2075: Reclaiming North America

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by loyalist_historian, Jan 13, 2013.

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  1. Seventeen-year-old Mirette Torren sighed gently, raising her dominant left hand to her temple. She allowed her gaze--focused on the compact novel she propped up in her lap--to waver for a moment, unable to continue focusing at what she knew was an incredibly late hour. Glancing down at her watch, she took note of the exact time--2:37 AM.

    Biting her lip, she bent the top corner of the page she was reading, sliding the book superficially under her top-sheet as she stood and walked to the full length mirror tacked to her bedroom door. The girl examined the image shining back at her through the dim light in the room. The burning red curtain cascading to just below her shoulders, soft layers adding dimension and framing her square face. Milky, almost porcelain-like complexion, and fern green eyes which were said to mimic her father's.

    Her father.

    Mirette looked away from her image, moving back to her bed as she thought about him. People often told Mirette she held an incredible resemblance to her father, from her striking features as a whole down to eyes she was told made people feel she could see directly into their souls. As a child, Mirette had taken the comparison to her father as a compliment. Mirette loved her father, more than she could ever explain with words. He was her father, after all. As much as she detested his policies, she would never--could never--love the man any less. But the exposure to different ideals she experienced had caused her to begin to question what she did know of her father's methods, despite his endeavors to keep her so secluded.

    She smiled ironically as she thought about it. She was never supposed to have been exposed to the ideals she read about in the book under her bed-sheet--something by the name of 1984, by a man named Orwell. She had accessed it one late night when she was thirteen, and her father had left his briefcase lying haphazardly on the floor outside of his study. Curiously, Mirette had grabbed hold of the book--which she assumed her father had intended to read himself--before taking it back to her room, where it had been ever since. Her father had never said anything to her, so Mirette simply assumed he didn't know, and that he believed he had forgotten it at his office. Still, she liked to keep it out of his sight, just in case.

    She doubted her father would appreciate such exposure--she wasn't supposed to watch, listen to, or read anything that wasn't explicitly approved by President Torren’s Administration. After slipping the book deep under her bed--horrible hiding place, she thought, cursing herself silently, but I don't have anywhere else--she quickly slipped on a silk nightgown before taking off her jewelry and laying down for bed. Her father had yet to say good night to her, but Mirette was just too exhausted to wait, and he would probably be upset to know she was up so late anyway.

    It went better for Mirette when she simply avoided him, and despite how much it killed her to all but hide from a man she couldn’t stop herself from loving so much, she'd do her best to stay hidden all the same.
     
  2. 225017_1961919962730_4166557_n.jpg

    ((^Should you agree =P.))
     
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    Her pale, thin fingers didn’t falter as she jimmied the lock. The gate creaked slightly as it opened, and she cringed. She remained crouched as she impatiently pulled her flaming red hair into a messy ponytail to prevent it from getting caught in thorns or the chain link. She crawled through the gate and pulled it shut behind her, waiting for the gentle metallic click of the old lock sliding back into place. She rose back up to her full height and began to lurk along the fence, keeping to the shadows and avoiding the penetrating gaze of the security cameras. Finally, she made it to a side door of a large house and slipped in gratefully.

    Maren Torren was seventeen years old and she had been sneaking in and out of the presidential manor since she was twelve. Living with her awful father, willfully oblivious mother, beloved yet obedient twin sister, and the chaotic cast of advisors that only added to the dysfunction made Maren feel suffocated. Sometimes she just needed the time and space to breathe. While exploring the perimeter of the estate one day, she had found the gate with the rusty old lock and beyond it – freedom. Sometimes she climbed trees, or sat in the sun, or went to the nearby abandoned shed with a fallout shelter for a basement. Sometimes she read books she pilfered from around the house, or hummed silly tunes to herself , or used the canned food from the fallout shelter to make herself experimental meals. It didn’t particularly matter what she did; what mattered was that she was totally blissfully alone. This was why she hadn’t even told her twin sister Mirette about her quiet outdoor sanctuary. She loved her sister, but Mirette was pathetically devoted to their father, so much so that Maren wasn’t entirely sure that Mirette would keep her secret for her.

