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Killing the Afterglow

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Killing the Afterglow

Post by Guest on Wed Aug 29, 2012 3:44 pm

Black furrowed lines of ink carved along fresh off-white sketching paper etched a woman's face into the surface. Long, rolling black hair, highlighted in every detail. Eyes of the most vivid and vibrant blue, sketched here only in a shade of grey from the trembling black pen held in the writer's hand. His eyes were closed, and mechanically, the nib of the object glanced against the paper again and again, pressing further detail into an already mind-blowing picture.

The woman's face cut off beyond her neck, but it was clear she was foreign, with small eyes and gentle, tanned skin. Two diamond-studded earrings, and a simple gold chain around her neck. Hay bales and horses in the background as her mouth was opened mid-laugh. Again and again lines struck the page and added to the ever-growing image of the late Maria Salina Frostbrook, until finally, the pale writer's eyes fluttered, and he let the pen clatter to the floor.

This image was one of many. Angry, sore red patches beneath the freshly-tattooed ink at the tip of his skin made it obvious that whatever allowed a man of literature to sketch in such vivid and perfect detail was a new talent to his artistic repertoire. The single teardrops rolling from the outer corner of each eye proved that the end result was something he wasn't used to. Marcus let the lid of the pen drop from his hand and spin frantically on the table before grinding to a halt.

A slow, jagged sigh, and the man clenched his eyes shut. As if this time, when he opened them, it would all be gone. All his problems. All his hate. All his sadness. Everything would be healed, just like that. His parents would be back. His son would be back. And his wife would be back. More than anything, he wanted her to be there, just to help him through this. To stand defiant as they felt their way towards Leon. Towards the truth. And hold their heads high and keep their faces proud and not yet breached by the marks of pain that the boy's absence had so swiftly inflicted on them.

But reality was a harsh mistress, and she had deemed for Marcus to walk this path alone. Those that had tried to help him had died, disappeared, or fled. And again and again, the world threw further challenges at him, forcing him further into this miserable little corner of Central. The apartment was nice enough; but the people were false, and their small talk was little more than emotionless banter solely for the purpose of keeping up appearances and bullshit binds between one another.

And now, he sat, in this room, with many dozens of perfectly-crafted pictures of his son and his wife littering the floor, with nothing to do but wallow in his own sorrow and misfortune, and hope to god that someone would just come along and present him with an opportunity to seize everything he could and retake his young son from the foul custody of Colonel Esparez. In reality? That unlikely someone was closer than he thought.

But alas, that someone wouldn't be breaking down the door of his apartment once more, and setting it on fire like the last hopeful prospect. Not today, at least. For today, the universe had decreed it that Marcus had a... slightly different challenge to those he was used to was just about ready to rap his knuckles on the door of apartment 13. A challenge bearing questions and interrogation tactics. Someone who had doubts about the ex-writer's legitimacy and less-than-scrupulous tenure in Aerugo summarised only as a sporadic disappearance, and even more so, his reappearance not a month ago.

Marcus dried his eyes, wrenched himself from his bed, and propped up a bent cigarette between his lips, lighting it with a sigh as he stared into a gaunt reflection in the window. He hadn't eaten, a hungry, abysmal pit in the deepest voids of his stomach. It was still bright. He didn't know how or why. He didn't care. The calendar had long since fallen from its peg. The alarm clock had buzzed itself off his shoddy nightstand and fallen face-down onto the floor. Any normal human being would have rectified these problems swiftly enough. But to the Cretan... he simply didn't see the point.

Hissing white smoke out of the window like the most pathetic cobra in all the world, a dreary silver lining of today's huge blanket of a black cloud suddenly popped into his head. "At least things can't get worse," The unnaturally cold August morning had started with tears, his memories of the past few days - or weeks, the writer's perception of time having swiftly been crippled - a touch blurred, and would probably end with them. It was a depressing regularity, but a regularity all the same.

Oh, how wrong Marcus Frostbrook was.

