Index > Ongoing Stories > In Which Patience Can't Stay Away
In Which Patience Can't Stay Away
((This scene is a collaboration between the players of James Bullen and Patience Sharrington. It takes place after Twelfth Night.))
It is Twelfth Night and Bullen is alone. Not that he had necessarily /expected/ to have company or attend a party, but even so, he is alone and he feels it in his bones. When Patience had ended things the night before, he was almost more stunned than angry. He had hardly slept and spent today half in a daze, grateful the students had not returned yet from the holidays. Tonight, he has decided he will attempt to retire early and try to get some sleep. Instead, he lies there fitfully dozing in and out of sleep, memories of his times with Patience racing through his mind. If only he had not mentioned encountering her brother. It seemed unlikely anything would come of it, and even if it did, it was not as if he could not defend himself or defuse the situation. It is too late now though. The damage is done and things between he and Patience have ended as suddenly as they began.
After leaving the Twelfth night party she was invited to, Patience almost feels like her old self. She had a good time--a great time. It is nice to feel like she has a social life again. Since coming to Tyrehampton she has felt lonely and bored. Tonight she had something to do with people she liked. But now, she is stumbling home, drunk, dizzy, and thinking only of James. Why is she thinking of James? She is trying to drink to forget and distract herself, and before she knows it, she has stumbled to his front door. Her masculine disguise is good enough cover for her not to care if someone has seen her come to his door. She knocks, swaying a little on her feet. This is a terrible idea. But she is far too drunk to talk herself out of anything at all.
At the sound of a knock at his door, Bullen turns over and checks his pocket watch on the table by his bed. It is nearly midnight. Who could be at his door at this time of night? With a heavy sigh, he gets out of bed and puts on breeches before walking slowly downstairs. He halfway hopes that whomever it is will be gone before he gets there. As lonely as he felt today, he really does not feel like encountering anyone if he is honest with himself. He pauses at the door, taking a moment before opening it. His brow furrows and his head tilts to one side in confusion as he sees a man standing there. It takes him a second or two to realize it is Patience, which causes even more confusion. She had said, in no uncertain terms, that things were over between them. And her arriving so late is even more confusing. Not to mention the choice of clothing. "Come in," he says with a huff, stepping aside so she can get in out of the cold.
She nearly trips into the house, pulling herself to him and reaching up to kiss him firmly on the mouth before pulling back and laughing. This is a horrible idea, and she is going to regret every bit of this in the morning. "I have been celebrating Twelfth night," she say lifting a hand to poke at his chest. "Alderman Guzzle, uh," she tries to recall the little poem of her character. "Something about drinking mountains of port, perhaps." Her eyes are heavy with her drink, and she laughs and bites her lip. "And now I am here because apparently three times is not enough to end something." She slumps against his wall and looks up at him. "You are becoming a bad habit, James," she tells him very somberly.
Kissing her back is instinct and he almost regrets it as soon as he does, though she is pulling away and laughing before he can push her away from him. "Alderman Guzzle should likely go home to her brother." He mutters this mostly to himself as he steps away from her before she can try to kiss him again. "Bad habit or not, you are quite disguised, Patience. You should not have come here." Though he knows he should turn her out, send her home, he finds he cannot bring himself to. He convinces himself it is because she should not walk home alone in her current state, though he knows that is a lie. He has wanted her here since the moment she left. "Come into the parlor where it is warm at the very least." He gently takes her by the shoulders and points her to the room in question, following behind her.
Patience gives him a shrug. She is disguised. She is positively bosky from all of the wine, and whatever else she had drunk. "Do you have anything to drink?" she finds herself asking as she follows him into the parlor. She wants to drink more, if only because right now she is happy enough, if not a little tired. If she drinks more she might be less tired, so she can spend more time with James. She flops down onto the settee and pulls off her boots and takes off her coat. "Do I look pretty as a man?" she asks with a pout. She leans back on the settee and looks at him. "I bet you would be pretty as a woman." Her hat falls from her head, and some more tendrils of hair fall into her face.
"I have plenty to drink, but I will not be sharing it with you. You are quite intoxicated enough as it is." He makes sure to stand between her and the cabinet where he keeps his drink so she cannot access it. He watches as she takes off her layers, trying his best not to be amused. "Yes, you look well as a man. Though it is a bit strange." He grabs her hat as it falls and sets it on a nearby table, before returning to sit in a nearby chair since she seems quite comfortable on the settee and not interested anymore in any liquor he may have. "Why are you here, Patience?" Who knows what she could be thinking in her drunken state. Likely nothing clearly. "You said this was over, yet you show up on my doorstep again."
