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Wade into the Water Foxworthy Lewis, Laura Simmons Is No More
The water wasn’t as cold as he’d expected when he’d ripped off his shirt and waded in. It flooded his jeans and made them heavy, dragging and sticking to his skin, but he didn’t care. Fox stared up at the full moon over the open lake, willing it to shine on the questions he wanted answers to so desperately. Life with the cult was different, so different, and while he knew he could handle it, he wanted….he wanted things to be like they used to be.
“We are all born for love. It is the principle of existence, and its only end. Benjamin Disraeli.” The muscle in his arm twitched when he clenched his fists. He didn’t need to turn to know who it was; it was Jack. “He was an author you know…in the eighteenth century. Prime Minister too. Very powerful man.” Fox didn’t need to listen, he just heard the pebbles move as Jack stood from the rock he’d been perched on and took a few steps towards the water. “First Earl of Beaconsfield, Disraeli spent three decades in parliament…eight years as Prime Minister.”
“He was a writer.” Fox added. “A novelist; wrote romances.”
“Yes,” Jack said from behind him. “He was, he did.” Fox hung his head, looking down at the water. It was like glass, shiny black glass, and he caught sight of his reflection. For a moment he started, but then realized it was him he was seeing.
“Benjamin, as far as we know, was a good man.” Jack continued. “Imagine what would have been if he was wicked…the power in his hands.” Fox stared down at his reflection, noticing the black circles under his eyes, how his hair had grown out and was messy, almost flopping onto his forehead. “Now Carl Jung, a swiss psychiatrist once said, Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other. Do you understand what I’m trying to tell you Foxworthy?”
“No.” He murmured.
“It probably has something to do with the tattoo on your back.”
The tattoo on his back wasn’t necessarily supposed to be a secret, he wouldn’t dare hide anything from them, but he didn’t mean for them to find out. If they did, he didn’t think they’d assume what it was. The intricate, swirling design specifically drawn to look like it was just a bold emblem on his lower right hand torso, was actually a name.
“Laura Simmons.” Jack said quietly, sounding almost withdrawn. “I never knew a human could…do so much damage.”
“Don’t.” Fox hissed. He wasn’t sure if he could handle talking about Laura. Not now, not with Jack.
“Why not?” Jack asked nonchalantly, skipping up onto the rocks to come and stand a few feet to Fox’s right. “Obviously you aren’t going to just go and forget her, I’m curious to understand who she is to you.” His hands were clenched hard, his muscles flexing that he felt something might burst. Fox’s face started to burn. “Why are you so angry?”
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“So you’re willing to get a permanent inkling, by needle, of her name, into your back, but you’re not willing to speak her name aloud, to talk about her-”
“SHE THINKS I’M DEAD!” He shouted, interrupting Jack. “I have no one else besides her Jack! No one! And her the same! She’s alone out there, by herself, and I’m here, fully aware of it….and I do nothing!” He grabbed Jack by the front of the shirt and ripped him off of the rock, making him splash into the water in front of him. He held Jack there, face to face, snarling. “I might as well be dead. There’s nothing here on earth for me without her.” Jack didn’t even flinch, he just stared back at Fox calmly, his eyes cool.
“Just my point.” He pronounced, grimacing. “What you’ve been given was a gift. I don’t mean for you to throw it away.”
“I would never-“
“You would never what?” Jack asked, and shoved Fox back, making him let go of his jacket, shirt. “Misuse your power, trade whatever you could for Laura’s love and affection. You’d never do that, right?” He didn’t like Jack’s tone at all; wry, sarcastic, cold.
“Son of a-“ he moved forward aggressively, but Jack merely shoved him back. He fell back into the water, angry, creating a wide splash, the calm water rippling violently.
“Do you think me unintelligent Fox?” Jack snapped. “Like I don’t know what it’s like to be in love, like I don’t understand? Please.” Fox scrambled to get up to his feet awkwardly. Jack had almost just physically slapped the irritation out of him, and now he was scared of the cult leader. “I don’t come out here with quotes and fancy facts to slap in your face because I want to impress you. Like I give a damn! I’ve been around long enough to see good men turn back everything they’ve ever been given for stupid things. Money. Power. Lust. Love. I’ve seen the bottom and top layers of hell, and I know for a fact a good percentage of it, just enough to make you quake, is reserved for those who are greedy, those who take what isn’t theirs or abuse what they have.”