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Re: Killing the Afterglow

Post by Csilla Angelis on Sun Sep 16, 2012 1:06 pm

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Re: Killing the Afterglow

Post by Guest on Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:08 pm

What a whirlwind of events the past week had been! The war was over and Amestris was in the process of healing its wounds. She had been promoted to Head of South HQ much to her overall surprise. Especially considering... well... the Chancellor had gotten kidnapped. Not that it had exactly been her doing, but she felt responsible in part since she had been in charge of him getting into South City safe. He hadn't even gotten past Central! Oh well, what had happened happened and there was no real sense in worrying about it now, was there? There were more pressing things than the past, and she was grateful for that. If she started looking back, she would certainly look back too far and.... Her eyes closed for a moment as she took a deep breath. She couldn't do that. No...For the moment, Lisbeth was in the throws of adjustment to her new prestigious position.

Despite being the Head of South HQ, she was not wearing a standard military uniform at all. It was close though, it was the same shade of blue with silver accents. It was a blue blouse with some ruffles at the neck, the sleeves long and flowing though it gathered at her wrist before flaring out again. It was a v-neck that allowed her cleavage to show though the ruffles helped a bit to hide it. It was certainly a blouse like one might wear to a Renaissance Faire or something. A necklace with a silver chain was around her neck, a ring dangling just over her breasts. On her lower half were dress pants of a deep midnight blue, hiding her long legs from view. On her feet were a pair of matching suede blue boots, from what one might be able to see of them they seemed very much like something found in the Victorian Era. Her long black hair was flowing free as it usually was, a delicate hand coming up to brush her bangs from her eyes as a slight breeze was in the air. The earrings she wore were rather simple, silver in color with flat tear drop shaped dangles from them. There was a blue gem in the center of them and tear drop shaped gems dangling below that. They didn't hang extremely long, just something appropriate for a more formal event perhaps. A simple purse hung over her shoulder, its color black with a silver snap on the bottom of the flap to help keep it closed.

She was walking down the street in Central City, her car parked just around the corner of the apartment building that was to her right. Today she was in apparently supposed to meet some important official in Public Relations regarding her new rank. Though she had some doubts about this considering how the receptionist had sounded when she asked where she should go. The meeting was hastily thrown together anyways considering so many were focusing their efforts on repairing the damages from the war. Maybe if she was lucky, she would be able to slide away from it and see if she could find Spade. She hadn't seen the man in literal years, and it was high time she did. She honestly was hating all the pomp and circumstance that was going along right now, wanting to just get on with her job now rather than getting tugged about by dignitaries and whatnot. So with heels clicking against the pavement, she wandered inside, a lovely older woman holding the door for her so she could duck in.

Looking around, she slipped a hand into her pocket to pull out a slip of paper with the apartment number written down upon it. Apartment 13.... Hopefully that wasn't a sign that this meeting was doomed from the start. She couldn't help but smirk slightly and shake her head at the old saying of "unlucky 13." What fancies people could have. She wound her way through the building, vaguely attempting to think of what the hell she would say to this person since this would probably be something of an interview or some kind of idiotic shenanigans. And usually she liked idiotic shenanigans. Ah well, did her mother ever have to deal with this when she was managing the lives of all those models she was in charge of? If she did, then her daughter held a greater respect for her. Martin-- She paused in her step as she thought of his name, closing her eyes as she took a deep breath against the immediate clenching in her chest. Exhale slowly and release the pain with the carbon dioxide. She couldn't think of him right now, she couldn't afford to. So with great difficulty, she pushed his features from her mind, locked away the sound of his voice that always threatened to bring her to tears.

Ah, there it was, number 13. She slowed to a stop in front of the door and crinkled the paper back into her pocket, its usefulness done. Taking a deep breath, she raised her hand towards the door and clenched it into a fist, pausing for a moment. She would be fine. She sometimes represented her father in the mob when he absolutely couldn't for some reason, she could handle this. Without any further delay, she knocked three times on the door, pushing the strap over her shoulder a little more as she waited patiently.

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Re: Killing the Afterglow

Post by Guest on Mon Sep 17, 2012 3:22 pm

Knock. Knock. Knock.

Concentration shattered, a pale hand flew immediately to the draw containing Marcus' last resort. Goosebumps flooded over him like a wave, drawing up upon his skin and making sharp, over-sensitive points with his skin pressing proudly out into the air. His fingers trembled with more strength than an earthquake and his mind with more unease than an asylum-dweller's. With a jagged sliding sound of wood against wood, screeching, he pulled the drawer open and fumbled through its contents before finding exactly what he needed to.

