For those of you following along, I've finally named The Waiter. We're calling him Maynard. This follows closely after my last LJ Idol entry, which can be found here
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Maynard ran his finger across Mattie's collarbone, pausing over the small, round tattoo just below it. The touch tickled. She squirmed, pulling away slightly, and he took it as an invitation. His lips followed the line as his fingers pushed the strap of her bra down her shoulder. Mattie wasn't sure what she was feeling, but none of those feelings were sexy. Or needed. Or wanted. She just kept thinking about Or and her heavily lidded eyes and light skin.
“Mayn,” she said, and placed a hand flat against his chest.
Maynard stopped and pulled back. He propped himself up on his elbow and looked down at her. One of his fingers traced its way down her side, as if he was afraid to let her go. “Yeah?”
“I'm sorry, I just.”
“No, it's fine. It's fine.” He leaned in and kissed her on the nose. “I know I don't glow for you. I'm just trying to be the perfect distraction.” He nipped at her chin and she laughed, pushing him over as she sat up.
“It's not like I glow for you either.” She straightened her bra strap and sighed. “What are we doing?”
“Killing time,” he said. “Slow and easy.”
“Just the way it was meant to die,” she said.
“Is there something eating at you, Mattie my girl? You seem farther away this evening.”
“Nothing.” She sighed and flopped back on her pillow. “Everything. You weren't far off when you asked if I'd seen a ghost. I have. I've been seeing it for a week now, here and there. It won't leave me be.”
“Is there anything for it?”
“Not really. I've been...censoring myself since I was very young. Things happen sometimes that I don't know how to deal with, so I lose them. I make the decision to cast them to sea so I'm not weighed down by them.”
“Except they're never really gone, are they?”
“No, not really. I pretend I'm fine for long periods of time, until something floats to the surface and reminds me of who I used to be.”
“That sounds lonely,” he said.
“Sometimes loneliness is just a part of surviving.”
Maynard opened his mouth to answer, but anything he might have said was drowned out by a pounding on the door. “What the hell?” he said finally.
Mattie shrugged and tumbled out of bed, finding her balance as she went. There was more pounding as she made her way through the kitchen. “All right already!” She opened the door with the chain on, giving her two inches of space to investigate.
Or was on the other side. She placed her face right against the crack. “Let me in,” she said. “You have to let me in.”
Mattie didn't think she had to do anything, but Or seemed to be legitimately startled, which threw her. She closed the door, undid the chain, and then opened it again. Or rushed in and slammed the door shut behind her, redoing the chain and throwing the deadbolt.
When Mattie turned around Maynard was in the living room. “What is going on here?”
Or turned to look at him. Mattie was suddenly aware that neither of them was wearing very much. Or raised an eyebrow, but she didn't bring attention to what she may have interrupted. Instead she pulled off her red gloves and shucked her black pea coat, dropping her things onto Mattie's couch. “I'm sorry for the interruption, but I seem to have gotten into a spot of trouble.”
“Okay,” Maynard said slowly. He ran his hand through his hair and and looked helplessly at Mattie for a moment before returning to the bedroom.
Mattie stood in the center of the living room, her arms wrapped around her waist, and waited for an explanation. Or huddled on the edge of the the couch and looked Mattie up and down. The corner of her mouth turned up and Mattie suddenly felt warm.
Maynard returned then, and chucked a shirt at Mattie. “Right,” he said. “Who are you, and what's this about?”
Or waited until Mattie was clothed again before answering. “I'm being tracked,” she said.
“Tracked? You mean followed.”
“No, tracked. Like an animal. I'm sure they mean to kill me eventually as well.”
“What the hell,” Mattie said, echoing Maynard. “What have you done?”
“I haven't done anything, yet. But those fuckers are going to get theirs when I get to the bottom of all of this.”
“The bottom of what?” Maynard flipped his hand in Or's direction. “Mattie, what is going on?”
“I don't know,” she said. Because she didn't. To Or she said, “how did you find my apartment?”
“The same way I find everything. Research, Mattie, research. Please keep up, because I don't want to die tonight.”
“No one is going to die here,” Maynard said. “I'm going to turn the light on. All of us standing here in the dark is ridiculous.”
“No!” Or leaped up from the couch and grabbed his wrist. “No, don't. I don't want you to draw any attention here. Not until I can find out who it is exactly that I'm dealing with. Does either of you have a computer?”
“Yeah,” Mattie said. “In here.” She led Or through to the bedroom and turned on the old desktop machine. “I barely use the thing.”
Or sat down in the desk chair and then looked back at Mattie over her shoulder. “I find that hard to believe,” she said.
“Why do you have one of the Diviner's Marks tattooed on your chest?”
“It most definitely is my business. Especially now that they're trying to kill me.”
"Why would the Diviner's be trying to kill you?"
Instead of answering Or slapped the side of the computer, which was being slow to start. “Come on!”
Out in the living room Mattie heard glass break. “What the hell?” she said again, her voice tighter in her throat this time. It seemed to be the only response she could muster to the mad alternate universe she'd just been dropped in. Before she could make it out of the room Maynard trundled in and collapsed against her. She swayed under his weight. It took a moment for the wetness between them to register. His shirt was wet. She pushed him away and saw that there was a dark, rapidly growing stain on the front of his shirt.
When she looked down she saw that the front of her shirt was now wet as well. The stain looked dark purple in the bluish glow from the computer screen. Maynard stumbled backwards onto the bed and passed out.
Mattie screamed. This bit of fiction was written for Topic 18: Jetsam at therealljidol. Thank you to paragraphs for helping me name The Waiter. All comments and questions are welcome.