The Reluctant Journey Ch. 09byDarlin92©
Okay fair warning that this isn't a very sexy chapter. Sorry :( , but it is more of a transitional chapter to where I want the story to go. So please bear with me :) And again thank you all for the support and great comments.
"Yeah?" She answered softly. They'd been lying in bed for over an hour, neither able to fall asleep.
"Are we going to be able to leave these people here? They don't even know that they are in a prison. These are our friends and neighbors. I've saved these people's lives, and for what? They are chattel." His voice didn't have any outrage left, it seemed to have dried up over the last several days.
"I don't know Jack. If it is the only way to keep our family together then we'll do what we have to."
He nodded. They had had variations of this conversation repeatedly. "It isn't right. They are punishing the people who only wanted to protect their families."
"I know." Kristen gently ran her fingers through her husband's short dark hair. Both lied on their sides, Kristen behind Jack.
He sighed."Was I a coward? For not joining the effort. Should I have helped them? Could I have saved some of them?"
"And killed others?"
They were silent for several minutes. Kristen continued to absentmindedly stroke Jack's back comfortingly.
"Jack?" Kristen suddenly stopped with her rhythmic stroking.
"What about Malia? What if he's hurt her?" Her voice was uncharacteristically small and fragile.
"I will take great pleasure in killing him slowly." Jack stated with no hesitation. Normally such a statement might have made Kristen laugh coming from her gentle pacifist husband. However, there was no doubt in her mind that he meant every word he said. She was silent for a moment.
"Jack, what do you think he wanted with her?" Malia had explained nearly everything to them and assured them that she hadn't been harmed, but she had kept away from the subject of why she'd been taken in the first place. Jack didn't want to contemplate the question let alone talk about it, but it was the first time Kristen was talking about Malia's kidnapping instead of shutting down. He rolled to his other side to face his wife.
"We don't know why. To contemplate the worst scenarios will just drive us crazy. We saw her." He forced a smile he hoped was reassuring. "We saw she was okay, remember?"
Kristen nodded as a single tear slipped out of the corner of her eye. Jack wiped it away with the pad of his thumb.
"It's just," She took a deep breath to hold back her sobs. "I can't stop thinking that he wouldn't have any reason to take her unless it was sexual."
Jack gritted his teeth. He had never felt so violent as he had since that prick took his daughter. He was someone who fixed problems, and he felt so damn helpless. He couldn't fix any of this and it made him furious to be so vulnerable. He should be able to protect his family! When he saw the general again it had been the first time he'd ever wanted to kill a man. Jack was a doctor, he'd seen rape victims. When he imagined his daughter bruised and bloody a rage ran through his veins making him see red. He felt like a caged animal ready to strike. Only a handful of days and that cage door would open. Then, if a single hair on his baby girl's head was out of place, he could kill General Cain Malcolm.
A crash of thunder interrupted his violent thoughts. He hadn't noticed the storm approaching until it was over them. The walls shook with the intensity of the thunder. Derek and Aiden were instantly awake on the bed across the room. They ran over to Kristen and Jack's bed simultaneously and jumped onto the mattress fluidly from much practice. They slithered up the bed and created their own space between Kristen and Jack. Olivia wasn't ashamed to follow almost immediately after. It had become a family tradition since moving to the unit. It should have been cramped an uncomfortable in the full sized bed, but when it stormed it was like a personal den that seemed unable to be breeched. Except it had been breeched, because there was one less body squeezing into the bed.
"Daddy?" Jack had just gotten home from working a double at the hospital and shouldn't have been able to hear the soft whisper, but it woke him nonetheless. One of the superpowers that came with parenthood.
"Malia?" He asked into the dark room, still groggy from the hour of sleep he had managed to get so far. He opened his eyes and could see the tiny silhouette of his four-year old daughter standing directly in front of him on his side of the bed.
"Can I sleep in here?" She whispered even softer, he had to strain to hear her. Lightning lit the room and Malia jumped and squeaked.
Jack smiled despite his sleep deprivation. "Of course you can baby." He leaned over and lifted her small body over him to the middle of the bed.
"Well hello there stranger." Kristen's groggy voice mumbled from across the bed.
Malia giggled. "Hi mommy." She made herself at home instantly in their bed and ended up kicking the hell out of both Jack and Kristen all night long. It was his most precious memory of his oldest daughter.