His insurance policy. Yellow light danced along the pistol's black sheen. Trembling fingers drew it up once more; his encounter with Randolph - instinctively, he looked to the wall, noting the man had been quiet lately - had made him feel exhilarated. This coming was only fear, the looming, ominous presence of misfortune hanging overhead like a predator ready to swoop. With a resonating click he drew back the hammer of the pistol, his mind steadily attempting to - and failing - recall the many times Makoto had taught him how to hold and fire a pistol.

Of course, in the real thing... heart rates were bounding, blood pounding around his body faster than ever before, the grenade-sized valve thumping with beats in his ears... and the little details didn't quite add up together. Biting his lip, the ex-writer flicked off the safety. For all he knew it could be a concerned neighbour, or someone who hadn't seen him in weeks checking in. Maybe Randolph.

Marcus slowly pulled himself up from the bed, noting the overwhelming soreness of his muscles and trying to idly add up the amount of hours he'd been stewing there in his own regret. The result came to a single, universal conclusion: too long. And every time he finished his little bouts of his own personal intoxication, drowning himself in a drunken ocean of ancient memories he just wished to live unwittingly within, he came to that conclusion again and again. But like any addict, kicking and screaming, or on his hands and knees, he kept coming back for more.

Marcus diverted his thought from his plethora of deep-rooted trust and abandonment issues and towards the matter at hand. Someone unscheduled was knocking. He was unshaven, unwashed, and generally looked unkempt. His fingers were trembling with the weight of the pistol in his hand. The apartment looked as if it had been ransacked. Slowly, he moved towards the door, tugged at the chain to ensure it would hold fast, and pressed the frame of the pistol against the white wood, keeping the chain set in place but undoing the latch, pulling the door open just to let a sliver of the hallway's harsh light pierce into the dim, stinking atmosphere of Marcus' own little hovel, and giving the rest of the world a look into his own microcosm of all things that had come to pass and all things that would.

His heart only pounded even faster as he identified everything he could from a panicked scan of the unusually beautiful woman knocking on his door. Deep blue blouse. Official air about her. Stars on her lapel. SHIT. Marcus felt his heart pounding faster. He'd been such a moron - why hadn't he looked through the peekhole!? There was no way he could outrun her in this state - so he'd use the only thing he had at his disposal. That animal cunning, that Frostbrook charisma. He'd talk her into bed then back out into the street in no time! Right!

...right?

"H-hello," He stumbled over his words like an obese child over hurdles. "W-what do you want?" Stammering, he winced and hoped to God that things wouldn't get any worse. The weight of the Walther, Marcus struggling to keep it in place against the door, was only making the situation that even more awkward. Colour slowly drained from his face as he blinked again and again, his odd positioning and stance at least giving something away to Lisbeth.

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Re: Killing the Afterglow

Post by Guest on Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:22 pm

This meeting wouldn't take TOO long, would it? Was Spade even in town? She knew that they were planning on going to Xing to help out Ace or something, because thats where Shula was going, but when was that going to happen? Oh who knew, it wasn't too terribly important anyways. She could at least see what was happening in town, maybe check out some of her old haunts. Though... who knew if those were even standing anymore. She would certainly find out. She had been a model before this, the idea of meeting a public relations person shouldn't be so.... weird. Maybe it was because the context was entirely different and she was in an entirely different position in her life, but either way that shouldn't matter.

The sound of the doorknob being turned drew her gaze as she blinked and looked up, her calm smile resting upon her lips as she tilted her head ever so slightly as the door creaked open a sliver. That was the first sign. If this were the right place, the door would have fully swung open. The second sign was the fact that the parts of the face that stared at her that she could see were clearly unkept. Oh dear. "H-hello," That, and he wasn't distinctly Amestrian and the man she was meeting was certainly pure Amestrian judging by his name. She'd almost say this man before her looked asiatic, though she could be wrong. "W-what do you want?" Well there was the third and final sign. She was expected, yet here she was not. This man... looked unwell. His eyes looked slightly reddened, and that caught her attention the most which made her smile falter slightly. She knew that look for it had been on her own face many times before. "Hello, I do apologize for I believe I have the wrong address." She began with a gentle smile, bowing slightly to him in her apology, though she did not step away from the door. "Um, pardon me if this is not my place, but," Here her smile fell as concern took its place, "Are you alright?" There was knowledge in those bright blue eyes, understanding of those remains of tears.

