Post by WESTLEY PATRICK ELWOOD on Dec 30, 2017 3:36:24 GMT -6
As he'd gotten closer to her, the anxiety had come back full force, having lessened a little as he picked out the best six donuts the shop had to offer for the box he'd brought along. Donut choosing was very important and also quite distracting. And he'd maybe eaten one or two himself in the process. Mostly to just have something in him so he felt less sick from that. Otherwise that was just too much sick.
A small smile grew across his face at her excitement when she saw the treat and he held the box out more for her to take or even just look through. "Of course I remembered. I'd never forget," he said a bit softly. It made him feel really vulnerable to say things like that, but it was the truth. He couldn't forget anything about her, even if he wanted to.
"Four of the donuts are your usual strawberry with sprinkles, but the other two are the s'mores ones on the chocolate cake donut that I remembered you wanting to try. Maybe you have since then, but I saw them and thought of you so..." he explained, trailing off at the end and looking at the grass. So much for not seeming over eager. He'd basically written the definition right then and there.
Post by WESTLEY PATRICK ELWOOD on Dec 30, 2017 3:10:47 GMT -6
Now that he'd finally seen her, touched her, talked to her again, it was even more difficult than ever for West to not go butting into Avery's life without invitation. But he had put the ball in her court and everything from this point was her move. He would wait and he would be patient even if it kind of killed him inside to do so. He wanted nothing more than to get things rolling again.
When she did finally reach out and set up a day to meet with him, he was happy to hear there was a chance, but he was also incredibly terrified. There was one chance to get this right. There was one chance to change things. He had to be careful to not overwhelm her and to let her choose what she wanted without arguing too much about it. This wasn't a time to be overly aggressive.
He'd gotten into the habit of rising early with his job, even on days he didn't work, so there was some time to kill before the time they'd agreed to meet. Which meant that he had some time to make his anxiety over the whole thing spike to ridiculous levels. What if he messed it all up again? He had the first time, when things were broken down to what caused it all in the first place. He didn't think he could handle that a second time.
In an effort to stop being in his apartment, West left with more than enough time to spare. He didn't want to be stupidly early to the park though, because that just made him look too eager to see her and that might cause her to pull back again. So he took the time to take a trip to her favorite bakery in the city. Assuming it hadn't changed in four years, but people didn't often change things like that so he figured it was a safe bet.
Small box filled with donuts in hand, he finally headed to the park. It wasn't as large as his usual park, thank Merlin, so it didn't take much wandering to come across where Avery had chosen to wait for him.
Approaching the bench, he waited for her to notice him and held up the box of donuts. "I brought breakfast slash brunch." If donuts could be counted as brunch. Was that a thing?
Post by WESTLEY PATRICK ELWOOD on Dec 30, 2017 2:48:59 GMT -6
"Thank you," he said softly, meaning it for more than just her fixing up his leg. If anything that was barely part of it. It was mostly a thank you for giving him a chance, for at least looking his way after he'd walked out and not looked back. His reason was still justified to his mind, but all the same, he knew it had been kind of a jerk move.
He got up from the exam bed after pushing his pants leg back down to cover the remaining spots. "I'll see you around, if you want," he said as he moved towards the door to go. Avery had other work surely and he had already taken enough of her time.
Post by WESTLEY PATRICK ELWOOD on Dec 29, 2017 23:04:56 GMT -6
If Avery was going to tell anyone the full truth it would have been her twin brother, but that was apparently not the case. Had she just held onto that by herself this whole time? Four and a half years was a long time to keep such a heavy secret, and West frowned at the thought, concerned. He should have done more to ease the burden.
"I didn't just leave. I removed myself from a situation that I felt was bad for me. And before you say it, it had nothing to do with Elisabeth. She was the last person I wanted to leave behind, but it was all or nothing and nothing wasn't an option." It was abundantly clear now that he'd just been villainized the last four years, made to look like the only person at fault in the fights. Made to look like he didn't care when he cared more now than he ever had, the feeling growing each day he was away from them.
