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stargate, DanielJackson

Week 10, Title: This Measure

Posted on 2014.05.25 at 18:16
Tags: ,

She’s at the sink, scrubbing last night’s stubborn curry off her blue plate, when arms slide around her waist. She smiles, from behind lips press against her neck and she hums happily.

“I miss you,” he says.

“I miss you too,” she replies wistfully.

She thinks about how they should carve out more time for each other.



*



“Am I too boring for you?” he asks.

“No. Come on, that’s not fair, this isn’t about you, it’s about me going to see my friends,” she replies.

“I know, but I don’t see why I can’t tag along, I see you so little as it is, it will be great, us out together with your friends.”

“That does sound like fun,” she admits.



*



“Why do you need to see them again, you only saw them a couple of months ago,” he says.

Her gaze goes to the clock, and back to him, she places fingernails against her lips before swiftly removing them.

“It’s a birthday thing.”

“Why don’t you want to spend time with me?” He asks.

“I do, I love spending time with you, but I can’t cut back my hours, we need the money.” Her glance flickers between him and clock hands throughout the sentence but she still doesn’t know the time.

“I know, I’m sorry, it’s just that I miss you so much.”

“No, you’re right, I’m sorry,” she says, the hour hand creeps towards nine, she wonders how it got there, wonders whether her friends miss her too. 

“Why don’t we have a nice night in?”

“Okay,” she replies, it’s probably too late to leave now anyway.



*



“Your family hates me, I don’t won’t to spend time with them,” he says. Her eyes flick to the clock, it’s two thirty six. 

“They don’t hate you, they’re just overprotective of their little girl. Besides, it’s only a few hours, they’re expecting us.”

“I wish I was enough for you,” he says.

“You are. But I can’t just cut all ties with them.”

“I’m not asking you to cut ties, I’m just asking you to not be selfish,” he replies.

“But…”

“No, I’m talking now, you never let me have my way, you can speak when I’m done,” he says.

The next time she glances at the clock it’s three forty eight and he’s still talking.



*



Her key turns in the door and he’s right there.

“Where have you been!” he demands.

“I stopped for a coffee with some colleagues,” she says, tilting her wrist to peek at her watch, she’s only twenty minutes later than usual.

“Who are these colleagues? You’d rather spend time with some random people than be at home where you should be, don’t you care about me at all?” he asks.

Her fingernails are against her teeth before she shoves her hand down, she looks at the floor, doesn’t know what to say, mutters,
“Sorry.”



*



“I’m worried about you. He’s not good for you,” someone says.

“He’s never laid a hand on me,” she replies. It’s the truth.



*



She receives a text, ‘hey, want to meet up, it’s been a while’.

Anxiety blooms in her chest; it will be a whole conversation with him about going out to see friends, and then another conversation after that, and then another one. And then there will just be angry silence. She doesn’t have time for them, it will take up all her time.

‘I’m busy’ she replies, realising afterwards that she’s sent it too quickly, doesn’t even know which day she’s saying she’s busy on. She wonders whether she’s alienating yet another friend, but doesn’t have the energy to try to fix it.



*



Washing her face she looks in the mirror, she doesn’t remember the whites of her eyes; they’ve been reddened so long.

She startles at the twist of a door knob: the sound unbearably harsh in the quiet. Doors opening and closing seem to bang too hard and feet stomping down stairs echo too loudly. She fears those sounds more than the words, anticipation curling rabid within her chest. He’s coming.

Noise punctuates time, measuring from one hunch of the shoulders to the next. She wanders, going through the motions in a daze. The doors keep closing, her heart keeps beating and the clock ticks on.

She lies in bed staring at the red digits of their alarm clock, thinking about leaving him, not now, she can’t leave now, when they need each other so much, but one day. 



*



Grandfather clock hands turn round and round, winding one day into another.

She tells herself she will leave soon, next month.

Clocks tick, shoulders hunch, calendar days are crossed off. It’s a month already. She’s not ready yet.

Another month, that’s all she needs. One more month.

And another and another and another.