He had lost someone, or something and it was tearing away at him. Who was this man? "My name is Lisbeth, what is yours?" What was she doing, this man was probably startled at her sudden appearance at his door, he definitely must think her strange or rude. It was like when someone accidentally dialed the wrong number, except in person. Why in the world would he want to speak to her after she must have interrupted his day? Although... She thought she could detect the smell of trash that had lingered for a while, so the man couldn't have been doing too much in his home. Still, she was a complete and utter stranger, why couldn't she just leave?! He... was in pain. And that expression was haunting her, having to resist grasping the ring that dangled around her neck.

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Re: Killing the Afterglow

Post by Guest on Mon Sep 17, 2012 4:42 pm

"Hello, I do apologize for I believe I have the wrong address." Marcus' breathing slowed and his eyes narrowed. He nodded slowly, looking sombrely to the ground. Whatever charm he could have had had long-since left him, his form frail and his skin pale. He sighed gently and looked back up. Of course. Just a false alarm. Nothing more.

"Oh, i-it's no worries." Images of Maria flashed before his eyes once more for no reason whatsoever. Goddamn it. A small bead of water formed in the corner of his eye. The aqueous layer over the single orb began to thicken as he sniffed back the tear and nodded again. "Happens all the time." His Amestrian was starting to break down.

"Um, pardon me if this is not my place, but," Oh... oh SHIT. Why did he have to go and do that? Why did he think of her again? He was so fucking stupid! She was almost about to go, and now she'd just become interested. Marcus Frostbrook: fuck-up champion of the year. "Are you alright?"

And, then, suddenly, it all came out. The words spilt out of his mouth, falling like a waterfall, the strongest stream he could envision, faster than he could try and build some form of dam to at least stem the tide. "No," He said. The sharp, harsh tones of Amestrian gave his usually-flowing words no justice. "I-I..." He wanted to speak and just open up, but he couldn't. Today had been especially bad. An open window welcomed in a breeze and etchings of Maria flailed like cards in the window behind him. Trembling fingers refused to even hold up the Walther any more. The pistol clattered to the ground. "Everyone... everyone around m-me..." He sniffed. "They just... die." This was so out of form for him it was unreal. But for months this had been welling up from within. He missed Makoto. He missed Leon. He missed Maria.

"My name is Lisbeth, what is yours?" The more he spoke, the worse he felt. It was the most terrible kind of relief he could even conceive. But he didn't care any more. She was an official, he was a criminal, but he wanted any arms, even the arms of someone who'd prosecute and convict him, just to fall into, even just for a moment, just someone who'd listen in this cruel, harsh world he cared for no longer.

"M-my name's Marcus." He stammered, choking back tears. The words were flowing but the tears were still as dry as they'd been now for weeks. "Marcus F-Frostbrook." His gaze met hers, those entrancing blue orbs meeting his lacklustre pale cobalt-grey. He shifted the glasses back up over his nose and put on a faltering smile. Finally, he let down his last line of defense. He kicked the pistol into the corner, behind the door proper, and closed it just an inch further to slide the chain back into its idle position. A moment later, the frame was well and truly open, trembling hands gesturing her in. "If you're not busy, y-you're welcome to stay a moment." His apartment was a wreck... but at least... at least she seemed interesting. This was the oddest encounter he'd had in months. Even odder than the Randolph situation; for this time, someone was taking interest in him, for reasons he'd not even thought possible.

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Re: Killing the Afterglow

Post by Guest on Mon Sep 17, 2012 5:47 pm

"Oh, i-it's no worries." As she watched him, she could see the smallest hint of a tear at the corner of his eyes, and it only confirmed it more for her that this man was in pain. "Happens all the time." That was doubtful. Very few people ever knocked wrongly upon her door, and probably anyones door. Was that supposed to lull her into going away? Lisbeth's lips tightened a little bit as the words began to spill from him, "No," His voice was growing stiffer, the threat of tears stabbing the sounds. "I-I..." Sounds flurried in the background, from papers whistling in the breeze to the loud clattering of metal hitting the floor. From the sounds of it, had he been holding a firearm? It made her blink as her eyes widened slightly in surprise, her brows quickly beginning to furrow as concern was what replaced it all. "Everyone... everyone around m-me...They just... die." So she had been right. He had lost not just one, but many people. She could not imagine that pain, it was already hard enough to deal with the grief that struck her from one person. But that person had been her world.... and now he was gone.

