28 7 / 2012
Title: Breakfast Plans (Wolf/Ren part 3)
Characters: Denis Wolf (feat. Neil Etheridge, Carlie de Murga, Roland Muller), OCs
Warning: Contains mentions of mature content.
Standard disclaimers apply: This is a work of fiction, and persons and places are used fictitiously with no harm intended.
[a/n]: Sorry this took forever. Been busy with life.
The best laid plans are always best served with breakfast, just as revenge is a dish best served cold. Sure, they say the best revenge is to live well, but no one ever said it had to be played fair. No one ever said living well equated to playing nice.
Never let it be said that Syrena Luna does not know how to deliver proper retribution.
~ * ~
As it were, Denis Wolf didn’t need much convincing at all. He’s sitting by the bar with Carlie, mulling over his drink and giving out what were obviously half-hearted answers to his friend and team mate’s questions. I wouldn’t put it past Carlie to be asking Wolf if he knows anything about The Incident, but at least Wolf looks like he is keeping his side of the agreement. He better be, if he knows what’s good for him.
I feel a hand on the small of my back, and I look behind my shoulder. Jason hands me my guitar, and with it, a concerned expression written all over his face. “You really want to start Sophie’s Notebook again tonight?”
I shrug. “Why not? It’s not a Thursday, but no one said it has to be a Thursday. Besides, we haven’t done it in a while, and people like my segment!”
His hand doesn’t leave my back even as I sling my guitar over my shoulder. He doesn’t say anything, but he doesn’t need to. I’ve known Jason since our undergraduate days. We didn’t hit it off at all back then, he had always been something more of a foil, the anti-hero in my fairy tale, but he is a genuinely good person. Our friendship only became as such when he and my other not-friend, Mai, started having this flirtationship. To make this long and boring story short, Jason and I ended up having this mutual agreement that since we both have in possession a fair amount of blackmail material on each other, we would cooperate until circumstance forced us otherwise.
“I’ll be fine,” I tell him. Unfortunately, Jason was going to need more convincing than that. I face him and rest my hands on his waist. “I know what I’m doing. Sophie’s Notebook is always a hit, and this will be good for us, and I need a distraction.”
It’s the ‘distraction’ that does it, and he finally concedes, but not without warning. “Just be careful, okay?”
We take the stage after that, and while I plug in my guitar, our frontman Jay introduces the band once again and takes a minute to warm the night up for the last set. Outside, the weather agrees with me: rainy with a chance of bitter jealousy. Neil is in his usual seat with his girlfriend, surrounded by his team mates and what other friends he picked up along the way. I have to admire his guts for coming here even after what he’s done. That takes balls.
I spy the pink faux leather notebook on my stand. The last time we did the segment was months ago, before Neil flew back to London. Coincidentally, the segment was reborn because of Neil Etheridge as well. Back then, before all this, before the regular slot in this bar, there was one struggling musician collecting rejection notices from every audition. Meanwhile, the one other constant presence in her life just decided to create some kind of adventure and fly all the way to another country. It had been a going-away and a post-break up party, one that ended badly on my end, but if not for that night, I would have never even met Neil at all.
I’m still deciding if it’s a blessing or a curse.
That night I first met Neil was the first time I had ever felt like Happy Ever After did exist. For the first time, I felt hopeful, happy even. It made me want to sing to the ends of the world. But I guess I had been gravely mistaken. Neil wasn’t Prince Charming. Or at least, he wasn’t my Prince Charming.
Looking out into the audience, resentment burns deep into my very core, and I can’t be the only who should hurt like this. I shouldn’t have to be the only who looks back into a memory, Neil needs to remember too. He needs to know that this is not okay at all.
Under the dim lights disturbed only by the occasional swinging of the strobes above us, I watch as Neil and his girlfriend act as if the rest of the world does not exist. I can’t blame him for that, neither can I begrudge her. Neil just had that power of focusing all your attention on him that no matter what else is going on, you see only him, hear only him, feel only him. Like a magnet, you’re helpless and forever pointing towards him, and he knows this. He knows this and he uses to his advantage all too well.