    She sneaked a peek at a digital clock hanging in the hall as she entered the main residential wing of the house. 2:40 AM. Hopefully everyone is asleep, Maren thought as she sneaked around a corner.

    She collided, painfully, with a tall figure. For one terrifying yet delicious moment, Maren feared (and hoped) that it was her father. She feared what he would do to her, but she also relished rebelling against him. He had hurt her, Mirette, and their mother for so long, and Maren would do anything in her power to hurt him back. Perhaps “hurt” wasn’t the proper word, because she seriously doubted that he had a heart at all. What he cared about most in the world was power and control, so Maren did everything in her power to frustrate his scheming and manipulation.

    But no, it was only David Carter, head of President Torren’s body guard.

    “Oh, hi, David,” Maren continued down the hall until she felt a strong hand grasp her arm. Carter’s grip was loose and gentle, but still she flinched. He let go immediately and looked apologetic.

    “And where have you been?” he sighed, still not letting her off the hook.

    “Just getting a midnight snack,” Maren replied sweetly. It wasn’t exactly a lie; she had eaten a tin of pineapple in her fallout shelter hideout. She didn’t mind lying, but her conscience nagged her more when she lied to Carter; she was fonder of him than anyone else in the house, sometimes even more than Mirette.

    “Mare, the kitchen’s all the way on the other side of the house,” Carter said, exasperated, but she had slipped lithely away without looking back, and he didn’t have the heart to call her back. The girls had been through quite enough, he felt, without their dad’s body guard making their life more miserable.

    Maren made it back to her room without further incident. She didn’t bother to close the door quietly; she knew Carter wouldn’t betray her. She changed quickly and quietly into pajamas, ruffled up her bed to make it appear recently slept in (in case her father came to check on her after hearing the door) and sneaked next door to Mirette’s room.

    Mirette appeared to be asleep. Maren tiptoed over to her twin sister’s bed and gazed at her for a few moments. It was odd, sometimes, to look at her twin. They looked startlingly alike, and yet there was also something different about their energies that expressed itself in their faces in discreet ways. Mirette was sweet and obedient, and there was something gentler and more devoted about her eyes and lips. Even as she slept, she appeared peaceful. Maren was always restless and rebellious, and she felt that her own face was less tranquil and beautiful than her sister’s. Then again, she was older, and she had to protect her fragile baby sister. It pained her to think of how hopelessly devoted Mirette was to their father. It made her angry at him, and fiercely protective and sometimes frustrated with Mirette.


    “I love you, Miri,” she whispered, sitting next to her sister’s sleeping figure so she could kiss her on the forehead.

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  4. Mirette kept her eyes closed as the door opened, continuing to focus on making her breathing seem natural. Was it her father?

    She didn't open her eyes, trying to maintain the illusion that she slept for now. She heard the door close, and then a figure padded lightly to her side. It most certainly was not her father. But then.

    She wavered gently as she heard Maren speak to her, and opened her eyes as her twin leaned down to kiss her.

    "Maren," she whispered back. She panicked for a moment then, before explaining herself. "I. Um. I couldn't sleep," she lied. "How about you, is everything all right?"

    She sat up, tugging at her hair subconsciously.

    Mirette would never actually admit to knowing how her father punished Maren. It was too much of a conflict of interest. As it was, their father tended to praise Mirette day and night, and try to pit her against Maren. She hated it. Mirette had never been targeted by her father--she could think of no incidents where she had been--but she still found herself unable to question him. It wasn't that Mirette thought Maren deserved it, although, purely objectively, she did do more to aggravate their father than their mother did. She just couldn't acknowledge what happened. She couldn't.

    The closest Mirette could and would come to acknowledging their father's abuse of her mother and sister was just what she asked now--'Is everything all right?'
     
