Title: Wide Awake
Description: tags JOSH
Laurie Collins - March 14, 2010 05:26 AM (GMT)
Laurie rolled over in her bed as the light began hitting her eyes through the partially closed blinds. She blinked heavily, throwing a pillow between her and the sun in a last ditch effort to block it. On her bedside table she saw that it was just after seven in the morning; a good hour and a half before she normally woke up that semester, plenty of time before her first class at 10 a few subway stops away. The night before seemed like a bad dream, having Josh wander back into her life and end with her being completely torn and upset. When she found she was still wearing her jeans and socks, she began to realize that the dream had been more of a reality than she had hoped.
She pushed herself out of her bed shoved against the far corner of the studio apartment, right beneath a pipe that occasionally leaked. It was small but it was home, especially with the sunlight bringing light to the bricks and crevices, showing off her collections and books that made the apartment a cluttered mess. Laurie’s desk especially was covered in papers and notes from years of classes, pushed against the couch that faced the opposite direction and the tiny kitchenette. Her breath seized up in her chest as she wondered if she was still there, asleep, or if he had gone and left her all over again.
Once she had slid her sandals onto her feet, the floor absolutely frigid despite the air being temperate, Laurie stood up and steadied herself as the blood drained from her head and left her with only a headache. Some it that pain, though, was caused by Josh. “Please don’t be there, please don’t be there, please don’t be there,” she whispered to herself aloud over and over again as she poked forward and leaned over the desk and couch, closing her eyes and preparing herself for what she might see on the other side…
Of course, Josh was still there, asleep and out like a light as far as she could tell. Laurie squeezed her eyes shut and straightened back up. “Damn it,” she whispered, putting her hands on her hips as she continued a possible solution to her obvious conundrum. She had hoped that he would have left by then so she could get ready for class in peace. Now what?
The coffee machine popped on at the correct time without prompting, leaving Laurie to keep cursing her luck as she walked into the tiny kitchenette, grabbing her coffee cup, creamer, and sugar. “You need to figure this out, Laurie, and you need to do it quick before you blow it all… God, you are such a stupid girl, you know that? Stupid stupid stupid…”
Joshua Foley - March 15, 2010 10:35 AM (GMT)
The sofa had been uncomfortable to say the least, but at least it had meant that he was close to Laurie. She had been so emotional the night before, and the last thing he had wanted to do was to leave her. He had been under no illusion that she had wanted him there as anything other than a friend, but still... for just one night, she had needed him there, needed his presence, and that had to mean something, right?
In truth, Josh had tossed and turned more than he had slept, raising himself up on his elbow to ensure Laurie was still there, still breathing, and hadn't done something crazy. Josh had always worried about Laurie - there had always been a darkness around her, an aloofness, almost as if she wasn't able to let herself live properly. While they had been together, Josh had done his best to make sure that she was as happy as she could be, but there was always something about her that told him that she was holding back, never quite managing to give life and love her all. Sadly, it seemed that nothing had changed about her, and that upset Josh more than he would care to admit.
Finally stirring once and for to the sounds of Laurie pottering about and talking to herself, Josh yawned heartily and stretched out, his feet overhanging the end of the couch by some considerable distance, before setting his feet down and twisting into a sitting position. He listened for a few more seconds before standing and padding into the kitchenette, tossing a sheepish smile towards Laurie as he ran his hand through his golden hair.
"Hey," he muttered, his voice thick with sleep and contrition, knowing that he must have placed his ex girlfriend into an awkward position the night before. She hadn't had to invite him to stay, and sure, he could have refused, but that would have made him feel like shit. She had clearly needed him at the time, and who was he to refuse her? Like he could ever refuse Laurie Collins anything anyway. "Sleep well," he stumbled, the words not coming out quite as he wanted them to. There was just too much awkwardness between them at the moment for this to seem anything other than as forced as it really was.
Laurie Collins - March 17, 2010 05:38 AM (GMT)
Laurie checked the clock on the table in the kitchen, seeing that she still had a little while before class. She wondered if she could get dressed and her stuff gathered together quickly so she could leave before Josh woke up, hoping to avoid talking to him again after the events of the night before. Just seeing him, being around him, had raised so much emotion in her that had led to her exhausting herself. Finally seeing as how Josh was asleep on her coat, Laurie realized it would probably be difficult to go anywhere without shuffling him awake.
She put her hands on her hips and looked down at him, asleep there in a rather uncomfortable-looking position, unable to figure out if she should go through her plan, wait for him to wake up, or just slap him to make the process go faster. Whether or not she liked it, she was going to have to deal with the problem at hand, and the consequences of her outburst last night. Laurie pressed her eyes shut and wished it away to no avail. That was her last ditch effort to make it all go away.