When my time draws near, Jason sends me another warning glance, but it’s too late for any of his concerns to be voiced out. I have made up my mind about this long before I even brought out the notebook, and at this point there really is no turning back. Neil needs to know that this isn’t over.
“Hi,” I say with the sweetest smile I can afford to make. “Nice to see most of you are still here. Having a good time?” I give the audience time to murmur a response and I take my seat and guitar with me.
“If any of you’ve seen us before, then I guess tonight will be something of a treat for all of us.” I lift the notebook from the stand and present it to the audience. Several heads nod in recognition, and squint to see if Neil is looking. He isn’t now, but I’m sure he will soon enough.
“Sophie’s Notebook, ladies and gentlemen.” There’s a round of soft applause and I take a deep breath. “So the other day my dear friend and I were talking about happy endings.” I open to the first page and read aloud. “We were in love, or at least I thought we were. Being with him, it felt like the fairy tales were real and that I was finally, finally living one out. Isn’t that how it is, anyway? We’re all pre-conditioned to believe that at some point of lives we’ll find our Prince Charming and live out some kind of fairy tale.
“But I guess fairy tales aren’t real after all. Why is it that we’re always fooled into thinking that we’ll ever find that kind of happiness? Why do we get hurt by the people we have been hoping would heal us of the scars of our past.”
Meeting Neil was exactly like a fairy tale. It was so cliche that I honestly thought that maybe, ‘this is it!’ that things like that couldn’t just have happened for no real reason. I believed that Fate was giving me a sign, and I would be silly not to listen. So I listened. When I first bumped into Neil Etheridge the bar around me disappeared into a white background. I don’t know if it was because of the drinks or because it really was just that moment, or if it was a mixture of both, but I was caught in that moment forever. Embarrassed as I was, I ran away first, but I was Cinderella in that story and exactly two days later Neil walked into Ever After in search of the owner of the very same notebook I had in my hands now.
“When I met him, he was everything like a Prince should be. He was charming, he was gallant, he was my tall, dark, and handsome, but he was also more than that. He was more than the butterflies in my stomach, more than my heart beating a million kilometers per hour. He was my safe house. With him, I felt more safe than I have ever felt anywhere else.
“So I guess that should have been my sign. We were so comfortable around each other that maybe, I got too comfortable and just always thought he would be there. That even though there had been no explicit expression of our feelings for one another, I had let myself be complacent and think that would always just be there.
“But suddenly one day, he was gone. So much for my happy ending.”
Cue guitar and my hand strumming to the chords of Avril Lavigne’s My Happy Ending. It does not get more blatant than this, and Neil looks right at me. I can’t help the smirk on my face as I sing, and for about three seconds I hold his gaze, and look away. Well, I have his attention now.
After our last set, and after fending off my bandmates, I search Wolf out. Neil will forever be buzzing in the background of my thoughts, and I’m hoping he sees me as I’m strutting down the bar. Wolf is alone now, just the way I need him to be. In his hands is a bottle of, surprise surprise, German beer, and he tips his head at me when I take the seat next to him.
“Red,” he says, a hint of a smirk on his face.
“Mr. Wolf,” I answer, “Thank you for waiting.”
He smiles before taking a swig from his bottle. “You asked me so nicely.”
Bourbon appears on the counter, just by my hands, and I stare at the iceball floating on the auburn liquid before taking it in my hands. I might as well. It’s not like I can do this sober anyway. After a sip, just as the heat is going down my throat, my mind reels back to what I asked him here for in the first place. The drink settles in its usual uneasy ball in the pit of my gut, and I take another sip before I talk. “Not here,” I end up saying. I sneak a peek at the digital clock on the bar. “Just this round, then we’ll talk.”
Wolf doesn’t say anything for a while and maybe I shouldn’t have been so indecisive about this. Or at least, maybe I should have just gone for the kill as soon as I was a hearing distance from him. I’m sure he’s curious, he should be, after what happened the other day, after asking him to come here even after That. Maybe I should have waited until the morning to ask him out.
