it's a language i can't understand Who: Fee and Karin What: Fee comes home at 3:00 AM to an empty apartment, no note, and Karin's cell ringing on the nightstand when she calls it... And then Karin comes home at 8 in the morning. :D Where: 107 When: October 2 Warnings: Language. A lot a lot of language. :D Notes:Placeholder for a GDoc. Complete! :D
Getting home at 3:00 AM wasn’t Fiona’s first choice. It made her feel nervous and guilty to leave Karin by herself. Even though Karin had insisted that she’d be fine, that she’d been sleeping better since Fee’d effectively moved in, sharing the bed with her every night, Fiona couldn’t quite believe her. It did seem like even if she still wasn’t sleeping perfectly well that Karin was at least relaxed and getting some kind of rest with Fee, there, and that was a comfort. The fact was, though, that she was starting to suspect something... weird... in the apartment. Just little things -- weird shadows. Weird smells. Fee could not for the life of her figure out what the fuck it was, but she was starting to get why Karin was having trouble sleeping.
And then there were the dreams.
Since she’d moved in with Karin, she’d started having bizarre dreams that should have been terrifying. They were, if she considered them from a normal person’s perspective, disgusting; blood and men being flayed alive and a throne of bones or bodies or death or darkness. Sometimes ebony, cool, infinitely hard, but perfect. Any way it was built, it was perfect and comfortable, and felt right. It didn’t scare her -- maybe that’s because it wasn’t her?
She didn’t understand that part completely, but some deep and important part of her got it perfectly. It wasn’t costing her sleep that she could tell, and that was maybe a little troubling in itself.
Either way, though, Karin wasn’t faring as well, and Fee hated leaving her alone. It was weird, because Fee had assumed that it would be hard living with Karin. Fiona had always liked having her own space, had always liked not being accountable for where she was or what she was doing. But somehow it was different now. Maybe it was because it was voluntary, or maybe it was because Karin’s need was so genuine, and Karin didn’t ask or expect anything -- if anything, she consistently tried to convince her she was fine, even as she clung to Fee each night.
Getting home at this hour could be OK -- her and Karin’s schedules seemed to align enough for there not to be too many gaps. But there were gaps, and this was a big one. She drove too fast and tried to be as quiet as possible when she entered the apartment. That Karin wasn’t in the living room was a good sign -- maybe she’d actually been able to get to sleep on her own? Hoping against hope, Fee took her boots off and put them in the closet by the front door, then continued to the bedroom.
Immediately, it felt wrong. Vacant. Cool. The bed was empty. Fee flipped the light on.
“Kar?” she called.
She went to the bathroom; the door was ajar, the room dark.
“Kar?” she called out more loudly. It wasn’t that large an apartment; there weren’t that many places she could be. She checked the back door; locked it behind her as she went out to the beach, using her phone as a light.
“Karin!” Her voice was rising with thinly veiled anger. Her heart constricted as she looked over at the island.
She went back inside, trying to be calm, trying to think rationally. She pulled out her phone and quickly dialed Karin’s -- and immediately heard her sister’s distinctive ring.
“Fuck me,” she said as she ended the call. “Fuck. me.”
She started searching the apartment for clues; the fridge, the first place Karin left any and all of the many notes she always wrote whenever she was going anywhere that wasn’t the bathroom. The bedroom. The bathroom. Her keys were nowhere to be found, but her bag was here. With her wallet.
“Fuck,” Fee said, real fear pulsing through her now.
Barely taking time to relock the doors, Fee ran out to the lobby in her socks, her feet pounding the floor of the lobby, then the pavement of the parking lot outside as she looked for Karin’s car -- then saw it.
Her hands balled into fists, and she tried to breathe through it. Karin had friends. It was Saturday night.
After calling Charlie and Rylee, the only friends of Karin Fee had met so far that she knew of, and finding out that they hadn’t seen Karin, she got her own keys. Maybe she went for a run. Maybe she went to clear her head. After shoving her feet into a pair of flats, Fee went to find out.
Four hours later, there was nothing. She’d driven everywhere. She’d gone back to the beach. She’d gone to the 24-hour pharmacy. She’d gone to the hospital. She’d called Samuel. Twice. Couldn’t report it for 24 hours, just like in the movies. By the time she got back to the apartment, she had a lump in her throat and she threw her keys across the room, where they hit the wall hard, leaving a ding in it.
It was close to 8:00 AM, and she was so exhausted and frantic she didn’t know what to do anymore; she started, mortifyingly, to cry.
A quarter of an hour later Karin slipped into the apartment, her eyes downcast, her hands nervously fumbling with her tellingly tousled hair. From the moment she had awakened she had steeled herself for the inevitable argument upon her return home, knowing it was well deserved; she had only just, upon rising, realized that she had left her cell phone in the apartment, and had left Fee no way to know where she had been. She knew the tongue lashing she herself would have delivered had the tables been turned. For that reason and that reason alone she had politely declined Sean’s offer of breakfast, and even of a shower, choosing a quick walk of shame home over keeping her sister waiting any longer than she already had.
She cleared her throat, the sound obscured somewhat by the clicking of the door behind her. Blindly she reached behind her, throwing the bolt as well. “Fee?” she called, perhaps more quietly than was due. She prayed Fiona was asleep, but that seemed too much to hope given the circumstances. “Fee, I’m home...”
