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Ava, Chapter 47: Paige

Reply to Alsike

Posted to June 27, 2004

     I don't think anyone was watching the movie, except Ava at first.  She stared in wonder at the lack of sex and violence, and then I felt her curling towards me, and drifting off on my shoulder.  My hand raised up to stroke her hair, I hesitated, there was so many problems, but I gave in to the hedonism and caressed her hair.  She snuggled closer to me and closed her eyes.  I wanted to lean closer and kiss her on the forehead, but I can't.  I slip my arm around her waist and hold her to me.

     Phoebe came back from the kitchen followed a little later by Kylie.  They sat on opposite sides of the sofa.  Liz sat between them, not noticing the tension, a bit closer to Phoebe and talked to her a little.  Leo, a little tightness had drifted across his face.  There was a ghost in the room, and that ghost made us order in Chinese for dinner.  When the movie ended I could feel Liz watching us as I touched Ava's face to wake her up.  I didn't kiss her.  I don't think I can right now.  I feel the night hanging over us as it approaches.  We're going to have to face it some time.  I wish we could pretend it never happened and just go back to being awkward teenagers who don't even think of sleeping together.  But that will only happen if we talk about it, and that's the hard part.  I hate thinking about this.  It makes my mind sail down that trail.  I want to push her down; I want to hurt her just a little.  And I hate her for it.  I hate me for it.  I'm so scared; I want to love her, but my fear of hurting her makes me unable to give her as much as I want to.  If only... it won't be enough for her.  She didn't tell me what happened, but I saw it in her mind, that time I surprised her.  I saw the beatings, the hurting, and I don't want to hurt her like that.  I couldn't, I can't, I will never, never, but even just a little bit drags me down towards that, and I can't let myself do that.  I felt what she did; I felt it.  I hurt like she did, and I don't know how she took it.  I don't know how she bore it over all those years, except, except by what she did, except by turning it into a sign of love.  I want to show her what love is really like, what it could be like, but I don't know if it's what she wants, if she wants what she had before or she's willing to try what I can give her.

     It's night, what am I going to do?  I'm standing in the kitchen doorway watching Ava sit perched on the couch, her knees up and clenched together, her head slightly tucked in.  What am I going to do.  What will she think?  Will she think I'm rejecting her if I make up a bed for her on the sofa, but if I take her to my room will she think I've decided to beat her?  This isn't going to work.  I walk to the couch.  It's time to make a decision.

     "We need to talk.  She tilts her head sideways to look up at me.  Why didn't I sit down next to her and hold her hand when I said this?  Because I was afraid, afraid of her, the little girl with the quivering lip-ring on the-oh-so-kissable mouth.  How terrifying an alien is she?  I reach out, but she doesn't take my hand.  She stands, with a stiffness in her shoulders, and starts up the stairs.  What does this look like?  If Piper was here what would she see?  It looks like I'm going to punish her, but not in a good way... no!  That is not a good way!  How can you think of that as a good way?  I don't want to hurt her, but haven't I already?

     Up in my room I sit on the bed, and she on the chair.  We have never been on the same wavelength about sex; why should that have changed?

     "I don't want to hurt you.  She looks at me, from the side again.

     "I want you to.  Her and her ineffable arguments.

     "Well, now that we've got that out of the way

     She smiles a little.  I managed to make her smile; everything can't be lost, can it?

     "I know it's not your fault.  We're just a little different and it makes things complicated.

     "Not just a little different.  She looks at me, more steadily now, "You know a little more about my past now, but, I can't explain it away, I'm a reject, I know that, and it's my fault.

     "You're not a reject, why are you saying that?  She looks straight at me.

     "I am.  I'm not sure how you managed to deal with the fact that I'm a dead alien queen on her second go-round with life, but I am, but there's more than that though.  I'm the first copy, the one that didn't turn out right.  When they made me, combined Ava's essence with humanity, they played with the ingredients.  Lonnie was made almost exactly like the first Vilondra, she was so tough, and she wanted to rule the world.  The first Zan didn't really want to be king, but they needed someone who would leave their home and cross thousands of miles of galaxies to rule a new planet, so they placed the desire for kingship in him, but that's just another desire for power, so they took Ava, who was prettier than me, and stronger than me and they added something to me, something that made it easy for people to want to dominate me, Rath physically, Lonnie sexually, and Zan emotionally.  But then they projected us into the future and we failed the test, so they dropped us off somewhere on earth, just in case, and then they started on the next set.  They gave Max a dose of responsibility to temper the lust for power.  They gave Rath a bit of melancholy to calm his rages.  They gave Lonnie er, Isabel guilt, tons of guilt.  And my 'twin,' Tess, they made her strong.  I wish they had given that one to me.  They decided that my masochism, as is the clinical term, wasn't good for a queen.  So they went about a new way of making people want to dominate her.  It was very ingenious.  They made her annoying.  She was so tough and strong, and she was so good-looking she drove people crazy with lust.  She made you want to throw her on the ground, gag her, and hold her down while she tried to scream, and she was made, just like me, to be Zan's plaything.  She would be enough to satisfy anyone's lust for power, but she wasn't.  He had enough power to throw her away, and toy with her, and hurt her.  She killed herself.

     My brain can't think.  I can't think, I'm stuck, I'm trapped.  I don't know what to do, what to think, and most definitely what to say.

     "Do you think," she looks at me softly, "that we could be friends?

     "Yes, yes, of course we can be friends.

     "Where can I sleep?  the she smiles and points her finger in my face, "and I am sleeping.

     She's sassing me again.  Does that mean she feels safe or scared?  Or is it where she knows that everything I want is for her, and that I won't hurt her, but she's a little nervous about what I will do.

     "You can stay here if you want.  Kylie's downstairs and Liz is in Piper's room, but you can sleep wherever you want.

     "Are you my friend?


     "Can I sleep here without you making a move on me?

     "Don't you trust me?

     "You?  And how have you proven yourself trustworthy?

     "Unfair, you were the one who made me say 'I love you' eight hours after we met.

     "I could have gone then.

     "Why would you leave?  Just being around you makes me feel happy.

     "I don't want to make you feel anything else.  That started a little tension again.  She knows that she made me feel hurt scared and alone, but I did the same, only worse to her.  It's all true though.  Every word of it.  Just talking to her, just being near her, it's enough in some way.  And touching her, just a brush of the hand, makes the loneliness go away.

     Having her curled around me tonight makes me feel more, more loved than a straight night of fucking could. It feels like more than that.  It feels like having a friend is better than having a lover.  I don't know.  No one says that's true, but it feels better, really, it feels  I hold her small body in my arms.  It feels like home.

Continue to Chapter 48

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