Soon. She will leave soon.



*



Fingernails break between her teeth.

She’s writing a shopping list and if she forgets something he will be angry. Her fist clenches at the thought, veins stand out against papery worried skin.

She realises if she doesn’t leave right now she never will.

And so she does.



*



She’s alone: doesn’t have anyone anymore.

She finds a shelter and the people are friendly, supportive and helpful. Everything they should be.

She doesn’t know how she ended up here. She wasn’t supposed to be this person.

She stays for a while, looking at her watch every five minutes, lest the world crumble around her. 



*



Sometimes everyone’s voices feel too big and she stays in bed, withdraws. But other days she gets up, tries, progresses. Allows her view of self to slowly twist back into what it once was, incrementally, one step at a time. But of course, even with esteem, she’s different now.

Eventually things get better and it’s time to leave, she finds a good place and fills it with plants to make it a home.

She chastises herself when she still flinches at the postman knocking on the door. But other than that she’s okay.



*



She’s walking to the chemists when he finds her.

“I’m sorry. I need you. I miss you,” he says.

“Please leave me alone. I have a restraining order,” she replies, walking briskly.

He tries to follow but she hurries into a cab.

When she gets home, she packs her bags and leaves.



*



She lives on the road, out of a suitcase. It seems he’s able to follow her trail. He knows people, has resources. 

“He’s never assaulted you,” the police say when she complains.

She goes further, quicker, in an attempt to escape.

She manages to stay ahead of him, but she lived under a countdown for too long to do so again.

So decides to settle down.



*



She’s at the sink, rinsing a spoon, arms slide around her waist. She tenses, lips push cloying against her neck and she cringes.

“I miss you,” he says.

She says nothing.

“I will always find you,” he says.

She thinks about the futility of it all.

“Would you like some tea,” she asks, turning around, folding her arms across her body.

“Yes, I would,” he says, eyes shining, grin wide.

She gets the tea bags and he sits at her kitchen table. They’re here again, her back against the wall, his words incessant and vile.  He tells her he loves her in a voice most would still think is genuine. So many people think he’s sweet. She puts the bag in the water and adds a little spice.

Then she brings the cups of tea to the table and takes a seat.

“You’ll never get away,” he says.

The words drift inside her, she shifts, tucking her legs under herself. It’s an echo of years gone by, for a moment she’s back in the house with the too-loud doors and suspects his words may hold truth. But this isn’t over yet.

“Here. Drink your tea,” she says. There are two ways to accept a truth.

He drinks. And then begins to cough.

She sighs with relief when his body stills.

The cuckoo clock chirps. And, using fingers adorned with perfectly manicured nails, she checks his pulse. 

The ticking has stopped.

Comments:


kick_galvanic, zagzagael, skull_theatre
bleodswean at 2014-05-25 18:21 (UTC) (Link)
Very, very, very clever use of the prompt - wasting our time.

Nicely done. I'm still turning it over inside the compost heap of my mind. Hmmmm....
kick_galvanic, zagzagael, skull_theatre
bleodswean at 2014-05-25 18:23 (UTC) (Link)
Not to suggest that your writing is something to be thrown on a manure pile, but rather that my mind is just....heating up slowly before anything becomes fertilizer. This entry....is refreshing in the stale. :)
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-05-25 18:25 (UTC) (Link)
LOLOLOL.

Yes I figured that :D. Glad to hear it ;).
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-05-25 18:24 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, heehee, glad you liked it :)

Can't wait to see what you come up with :)
Ink Well
penpusher at 2014-05-25 23:07 (UTC) (Link)
Just when I was about to reach the end of despair... but now! Our poor gel is looking at a potential charge, here! And she'd be the first suspect. Maybe I worry too much?
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-05-26 05:55 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad it had an impact :)