She could likely fall asleep like this, but she is determined, in her intoxication, to talk to him. About what? She does not truly know. But she is here and it's all his fault. Right. All his fault. "This is your fault," she affirms out loud. "I cannot stop thinking about you." She struggles to sit up, and when she does, she regards him with another pout. "I was at a party with handsome men and gorgeous women and I did not want to take /any/ of them to bed. All I could think about was how I wished you were there," she explains. Her words catch on her tongue, and she is slurring ever so slightly. "So I left."
He thinks she may have fallen asleep, but then she speaks, accusing him of being the reason she has come here. He frowns, shaking his head. "It is not my fault you cannot stop thinking of me. Had you not ended things like you did, then it would not have been a problem to begin with." What is he supposed to do with her confession? It would be easier to think, so what if she wished he were there? He was not, she ended things, and that should have been it. He cannot deny being surprised that she did not wish to bed anyone else after everything she had said about being fickle. Even so, he finds himself more than a little frustrated with her. "It is not fair of you to keep ending things and then reappearing as if you had not. What is it you expect of me, Patience? You say you do not wish to hurt me, but doing this /does/ hurt me."
"Sh," Patience says lifting her finger to her lips and shaking her head. "I know." He is completely right. It is not fair for her to be doing this. This was supposed to end days ago. It was supposed to end /yesterday/. Now she is here torturing them both, and to what end? She cannot even think clearly enough to have such answers. "I do not want to hurt you." She reaches out and her hand flops in the space between them. She wants to sit on his lap, to curl around him and kiss his neck and sleep on him. But he is far away, and she is not sure standing is a good idea. "I just want...I want..." She frowns. "I miss you when I am not with you. How do you do that?" she asks him, as if he was the one intentionally making her feel that way.
He has to fight the urge to pull her into his lap and somehow comfort her. It is not his fault she misses him, and it is not his job to make her feel better about it. "What is it you want Patience? If you want whatever we had, then you should not have ended it. I know we had an agreement, and that is fine, I will grow used to it. But if you keep coming back like this, it will only serve to make it harder to let go of you when you finally /do/ leave for the last time." He shakes his head, resisting the urge to take the hand that lies between them. "I miss you too." The words come out as barely a whisper. "But I do not know what I might have done to make you miss me enough to keep coming back. Perhaps it is just that you are drunk."
She does not know what to say. She just wants--what does she want? To be with him? To be able to see him and talk to him like they were before? She has no idea. She cannot think. The room is spinning. She wants desperately to close her eyes, and wonders why she had that last drink. She lays her head back down on the back of the settee. "You make me feel... different," she says after a while. Her eyes slide closed, only because she cannot look around the room anymore. "Sit next to me?" She reaches blindly for him. Her voice sounding more clear now that she is not distracted by the room. "Are you mad at me?"
"That is only because you /are/ different. Different than you thought you were. Than everyone thought you were. I am not sure that has anything to do with /me/." He hesitates when she asks him to sit by her, but she is like a magnet and he cannot resist her though he tries. With a heavy sigh, he goes to her, though he still does not sit close enough to touch her. "I am angry, yes." Her eyes are closed, so he cannot look into them to try and understand what is happening here. "You keep doing this, Patience. As I said before; it hurts every time though I know it should not. You are not mine to be angry with. And I remind myself of that when you leave. Your returning only makes it worse." He wants to take her in his arms, kiss her, tell her everything is alright and they can try again, but he is not sure if he wants that anymore. Not if the leaving and coming back and leaving again keeps happening.
"It has everything to do with you!" she exclaims, sitting up and nearly toppling off of the couch. She grasps at his leg to hold herself steady and shakes her head. "You are the only person who has ever cared enough to talk to me about anything." She has the urge to cry, which is awful and she presses her hands to her eyes to stop herself. She has a feeling if she starts, she might never stop. "Damn Thomas," she spits, the vulgarity falling from her lips too easily. But it is not his fault. It has nothing to do with Thomas. It has everything to do with the fact that she is broken and stupid and confused and /drunk/. "No. Damn me. I am awful." She looks up at James and considers what he says. Even in her wine soaked mind, she knows he has every right to be angry with her. All of this is her fault, and she /is/ hurting him. "I wish I was yours."