"I hope you're satisfied." Cain said moodily as he walked into the formal parlor where he knew his brother sat alone, waiting for him.
Tristan laughed. "How, pray tell, did you get away from your doting girlfriend?" Tristan was overly amused.
Cain leaned against the doorframe with his arms crossed over his chest. "Mockery isn't one of your good looks brother."
"Oh, I'm sorry, a sore spot?" Tristan said snidely.
"Malia is okay, as you can see. I think I'll go enjoy some cake if you've nothing constructive to say." Cain pushed off of his shoulder and turned towards the door.
"Wait, wait. I'm done, I promise." Tristan still snickered but he tried to cover it with a cough. Cain turned back around to face him. "Please sit." He asked seriously. Cain obliged, sitting in a chair across from Tristan. He waiting a moment before continuing. "Malia seems to be physically intact, yes. But she certainly isn't very chipper?"
"You asked me to bring her, I brought her. Her emotional status isn't really my concern. I was doing you a favor by bringing her in the first place. I generally would rather keep my outright lies to my grandmother on her birthday to a minimum." Cain viciously spat, surprising his younger brother who wasn't generally spoken to by his brother in this manner.
Tristan raised his hands in a motion of defense. "Okay, Okay." His seriousness wasn't the least bit feigned. "I'm sorry. You're right. I didn't mean to put you in a bad position. Honestly I asked you to bring Malia because I was genuinely worried about her. The two of you didn't exactly leave in the best standing."
"I told you I wouldn't hurt her." Cain snapped.
"No, you told me it was going to take a lot to break her strong will." Tristan argued amicably.
Cain sighed, mentally damning his brother's good memory. "Well, you should have known I wasn't going to hurt her."
"Honestly Cain, your reactions where that woman is concerned aren't all that predictable." Tristan smiled gently. "What exactly happened between the two of you?"
"What are you talking about?" Cain was still slightly annoyed. The entire social gathering had put him on edge.
"Come on Cain, that woman was furious with you when you left the manor, and you weren't exactly happy with her either. She didn't slit your throat in your sleep." Tristan studied him for a second. "In fact, I would say that at times you two are borderline friendly."
Cain shrugged nonchalantly, "I guess she got over it."
Tristan eyed him suspiciously. "Uh huh." He arched an eyebrow. "So that's your story and you're sticking to it?"
Cain laughed sardonically. "Tristan, leave the psychoanalysis to the shrinks." He stood and walked towards the door again.
"You don't see a shrink." Tristan said to his back.
Cain laughed as he opened the door, he looked back at his little brother still sitting in a velvet chair. "Exactly."
"You've been uncharacteristically quiet all night." Cain snapped Malia out of her trance. They were outside waiting on the car, as it was unseasonably warm. Cain's grandmother had went to bed after affectionally saying her goodbyes to both of her grandsons. She'd surprised Malia with a doting hug of her own as well. Tristan had also said his goodbyes of a few minutes earlier. She hadn't realized how much she'd missed talking to him as she hugged him goodbye. She was so lost in thought all night that suddenly she was sure she'd been rude.
"I"m just thinking." She replied softly.
"Dangerous stuff." He was leaning against a brick pillar in front of the house with his arms casually crossed in front of his chest. She just nodded and looked out across from Kate's charming estate. Houses were so spread out now. All of the one's she'd been to didn't have anyone near enough to be considered a neighbor. It must have given everyone a lot of room to spread out when half of the population were imprisoned without their knowledge, Malia thought bitterly. The country road stretched out in front of them with fields on all sides. It truly was a beautiful area.
"Your mother blames you for Tristan's injury." She said suddenly not looking up at him.
He snorted. "She never has been one to keep people in the dark about how she feels about something, probably where I get my tact." He smiled.
She frowned at him. "That's not fair of her. She's your mother." Malia's voice was soft and sad.
He looked suddenly irritated. "More pity?" She looked away from him and thought if she pitied him.
"No, not pity." She answered seriously, "More like vicious indignation on your behalf. I know I don't know your mother Cain, but honestly I'm not impressed."
He laughed. "I'd love to say she grows on you but.." He shrugged. "She has every reason to be angry with me."
"No she doesn't. Being your mother does give her every reason to forgive you and love you unconditionally."
"I can handle my mother Malia, don't worry about me."
