Friday, October 29, 2010

Chapter 28 The Lost Lander

The rest of the morning feels off after that strange start.

I clean up and putter around the house, wiping things down that probably don't need wiping in an attempt to give that strange feeling time to fade away. It doesn't. Once the sun is up, the early morning light trying to shine its way into the kitchen window, I head downstairs. If the day is going to be strange, then let it be strange.

I peek out the door and see Alex sitting by himself on some crates outside. It's hard to believe he's a Lost Lander. I don't really know what I expected, but he's certainly not it. The only clue I ever really had was the strange accent on his words. Other than that, he looks just like anyone else. He's as normal as whatever passes for normal around here.

He looks back over his shoulder and notices me with a smile before he stands and comes over to me. I feel like an idiot spying on him from the crack in the door, but there's no accusation or judgment on his face. He looks glad to see me, a small smile on his lips as he reaches out for me again, putting his hands on my hips.

That smile of his widens innocently. "Your face is red again, but I have shirts. Two shirts." He tugs at his shirt, a short sleeved one over an older, ratty, long sleeved one.

It doesn't help. This is just too natural standing here like this with his hands on my waist while I blush like an idiot. Do girls even blush here? They probably see so much by the time they're my age-- he probably thinks the red face thing is a rash or something.

He touches my face like he did yesterday. "You are okay? Brandon came in time?"

It takes a second to switch gears. He must mean last night. So he went and got Brandon last night. "Yeah. Fine. What did you think he would do to me in Henri's house anyway? Henri was coming."

Alex looks troubled and right away I feel guilty for sounding so harsh. "Do not trust him. He isn't a good man."

"But he's Brandon's friend, isn't he? Brandon wouldn't be friends with a person who was bad, would he?" The words coming out of my mouth surprise me. My mouth and brain have completely disconnected, and I'm not even sure what I'm looking for. To prove Alex wrong? To see how deep Brandon is? To comfort myself?

"Brandon is different," he says with hesitation. "He is good, but does what he must."

The odd morning and that creepy girl probably contribute to my discomfort at Alex's words. It doesn't help that I ate a breakfast made by Henri. My stomach twists threateningly.

So I change the subject completely. "Why didn't you tell me you were a Lost Lander?"

That doesn't exactly seem to catch him by surprise. Still, there is a shift in his gaze from concern to somberness.

"I didn't want you afraid of me."

There is nothing I can say to that. I can't even deny that I would have been scared. Maybe I would have, but maybe I wouldn't have. No one really gave us the chance to find out.

"You look very young sometimes," he says, still with that shadow over his face that makes him look older. "They say where you are from you are a child."

"Technically, in a way."

Alex's hand slides around to the small of my back. He presses me towards him and I find myself enveloped in his arms. It is warm and yet at the same time frightening. A move so natural and yet at the same time unbelievable. Compared to him I am a kid, and he's an adult and has been for a long time by my guess. Living a life I could never imagine that I find myself resisting even now. I'm not a part of this world and even if I've met some people that I've grown to care about, I'm still not a part here. I don't fit in, and I probably never will.

"Alex," I softly say as my mouth takes over again. "Aren't you sleeping with Kyrene?"

I expect him to jump back and deny it. Isn't that what they do in TV shows? But he doesn't.

"She won't have kids."

My mind goes completely blank. "What?"

He pulls back enough to look me in the eye. "She won't have children. She uses her power to stop it."

As far as I can tell, there's only one way to take that and if just his hug was frightening, that's terrifying. "I'm not having kids either!" Heat bounces from my skin to my hair, trapped against my ear.

I'm ready to pull away, but he says, "I wouldn't do that to you."

Some part of him comes across as wounded or insulted, and I suddenly feel guilty for my assumption. But I'm not sure what he means or even what to ask to better understand him. All I think I know is that he doesn't mean he wants to get me pregnant.

His hand on my back, Alex stands too near. Still, I don't move away. His stubbly chin gently brushes against my temple, and I'm satisfied staying here like this with him. But I know this can't be enough. He's a grown man. He's been with Kyrene.

There's a small comfort to that though. He has someone who knows what to do and how to make him happy. Because I don't really think I do, but I don't have to be the one to be with him.

He surprises me by simply standing here with me. He doesn't do more or ask for more. Until there's a moment I'm looking up and he's looking down, and the distance between us feels as if it's melting away. It frightens me and I step back. For a second, he does look like a man who will swoop me up in his arms, and for a moment, secretly, I almost entertain the idea of it. But he doesn't do it, so I don't have to thrash around in a lame attempt to get away.

Instead I make up a lame excuse and go. He doesn't argue, and he doesn't come after me.

Next Chapter -->


  1. Goodness!

    I'm going to venture a guess that Alex is actually attracted to Paula's innocence, and she doesn't see that.