Bullen grabs her as she nearly falls, resisting the urge to pull her to him again. "And it is a shame that I am the only person. There should never have been anything to talk about in the first place, but if there must be then someone else should have at least cared enough to find out /why/ you became the way you did." She might be about to cry, he thinks, and if she does he is not sure what he will do. He has never been around a crying woman before, he realizes. "You are not awful." He sighs at her next words. He wishes she was his as well, though he is afraid to say it aloud. In spite of himself, he pulls her to him, kissing the top of her head. "You don't truly wish that. You are only drunk and despondent and lonely."
His arms around her are enough to make tears spring to her eyes, and she chokes on a sob. "No, no, no," she argues with herself. She does not want to cry. But the drink has made her too quick to tears, and her chin is quivering. She pulls herself into him, covering her face with his chest so he does not see her tears, even though it is impossible to hide the fact that she is crying. "In vino veritas," she mutters against his chest, through her thick emotion. "And do not tell me what I truly wish," she argues with his words. She is drunk, and despondent, and lonely, and completely transparent around him. What does she want? She wants another drink, or to go to sleep, or to stop bloody crying.
"Oh, Patience." He sighs and rubs her back, unsure what else to do. She isn't just crying, she's sobbing and he is completely at a loss for how to comfort her. If she does truly wish she was his, he would not know what to do with such a thought. He would happily call her his, but he wonders what she would do if he admitted that to her. Probably run away yet again. Still, the words are on the tip of his tongue, and he bites it just to keep from saying them. Instead, he manages to change the subject. "You need time to let the drink wear off, Patience. And you should not walk home alone. You can stay here." He can only hope her brother does not notice her missing again and come looking for her.
Her sobs are uncontrolled and shaking her body. She knows it is only because she is too drunk, she might not have ever been this drunk before. She will hate herself in the morning. She wipes at her face, trying to breath, to stop herself from crying. It almost seems like no use. She coughs a little and nods. At least he is not making her leave. Though, usually she is the one deciding on when she is leaving. She nods and pulls back. Her tears are still falling, and she knows she looks like an ugly, splotchy mess. "Alright. Thank you." She looks down and swallows hard, her chin dimpled and quivering.
Perhaps he is only trying to quell her tears, at least that is what he tells himself when he kisses her. It is not eager or hungry or any of the things their kisses usually are. Only soft, maybe a little longing, but nothing more than that. When he pulls away, he runs his thumbs over her cheeks to dry her tears. "Patience, things will be alright. Whether or not we continue things, you will move on eventually. Crying does nothing to change that. Whether you wish you were mine or not." He hesitates a moment before continuing. "And whether /I/ wish you were mine or not. It makes no difference." He pauses, looking down at her with a small frown. "Does it? I fear you will only regret your words tomorrow."
She sniffles, trying to regain whatever composure she might have had, which is to say very little. When he kisses her, it helps to quiet her sobs and stop her tears from falling so freely. She looks back at him and wishes desperately she could believe him. Right now, with the fog of alcohol clouding her mind, she only feels wretched. Her eyes seem extra bright from the tears as she casts them up to look at James. "It matters." She takes his hand clumsily in hers. "I think it matters?" She tilts her head and thinks he is right. She will hate herself in the morning. She sort of hates herself right now.
He laces his fingers through hers, breathing out a long exhale as he looks down at her. Her words make his heart pound a little harder. If it does matter that they wish they belonged to each other, what does that even mean? Unsure of what to even say to that, he only shakes his head. "Perhaps I should take you upstairs. You can sleep in my bed and I will sleep here in the parlor." He pulls away from her a bit, though he does not stand quite yet, not really wanting to let go of her. Their words hang in the air still, the wishing and wanting and wondering leaving him so uncertain that he feels frozen here. He wishes he knew what to say, how to react.
She knows what she is saying, even if she does not mean to. But when he does not answer her, when he changes the subject, her mind does not catch up fast enough. All she hears is /bed/. "You can stay with me." She pulls her feet from under her and sets them on the ground. "Do not sleep down here." She runs her hand down his arm. She could fall asleep here, if she is honest with herself. She is exhausted all the way through, and spinny and embarrassed. "I promise to behave."