She had no idea who this man was, what he had done in his life, or his situation at all. And frankly, she didn't care. What stood before her was a human being in pain, and she wanted to ease that pain somehow. "M-my name's Marcus." Marcus. She could feel the stone that was rising in his throat, the desire to sob despite the fact that there were no tears left to shed. "Marcus F-Frostbrook." She smiled gently to him, wanting to extend a hand to shake except for the simple fact that there was a door in her way. But it was as if fate were just working with her today for the view of Marcus shrank as he closed the door enough to move the chain back. Light spilled into the apartment, casting it into her view in all its messy glory. Not that she particularly cared, she was far more concerned about the state of this grieving man. Go. He needs your help. It was the softest word whispered in her ear, that singular sound immediately rushing tears to her eyes that threatened to spill down her cheeks, closing her eyes as she took a deep shuddering breath. No. Don't cry now. She couldn't cry right now.

Martin... Was it really ok? She took a step towards that doorway as her eyes slowly began to open, a single tear rolling down her pale cheek as she managed to maintain her smile to Marcus. "If you're not busy, y-you're welcome to stay a moment." Another step, the light began to fade from her back as she drew further into his messy apartment, but she didn't even see it. "I would love to." She said softly to him, the smallest wavering in her throat as she now stood in front of him, now holding out her hand to him in greeting. "It's a pleasure to meet you Marcus Frostbrook." Now... his name did sound the vaguest bit familiar to her, but she couldn't place exactly why. Not that it was exactly at the top of her focus charts at the moment anyways.

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Re: Killing the Afterglow

Post by Guest on Thu Sep 20, 2012 3:59 pm

"I would love to." Marcus smiled weakly and shut the door after her; he had no idea why he was doing this, but welcoming something in was better than his usual wallowing in pity. He'd so far discerned that she wasn't here for some form of interview about his Yakuza activities; as she walked past, he bent down to sweep up the pistol, and held it behind him as he walked into the kitchen.

"Please, take a seat," He murmured, gesturing to a small dining area with a table and four chairs - only one of which he ever actively used - on the other side of the counter. As calmly as he could, the residual adrenaline still pumping around his body, he tucked the pistol into a cupboard quietly, fumbling all the way and wincing as he did.

A wayward hand gestured to the mess of notes sheets and remarkably high-quality etchings of a woman drifting around on the floor and a considerable pile sitting on the bed. A few worn-down, thin, beaten-looking pencils and a number of pens set atop the nightstand next to the bed; the apartment was spacious, but all seemed to be combined into one room. The kitchen, dining area, bedroom, and pseudo-study had all been bulked in together - the only separate room was the bathroom, which a door at the end of the bedroom-study area lead into.

A few of the pictures and manuscript pages closer to the window fluttered as a gentle breeze rolled in; realising, panic struck Marcus. Every page of writing was one step closer he was to finishing The Watchtower, and every etching of Maria's face was another priceless memory stimulant he just couldn't let go. Like a man diving for dear life, he bolted to the window and shut it with such vigour and aggression almost unseemly of a man who usually held such a subtle presence. "I... I'm sorry it's so messy." Marcus muttered briefly, not bothering to give an explanation.

With a smile, he skirted back around the counter. "Used paper tends to be in an abundance, here. And I hoard everything I write or draw, so..." For a moment he'd lost himself in small talk and casual conversation. With the adrenaline, fragments of the old, charismatic Marcus Frostbrook surfaced, in this terrible guise of a man who'd almost pulled a gun on Lisbeth or shouted profanities at her through the chain. A woman who cared.

Grimacing, the ex-writer shook his head and tried to smile as best he could as another quick shot of guilt melded in with the trembling maelstrom inside Marcus' gut, everything he felt responsible for from Maria's death to Leon's abduction. A slow chill ran down his spine, and the man shivered, closing his eyes and slowly letting the unsettling feeling leave his body before he moved towards a surprisingly high-end refrigerator that had come packaged with the apartment, further etchings of the same woman - and a few of the Cretan's son - pinned busily to the chrome finish of the unit.

He opened the refrigerator and perused it for a moment, deciding what he'd have, before courtesy made him turn, wincing and lethargic, towards Lisbeth. "Do you want anything to drink?" He asked, glancing towards the crumpled cigarette packet on the counter, lighter set aside. As usual, the pain was bad, but it hadn't quite peaked enough and intermingled with the nicotine withdrawal that he needed another smoke.