    Was his statement about Kyrene and her refusal to have babies an attempt to tell Paula that they weren't exclusive--that they weren't bonded? Trust Paula to have such a level-headed response, instead of jealousy! "Oh, well at least his needs are being fulfilled," LOL. Sometimes she's so...different, too. I wonder if the place is rubbing off on her?

    I can understand her bemusement, would be difficult to discern what he wanted from her from what he's said and from the things she knows of him. But I really, really like where this is going so far. :)

  2. Rachel, you're probably onto something there. I do see Alex being attracted to her goodness which is basically the same as her innocence. It's probably something he's naturally drawn to without realizing it.

    Hehe, scary that you're understanding him so well. I wondered how that would go over, because Paula certainly wouldn't understand, but we know more about him than she does really. Yes, I'd say he's trying to tell her it's not something serious for him.

    Paula's reaction is complicated. She is a bit jealous I think. She says, "...I'm satisfied staying here like this with him. But I know this can't be enough. He's a grown man. He's been with Kyrene."

    But then she flops and decides that a bit of a comfort because he already has someone, so it almost lets her off the hook. It's something of a relief. I thought that was a weird reaction too, honestly, lol. Is it weird that I think a character of mine had a strange reaction? But I can see her point. She's almost not ready for Alex, and doubts she ever will be ready or ever will be enough.

    Thank you, Rachel! This one was a little tough to post because it's so strange, lol.

  3. These two are definitely cute together, but seeing Paula's thoughts here, I do think she needs to grow up a bit before anything more can happen, and she seems to realize it. She still thinks of herself as a kid in some ways, I think, which is why she's simultaneously entranced and frightened by Alex.

    I like that he's willing to give her space. After all Paula's been through lately, it's good to see that her love interest is respectful of her emotional space.

    Wonder what Alex meant about Henri. I'm reluctant to believe he's a fundamentally bad person, but he's a rather shady character at this point, and the last chapter definitely further fueled his mystique.

  4. First, I need to go all teeny-bopper and gush "omg I LOVED this chapter!"

    Okay, now that is out of the way. Seriously, I loved this chapter. This is a different side of Alex, the side that (I suspect) few but his first wife have seen although Kyrene seems to have worked it out.

    I agree with Rachel that Alex was trying to tell Paula that he and Kyrene are just a bit of fun, nothing serious; but as much as he knows things are different where she comes from, he can really only communicate in what he knows. Poor Paula, I can imagine how shocking that could have seemed to a fairly sheltered 16 year old girl who hasn't really grown up herself yet.

    "Do not trust him. He isn't a good man." More and more I'm convinced that Alex has seen Aaron do something, something that even a Lost Lander with all their supposed feral-ness (is that a word?) cannot stomach.

  5. This was a little strange but it was fascinating as well!

    " I have shirts. Two shirts."

    I LOL'ed. It's not just the shirtless thing for Paula, clearly! ;)

    I took Alex saying that Kyrene wouldn't have children the same way Rachel did. I also thought back to last week, how he mentioned the child he had with Lalani. If he left his child unwillingly/had the child taken away, he might just want to avoid having more all together, so Kyrene using her powers as a form of birth control might be appealing to him.

    I think Paula's relative innocence would draw Alex in but also, Paula would be different to probably every other female Alex has ever come into contact with. It's strange to think of Paula having mystique because to us and to herself, she's probably quite ordinary. But she'd be intriguing to people there for sure and I wonder if Alex is one of them.

    Alex's comments about Brandon "doing what he must" are a little ominous but I think that must be something Paula has considered before anyway. I think most people in this society "do what they must".

    Argh. Really, really loved this and I could probably go on all day but I'll leave it there!

  6. Van, good point. I'm simultaneously entranced and frightened by Alex at times, lol. I think he is willing to give her space because he's probably dealt with someone like her before in some fashion. I think he realizes that the best thing to do is give her time and space, but to be present just in case.

    Alex was actually talking about Aaron, who is easier to see as a bad person in comparison to Henri I think.

    Illandrya, LOL! Aww, thanks.

    I think your suspicions are correct. This is a side of him that few have seen. Kyrene being one of them, but even then, there is a little something he reserves for someone like his first wife or Paula.

    I think it'll be interesting if Paula and Alex actually do just start talking about where they're from. I haven't seen that moment yet really. It will probably be interesting though.

    But Alex can only communicate in what he knows. I am always a little worried about how what he knows changes his character a bit. He's slightly tainted himself even for being a good person because of what he's done. But those are stories for another day.

    Carla, thank you. This did come out strange, and I think that's why I hesitated posting it.

    lol! I'm glad. I saw him say that in my head and well thought it was too cute. But then I am highly biased anyway!

    Oh glad you're all in agreement. That is exactly what Alex meant, but I really wondered how others would interpret it even though we do know quite a bit more about Alex than Paula.