"We'll see." He shakes his head and decides not to argue with her right now. Not about this. He stands and reaches down to pick her up. As intoxicated as she is, she'd never make it up the stairs by herself. Having her in his arms feels right anyway, whether he likes to admit it or not. "Come on then." Slowly, he climbs the stairs to his bedroom, depositing her on his bed and going to stoke the fire. It feels as if he has done this a hundred times. This time is different though. Not just because he will not lie with her, but also because their relationship seems to have shifted somehow. He comes to sit on the bed beside her, gently pulling the pins from her hair so she can lie more comfortably. "Do you need anything?"
She hangs onto him, her eyes sliding closed as they ascend to the bedroom. Immediately upon being placed onto the bed, she curls into a ball. The bed is soft, and her body is sinking into it, thanks to the wine. "Alderman Guzzle should have stopped drinking at dinner," she whispers to herself. Her eyes slide shut and she knows she will be asleep soon. The touch of his hand pulling the pins from her hair is soothing. All she wants is for him to lay with her, next to her. "James," she hums, hooking her hand onto his lap. "Please sleep here with me. Please." She shifts over, hoping he will lay next to her, /wishing/ he would.
He is just able to hear what she whispers, and it causes him to laugh a little. "Yes, Alderman Guzzle should have. Perhaps they should have given you a different caricature to play. One that was not permitted to drink." He sighs and lies next to her, telling himself it will only be until she falls asleep. "It would not be right, Patience. We both know what happens when we are too close for too long." He says this for both their benefit. In her state, he would be taking advantage of her if they were to do anything beyond sleep, and that is far beyond the pale of anything he would even consider. "Even if you do wish to be mine, I could not simply have my way with you in your current condition."
"I did very well at play acting," she tells him in a sleepy murmur. Perhaps too well considering her current state. But she had fun. Real fun, for the first time in so long. She did not feel alone, and yet at the same time she felt utterly alone because the one person she cared about was not there. Patience is too close to sleep to consider that she does care for him. More than is usual for her. She feels the bed dip as he lays next to her and she wraps her arms around him. "Then we can just sleep. I am too tired to seduce you," she says, letting herself laugh a little. She is not entirely sure she would not cast up her accounts if any sort of physical activity were to commence anyway. "Thank you."
"It seems you must've." He lets her pull him to her, wrapping his arms around her too and kissing her forehead. He knows he should get up and leave her here to sleep off the drinks she has imbibed, but convinces himself that a moment longer cannot hurt. Running his fingers through her hair, he says, "You should not have had so much to drink, Patience. Someone could have taken advantage of your state. Not all men are as conscious of that as I am." He gently runs his hand up and down her back, perhaps to lull her into sleep, or perhaps to take her in for the last time she is here. In the morning she will regret having come here and that will truly be the end of things even if they seemed to have ended the night before. Even if he wishes they hadn't.
She laughs a little with no humor. Her brow furrows, despite this her eyes stay closed. He is right. She knows all too well that he is right. But she can handle herself. And she does not think anyone at the party would have done anything untoward. But walking from Tyrehampton alone, perhaps she could have used better judgement. Even still, she feels safe now. "You are the best of men, James Bullen." She runs her hand down his arm and snuggles closer. "I would be a fool to end this again. You might be the best thing I have." She is half asleep now, drunk and rambling, but she means it.
The best thing she has. The words run over and over in his mind. The best thing she has. What does that even mean? He knows she is intoxicated beyond good reason, that she is almost asleep and probably not even aware of what she says, but it still makes his heart ache for some reason. To know that she thinks of him as something that belongs to her, it is not even something he was aware he wanted until now. If only she wanted the same thing. He shakes it off, knowing she will only regret her words in the morning, will take them back and leave just as angrily as she did last night. "Well, you do have me...for as long as you want." He whispers into her hair.
Her mind is slowly reducing itself to a drunk buzz. She does not truly hear what he says. Even so, she manages to give her reply. "Then I will keep you." The words are half formed, slurred with sleep and wine, and she says them muffled into the pillow. The bed mixed with his warmth is more than enough to allow sleep to creep over the drunk disorientation. She sighs, content, and still holding onto him, as she falls asleep.
He can feel it as she sinks into sleep, her body growing lax against him, her breathing deepening. Her arms are still around him though and he is not sure how to extricate himself without waking her. Not that he wants to leave her there, not when she is so warm and content in his arms. He gives a small sigh, and closes his eyes for a moment, not expecting to slide into sleep himself. He'd been nearly asleep when she knocked on his door and sleep comes more quickly than anticipated before he can pull himself away and return to the parlor for the night.
|Posted 1 week ago|
|Posted 1 week ago|