  5. Maren gazed at her sister fondly. She knew how Mirette worried about Maren and Elodie, their mother. In many ways, however, Maren felt that her father's emotional manipulation of Mirette was worse than his physical abuse.

    "No, no, everything's fine. I just wanted to come in and say goodnight. How was your day?"

    After the twins had chatted for a while and bid each other good night, Maren slipped back into her own room. The hairs on the back of her neck prickled and she caught the disturbing whiff of crisp shirts, alcohol, and ink - the scents of her father. There was a disturbed quality about the room. Someone had been inside it since Maren had been in Mirette's room.

    "Hello?" she hissed, quietly but fiercely. She didn't want to worry her sister. And then she saw it - a single sheet of ivory paper on her desk with her father's seal on top. The ink still looked wet. All of the drawers on her desk had been rifled through, and her mattress had been shifted to the side. Good thing she had long since started hiding all of her good secrets away in the woods around the house and her hideaway fall out shelter. She picked up the note.

    "Maren,

    It's nearly 3 AM and you are not in your room. Your mother and I are worried sick. I've asked him where you go, but Carter is too lenient with you. I am going to assign you a personal body guard if this behavior does not stop.

    Don't think I don't know that you're up to something. And I will find out what it is.

    -MT
    "

    Maren creased the paper over and over into tinier and tinier pieces until it was barely an inch square. Then she said a curse that she had made up, put the paper in her mouth and swallowed it. She had been doing this since she was eight years old.
     
  6. ((I'm assuming Marcus is also going to check on Mirette. I'm slightly controlling him, I'm sorryyyy.))

    Mirette relaxed considerably when Maren told her everything was fine. How was your day?

    Mirette glanced fleetingly at her door, before back at her sister, her eyes wide. She was scared. Too scared to keep talking then. What if their father heard them? It was a better idea for them to just break until the next morning.

    Maren convinced her to talk for a little while, and Mirette agreed, although she still felt like they were betraying their father's trust. But, still, she spoke with Maren for five minutes, and then Mirette glanced to the door once more, moving to hug her older sister and sending her back to her own room. Mirette didn't want to disappoint their father. And she feared what to happen with Maren, who's punishments were always considerably worse than Mirette's in these situations, if Mirette were punished at all.

    Once Maren left, she lay down in bed and close her eyes. The door opened, but this time the footsteps were more precise, and distinctive of their father. He sat in much the same spot as Maren had, and seemingly stared down at her for a few moments, before reaching down to move her hair from her place and kiss her cheek. And then he left and closed the door behind him, and Mirette was happy that her father had come to bid her a good night, but prayed he had visited her before he had visited Maren.

    Elodie sat silently upon the plush bed of the master bedroom, the pillows propping up her back, shoulders, and head, the only thing really stopping her from falling completely out of alertness. Marcus had awoken her from all but a deep sleep when he had come to bed, which wasn't atypical, but still. Elodie was exhausted. And while they normally would have drifted right back to sleep together, now Elodie was an exhausted, worried mother awaiting news of Maren.

    She was largely too tired to even think. The thoughts she did have were of worry for her eldest twin. The largest cause of worry for the thirty-eight year old woman, at this time in her life.

    The door opened, and Elodie pushed herself up along the headboard, her wavy red hair falling over her face as she looked at her husband expectantly and hopefully. "Is she here," Elodie asked, in a pleading whisper.
     
  7. President Marcus Torren strode through the hallways of his home, his territory, fuming. He had allowed Maren her little escapades for far too long. Was the silly girl ignorant enough to believe that he didn't know that she left the grounds? When she first started disappearing, he had thought she was hiding in the house and had ordered his staff to look for her. Then he ordered the staff to bring him her laundry before they washed it, and sure enough, an abnormal amount of grass and dirt stains littered nearly all of the clothing that she wore on days when she disappeared. At first he thought that it was convenient -- it would keep her out of his hair. But recently he had started noticing a significant amount of censored and potentially poisonous literature missing from odd parts of the house. He knew Mirette would never take the books, and even though Elodie might dare to defy him occasionally, she couldn't keep it from him for long. No, Maren had to be stopped.

