Under the Bright Lights

The war between Vampires and Lycans has ended, but an even deadlier threat has risen: Humanity. The world of immortals is a secret no longer, and terrified humans seek to exterminate the source of their fear. Vampires, Lycans, and other immortal species now hide themselves, struggle to survive, and fight back. Their future and their very existence are at stake.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

Post by Quaxo9 »

Riff

He could hardly believe the words coming out the man's mouth. Riff just stared at him, rubbing his face with his hand. How was he going to get through to him. How. Staring at the man who was glaring at him with so much...pride and pain...Riff realized there was really only one thing he could do. Keep being the voice of reason.

"Okay - let me say this - how do you think she would have tricked Nazis into following her to their deaths? You think maybe she is good at pretending to like them? Look, I know I wasn't there, but I have seen Fae glamour before and let me tell you, it is all-encompassing. But they still have to sell it for people to buy it. Yeah, she looked like she was flirting with them - on the outside. But I'll bet she was dying inside. Dying."

He couldn't imagine - so really, he shouldn't have been trying to figure out what Gilda had been feeling. He wasn't Gilda and he hadn't been there. Still, he had a good imagination - and far too many stories from women he knew and loved to give him information to fuel that imagination. Riff had turned away from James slightly, but to finish off, he actually came a bit closer to the man than he really wanted to.

"Oh, and another thing, what you see as being lured into a trap, I see as being led to a place where we could save her. She left an amazing trail - if it were a trap, she probably would have made it less obvious to give the Nazis time to set up snipers and ... actual traps. But no. We ended up walking up to a barn with no one the wiser. She protected this pack. You don't get to say that when you left the alpha's wife out to dry."
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

Post by Monkey Kitty »

James O'Brien

James puffed out his chest, ready to argue... but as Riff's words started to sink in, he seemed to deflate.

He abruptly took an awkward half-leap off the porch - if he'd been human, he almost certainly would have twisted an ankle - and walked out into the yard to pace, head in his hands.

"My God, Riff... what's wrong with me?" James said softly. "When you say these things, it all makes sense. But then I'm in the moment and it just... it all comes back. All those years. All the things I knew - thought I knew - about her. I don't want to be like this. I know you must think I'm a jerk. And I am. I know I am. I just don't know how to stop. I don't know how to get right in the head. I don't want to hurt anybody. I just... sometimes I feel like I can't keep myself under control, and it scares the hell out of me. What am I going to do?"
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Quaxo9
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

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Riff

He remembered that he did feel bad for James once the man reacted to Riff's criticism. Of course, he didn't know the answer to the man's question. Well, not directly. Following James into the yard, Riff stuffed hands into his pockets and offered an apologetic face.

"Dude, I think maybe you need to get some help. Check yourself into a place where they can help you break this cycle you want out of."

Anyone looking at them would be hard pressed to decide who was more awkward. Riff didn't want to leave James alone with the idea he needed a shrink - but he also wanted to go back inside.

"Hey, and you aren't a jerk. You just been through a lot. But you can't just keep doing what you're doing and expect a different result. You wanna change - you gotta change up your life. Part of that is knowing that you don't have to do it alone. You have a Pack, man. Just because you got something going on doesn't change that."
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

Post by Monkey Kitty »

James O'Brien

"I've thought about that," James admitted. "Going someplace like that, getting my head on straight. I don't like being this way, believe it or not. It's not a pleasant way to live. But where could I go that would actually be able to do anything for me? If I go in there and tell them I'm a World War 2 vet - looking like this, not being old - they're going to think I'm out of my mind. I can't tell them about what I saw in the Third Reich concentration camps, or all the years I spent chasing Nazis. They'll think I'm delusional and never let me out - or worse, figure out what I really am and why I'm still around. I could make up a story, I guess, but how much am I really going to get out of therapy if it's about something fake and I have to spend half my time trying to make sure I don't get caught in a lie? It just... seems kind of pointless. Getting it all tangled up in my mind with things that aren't real and things I have to hide will just make it worse."

He sighed. "Guess I should have thought about this a few decades ago, huh? When it might have been plausible. Maybe then I could have turned things around. But oh well."

James glanced toward the treeline, suddenly wanting to be anywhere but here. Anywhere but with this understanding guy who wouldn't be able to help him.

"I'm gonna take off. Tell Gilda I'm sorry. Tell her and Isaac I won't bother them anymore."

Maybe he had just... outlived his usefulness. There was no one left to chase. The Nazis he'd been after were dead, or caught, or both - or he was wrong, like with Gilda. Maybe rather than continuing to struggle against himself, it was time for him to rest.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

Post by Quaxo9 »

Riff

Things were taking a turn. And not in a good way. He didn't know what to say. Part of him told him to shut up - that he didn't know what he was doing, so he shouldn't make things worse by talking about stuff he didn't get - but he spoke anyway. Riff couldn't help but speak what he knew in the hopes that it might help.

"Um, dude, I don't think that's the answer. I mean, if they didn't think you were a good guy, they wouldn't have invited you over. I don't think disappearing is the answer here. As for the first bit - there are services for immortals by immortals. I mean, my friend Millie's in the biz. I can't set you up with her, necessarily, but there are others. And you know why there are shrinks for immortals? Because other immortals have things going on with them too. You're not alone, James. So...don't be alone. You don't have to be."
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

Post by Monkey Kitty »

James O'Brien

"I... hm. Uh. Maybe," James said a little noncommittally. He had been telling Riff the truth - he did want to get help. But that help seemed so far away, so inaccessible. Perhaps someday.

He stood awkwardly, not sure what to say, when Gilda poked her head out the door, checking that they were alright.

James desperately wanted to avoid her. It was the same impulse that had made him sit down at her table and eat a muffin, pretending nothing was wrong. But he couldn't. He had to own up to his mistake.

"Gilda. I... I'm sorry. Look, I know I wasn't fair to you. That I caused you... problems. I could have made it better for you if I just called Isaac, but I was too proud or stubborn, or I don't even know what. I can't promise I won't mess up again. I know I apologized before and then did the same thing all over again. But I'm honestly sorry. And I'll try."

"Thank you for your apology, James," Gilda replied. "There are still muffins, if you two are still hungry...?"

James was more than willing to accept this peace offering, and the clemency Gilda seemed to be giving him.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

Post by Quaxo9 »

Riff

He was so proud of James in that moment. Not that he had any right to be. It wasn't like James was his son or anything, but he recognized that the man had done something that was difficult in spite of himself and Riff thought that pride was possibly the most appropriate response.

"Good on ya, man. One step at a time." He said to him quietly as they made their way back to the house. Once inside, he kissed Maria on the cheek as he regained his seat and recaptured his lost muffin. Gilda sure had done a lot of baking... He eyed the containers piled up on the counter and asked innocently,

"So, bake sale? If you need someone to man the table and tell everyone the muffins are really good - I volunteer!"

Riff kinda hoped there was a fundraiser or something going on. People banding together to help others was always a good way to make connections and find out what a community was all about.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Under the Bright Lights

Post by Monkey Kitty »

Gilda Fishblatt

Gilda smiled at Riff's enthusiasm, but her tone became more cautious as she replied, "It's not a bake sale. I... know what transpired while I was gone. What was said. What people must have thought."

She didn't want to call out James or make him uncomfortable. But everyone knew who had been spreading the word of her supposed betrayal.

"I need to make my apologies to the Pack. To try to restore my relationships. That may not be easy. But the muffins... they're a sort of peace offering, you could say. It's a silly thing, I know, but it's something."

James knew he should say something. He just wasn't quite sure what. "Well, uh... they're good!" was the best he could manage.
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