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Re: Killing the Afterglow

Post by Guest on Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:10 pm

Her hands were trembling as she gripped the strap of her purse, stepping fully into his abode as the light faded at her back. This man... What had beaten him down so? He moved away and she took her time to really look at the place that she had happened to stumble upon thanks to that secretary, and now... she was beginning to thank her for the mix-up. The official would understand, the meeting that she was bound for didn't matter so much anymore. "Please, take a seat," She only nodded as her eyes slipped over the view of mess and depravity, of depression and longing. Her foot stepped on paper and she paused to pick it up, slowing as she stood as her eyes focused upon the image that was there. It was a woman, a beautiful woman with long dark hair and a kind face, the view three-quarters to the viewer and a small smile upon her lips. Lisbeth didn't even realize she had reached the table, the bag slipping from her shoulder to be placed there with careful movements as she stood there transfixed. Her lips tightened as she knew for sure now what had eaten at him so, why he was in such dishevelment.

The picture lowered towards the table, her blue eyes scanning the rest of the room to see that there were hundreds of drawings of this woman, and mixtures of writing now littered on the table. Blinking, she furrowed her brows and leaned over a bit to get a better look, scanning over the page to see what it was he was writing. Perhaps it wasn't the most polite thing to do, but she didn't quite get to focus on the words as the window was suddenly closed, startling her since it had been so quiet. She straightened and turned to him, "I... I'm sorry it's so messy." "It's alright." She said softly, her smile faint as she felt her hand drifting towards her necklace. Her home hadn't been much better after.... His face flashed before her mind, printing itself over Marcus' face as he smiled to her which made her hand clench about the ring. No. Stop. Don't. Breathe. Smile. Yes, there you go. "Used paper tends to be in an abundance, here. And I hoard everything I write or draw, so..." Her lips parted more as he moved back around towards the kitchen, casting her eyes about quickly one last time before she finally sat down in one of the chairs. "My place is usually covered with files, papers, and notes. So, I understand." But he said he wrote, and her eyes focused upon a page with a title upon it. The Watchtower. WAIT A MOMENT!

She blinked as he grimaced and seemed to shake his head at something that she had no knowledge of, her smile faltering to see him try to force one of his own. The guilt that swept over his hollowed features did not escape her for she knew that look too well. She was still clutching at her ring. Forcing her hand away from the chain and the memories it held, she could feel that familiar hand on her shoulder as she brushed some strands back her eyes trailing onward to the refrigerator. There were more pictures there, but... Her eyes widened slightly as they immediately settled upon the image of the boy that was there, pain stabbing into her heart. Had.... Had he lost a child as well? Understanding flooded into her face as her eyes held such empathy for this broken man that had let her into his home, and life on such a thing as a chance encounter. Her head lowered to the table as that hands sensation lingered on her shoulder, the trembling in her hands beginning again as whispers of a conversation flowed through her ear. "Boy? Or girl?" "Hrm.... either. Both!" A laugh that sent a shiver down her spine as the hand on her shoulder tightened. Was he standing behind her now? "Both? We going to create a little army of detectives now?" He tackled her and kissed her cheek, "Yes. Precisely. The more the merrier right?" Her giggles and his laughter mixed as the sunlight fell upon them....

A tear rolled down her cheek as she bit her lower lip, her bangs casting a shadow upon her face as she slowly closed her hand. Martin.... "....anything to drink?" Her head lifted upon as she snapped back into the present, hurriedly wiping away the tear as she called up a small smile to her host, "Water is fine, thank you." She paused as she took a deep breath, exhaling slowly as the memories faded back into the depths of her mind. "So you are a writer then Marcus? I think I've heard someone talk about your books, though do correct me if I am wrong." She asked him, pushing to change the subject of her mind to the present. The sensation of that familiar hand left her shoulder, her hands folding upon the table before her. Yes, she had to stop falling back into the past.

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Re: Killing the Afterglow

Post by Guest on Thu Sep 20, 2012 5:59 pm

"Water is fine, thank you." Marcus nodded silently, fetching a pair of frosted glasses from the cupboard, and running one swiftly under the tap to fill it up. He fetched a carton of apple juice from the refrigerator, unsure of how old it might be, and poured it into the second glass until it was full barely an inch from the brim. His mouth and throat were parched, and his body exhausted; some sort of sugar would hopefully help change this.