Suddenly Josh yawned and she jumped slightly. Laurie put her hand over her chest as a reminder that she needed to calm down; it was just Josh after all, not some weirdo that was in her apartment wanting to rape and dismember her. Then again, this was the guy that had given her one of the weirdest experiences of her life, that night she lost her virginity more than a year ago, and the night where she decided that she didn’t especially care to have sex ever again. She kept her distance behind the couch in her tiny sleeping area, watching as he stood up and walked into the kitchen area.
“Good morning,” was all Laurie could muster at first, keeping her distance from him. She bit her lip and finally looked away, grabbing her coat from the couch and throwing it back onto her bed. There was nothing in her mind whatsoever, no thoughts or emotions, just emptiness. It was exactly the reaction she did not want to have during this situation. “Yeah, I slept okay I guess…” Her words were jilted before she finally trailed off. “We should really talk about last night.”
Joshua Foley - March 18, 2010 06:13 PM (GMT)
Josh had never been a morning person at all, well, aside from when he was living in the morgue. On particularly busy mornings, he had to make sure he was up and out sharpish, without being seen, but since he had been living in Gabe's apartment, mornings had turned into lazy, leisurely things that he usually slept through, or relaxed through, or, occasionally, did an early healing or two. However, he felt as though losing out on his mornings had made him something of a lesser person, and this added to the feelings of inadequacy he had, and made him want to get back to his morgue as soon as he could.
Just watching Laurie potter about her kitchen, the set of her shoulders was tight, and Josh knew that she was anxious, or nervous, or pissed off. Probably a combination of all three, knowing Laurie. Despite himself, he smiled slightly. He had missed her more than he would ever admit to her. She would only feel bad if he told her just how much he still cared. Better for her to be happier, and feel as though he didn't actually give a shit, than for her to know he was still desperately in love with her, and to beat herself up over it.
Rubbing sleepy eyes as they warily watched one another, almost more like strangers than friends, Josh knew that he had probably lost Laurie Collins forever, and it was his own stupid fault. If he hadn't run away the previous year, their relationship might have been fixable, they might still be together. He hadn't even considered dating someone other than Laurie since he had run away, and he doubted he ever would.
"We do," he asked, almost in surprise, before shaking his head in realisation. "We do," he repeated, more solidly, more definitely this time. If nothing else, he needed to know where he stood with her, so that he could move on if needs be. "I wasn't expecting anything last night, you know," he offered by way of explanation. "I figured you needed someone here, and you asked me to stay, so..." He coloured up. "Laurie, I'd do anything for you. And if that means only being your friend, I can handle that."
Laurie Collins - March 20, 2010 04:05 PM (GMT)
The pangs of exhaustion and a desire to return to bed all evaporated in the moments it took her to realize that Josh was there, but that did not mean Laurie was completely and fully recovered from her exhausting night. Using her powers was something she was still unable to control, and when faced with a situation so stressful and hard on her, it always ended with her passed out and drained. She knew, though, that she had class from 10 until 2 and then research hours to put in until dinner time, meaning that she needed to deal with the Josh situation as fast as she could. There was more important stuff that needed to be dealt with than a stupid boy that had proven time and time again to be more trouble than he was worth.
She walked to the coffee maker that had already began percolating, finally dragging out a coffee cup to pour herself of the strong black brew. Keeping her back to Josh, she considered pretending that he wasn’t even there as she went about her morning routine. Laurie knew better than to think that was an option, especially since her apartment was tiny. Her emotions might have been running at a fever pitch if she weren’t exhausted, both mentally and physically; she had not had enough time to replenish the pheromones she had used up last night.
“What am I supposed to say to you, Josh?” she finally asked, sipping the coffee in hopes it would wake her up. Laurie shook her head, her fine blonde hair flapping in front of her face as she did. After a moment she turned towards him, only halfway though, keeping herself pointed at the coffee maker. “If you didn’t expect anything, you wouldn’t have come here because you know me better than to think I would have done nothing when you showed up at my door.” She snorted, rolling her eyes at him. “You left me for a year without telling me a damned thing and then you show up here again and expect nothing… God, Josh, are you an idiot?”
She grabbed another cup from her cabinet and asked over her shoulder, “Do you want coffee? You look like you need it.”
Joshua Foley - March 20, 2010 08:13 PM (GMT)
Despite Laurie being in the apartment with him, Josh felt very much alone. She had always been very good at isolating herself from those around her, and even from her very surroundings if she so chose, and Josh had been frozen out more than once in the past. He just hadn't remembered it being quite as upsetting as this was. Hell, she was the one who had asked him to stay over, and now here she was, acting as though he simply didn't exist. It was at times like this that Josh Foley had absolutely no idea how to deal with Laurie Collins.