    He was tempted to wake up the entire household to find a guard for his eldest daughter immediately, but thought against it. He didn't want his staff, or Elodie and Mirette, for that matter, to know how threatened he felt by Maren's rebelliousness. Instead he made his way back to his bedroom, where his wife was anxiously waiting for him.

    "Don't worry," he answered his wife's desperate plea, "she's all taken care of," Or will be soon.

    The next morning he made his way to the executive wing of the house and began searching for James, his best friend and right hand man. James was the man who always took care of things for him. James was nowhere to be found, and Marcus could feel his pulse in his ears. This needed to be taken care of immediately. He had allowed Maren to stray outside of the sphere of his control for far too long, he had been a fool, and now she might be irretrievable. Who knew what she was doing out there! Organizing a rebellion? Developing a nuclear missile? And who knew how persuasive she could be - Torren saw a bit of himself in her - perhaps she could infect Mirette, Elodie, and the household with her rebellious ideas. No, this had to be taken care of immediately, especially as the girls' 18th birthday approached.

    The first two people waiting outside his office were Sera and Adam Dupont. Sera was the presidential press secretary and her husband Adam was one of the few authorized reporters allowed in the presidential residence. The probability of their trustworthiness outweighed the danger of allowing the Maren matter to fester.

    "Sera, I need to find James immediately. And if you can't find him, I need you to find Carter...no, wait, not Carter," he amended, Carter had too much of a soft spot for Elodie and the girls, "find any trustworthy member of the staff or guard team to keep an eye on Maren, starting immediately. Now, what are you waiting for! Both of you go now!" he commanded fiercely before entering his office and slamming the door on them.

    Adam Dupont stared, open mouthed. He wasn't around the president as much as his wife Sera was, and was not quite as used to his....coarse ways. Yet Adam Dupont also had a soft spot for the girls, and a secret. He turned to Sera.

    "We have to tell Maren now. She has to know. It's the only right thing to do."
     
  8. The next morning, Elodie opened her eyes slowly, still exhausted from the previous night. As she turned, looking for her husband, she realized he wasn't there, and then his comments from the night before came back. She's all taken care of. Elodie rubbed at her temple, her hair falling forward into her face, before she slung her legs over the bed and stepped off. She brushed her hair out first, and then she applied makeup, careful to focus more concentrated amounts on the newer bruises forming at her chin. Her skin was so white, it was hard to conceal those marks. That didn't stop her from trying every morning.

    And then she slipped out of her silk nightgown, stepping into an amethyst colored dress she knew Marcus liked, and headed out of the room, downstairs, and to her husband's office. Elodie arrived a couple of minutes after he slammed the door. She stopped, all but shocked, right before she would have run into Sera and Adam, tactfully tilting her head to the side as she tried to hide the bruises. She bit her lip, nodding curtly at Sera and purposefully not looking at Adam. Elodie took a deep breath, before grabbing the door handle.

    As the wife of the President, Elodie was one of the only individuals allowed in a room alone with Marcus alone, and without an announcement. The guards allowed her in the room, and she closed the door behind her. Elodie crossed her arms in front of her chest, pressing her back to the door as she stared at her husband in silent concern for almost a full minute.


    “Marcus?” she said softly, to get his attention. Her concern continued to show on her face, as she waited for her husband to confide in her.

    The front door opened, and an attractive man who looked perhaps a bit younger than his age of forty-four stepped inside. Noticing what he considered an unnatural calm for the household, James knit his brow slightly, setting his briefcase on the counter and he walked further into the house, allowing the door to lazily close behind him. Jay still sat in the car, but James didn't care nearly enough to waste any more time on the kid. He headed for Marcus' office.

    Sera turned to her husband, blinking in silence for a moment before pulling him to the side. "I'm sorry. What?"

    ((Where are their kids? Are they at the house too?))
     
