A Little Complication -- (PG)

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A Little Complication -- (PG)

Postby Luxe de Luxe » Thu Feb 17, 2011 1:48 pm

Title: A Little Complication

Rating: PG for adult situation

Disclaimer: Not mine, never have been.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


A Little Complication



Rivets. I never realised how similar in size they were to the covered buttons on my father’s coat until they were under my palm, cold and round and slimy with the rising condensation from the river. It had been a long while since my thumb had rubbed across the worn, suede surface of one of those, but I wasn’t thinking about that as I grasped the thick edge of the girder and hauled myself up.

It was peaceful up here so far from the noise and the pollution of the passing cars below. By day, the water chugging sluggishly underneath was a murky grey but by night it was as black as polished onyx; city lights floating on its surface, like our very own Atlantis floating beneath an endless sea. I lifted a foot off the beam and stretched it out over the void below. All I needed to do was let go. If I closed my eyes I wouldn’t even see the world as it plummeted away. It would be just like falling into a dream.

I uncurled my fingers from the thick metal lip and stood there balanced on one leg. I was tossing up whether or not to make it a conscious choice or if it was better just to allow a random gust of wind to take me when a voice beside me spoke.

“It’s painful, you know,” the voice said, just as if we were fellow commuters passing time as we waited for the 5:13 to Union Station. “At this height you hit the water at fifty miles an hour. It feels like concrete and you don’t always black out, at least, not right away.”

Startled, I lost my balance and began to wobble over the water. I was going to fall!

In an unthinking panic, I flung both arms around the vertical beam and clung there, swaying wildly on my feet as my head whipped from side to side in search of my mysterious companion. How I hadn’t noticed him as I climbed I still don’t understand, because there he was, as large as life, a tall man dressed in shadow lounging against the opposite pillar. The outline of his face cocked to one side as if he were sizing me up, like I was an exotic variety of fruit that he wasn’t quite sure whether or not he was going to buy.

“You can’t stop me,” I said, spooked and more than a little put out. “If you come any closer I’ll jump.” My heart was hammering so frantically at that point that I didn’t mean it, but he didn’t know that.

He was silent for a moment and then he said, “What’s his name?”

“Huh - ?” I said.

“The man you’re trying to forget,” he said. “What’s his name?”

I clung to the girder even harder, beginning to feel resentful that my chosen point of disembarkation from this mortal coil had been pre-booked. Who was this guy? Another jumper or worse, a good Samaritan? I said nothing, but hoped he could see my suspicious frown from within the shadow of the bridge.

He sighed. “I’ve been around a long time, seen a lot of things. I’ve learned that you can’t really protect anyone from themselves in this life. What you want to do with yours is up to you. Go ahead and jump. I won’t try to stop you.”

Definitely not the latter then.

I got the feeling that little speech was a lot more than he usually said and that it had tired him, because he leaned forward a little then and an arc of light fell across his face. He was handsome, with a jaw you could cut a lip on and the saddest, kindest eyes I’ve ever seen. Right then I knew I’d tell him anything.

“Hank,” I said. “Allan Henry Jackson.”

“Of Jackson and Rebusson? The mid-town law firm?”

I nodded. “I’ve been part of his secretarial staff for the last three months.”

“And his mistress..?”

The shame blazed hotly from both cheeks. “..for the last two.”

Only yesterday the L.A. Times had a front page photo of his wife holding a small child on her lap and smiling as she opened a new day care centre for the underprivileged of south central L.A. A tear rolled down my cheek.

“You didn’t know.” It was a statement, not a question. “Nice guy.”

There was one time I’d thought so.

The tears started in earnest then, for that stupid, trusting girl and for the future she’d given up to please a man who didn’t care. It wasn’t even the threats he’d made once I went to him, hurt that the future he’d hinted at would never be, that bothered me, but the fact that he didn’t love me, had never loved me if he could act that way. My voice was bitter.

“What a fool I am, right? As if a man like that could ever have loved a nobody like me.”

An eyebrow shot up. “No one can love you unless you love yourself first,” he said sharply. “If you don’t, the ones you let through your front door will exploit you. Trust me. I know.” He slumped back onto the girder as if those few short sentences had been waiting there to be said for a very long time. Eventually the silence became almost companionable again and he asked, “Where you from, kid?”

“Hick Town, Alabama,” I said.

“Family?”