He kept his eyes on her as she moved, confusion and sadness etched on his face. He had thought - hoped - that they could at least be friends after she had asked him to stay over, but he was starting to think that even calling what they had "friendship" would be pushing it now. It was as if Laurie had brought home a drunken one night stand, and had been praying that he would be gone by morning, only to be dismayed when he was still passed out on her couch when she got up.
Her dismissive tone as she spoke cut Josh to the quick. "I don't know what I expected," he admitted, hanging his head low. "I just... I needed to see you. I missed you more than you know, Laurie." His face was pained as she hurled accusations at him, conveniently forgetting that he was actually the reason she left New York, and that he had, in fact, called her as regularly as he could. "You know why I left, Laurie," he said, a quiet contrition in his voice. "I left because you ditched me, and I really didn't think I could cope being around you every day. Not if I didn't want to go insane, anyway. And I called you when I could, you know that. I couldn't bear for you not to know that I was okay."
He looked at her, his face etched with sorrow that things had come to this. He had loved her more than he could have imagined possible, and here she was, throwing the consequences of her own acts back at him, as if it were his fault. He shrugged wqhen she offered him a coffee. "Whatever. Unless you want me to leave now." If he was careful, he could make it to the sewers without being spotted.
Laurie Collins - March 21, 2010 07:43 AM (GMT)
You have an excuse to leave, Laurie, just get your clothes, go to the bathroom and change, and then leave and go to school, that’s all you have to do and you can be free of him for a few hours. That was just part of the long, sprawling conversation she was having with herself internally, rationalizing what she should do about the latest problem she had on her hands in the great game called life. She kept her eyes to herself, going about making her coffee, pulling out a piece of bread for toast, and even washing a plate from last night before she even considered looking at Josh. Even then, she could barely stand looking at him.
“Then why did you come here? Needing to see me is not a good reason, Josh, not after you disappeared for a year without a word!” Laurie tried to keep her voice low, knowing her ornery next door neighbors would not appreciate being woken up at 7 AM by an angry college student pissed off at her selfish ex-boyfriend. “If you really missed me, you wouldn’t have gone without saying anything. No letters, no emails, no phone calls, nothing that told me where you had gone and why you had left. What do you think that did to me?”
She sighed. Even if she had been out of it, Laurie remembered that had been exactly the topic of conversation from last night; there was no need to repeat it. “You could have let me know you were okay a year ago instead of barging back in like this.” Her mind went back to Kevin; until the memorial service at the church several weeks ago for their old classmate Jonah, she had thought he was probably dead. Now she thought he was just a bastard who didn’t understand a damned thing. Instead, she decided to go back to the tried and true small talk route, if only to delay her anger a little longer. “If you don’t want to leave, don’t, but I have to get ready to leave. I have class today for five hours and then I have to do the research for my honors thesis. You can stay here for all I care, watch television or something. I only get five channels, though.”
Joshua Foley - March 22, 2010 12:20 PM (GMT)
Laurie Collins was capable of unspeakable coldness, and Josh was on the receiving end of that right now. It was one of the things that he had chosen to forget about her when he had been on the run, instead choosing to remember only the god things - her capability for tenderness, her kindness and her love for him. At least... he had thought that she had loved him. Now, seeing her reaction this morning, he was no longer so sure.
Unable to keep his eyes off Laurie as she went about her business, he finally regretted coming back. Frowning, and a look of sorrow on his face, Josh shook his head as she turned on him. It seemed as though she had things set in her mind, regardless of whether or not it was the truth that she was remembering. He had called her religiously for the first six or seven months he had been away, just to let her know that he was alive and well, but the distance in her voice had been appalling, and, shamingly, he had let the contact trail off. "I did call," he muttered, not really wanting to get into the fight that she was so clearly spoiling for.
Josh watched Laurie, the woman he was still in love with, a shuttered look to his eyes. She didn't care any more, didn't want to know him, and that cut him to the quick. "I'm sorry," he said quietly, not knowing what else he could say, at least without telling her exactly what he had ended up going through while he was on the run. He didn't want to burden her with that - it simply wouldn't be fair. "Laurie, listen to me, okay? I came back because of you. I came back because I couldn't stand not having you in my life any more - it was killing me."
He didn't really expect her to understand, but he had to try. He quirked an eyebrow at her as she changed the subject again, and tossed her a confused expression. "Laurie, what do you want from me," he asked, not wanting to have to think about this himself. "Do you want me around, or not? If not, I'll go, and you'll never have to see me again, I swear."
