finally asked, less a question than a statement. "It wasn't the way you squeezed me with your legs or dug your heels into my ass. Or the way you smelled or your warmth or your breath on my neck or your amazing body." He looked up at her, his expression hollow and devoid of emotion. "It was the way you looked afterward. Your smile, the look on your face. Blissful and content and satisfied. That's what friendship means to me. Making my friends happy." Straightening, he sighed, then silently stepped back and aside, gesturing with his hand that she was free to go.
Kami lingered for a few moments, eyes huge and shining as she watched him. "Then," she finally murmured, "I guess the friendship ended as soon as the orgasm faded." She slipped past him and did not pause even when his familiar scent swirled around her in a stomach-clenching reminder. He had just enough time to see a single escaped tear and the still-angry line of her mouth as she passed. "Because, after that, you made me miserable."
With that final, soft dig, Kami escaped down the stairs in a furious staccato eruption of footsteps, fleeing as if he would change his mind and chase her down.
The echo of her retreating footsteps rang in the stairwell as Jack lowered his hand, her scent still warm and sweet in the air. His stomach knotted up again; inexplicably, he wanted to howl the pain of her words away. "I never meant to hurt you, Kami," he murmured instead to the emptiness. "I'm sorry..." Any desire to continue exploring the building, or even drowning his sorrows in free mead with complete strangers, was gone.
With a sigh, he pushed his hair back and glanced back into the eighth floor hallway. The warm grass-scented breeze wafted over him again, carrying the faint sounds of conversation from within. For a moment, he considered trying to seek them out and join them; he somehow had a sense that they weren't strangers, that they would welcome him as a brother. Or as something more... A shudder came over him suddenly, and he shook it off. That made no sense. He needed to get the hell out of this crazy place for a little while, that was all. Get away from thinking about Kami.
And he knew just the place where he could find the oblivion he sought.
Jack checked his jeans pockets for his keys and cellphone, then quickly made his way down the stairs to the creepily Egyptian-themed lobby. Ignoring the distraction, he exited the building and headed for his car. He started it up and, without looking back at Pax Letale, peeled out of the parking lot, heading for Hollywood and the Sunset Strip and sweet, blessed numbness.