|Jonathan had seen to everything, for the most part. Being fussed over so emphatically was difficult for her to stand in large doses. At least, when it was by friends and people not obligated to care about her. She had very simply forgotten that that was also his job. She had had looked just alarmingly tired when he had returned 45 minutes later to bring her a phone. He’d gotten it in white. But he could tell she just wanted to be alone. It had nothing to do with him, it had all to do with being forced to interact, almost intimately, with multiple people for several days. And all of these interactions were under the threat of discovery as well as the electric energy that filled the air around her. She thought she could feel the internet in the air. She’d log on from her laptop and see smoky tendrils reaching for her. A lot of it was positive, people who missed her and good reviews. But all of the hands reaching through the ether were greedy and removed from her well-being and her heart. She felt them grabbing, but she was also aware of the brutal strength that pulsed from her and eradicated the after images of these grasps. She was numb. They couldn’t touch her. She checked on these things out of a morose curiosity as well as an echo of self-preservation.
Oh that was funny. She believed it, but it wasn’t self-preservation– she just didn’t want to be surprised. She was going to go about her business and her day to day until she knew that she needed to lay low for a while. She would do that until people felt like they couldn’t make money off of her because she was uninteresting. The most persistent and pervasive thing that Milli would probably have to deal with was the fans. And Milli never cared about the fans. Wait, no. She cared about them, but she never worried about them. Not for herself. Jonathan was always alarmed by this. He was sure that if a fan wanted to capture her in a cage and lock her up in their basement Milli wouldn’t even argue. She’d do her duty and warble from between the bars until whoever it was was ready to let her go. Whoever it was had had enough. The idea sickened and terrified him. Jonathan’s protectiveness of Millicent was like a sleeping madness. And everyone knew it was there. It was always there, somniferous at the edge of his eyes when he was with her. Jonathan knew that Milli would probably wait till they were done– had their fill. The problem was that no one ever had their fill. “Christ,” he murmured when he left Lars’ place for the last time.
He called Lars. “So, you’re sure it’s ok?”
“Doesn’t really matter. I’m not there.” Jonathan almost double checked but he knew that Lars wasn’t someone to be passive aggressive. This was about logic and efficiency. He had a place. He wasn’t in it. Someone else may as well be.
“Ok. Cool.” Jonathan tried to remember if he had extended all the obligatory pleasantries that one should go through when one invited themselves over someone else’s place.
In the silence, Lars added. “So… she look all right?”
“Uh…” Jonthan grimaced. It felt very weird and unnerving to be asked a question like that from a man who lived in black and white. The nonchalance was like nails grating on a chalk board. “I mean… Wait, what do you mean?”
Lars considered this. “I think that answers the question sufficiently. Does Neil know she’s around?”
“I think he knew before she did.”
“I don’t think that’s reassuring.”
“Wasn’t meant to be.”
“Should I talk to Neil?”
Jonathan couldn’t tell if Lars was refusing to ask the question, commenting on his use of the word ‘should’ or what… “I really don’t understand how this could be an issue.”
“It will be, or it won’t.”
“I realize you are saying you don’t really care, and you wouldn’t get involved, but you sound like a f***ed up soothsayer. (And an a**hole.) You sound like Lamia.”
“Gross.” Lars laughed.
“Well. Whatever. Thanks for the head’s up.”
“Do you need me to do anything or tell her any particular rules?”
“No.” What did Jonathan expect? Lars had probably lived out of a burn bag more than once. Lars’ life always reminded Jonathan of Robert De Niro explaining what the title of the movie “Heat” meant. “Just tell her I’ll be back in 3 weeks. So sometime around that Monday she should wear clothes when she walks around the house.” Jonathan could hear the wolf grin on the man’s mouth. He could imagine the shine in those ice-blue gunslinger’s eyes.
“Uh. Yeah.” Awkkkkward.
In the house, Millicent was staring at the phone and wondering if she even had any contacts to type in.
**Title by STP
P1: “She turned away, what was she looking at?”
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