Laurie Collins - March 24, 2010 09:52 PM (GMT)
Pretending to put so much effort into making coffee would only last for so long. Soon she would have to give up the façade and actually face him, and she knew it despite her worries and frustrations. Setting out creamer and sugar and spoons and cups could only occupy her time for so long. Laurie was on edge and extremely tense as she stirred the brew, watching as it spun in circles in her cup, wondering just how exactly she was coming off to Josh now that her pheromones had been depleted.
“Well, still, it doesn’t matter what you did because you should have known better that I was stupid when I told you to leave,” Laurie told him, gritting her teeth as she spoke. She tossed the spoon into the sink and sipped it slowly, trying to think of what she was supposed to say. “I’m not a smart girl when it comes to this sort of stuff. I’m an idiot really. I never wanted you to go! God, Josh, really…” She flung her hands up in disgust, turning her back to him once more. “You wouldn’t have left if you would have actually given a crap about me. I loved you, and I cared about you, and the moment I get angry about something and tell you to leave, you do it. What does that tell me, Josh? Did you ever think about it?”
She didn’t know why she was getting so worked up over this, considering that it had been a year since they had last seem one another before the night before, plenty of time for her to move on. At least she had thought it was enough time. She had thought that maybe she could finally do something for herself to make her happy, like focus on her education, prepare herself for more education, and maybe find herself a boyfriend who wasn’t a freak like her. After he had left, though, she had just become even more antisocial than before, making her textbooks into friends and pretending that the library workers were there to make her happy.
“I want you to make up your mind,” she told him sharply. “Tell me if you are going to leave or if you’re going to stay. Just tell me that.”
Joshua Foley - March 28, 2010 07:10 PM (GMT)
Laurie's self righteous anger seemed to dissipate as she made the coffee, the aura of fury deflating as she conceded that he had called, he had told her he was safe. It was a small victory, but a victory in this war of attrition, nonetheless. He sighed quietly as she tried to turn everything around on him. He had been hurting and upset when she had ditched him, ordering him to leave and never come back. Never the type to be anything much other than literal, he had taken it seriously, and left. It had been the worst mistake of his life.
"I left because I thought it was what you wanted, you told me it was what you wanted," he said quietly, contritely. "How was I supposed to know that you didn't actually mean it? For god's sake, Laurie, gimme a break, okay? I loved you, and I would have done anything for you! I'd have thrown myself off a building if I thought that was what it would take to make you smile!You were always so sad, and all I ever wanted was to see you happy again." As he said the words, he realised that he had rarely seen Laurie Collins truly happy, and that made his heart lurch in his chest.
He watched her as she turned into a cold, hostile woman that he wasn't sure he really knew at all, and wondered whether his leaving had turned her into this bitter, twisted caricature of the girl she had once been. That thought stung Josh, and he swallowed deeply as he tried to bury the emotions welling in his chest. Her machine gun words spattered at him at high velocity, each one piercing deeper than the last, and Josh looked at Laurie sorrwofully as she asked him if he was staying or leaving.
He had a feeling that the words went deeper than whether or not he was just going to spend the day in her apartment.
"I'm staying," he said softly, sincerely, his eyes boring into hers. "I'm not going to elave you again, Laurie, you have my word."
Laurie Collins - April 17, 2010 04:50 AM (GMT)
Despite her heavy breathing that was paining her chest, Laurie tried to cover up her emotions, too tired and exhausted from her outburst the night before. The only thing at that moment that was keeping her going was the knowledge that she had class and work later that day, meaning that she had to keep her act together for the sake of her future. She thought that she was above all of the crying and drama that came with relationships; the night before proved that she was very wrong about that.
“When have I ever known what I want? And when did you ever think that I was serious?” Laurie poured her coffee and spooned some sugar and cream in, focusing on stirring it all together instead of looking over her shoulder at the person who was practically her only real friend left in the world. It was more than a little depressing to even think about it. “I was in a mood, Josh. I was pissed off and annoyed at the world and… What else was new? I was never serious!”
The truth was, she really had been. She had hoped that if maybe Josh left, she could free herself from her mutant ties and try and be normal for the first time in a long time. When she was normal, she was still strange and unusual by many definitions, but at least she didn’t have a stigma attached to her for what her genomes said. “I’m always sad, with you or without you. The psychologist my mom made me go to said I was depressed, and he wanted me to see a psychiatrist but I never went. I don’t see the point because I know what the problem is.” Laurie sipped her coffee, keeping her back turned to him.
Despite him swearing that he would never leave her again, Laurie’s distrust in the world around her left her feeling more than a little unconfident with his promises. She had heard those same words more than once, and look where that had left her. “I have to go to class,” she told him, setting down her cup before brusquely passing him towards her backpack. “I have to keep my grades up or else I’ll be out on the street or back at my mom’s for all I know.”