Post by WESTLEY PATRICK ELWOOD on Dec 29, 2017 22:56:57 GMT -6
Her response was about what he'd expected honestly. While he should be the one that was wary considering what she'd done, he was the one that had vanished for four and a half years. There was a lot of difference in one action, that looking back didn't really matter, and leaving for a really long period of time. "You know how to reach me," he said without argument. He wasn't going to argue with her choices here. He didn't really have a foot to stand on to do so.
As she moved to finish the examination, he was frowned a little. Things had gotten so emotional for a moment that he'd forgotten he was there for a reason. Plus the pain had subsided enough that he was barely thinking about it anymore. Eyes on her as she worked, he listened to the instruction intently, taking the paste he'd been offered. "How long should it take to see improvement or full healing? Just so I know if it's working or if I should come back for something else."
Post by WESTLEY PATRICK ELWOOD on Dec 29, 2017 13:23:34 GMT -6
Being outside and being active cleared West's mind. Work kept him frustrated both from content and because he hated what he did with a fiery passion. But when he got a moment to himself, to actually do the things he enjoyed, it was almost enough to make him happy. The jog was going well today. He had learned to pace himself to make it last longer and the distance increased every time he ran. It settled him a little bit, kept him from losing his shit at his boss every time his annoyance got spiked, kept him sane.
This week he had even more to run about. He'd run into Avery again. And then Caspian also. After so many years, to run into both of them in such a short span of time was almost comical. The first one he hadn't minded. He would never not want to see her, even if it was from afar. Just to know she was okay, that she was trying to be happy. Getting to talk to her had been even more. But it left him with a lot of emotions that he didn't know how to deal with. He never wanted to leave her side again, but that was her call. So instead he ran at the park. It was better than running away. Maybe if he'd had this habit a few years ago...
Unfortunately, the peaceful jog was interrupted when he was suddenly grabbed. There was no one in his life that would do that casually, so his immediate reaction was that it wasn't friendly and he lashed out in a way to get himself free of the other person.
It was only after he was a distance back again, free of grabbing hands, and with a dark, heavy scowl, that West realized who it was that had grabbed. Oh, perfect. "It's really not your place to demand anything of me, Anakin" he said keeping his tone steady. Not upset, just calm with a small bite to it. They probably weren't on first name terms anymore, but it would have been weird to use Harlow against anyone aside from Caspian. "Especially not if you're going to assault me first."
Post by WESTLEY PATRICK ELWOOD on Dec 29, 2017 13:10:29 GMT -6
"Well you clearly don't scare me, Harlow, so I'm not really sure what there is to be testing," he said with a careless shrug. His mouth was about to get him in trouble again. That was abundantly clear, bu his pride wouldn't let him back down now. He wouldn't let scare tactics get to him, not when he hadn't done anything wrong... kind of. He knew Caspian's reasons, but still.
As much as he could understand not talking about what had happened, because Merlin knew he didn't want to, West also felt like that wasn't quite fair to him. Avery had left the entirety of the blame on him for her family to build up a hatred the last four and a half years. "We had a fight. I'm sure you know about that part, because couples do that and they talk about them. But apparently, she didn't tell you about the part where she decided to alter my memory of it without consent." It was a large accusation and it didn't sound like Avery at all, but West knew what to say to gain himself some ground here. "And before you say she'd never do something like that, stop and consider the fact that I know you'll go straight to her after this. There would be little point in lying when you have the source to deny it immediate after."
Post by WESTLEY PATRICK ELWOOD on Dec 29, 2017 13:04:40 GMT -6
A park was actually a brilliant idea. It wasn't one of their personal spaces, but even there they could get some semblance of privacy to talk. However, that then begged the question of when they'd get to have the talk. Avery was clearly working right now, and he didn't want to impose so much on her in one day, not when things were still so open and raw again. "That works for me," he said. "Whenever you're free next?" He could just rearrange his schedule to fit whenever that was. He wanted her to be comfortable. That took precedence over what was convenient for him.