He laughs into his beer and I raise a brow. “What’s so funny?”
His eyes roll to the side and he regards me with a casual look of familiarity. Then his eyes drop down to my drink now half-empty. “Four more of those then we’ll talk.”
I bite back a retort. Or, at least, I try to. “Four more of this and I’m sure we’ll do more than talk.”
This time, he arches a brow and there’s that glint in his eyes that sets a fire shooting up my spine. Trouble at it’s finest. Trouble in a sexy package just waiting for me to take it. Somewhere at the back of my mind a conversation is taking place but I can’t hear the voices clearly enough to understand what they’re saying. I’m guessing it’s my better sense telling me to abort mission and go find some other person to bother. Maybe it’s Noa, Sophie, and Jason in my head telling me I’m being an idiot. But whatever it is, it needs to speak up because Wolf’s voice is louder in my ears.
“Trust me, you won’t need four more of those if you want to do more than just talk.”
“Oh really?” It’s not a challenge I’d usually hand out, but I guess Wolf walked me right into that one. “And why not?”
“Because,” he says with a lopsided smirk, “you wouldn’t have to make the first move in that dress.”
I blush. I can feel it rising from my chest and up to my neck and all the way to my face. I feel it burning on my cheeks, acutely so because this doesn’t happen to me at all. Did Wolf just compliment me? And did I really wear this dress because I knew I was coming to meet him? I look down at the asymmetrical black lace mini dress I’m wearing. At first I debated if the hemline was too much (or too less) considering just a few months ago I was ready to shoot lasers into girls who wore such things. I won over the argument by telling myself the fact that it had one long sleeve would balance the fact that it exposed more than half my thighs.
I down what’s left of my drink. “Are you quite done yet?”
“Thought you’d never ask.”
In my version of this particular moment of my life, we’ll be flash forwarded to some room and there will be passion-induced clumsiness as we knock over random tabletop objects as we kiss and rid ourselves of cumbersome clothing. We’d fall into the bed, and this time I’ll remember this good time Herr Wolf speaks of.
I can only wish.
We’re at the parking lot, and my back is pressed against my pick-up’s door, and there’s kissing, but my brain is reminding me there’s a reason for calling him out tonight. “Wait,” I gasp in between one very hot kiss.
“What is it?” he murmurs into my neck, nuzzling his nose into a rather sensitive spot I had no idea I even had.
“Talk. Asked you here to talk.”
He laughs and presses an open-mouthed kiss on that same spot and I shudder under the touch of his mouth and his warm breath on my skin. “About?”
How is he so calm? My breathing hitches and my heart ricochets around my ribcage. “You said something about Neil…”
“Not the time to talk about it, Schatz.”
What? My brain isn’t where it should be and if he keeps doing whatever it is he’s doing with those lips I won’t be able to do what I came here for. He isn’t even doing anything with his hands but trap me tight against him yet. “Wait, Denis wait.”
He lifts his head enough to look into my eyes and finally he takes a step back. He didn’t have to though, I asked him to stop kissing me for a moment, not move away. “What is it?” He isn’t offended, just very amused. Very amused and nowhere near the mess I must look like.
“You should have worn a different dress.”
I ignore that this time. “Breakfast?”
Obviously surprised, he looks at his watch. “It’s two-thirty in the morning.”
“So?” My keys are already in my hands, and I swing the door open. “I’m not drunk,” I’m really not. Just fuzzy brained because of…well…reasons. “So get in the car.”
I can hear Noa’s voice saying I’m being stupid and I shouldn’t drive, but really, I swear, I’m fine. Wolf takes the passenger seat and we head off to the nearest twenty-four hour cafe I know. We arrive safely within twenty minutes, and I park into the driveway by the curb. Wolf has been pleasantly silent the whole drive, and I just know he’s dying to open his mouth. And talk. Talk.
“Wait here,” I tell him as I climb back to the backseat. “Don’t look.” Of course he looks and I roll my eyes. Ineffective because it’s too dark to see anyway. “Change costume Mr. Wolf. I’d appreciate if you kept your eyes in front.”