I shook my head. We stood there quietly together, watching the lights on the water ripple in the breeze. “Hey!” I said, remembering my conclusion that he was jumper like me. It didn’t seem to matter that someone as insignificant as me might fall away and disappear, but all of a sudden the thought that this kind stranger might step out and be lost to the world forever hurt the place around my heart. “Don’t do it.”

His lips quirked in a melancholy little half smile. “Death has other plans for me,” he said, and looked across and caught my eye. “Like it does for you.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re not ready to meet your maker yet. If you were you would have let yourself fall the moment I first spoke to you.”

He was right. The moment had passed. Not the mood, mind, I still felt lost, just… not so awfully alone anymore.

His gaze intensified and his next words almost made me cry. “Hang in there, Hick Town. Fate brought me here for a reason. You’re someone very special.” He began to climb down and held out a helping hand. “C’mon. Let me walk you home.”

We didn’t say much as we walked the lonely streets together, but the silence felt all right. When we got to my front door, he looked a little awkward, especially when I pressed my cheek against the rough wool of his coat and squeezed him hard. He drew back, still looking a little abashed and then he pressed a card into my hand.

Mick St. John Investigations.

“Ring me if you ever need anything, Hick Town. And I mean anytime.” A cool fingertip tipped my chin up until our gazes locked and then he reached out and laid his palm upon my belly. “Look after yourself and the baby,” he whispered. “Family is everything.”

I didn’t know how he knew about the baby, but I thought of him often in the years that followed, thanking him silently every time I kissed a scraped knee better or wiped a runny nose. Most of all I was grateful that he was there for me, just like he promised he’d be, the night I pounded on his door, distraught and alone, crying for my kidnapped baby girl.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Last edited by Luxe de Luxe on Thu Nov 21, 2013 9:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Little Complication -- (PG)

Postby maggatha3 » Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:09 pm

It was Beth's mum? Oh, Luxe, really, how do you come up with all these ideas, do you have tornadoes in your head? Back for a re-read and... right back here again..
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Re: A Little Complication -- (PG)

Postby eris » Thu Feb 17, 2011 2:10 pm

Very cool. Very, very cool.

A little complication, in deed. I'd love to see the moment Beth's mom met her boyfriend. :eek2:
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Re: A Little Complication -- (PG)

Postby MickLifeCrisis » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:50 pm

Oh! That was awesome! Made my eyes a bit watery and my tummy do flips. Such an unexpected ending, too. Wow, I loved it. :twothumbs:

And what a great line "...a jaw you could cut a lip on..."
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Re: A Little Complication -- (PG)

Postby francis » Thu Feb 17, 2011 5:13 pm

Awesome twist!!! So that's where she got Mick's adress. And what bad luck that Coraline took this girl.
I really like the way you paint the mindset of the woman when she's on the edge of jumping.
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Re: A Little Complication -- (PG)

Postby PNWgal » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:20 pm

Oh Luxe...what a lovely little piece. :cloud9:

Luxe deLuxe wrote:I got the feeling that little speech was a lot more than he usually said and that it had tired him, because he leaned forward a little then and an arc of light fell across his face. He was handsome, with a jaw you could cut a lip on and the saddest, kindest eyes I’ve ever seen.


I love this description of Mick, because it's so spot on.

Luxe deLuxe wrote:Fate brought me here for a reason. You’re someone very special.


If he only knew how special.

This put a big smile on my face!
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Re: A Little Complication -- (PG)

Postby wpgrace » Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:56 pm

OMG this was awesome!!!!!

I could tell it was set in the past due to Mick's word choices... But I totally did not see that MOST enjoyable twist coming. Lord the threads interwoven with the Turners... Boggles the mind, in a good way. :cloud9:
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Re: A Little Complication -- (PG)

Postby allegrita » Thu Feb 17, 2011 7:24 pm

What a wonderful story. Every bit of it is just so good. The way you set the mood with the tactile memory of her dad's buttons and the lovely image of the city lights reflecting on the water. The description of her movements betraying her mindset as she contemplates just letting go and falling.

And Mick. Beautiful, sad, pretending-to-be-uninvolved Mick. :Mickangel: :heart:

The ending is fabulous. I honestly didn't see it coming. Not at all. And yet it's such a perfect place to end up. How wonderful to think that Mick's and Beth's lives have been intertwined since the very beginning. She owes him a really big bottle of Scotch for this one. :yes:
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Re: A Little Complication -- (PG)

Postby jen » Thu Feb 17, 2011 9:49 pm

Luxe

This is so wonderful!!!