I'm sure she'll be fine, she can handle herself, probably the poison will make it look like natural causes, a heart attack maybe ;)
Etched with marks but I can deal
finding_helena at 2014-05-26 17:12 (UTC) (Link)
Nice. Very effective.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-05-26 17:33 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you :)
Laura, aka "Ro Arwen"
roina_arwen at 2014-05-26 19:08 (UTC) (Link)
Very nicely done. I like the use of timepieces in this. I'm thinking she picked up the "spice" when she was at the chemist's? ;)
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-05-26 19:10 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked it :)
sarcasmoqueen
sarcasmoqueen at 2014-05-28 00:33 (UTC) (Link)
This was a pretty amazing entry.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-05-28 06:18 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, makes me so happy to hear that :)
gratefuladdict
gratefuladdict at 2014-05-28 04:01 (UTC) (Link)
I liked this a lot.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-05-28 06:18 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked it :)
A Karmic Sandbox
karmasoup at 2014-05-31 01:04 (UTC) (Link)
I love this. You've perfectly captured the transition from seemingly normal at the beginning, to becoming problematic, to the nightmare that must be escaped. Fuck the police. Good for her.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-05-31 06:27 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad you liked the transitioning, I was really hoping it would work :)
mamas_minion
mamas_minion at 2014-05-31 01:16 (UTC) (Link)
Haunting, I liked the way this flowed and I am very glad she got rid of him in the end
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-05-31 06:28 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so happy you liked the flow :).

Sean
talon at 2014-06-01 23:46 (UTC) (Link)
I like this a lot - the references to time, the characterization of the 'relationship', the flow is all well done. The only thing I'd say is that the line "He knows people, has resources." seems a bit handwavy. That being said, well written!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-06-02 06:37 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked the characterisation of the relationship.

Yeah, looking over it again I could've added more specifics there, thank you for the concrit :).
Good old captain crazy-pants
dreamsreflected at 2014-06-02 04:00 (UTC) (Link)
you wrote this with far too much accuracy and emotion. Amazing work.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-06-02 06:38 (UTC) (Link)
Wow, thank you, so happy you found it so believable :)
Human Collaborator Flunkie Pool!fic Muse
joyfulfeather at 2014-06-02 04:20 (UTC) (Link)
Wow! Very, very well done.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-06-02 06:38 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, glad you liked it :)
Teo Says
eternal_ot at 2014-06-02 07:20 (UTC) (Link)
Whoa! I loved the twist...Just when thought she was doomed for life! Wonderful work! Excellent take on the prompt..Kudos once again!
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-06-02 07:25 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so happy you liked it :)
Rebecca Sparrow Wanderlust
rswndrlst at 2014-06-02 17:05 (UTC) (Link)
Whoa the beginning was so spot on. Codependence as a form of abuse is scary.

I did not see the end coming!

I also liked the repetition of the clocks, watches, calendars.

Really this is a great take on the prompt using the fact that she couldn't be saved and the wasting time.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-06-02 17:08 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so glad you liked those elements :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors
halfshellvenus at 2014-06-02 18:46 (UTC) (Link)
I really liked the progression here-- shown, not told-- of how increasingly controlling and smothering the man became.

And even after finding freedom and herself again, he was relentless in hunting her down and trying to subsume her. I understand her choice at the end completely.
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-06-02 19:49 (UTC) (Link)
Thank you, so happy you liked the progression :)
Veronica Rich
veronica_rich at 2014-06-02 19:42 (UTC) (Link)
I had the misfortune to date someone like this when I was in college. I missed out on a lot of good experiences in efforts to please him and his whiny-baby sense of entitlement, too. When I read things like this, it gets my back up all over again, even though it's been more than half a lifetime ago.

But it's well-written and if it wasn't, it wouldn't prickle at me, so that's how I know. Good job. :-)
swirlsofblue
swirlsofblue at 2014-06-02 19:50 (UTC) (Link)
So sorry to hear that happened to you and sorry about the piece stirring up bad memories *hugs*

Thank you, glad you found it well written :)
Veronica Rich
veronica_rich at 2014-06-02 21:24 (UTC) (Link)
I think this should be required reading for every young girl. Too many are taught as long as a partner's not hitting you, they're not abusing you. Bull pucky, as Grandma would say! :-)
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