He does as I ask and leans back into the seat while I slip the dress over my head. “Nothing I haven’t seen before, Liebling.”
Wolf looks back at me just as I poke my head and arms through my white shirt. “Nothing.”
I pull on my shorts and my Doc Martens before any more insanity occurs. I’m in the middle of tying my short hair into ponytail when Wolf stops me just before the cafe door. “What?”
He sighs and drops down to one knee. He’s tying my shoelaces. Double knots as if he knows that’s how I like them. When he’s done he dusts off his hands and opens the door for me. We find seats somewhere by a window and give out our orders.
“That waitress,” I say as soon as she leaves our table. “she likes you.”
He doesn’t say anything, just sits there with that wolfish smirk on his face. Does he ever not smirk? “Jealous?”
“You wish,” I scoff. Has he always been this obnoxious?
“You want to know about Etheridge.”
Okay, so maybe I didn’t expect him to just come out with that all of a sudden. Yes, I want to talk about Neil. About getting back at him. About him being displeased with seeing me with Wolf. “You said he didn’t like seeing you with me.”
He nods. “He has a girlfriend.” It’s a loaded statement. He knows where this is going. “You don’t like that either.”
“Let’s just say Neil and I have,” I take a moment to choose the proper word. “History.”
“But you’re not his girlfriend now.”
Something about the way he’s sitting there all calm and collected bothers me. I know absolutely nothing about him, but the way he’s sitting there gives me the feeling that he knows enough about me. His gaze pierces right through me, but instead of turning away, I look right back at him. “No, I’m not. I’m not sure I want to be.”
“Don’t. He’s not worth it.” Sincerity. From a wolf.
The food arrives and I compose my next response in my head. A moment passes, then another, and Wolf takes a sip of his coffee. “I don’t want to get back with him, but…”
He lifts his eyes to mine, even with the cup still in his lips I know he’s smiling.
“I want to get back at him. And if you say that this,” I gesture between us. “This bothers him, then this is what we’ll do.”
One corner of his mouth curls up as he sets the white porcelain cup down. “You know what you’re asking for, right?”
No. I don’t. I really don’t. “Yes. Look, I can go ahead and look for some other guy to shamelessly use, but I only have that one dress and you know it won’t be safe if I went out all night piss drunk in that. Also, believe it or not, stringing a person along isn’t really my style. That is if I even get to that point that the random dude is attracted to me enough, and even then I can’t keep up a charade.”
He let out a snort and picked up his fork. “But you’ll use me.”
“You’re well aware that you’re being used, and really Wolf, after what happened I demand that you take responsibility.”
He actually laughs and it’s distressingly normal sounding. “You’ll fall for me.”
“Audacious, Herr Wolf.”
“I’ll fall for you.”
He’s doing this on purpose. Flustering me for the fun of it. Even when he’s looking straight into my eyes, I know deep inside he’s only saying this for the shock factor. Denis Wolf is an unknown variable in my life, but even at the risk of letting him in, I’m certain that this plan would go without fail. “Trust me, you won’t.”
“Define your terms, then.”
Deep breaths. “I’ll let you finish what you started earlier tonight just as long as you help me get what I want.”
Another smirk. “Define what you want,” he says, that glint back in his eyes. For a second there I thought it innuendo. Knowing Wolf, it probably was.
“Revenge, basically. He needs to know that for me, this isn’t over.”
He nods in assent, but he’s thinking of something else. “Only if you let me do this my way.”
“Your way?” I carefully ask. What does me mean by his way?
I know better by now that whenever that wolfish grin is on his face something amazing is about to happen. Though whether it would be amazing for me still remains to be seen. “You’ll need to trust me.”
Trust him. How do you trust a wolf?
At this moment I feel like I’m the one walking into some trap that I probably will never get out of. That instead of me using him, Wolf is the one luring me into some grander scheme. Somewhere at the back of my head, that conversation is getting rowdier, more aggressive, but I still don’t understand what they’re saying. In this cafe, right in the middle of our 3AM breakfast, Wolf waits for an answer.
“Fine. I trust you.”