Fee’s head shot up, her eyes red, her cheeks tear-stained, exhaustion written in the paleness of her face and the lines of her body. She was up from the couch like a shot, and practically ran over to her sister, grabbing her in a tight, long hug, a sob escaping her before she pulled away, then shoved at her shoulder.
“Where the fuck have you been?” she demanded, wiping the tears from her eyes. “I looked fucking everywhere for you; I drove all the way the fuck around this bullshit excuse for a city!”
She pushed at her sister’s shoulder again, despite the fact that it was likely enough that Karin could take her in a fight. Karin staggered back, her thin shoulder striking the door as she did.
“Since when do you not leave a note?”
Karin’s lips parted, but no sound came out; her jaw worked uselessly for a moment, her hand rising to fumblingly toy with the thick strap of her tank top, her eyes darting downward to her bare feet. “I had a nightmare,” she answered lamely, hating herself for the way the flimsy excuse fell from her lips. “I couldn’t... I couldn’t get it out of my head. It was a bad one.” She was too old for this; it was shameful, the way she had all but run from the apartment, all thought of communication gone from her mind. “I was at Sean’s. Next door. I’m so sorry, Fee.”
“Sean’s? Who the fuck is Sean --” And then, Fee looked -- really looked -- at her sister. The mussed hair. The bare feet. The guilty expression and the fact that she’d had a nightmare and that had turned into a booty call.
“Are you serious?” she asked incredulously.
Under different circumstances, she would have been thrilled. No one wanted Karin to get laid more than Fee, not even Karin, probably. But Fee’s desire for Karin to get some sexual healing was eclipsed by a sleepless night and five hours of being half-convinced she was dead.
“You’re an asshole,” she blurted out. “You had a nightmare, so you couldn’t, you know, leave a note, or grab your phone, or maybe, after you were done boning the neighbor, checked in. Because, you know, I wouldn’t be worried about you or anything, what with the fact you’ve probably lost twenty pounds in the past month and a half and you think you have a goddamn brain tumor.”
It came out sharper than Karin intended, an impression not aided by her hands balling to fists at her sides, her short-bitten nails digging into her palms. It was difficult, knowing what she knew to be true thrown in her face so angrily; it was almost worse to hear her own fears spoken aloud, an open acknowledgement of what seemed better swept under the rug. Having no real idea how to respond, she fell back on a simple reflection of anger.
“I know you’ve been worried, OK? I didn’t think about the phone, or even a note, til we woke up. I haven’t slept that hard in... I don’t know, months.” She didn’t have a leg to stand on, and she knew it all too well. They had played out this same scenario so many times before, when they had all lived at home and it had been Karin playing the surrogate parent. But now she saw how easy it was to lash out instead of responding in understanding, to move to defend and deflect instead of earnestly apologizing. “I’m sorry you went out looking for me. I thought I’d still be home before you. I tried to get back... shit, Fee, I thought you’d be happy for me. Between the two of you sometimes I actually feel normal again.”
Fiona’s eyes flashed, her jaw set.
“Oh, don’t give me that shit,” she sneered. “It’s kinda hard to be happy for you when you’re finally getting your fuck on and getting a nice post-coital nap in means letting me stay up all night going out of my mind not knowing where you are or if you’re OK. Or have you forgotten what that’s like?”
She snorted. Karin merely rolled her eyes.
“If you’re gonna sneak out like a teenager in the middle of the night, you could have the common courtesy to let me know you’re not fucking dead or raped or having a seizure somewhere. That’d be nice. But apparently that’s too much to ask, and I should be happy for you.”
It was all Karin could do not to scream, to loose some unintelligible and meaningless cry of impotent frustration. Knowing she was in the wrong only made the lecture worse; she wondered if this was how her sisters had felt so many times in their youth, subjected first to her stern talkings-to, followed often enough by the more selfishly motivated sermons of their parents. Her nails dug deeper into her palms. She found herself fighting to keep from turning on her naked heel and storming out, leaving to seek the solace of the shore now so tryingly out of sight.
“I didn’t sneak out,” Karin snapped. “You weren’t here. There’s a difference.”
“Oh, well, excuse the fuck out of me!” she shot back. “It’s definitely not enough that I moved in here, that I sleep here, in your bed with you, every night, that I haven’t gone out for fun since I started sleeping down here, but now I should quit my job, too! Because fuckin’ Christ knows that’s the only way I deserve to know where you’re at!”
Fee threw her hands up.
“You know what? Fuck it. Since you’re not dead, and you obviously already got your night’s sleep, I’m gonna get the fuck out of here.”
With that, Fee stormed toward where she’d kicked off her shoes, shoving her feet back into them, then went to snatch her keys off the floor where they’d fallen.
“Be sure to check in later,” Karin muttered. She slipped away from the door, her foot catching on the rug as she did. She recovered from her clumsiness well enough to stop herself falling, but it was hardly the blithe motion she had intended. Instead it was all a clatter of keys in her pockets and a quiet gust of startled breath. As she rose she sank her teeth into her lower lip, biting until she felt a sting and an answering welling of blood. And then the left, herself, striding toward the bedroom, praying distance would grant them both calm.
Fee watched Karin go, and clenched her fists as she did. Gripping her keys so hard they cut their figures into her palm, she left the apartment, slamming the door behind her as she stalked through the hall toward the elevator.