“Don’t try to argue, I can see it in your eyes. I can see the way that tattoo on your back tells us all that you’d give anything to be with her, anything. Maybe even your gift. Do you know what would happen if you were to do that?”
Fox didn’t say anything-he was on the verge of tears, the brink infact, his eyes watering slightly. For the past month and a half Jones had been silent, he had been helpful, he had been chameleon enough to help Fox transition into life with the cult, but now…now he was loud, and he was angry, and Fox didn’t know if he was strong enough to face him when he screamed.
“If I did that…” He said softly, falling to his knees, defeated. “It’d expose us all.” His hands splashed down at his sides, useless, and he started to cry. Jack crouched down, grabbing him by his shoulders, and shook him hard. Fox hung his head, tears dripping from his strong profile into the lake.
“Would you do that to your brothers Fox, would you do that to your family?” He asked, his voice a cold, demanding hiss. Fox turned his head, without lifting it, to look up at the house in the rock. The lights were on, and through the windows on the bottom floor, he could see a few of the boys horsing around in the back of the kitchen.
“Please…” Fox begged, more tears coming. He was leaning in the lake, shoulders shaking. “I…Jack, I can’t.” Jack was in the water with him, his eyes strong on his face. He grabbed him by his neck and made him look up into his eyes.
“You can’t what?” Jack asked, or more of growled. “Since childhood, there’s been nothing you can’t do Foxworthy. Right now, the only thing you can’t do, is betray us.”
“You seek a wound I would never make.” Fox whispered, throat and voice hoarse from crying. “You gave me a second chance, you brought me into your home…I would never even think about exposing you, betraying you. I value you a lot more than you know.” He reached up, grasping a handful of Jack’s shirt and jacket in his hand, pulling him down so they were face to face. “I can’t…I just can’t live without her Jack.”
“You’re going to have to learn to.” He said through gritted teeth, eyes cold and chromed with color.
“How do I fight this pain?” Fox asked, and wiped at tears with his free hand. “This ripping, torn sensation in my chest? How do I get rid of that evil?” he exclaimed desperately.
“I would be lying if I told you it eventually goes away,” Jack told him, grasping his shoulder firmly in one hand. He met his eyes until he was breathing a little better. “But you find things to replace the pain, to make it a little more bearable.”
“I’m so sorry I love her…” He groaned, and let go of Jack, burying his face in his hands, and crying softly.
“You know…” Jack said suddenly, reaching into his jacket. He pulled out a folded piece of paper, and handed it to Fox. Foxworthy unfolded it, and his face fell. It was the drawing he’d done a few nights ago, identical to the one he’d done the night he’d died. “If I’d of known how much of a problem Laura was going to be, I would have made sure she was in that fire.”
Fox shot up like a bottle rocket, pulling Jack up with him, snarling.
“You don’t mean that.” Jack grabbed Fox, and in a flash his bare back was pressed painfully up against the rock of the cliff, Jack’s hand around his throat.
“I don’t? Really? Don’t tell me you wouldn’t do the same for anyone who came in the way, don’t tell me the other boys wouldn’t take out someone who threatened to expose us.”
“You’re so worried about your own hide that you’d kill an innocent human?” Fox asked, appalled. Jack laughed.
“It’s life and death every time we open our eyes and close them to sleep. Not to brag Fox, but we save people every day, we were put here for a reason. When the reaper flips my coin in front of one of my fledglings little human obsessions, I’ll let them take me, but until then, adios.” He snarled. “Besides, wouldn’t it just be so goddamn easier if Laura was dead? Then you wouldn’t have to sneak off and try to save her from any hell that comes her way. You wouldn’t have to lay awake at night wondering if she was okay, scheming to find a way to get her back, to make things okay again.” He grabbed the sketch back from Fox, who’d accidentally crumpled it in his hand when he’d grown angry. “Things won’t ever be okay again Fox!” Jack spat viciously, forcing him to look at the drawing.