"I am worried Cain. You seem bound and determined to be a martyr to some bad choices you made a long time ago that led to an accident. You most certainly didn't murder your friend and you can not be held responsible for Tristan's actions. You would have been the first one to jump off that cliff for him."
He looked at her strangely. "That's what you've been thinking about all night? I apologize for my mother's rudeness Malia, but I assure you her outburst has tolled you mind much more than my own. I came here tonight to celebrate my grandmother's birthday and in that we were successful." He smiled infectiously. "We convinced them that we're dating. I would call that a success for us."
She looked mock wounded, feeling slightly better at his happiness. "It isn't that hard to believe!" She said slowly. "I mean we are sort of sleeping together."
"Are we?" Cain arched a brow at her.
"Aren't we." She replied a little unsure where he was going with this.
Cain shrugged. "Well I suppose we did fuck on a bed and briefly fall asleep together. Then we fucked against a tree, quite memorable." He smiled to himself. "I suppose telling my family that we are dating would constitute continuation of such sinful behavior, I mean if my grandmother expects us to be fucking why shouldn't we reap the rewards of actually fucking?"
"You silver-tongued devil." Malia said stoically, rolling her eyes. His crude language had a thrilling effect on her at each scandalous word he drawled in his grandmother's front lawn.
He grinned and looked over at her. "Did you expect hearts and rose petals my sweet?"
She laughed cynically. "Never."
A motorcycle and black SUV drove down the road and stopped in front of the house. The man on the motorcycle got off and grinned widely at Cain as he removed his black helmet.
"Wow." The man said, handing the helmet to Cain.
"You're welcome. Don't get used to it Captain." He smiled at the man.
"No sir." The man answered, nodded to both Cain and Malia and got into the SUV to pull out a matching helmet. He handed it to Cain and got into the SUV. It pulled away leaving Cain, Malia, and the motorcycle in front of the house. The entire exchange happened so quickly Malia still had a look of shock on her face.
"Uh, what is that?" Malia asked.
"That, little girl, is our ride." Cain grinned like a boy at Christmas. He handed her one of the helmets he was holding. He donned his helmet and mounted the bike. "Put on your helmet." He added impatiently when she didn't move to join him.
"Um, do you know how to drive?" Malia asked worriedly.
"Of course I know how to drive." His voice was muffled from the helmet but she thought he sounded offended.
"Well sorry, you always have people driving you around." She mumbled as she walked closer and pulled the helmet over her head. It was cushioned and tinted, like her own personal cave. She looked down at the knee-length peach dress she was wearing. It was very flowy and was sure to blow around like crazy in the wind. "Um Cain?"
"Yes?" She jumped when his voice was unexpectedly amplified in her helmet. He laughed. "There are speakers and microphones in them Malia. Get on."
"I can't ride a motorcycle, I'm wearing a dress." She whispered.
"Are you wearing underwear?" Cain asked seriously.
"Of course I am."
"Damn shame. Get on." He was clearly impatient.
At least she'd chosen a pair of silvery flats instead of the heels she'd been contemplating.
"Put your foot here," He indicated a small metal bar with his own foot. "and swing your leg over." She did what he asked without any trouble. Her silky pink panties were directly in contact with the black leather seat and the skirt of the dress draped around her thighs. She was pressed up against Cain's back, her thinly clothed crotch pressing against his ass. "Don't touch those pipes with your legs, you'll get burned." He warned and then suddenly the bike came to life. She whimpered as the unexpected strong vibrations affected her intimately. He laughed. "Something wrong Malia?" His voice filled her helmet adding to the thrill. Fantastic, he was going to get to hear everything.
"Nothing." She answered annoyed.
"You may want to hold on." He laughed.
She suddenly realized that she would have to hold onto him. She gripped his torso tightly when he moved suddenly to kick the kickstand up. "Relax." His voice sounded so damn sexy in the dark cavern of her helmet. She moved her arms around his waist and relaxed her grip slightly. She still made an embarrassing squeaking sound as they took off quickly. Cain laughed as she clung to him tightly. "Alright. let's do some sightseeing." Malia relaxed substantially as they continued to ride down dark country roads without crashing. Cain leaned fluidly into the curves and scolded her to follow suit after the first turn when she leaned the other way, terrified of falling. Eventually she caught on and slightly leaned with him. The vibrations had eventually stopped affecting her as her entire lower half became numb from overexposure. She'd been too scared to really enjoy them in the first place. Not that she wanted to give Cain the satisfaction.