    Good point. Exactly. To us and herself she's plain and ordinary, but to others she's absolutely fascinating.

    I think this is an idea that Paula is still getting used to. It's going to take a while.

    Awww, thank you!

  7. Great chapter :)

    I'd love to see those two hook up together, they seem to make a cute couple, but for some reason I get the feeling that it would not end well if they did...

  8. Hmmm I wonder how this fits with the warning Kyrene was giving Alex earlier? Or if Alex has decided to ignore that advice?

    On the other hand, Alex doesn't seem to have to same ideas of personal space that Paula does.

    And yeah, Paula totally does not understand Alex and vice versa. It's very cute on how they misinterpret each other's words and movements.

    Paula is so young compared to Alex that I worry about her. Growing up is a hard thing to do in such a dangerous environment.

    And personally? I wouldn't be trusting Henri either. Aaron is scary.

  9. something tells me Kyrene's warning had the opposite effect!

  10. Poida, thank you! Also, I agree. I enjoy putting these two together and seeing where they go. We'll find out soon enough. We should probably start bets for store items or something.

    Kiri, that's the start of a very good and important question. But no, Alex probably doesn't have the same ideas of personal space that Paula has, lol.

    I think there's always going to be a level of understood misunderstanding between Paula and Alex. They just need to recognize that and then their friendship will probably progress smoothly.

    Paula is too young compared to him and even the rest of them. Even compared to Maria who's her same age.

    Illandrya, lol, it does seem that way, doesn't it?

  11. wow. You stunned me again. What a brutal prospect...Alex is comfortable with Kyrene for a lover partially because she can control her reproductive process. And he wouldn't do 'that' to Paula. It's obvious that he doesn't think of Paula as some kind of sister! You literally brought tears to my eyes.

    Poor Paula, still so innocent. Brandon wouldn't be friends with a bad man? Come on girl!

    The relationship between Alex and Paula is so tremulously lovely, so completely sweet, it's one of the most beautiful of any I have read. Perfect choice of shots to illustrate it.

    Wonderful, perfect, painfully sad to consider where this is going.

  12. Paula must feel so awkward and confused about her feelings. Sometimes she is so accepting and almost distant from her situation that I forget she is just a kid who has not experienced even half of what most kids have living where she is now. By their standards she is a child and it is interesting that Alex recognizes it.

    I think the bond between them, the attachment and attraction they feel for each other can either be very good or very dangerous. Regardless it is sweet and almost tender. It feels as if he is courting her, letting her see pieces of him and his intentions little by little.

  13. SB, wow, thank you. It makes me happy to hear these two get such a reaction from you. Paula is still very innocent. I think she knows logically what to expect, but at the same time she also doesn't want to think about it.

    Gayl, yes, exactly. I think it's one of those things that hasn't really hit her yet. She's still in a mode where she's watching things happen as if they aren't happening to her. I still don't see her thinking about her mother very often or where she's at-- like she's just around the corner and this is just some dream where they'll be reunited eventually.

    I think Alex recognizing her as being very young is a huge step for him. I don't see him as always having been so aware of others and their experiences before. In a way, he is courting her, but I don't think he'd even think of it that way. Sometimes Alex is such a strange character.

  14. Another astonishing revelation on many levels, I love Paula's horrified "I'm not having kids either!" Alex cannot seem to keep his hands off Paula, so yeah, he certainly doesn't think of her as sister. These two generate enough heat to ignite a pilot light in a furnace, nicely done~

  15. I like the way your show Paula and Alex's relationship. It's in an interesting mix of comfort and anxiety. It's complex and makes me wonder what's going to happend with them next.

    I have to admit I had the same reaction when Alex said Kyrene won't have babies. LOL

  16. Drew, lol, thank you. I think most of the heat is pretty much started by Alex. He's much too fun a character. Throw him into a scene and it's pretty much a guarantee that things will heat up.

    Thank you, Nicole. It's a fun relationship to explore. Also, lol! Yeah, I had the same reaction and I wrote it.

  17. Awww, this! His "I have shirts. Two shirts." LOL! That has to be the cutest line ever!!! :)

    Awww, Paula. She is such a girl in so many ways. But you know, she has to grow up some time. Might as well grow up with a lovely piece like that ;) lol!

    But on a more serious note, I still find all the gender politics fascinating in this. (Have you read The Handmaid's Tale yet? Have you!?! Consider it your homework, young lady! You would adore it!) And I'm endlessly amused by their miscommunications, but they always manage to get each other in the end.

  18. Laura, lol, yeah I thought so too. Only Alex, man!

    Yes, I did read the Handmaid's tale! And I do love it. I actually have it somewhere near by desk here as another source of inspiration. The gender politics/slight inequality scares me sometimes. But it is fun to explore.