  9. Marcus rubbed his temples and swore under his breath, pacing up and down the length of his office. He had regretted telling Sera and Adam the moment he had closed the door. He should have just waited the five minutes until the guards arrived for their morning shift and told one of them. He always constructed a careful facade of affectionate disapproval when he talked about Maren. He couldn't hide the fact that his eldest daughter openly defied him, but he tried to play it off as the angsty phase of adolescence that all kids went through. But now two people knew how much of a threat she was, and that was two too many.

    The door opened and he whirled around, ready to reprimand anyone who dared enter without asking. When he saw that it was Elodie, he grabbed her roughly by the wrist and flung her bodily across the room.

    "Goddamn it, Elle, how many times do I have to tell you not to interfere?" He shouted. Deep down, he knew that Elodie had only come because she was concerned about Maren and concerned about him, because she loved them. Yet he needed the rush of power and adrenaline he felt when he was reminded just how much he was capable of controlling and hurting her. He wasn't always proud of it, but it calmed him.

    "Do you want to know what's wrong, do you? Your daughter, the daughter you raised, has caused me nothing but trouble since the day she learned how to talk! She goes where she pleases, says what she pleases, God only knows what she's hiding, and you do nothing about it! Do you not realize how busy I am?! I am the goddamn president of the North American Union, and my wife is too fucking cowardly to deal with our brat of a daughter!" He slapped her across the face, and watched with pleasure as a fresh new bruise blossomed on her cheek. He hated that she tried to cover them up with makeup. He liked seeing them. They were a reminder that no matter what happened, he still had a semblance of control over one thing.

    The next moment, when his senses caught up with him, Marcus hated himself. He turned away from his wife and wiped away angry tears.

    Outside the door, the guards took up their posts outside the door, wiping sleep away from their eyes and slapping their cheeks. Sera gave Adam a confused look and pulled him aside. He saw the look in Sera's eyes and knew that she was about to tell the guards about the president's request.

    "Listen, it's not fair to let him make orders about his daughter. She's almost 18 years old, she should be allowed to do what she wants." Shouting could be heard from inside the office, and the sound of something heavy hitting the wall or the floor.

    "Did you not see the bruises on Elodie's face? God knows what he does to Maren. Do you want him to imprison her even more? It's not right, Sera. We have to warn her," he whispered furiously.
     
  10. Elodie swallowed quickly as Marcus began to stare at her angrily. She tried to bury her cry as he grabbed her wrist--the same spot, she thought, as the very first time--and threw her along the wall. She listened to his rant, her mouth quivering wordlessly as she realized that she had pushed him too far--a realization only furthered by the searing pain where her head had his the corner. And she had only said his name. Elodie gasped slightly as Marcus pulled her until his face was mere inches from her own, and then he slapped her again and Elodie whimpered, her head cracking to the side.


    They're both of our children, she thought, but would never dream of saying it to him now, her eyes wide with fear.


    "M-Marcus," she managed, a tear escaping her eye. "Marcus, p-please..." You're hurting me. I love you, why do you always hurt me? "Please," she whispered to him again.


    Elodie found herself largely unable to keep her tears from falling down her face--she was more focused on her husband, and the torment he was putting her through, not at all for the first time. She thought of the numerous bruises on her own body, both mental and physical. Some of them had faded, but the worst never did fade, did they?

    "I love you," she whispered, begging with her eyes.

    Sera looked back into her husband's eyes, a mix of fear, uncertainty, and worry clouding her own blue pair. "Adam," she whispered, before falling silent once more. Sera knew that her line of work was, largely, obfuscating reality before revealing it to Adam's counterparts. She knew she assisted in perhaps the most effective morphing of reality. And it bothered her. But she and Adam had a seven year old and a five year old, and Sera when Sera had realized how deep she was in all of this, she had also realized that she would never do anything that could possibly put their family in harms way.

    What did Adam want? For Sera run in there and pull him off of Elodie?

    Sera had been given a direct order, by one of the most dangerous men in the world.