He closed the refrigerator with a subtle click and grasped both glasses, trying not to focus on any problems and simply moving as stable as he could with the pair of them. He almost caught a glimpse of Lisbeth brushing away a single tear; but the alkahestry made him reliant and set his mind wild. Coupled with exhaustion, hallucination or the light playing tricks on him was very much a real and probable possibility. The writer handed the Amestrian official her glass as she spoke. "So you are a writer then Marcus? I think I've heard someone talk about your books, though do correct me if I am wrong."

Oh? Marcus perked up for a moment; briefly, a tiny smirk flickered onto his face as all the happiest memories of the best parts of his life came flooding back in one, before he remembered how that had gotten him into all this. If he hadn't had been Marcus Frostbrook, nothing of this would have happened. A sigh and he nodded. "Writer, poet, artist, scholar..." Gesturing up in the air, the Cretan put on a false smile. "It..." He drifted off with a sigh, running a grimy hand through thin locks of black hair. "It doesn't really matter any more."

That was the Marcus he'd used to be. Enthusiastic, creative, imaginative, wild, happy, charismatic... not the Marcus he'd become. The depressed, dirty, unkempt, haunted, empty shell and ghost of the person he'd used to be, just a hollow kindred spirit wearing Marcus Frostbrook's face. That was what he'd become. That was what Esparez had pushed him to become. As if Maria's death hadn't been enough; capturing Leon and alienating him from his family forcefully was insult to injury, the salt in the wound. It just made him blame himself more.

Even if the twisted Colonel - his father-in-law - could be blamed, Marcus willingly took all of the shame and guilt for it. He was the one that had bought the Ferrari, he was the one that had married into power and corruption, and he was the one that knew the risks of ever even preventing the possibility of harm coming to Maria in his presence. "I've been stuck in a rut," He explained. "Haven't been really able to write anything solid for months." Not to mention that he didn't have an agent any more. Or a publisher. So he didn't know how this book would get on the market subtly enough without Esparez's intervention.

"Though, hopefully..." He gazed over towards the pile of papers, gripping the apple juice with both hands as if it were some form of clear, golden-yellow salvation, sipping it and idly reaching for his glasses on the table. He hadn't really gotten a clear view of things; unfolding them, he propped the spectacles slowly onto his head and blinked a few times, almost immediately feeling refreshed. That... that was better. "Hopefully I'll be able to break the mould sometime soon."

He could write more books. Yes, but it wouldn't bring her back. He could amass another fortune, ten times the size of his last. Yes, but it wouldn't bring her back. He could fight Esparez bitterly and take back their son. But what was the point? Because it wouldn't bring her back. Until Marcus could triumph over his guilt and self-loathing for the death of his wife... he couldn't be a good parent to Leon, he couldn't even attempt to. In some contorted, odd way, Esparez was probably a better grandfather than he could presently be a father. So for now, Leon could remain in the man's custody. Because, somehow, deep down, he knew that even that despicable, bitter old man couldn't willingly harm his own grandson. He could put Marcus through all sorts of pain; but not Leon. Never Leon. And why?

Because Leon was his own flesh and blood.

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Re: Killing the Afterglow

Post by Guest on Mon Sep 24, 2012 2:41 pm

The glass thudded softly against the table as he placed it before her, calling up a small smile in thanks to him. She sipped it quietly as she watched how he perked up at her simple question that she had asked. It was amazing how one thing could revive a person, to bring them back to the person that they may have been before. "Writer, poet, artist, scholar..." He sighed, and as he smiled at her, her own faltered slightly. She may have just met this man, but she could see that it was forced. It didn't hold the spark that he had just shown moments before. "It..." He deflated even more, "It doesn't really matter any more." Her brows furrowed at that, there was more to this than he was initially letting on. Was there something to his writing that was terrible? It was true she also couldn't model anymore after.... After the event.... But one was not tied to the other. She was finding herself more and more curious about this man and his story for it was deep and greater than she had necessarily encountered before.