Post by WESTLEY PATRICK ELWOOD on Dec 27, 2017 19:33:56 GMT -6
He chewed on his bottom lip a bit aggressively as he tried to figure out where to take this from here. Getting out of the room for their talk was a simple enough step, but figuring out where to go from there wasn't as simple. Going somewhere public was probably best in terms of comfort, because neither of them would be, but it wasn't really the right topic for public. He didn't want to invite her back to his either though, because that would just be awkward. And he couldn't impose on her place as much as he wanted to just for a glimpse of the child that lived there as well. "Where....where would you want to...?" he started. If he let her pick, then she'd at least want to be there. He could deal with whatever the answer ended up being.
Post by WESTLEY PATRICK ELWOOD on Dec 27, 2017 17:41:35 GMT -6
As much as he would have loved to keep standing and being that much closer to her, West's leg reminded him why he shouldn't do that, so while she fiddled with her glasses, he sat back down. "I think we might need to have a very serious conversation, but not in this room," he said slowly. Because the things that happened in this room weren't just going to go away the second they went separate ways. Things that had been somewhat closed had been ripped back open again.
Post by WESTLEY PATRICK ELWOOD on Dec 27, 2017 17:29:25 GMT -6
When she leaned into the touch, everything felt right for the first time in a long time. Being there with her felt right in a way that nothing had for a very long time, like the missing piece of the puzzle had slotted back into place. Except then she pulled back from him and his heart went with her. "Sorry. I didn't think before I..." he stopped, swallowing thickly. He could not and would not cry in front of her no matter how much he wanted to. No matter how much every passing second felt like a knife being driven deeper and deeper into his chest now that they'd dropped the facade of professionalism.
Post by WESTLEY PATRICK ELWOOD on Dec 27, 2017 17:02:31 GMT -6
Acting purely on instinct, because his instinct had always and still was to protect Avery where he could, West moved to wrap his arms around her, ignoring that his leg hurt and ignoring that having her so close again would only hurt him. She was hurt and it was his fault and he had to fix it. That was all he could think. The rest of the world didn't matter. It never really had. He hadn't wanted to do this here, but it had been naive to think it avoidable. They had always felt so strongly, the both of them about basically everything. There had never been a chance that they could successfully hold it back.
Post by WESTLEY PATRICK ELWOOD on Dec 27, 2017 14:16:31 GMT -6
"It's not even now because you're standing here in front of me. It's even now that we haven't... I still think about you every day. I think about Elsie every day. And I've spent so much time trying to be my best self so that I'm worthy of the two of you. It's been slow, so slow, once I forgave what happened. But I have changed. Not for me, but for what I lost." He hadn't meant to get into this now. This wasn't a good place for it. They weren't in the right mind set for this. The relationship was still to splintered for the weight of these emotions. But it was out in the open now and all he could do was blink back the wetness in his eyes and look at her, waiting on edge for a reaction.
Post by WESTLEY PATRICK ELWOOD on Dec 27, 2017 7:18:42 GMT -6
This hurt like hell but seeing her hurt was worse. Gritting his teeth against the impending ache, he got to his feet, thankful his leg didn't give up on him due to the healing doing its job. He would have stayed sitting but she was too far away that way and he needed to be closer. Reaching slowly, he tucked a piece of hair back. "Everything you've ever said about me was right, is right. I'm a coward and I want to stop being. You make me want to be better even now. Like this."
Post by WESTLEY PATRICK ELWOOD on Dec 27, 2017 6:27:21 GMT -6
"You are so much more than I ever deserved," he said softly, eyes still trained on the spot on the floor. It had taken time, but he had wanted to come back. He just hadn't wanted to make anything worse than it already was by doing so. He hadn't wanted to disrupt her after she'd have had to spend so much time building up a life and routine without him there. He wouldn't ask if she had wanted to hate him; it was an easy guess. "What are you thinking now that I am here in some way?"