Eventually the fields turned into buildings and suddenly a lit up skyline appeared. It became closer and closer as they went over a suspension bridge that went over a large river. There were very few cars, but the roads were not abandoned. Malia was mortified as the drivers and passengers were getting a clear view of her panty-clad ass and thighs as her dress flew in the wind. But in no way was she prepared to loosen her iron-clad grip to hold her dress in place. She tried to think of other things. Things like the beautiful buildings across the river.
She had been sure that none of the country she knew had survived the war. As far as the unit was concerned, every human advancement and creation that had been achieved for hundreds of years was destroyed. She was happy that they were mistaken, it made it feel like maybe her family could still find a place in this new world. Maybe all of the families in the units could.
The ride lasted for a couple of hours. She eventually laid her head against Cain's shoulder and watched the colors of the lights blur past. The lights and building eventually turned into fields and trees once again and finally they were back at the cabin. Her muscles were tense and achy.
"Don't touch the pipes with your legs." He warned again.
She avoided them as she dismounted the bike less than gracefully. Despite her muddled thoughts, Malia had had a good time. Cain had pointed out some of the new monuments and buildings that she wasn't familiar with. It was disorienting seeing them mixed in with the sights she knew from childhood. Still she couldn't help but feel like Cain was being uncharacteristically nice.
"So, what's the motivation behind today?" She was too conflicted with her own thoughts and feelings to play mind games. He walked the bike until it was near the porch and turned the engine off. He kicked the kickstand down and dismounted.
"I need motivation?" Cain asked as he took his own helmet off. She just looked at him impatiently, waiting for a real answer. He studied her, probably contemplating telling her the truth or not. Or maybe the contemplation was skipped and he was coming up with an elaborate lie. Finally he shrugged, "Tristan wanted to see you."
"So what was with the bike ride?" She wanted him to say that he at least liked her, something to make her feel just a little more justified in her feelings. She didn't want to fall in love with this man, she'd never wanted that. It was stupid and self destructive and nothing like how she wanted it to feel. She thought that loving someone would feel empowering and thrilling but all she felt was incredibly vulnerable. It was as if she'd painted a personal target for anyone that wanted to hurt her, and the worst thing was she wasn't certain the object of her affection wouldn't be that person aiming at her heart.
Cain huffed obnoxiously. "I don't know Malia. I wanted to ride my bike. You were with me." He suddenly became more irritated. "I don't have to answer to you anyway." He shrugged and walked up onto the porch to unlock the front door. Malia just watched him for a moment and eventually followed him up to the cottage.
She was so stupid. God, why did she have to be so incompetent? Gwen mentally lambasted herself brutally.
"It's p-p-pretty out today." She mocked her own voice as she scrubbed the tiled floors. Why did they need so many damn bathrooms?
She'd finally worked up the courage to say something, anything, to Tristan and she sounded like a stuttering idiot. It was so frustrating to be so eloquent in her head and seem so dimwitted whenever she opened her mouth. She just shouldn't open her mouth. It was a logical conclusion, and had been working for her just fine before Malia had convinced her to become Miss shares-a-lot.
Except it hadn't been working just fine. Gwen was miserable. She was in love with a man who she was certain didn't even know her name. She couldn't even blame him for not knowing her name, because she hadn't had the damn balls to ever tell him anything about herself. For over a year she'd seen him everyday and she still couldn't even work up the courage to divulge her name to him. He'd of course been a perfect gentleman in response to her neurotic babbling. He'd smiled his sweet polite smile. "Yes, it is. Will you spend anytime outside? It would be ashamed to waste it."
"I-um- I have to clean the f-floor." She blushed furiously and nearly ran out of the room before he could be obliged to try and converse with her further. She hated that he talked to her so politely. She wanted to have meaningful conversations with the man she knew to be so deep and profound. But she never would, not when she couldn't get past the introduction without having a panic attack. So she was cursed to become some sort of creepy stalker figure. And to top it off she was stalking no one other than one of her own bosses. Sure Cain was more the master of the manor than Tristan was, but it was only because it didn't suit Tristan. Cain was also gone for random stretches of time. Gwen had always thought of Tristan more as a master of the house, while Cain was more of an imposing and demanding guest. She knew her opinion in this wasn't the majority.