"I've been stuck in a rut," Ah, so was it writers block then? "Haven't been really able to write anything solid for months." It was always a shame to find yourself in a lack of creativity. For it was such a beautiful thing, and she always was in awe of someone who held that gift since she lacked it so herself. "Though, hopefully..." Her own gaze followed his towards the pile of papers nearby, considering them quietly as she thought of when there used to be many magazines upon her table back home. She might be on the cover, or somewhere scattered throughout the magazine, showing off the fashions of the season with such a variety of expressions on her face. But... Her eyes lowered for a moment as she sipped her water before raising those sapphire eyes to him. "Hopefully I'll be able to break the mould sometime soon."

"I hope that you will too. I'll have to be sure to take a look at your works sometime. I must say I haven't had a chance to read a good book in a while." And this was true. She hadn't been able to read a book for at least two years. It was something that she and Martin would share, whatever shenanigans it was that they were reading at the time. Though now, she at least had files to read and work on instead, especially now that she was in charge of South City. Smiling softly, she brushed her bangs aside a little bit so she could peek better at him, the expression he was wearing prickling at her. "So..." She lost her smile a bit as she tentatively reached a hand to touch his arm. "I realize this is not my place, or that I'm prying so you do not have to answer if you would rather not, but..." Aiya, words were difficult. She was trying so hard to be kind and gentle, and she certainly didn't want to bring him more pain and yet... "Who was this woman? Your drawings of her are beautiful. Is..." Now she bit her lip as her thumb slid against his arm in slow, hopefully comforting circles. "She... She isn't with us anymore, is she?" Oh she couldn't be delicate about this even if she wanted to. She wanted to help this man so terribly, to bring him back into life as Spade had done for her years ago.

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Re: Killing the Afterglow

Post by Guest on Mon Sep 24, 2012 4:52 pm

"I hope that you will too. I'll have to be sure to take a look at your works sometime. I must say I haven't had a chance to read a good book in a while." Marcus nodded with the faintest semblance of a shaking smile upon his face. That was reassuring, at least. There were still some in the world who bothered to even search for him. Maybe he wasn't quite so alone as he'd initially thought. "I realize this is not my place, or that I'm prying so you do not have to answer if you would rather not, but..." She touched his arm and the crushing truth returned. The pictures. Of course. She knew the words coming out of her mouth before they were even spoken.

"Who was this woman? Your drawings of her are beautiful. Is..." The feeling of her warm hand against his arm almost made him shy away instinctively; but Marcus knew better. He was seeming out of line, and he stayed firmly in place, smiling weakly all the way. "She... She isn't with us anymore, is she?"

Marcus slowly shook his head as Lisbeth's thumb worked slow circles around his arm. A glum look took his face and he began to explain, his lips trembling far more than ever before. For a moment he had been lost in fear; now he was lost in memory, and lost in regret, two elemental factors that held their vicegrip far stronger than the former. "Maria Frostbrook." He smiled in remembrance. "She was my wife." Was. That was just about as simple as it could get.

"I..." Again, he faltered before he could finish his sentence, and just shrugged. "It was a c-car accident," He explained, with a bleak and hollow glare, staring off into the wall, his eyes empty as memory brushed over them, vaguely symbolic of his newest alkahestry. "That fucking Ferrari..." His fist balled up and he did, this time, properly move away from Lisbeth. "And n-now, because of that..." A trembling hand rose to the etchings pinned to the refrigerator, pulling off one of Maria with a resounding snap from the magnet above.

Tears began to roll down from beneath the tinted lenses of his glasses, flowing fresh like waterfalls. The dams had broken. Hence came the flood. For a moment, those pale blue-grey eyes studied the picture in such great detail and regard, before the image drifted to the floor. The gap over Marcus' shoulder, placed perfectly, accompanied with the space from the removed picture, gave way to another piece pinned upon the appliance's chromed front, his back to Lisbeth as he dabbed at tears.

"...he's gone." The artist whispered as the vision of Leon Frostbrook IV came into both his plane of sight and hers. A young boy, barely a toddler, grinning with such childish glee as he rose a pudgy hand into the shot. Eyes twinkling with true happiness. True happiness that had since been wrested from them by that damned Colonel. But that... Marcus snapped back into reality proper and dabbed his eyes, sniffing and sighing. "I'm sorry to trouble you with this. It really isn't y-your problem..." His words were cracking and breaking, choking back floods of tears as he swatted away those remaining.

That was another tale for another time, when he was ready to tell whichever unwitting candidate stood before him then.

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