Mick has been saving Beth for longer than we ever imagined. By the time she was four, he had already been at it for longer than she had been out and about.

Thank you!!!

Jenna

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Re: A Little Complication -- (PG)

Postby Luxe de Luxe » Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:25 am

sometimes it does feel like I've got tornados in my head, maggatha. :dizzy: Glad you enjoyed. :yes:

Hee hee, eris. what's a loving mom supposed to do in that situation! :devil:

did you really get a little :hankie: , MLC? that's what a writer likes to hear. :yes:

glad you liked the twist, francis. that only came to me as I was :type:

oh, Pgal, thanks so much for your kind words. And yes, fate had sent Mick there for a reason that night. Someone is looking after him too.

thanks, grace, I love that you picked up it was in the past just by the dialogue. :friends:

the thing I really got a thrill out of in your review, Alle, was this..
Alle wrote:And Mick. Beautiful, sad, pretending-to-be-uninvolved Mick.

that's exactly what was happening. And yes, I'd say Beth owed him a barrel of whisky after that. :snicker:

yes, you're completely spot on, jen. I like to think that this was an example of karma. :teeth:
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Re: A Little Complication -- (PG)

Postby redwinter101 » Sun Feb 20, 2011 1:59 pm

eris is right. This is very, very cool.

Luxe de Luxe wrote:Rivets. I never realised how similar in size they were to the covered buttons on my father’s coat until they were under my palm, cold and round and slimy with the rising condensation from the river. It had been a long while since my thumb had rubbed across the worn, suede surface of one of those, but I wasn’t thinking about that as I grasped the thick edge of the girder and hauled myself up.

I love this opening. Love it hard. You throw us right in - and the situation and its participants reveal themselves slowly throughout. Fabulous. I was hooked from the get-go.

Luxe de Luxe wrote:a tall man dressed in shadow lounging
That's Mick. Right there. :happysigh: :happysigh:

Luxe de Luxe wrote:Right then I knew I’d tell him anything.
Wouldn't we all?

Luxe de Luxe wrote:An eyebrow shot up. “No one can love you unless you love yourself first,” he said sharply.
Wise words, from someone who knows them to be true, even if he still doesn't quite believe them for himself. Beautiful.

And then the pay-off is so delicately revealed - it tugs at my heartstrings and finally gives me an image of Beth's mother that makes sense.

Red :flowers:
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Re: A Little Complication -- (PG)

Postby Luxe de Luxe » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:35 am

I don't know how I missed your comment, Red. Thankyou for that.

Red wrote:Wise words, from someone who knows them to be true, even if he still doesn't quite believe them for himself. Beautiful.

And then the pay-off is so delicately revealed - it tugs at my heartstrings and finally gives me an image of Beth's mother that makes sense.


Yes, I agree. I think Mick doesn't quite believe the words for himself - I kept seeing him see all the broken people he'd helped over the years. It feels good to me that the 'pay-off' creates a story for you that accounted for one of the mysteries of Mick's and Beth's shared past. Thanks for letting me know that. :smooch:
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Re: A Little Complication -- (PG)

Postby jen » Mon Jan 23, 2012 9:58 pm

Luxe

This is wonderful!!!

I had forgotten about this one at first, and was so caught up in the story that I didn't remember having read it until the end. What a fabulous, fabulous ending!!! We know now why Beth's mother sought him out years later to find her missing child.

What an elegant little twist!

Brava!!

Jenna

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Re: A Little Complication -- (PG)

Postby librarian_7 » Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:32 pm

I've always thought a key question in the series was when Beth asked, "Why me? Why did Coraline choose me?"

This is a great story, Luxe. I always love your writing.

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Re: A Little Complication -- (PG)

Postby allegrita » Mon Jan 23, 2012 10:53 pm

I'm so happy to see this wonderful story bubble up to the top. I remember the first time I read this--it pulled me in from the very first sentence and completely immersed me in that young woman's night. I felt what she felt, from her sense of betrayal, to the wind on her body, to the cold steel of the bridge girders, to the roughness of Mick's coat, to the faint dawning of hope. What gorgeous writing. And what a wonderful piece of Moonlight connection! It makes perfect sense. :happysigh:

And I'd forgotten to say, so I'm editing this to let you know how much I love that Mick calls her "Hick Town." It's such a cool touch... it really captures his dark sense of humor, and his kindness... and a sort of avuncular feeling. He feels so much older than she... :Mickangel: but he knows she's a kindred soul. :hearts:
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