    She shook her head, swallowing heavily and backing against the wall, a hand rested along her head. "Where are the children," she asked, softly.
     
  11. Marcus helped Elodie to her feet and felt the back of her head - his hand came away with flecks of blood on it. He sighed.

    "I know....I know." He had to steady himself on the desk as he turned away from her to get the first aid kit out of a drawer. Then he led her gently to the sofa and held her hand as he cleaned and wrapped the wound he had just given her.

    "It's such a shame you tripped and fell like that. I keep telling you not to wear those ridiculous shoes," he eyed her beautiful dress and matching shoes. If anyone had entered the room at that moment, they would have smiled at the tone of affectionate concern in his voice. But he had done that to her, he had hurt her again and again, and he dealt with it by pretending none of it had ever happened. And yet in the back of his mind, whenever he felt powerless or threatened, he felt the urge, rising like bile in his throat, to hurt, to inflict pain. She was too weak to confront him and take herself out of their toxic, co-dependent relationship. And yet he loved her for her weakness - it allowed him to control her.

    Outside, Adam Dupont didn't know what to say to his wife. He knew that she probably knew far more of the Torrens' dirty laundry than anyone else, and he had always accepted that she did her job without complaint because she didn't want to put their two children at risk. But after some recent journalistic investigation, Adam had come to question his wife's moral compass. He was sure that he wouldn't be capable of listening to some of the things that Sera listened to every day, let alone spinning them and announcing them to the public. He found himself becoming more and more disgusted whenever he saw Sera in her element at the house, dressed up with her clipboard.

    "Sera, you know I would never put Eli and Marnee in danger. But do you realize how easy it would be to send them to your mother's? To my parents'? And how safe do you think this town is for them? Torren is beating his wife and children. I would rather die than hit you and the kids. And that's not even bringing up his blatant abuses of basic human rights and strategies of political suppression. You're working for a monster, Sera, and if you're not willing to do anything about it...I don't know. I need some fresh air."

    He strode away from his wife, past the guards, and found his way into a wing of the house he had never been in before. He was looking for Maren. He knew better than to call out her name or ask an employee where she might be, but it was crucial that he find her. Although he wasn't allowed to publish any of it without getting himself and his family assassinated, he had done research into what Marcus Torren meant when he "kept an eye on" and "took care" of someone, and he would put nothing past the man. Sera was insane to sit by and watch such abuse happening right in front of her. He couldn't stand by and watch a young girl have her liberty and possibly her life taken away from her. He had always liked Maren - she spoke her mind. In fact, she would make a damn fine journalist. Perhaps he could offer her a job down at the station...no, her father would never allow it, there was only one option.

    Finally, completely by chance, he found her standing dressed in pajamas. He was surprised to see her up so early, but happy because there was no way for him to distinguish her bedroom door from all the others.

    "Oh, hello, Mr. Dupont," she said rather absentmindedly.

    "Maren, listen. Your father is going to get someone to watch you every hour of every day. He's finding someone now. I don't know what else he has planned, but I'm assuming you know more about him than I do," he caught her consciously attempting to mask a large bruise on her thigh by tugging her large sweatshirt down over her pajama shorts.

    "What...wait, what do you mean?" Maren was too confused and it was too early for her to comprehend what he was saying. It was 6 AM, and she had merely gotten up to go to the restroom before climbing back into bed.

    "Your father is going to stick some guard on you. I don't want you to get hurt." Adam said desperately. Perhaps he shouldn't have told her. Perhaps she wasn't rash enough to...

    "What can I do? Oh, God, what should I do? I have to leave. I have to leave now," she said, before he could blurt out an apology. Maren wouldn't put anything past her father, and for all she knew he would assign James as her stalker, and everyone knew that James's hands were anything but clean. If she told her sister, Mirette would play it off as Marcus being an overprotective father. And her mother would never do anything. Neither of them understood that Maren's life was genuinely at risk. She had never told either of them about the time her father had been so enraged with her that he had thrown her out of a second story window. A fortunately-placed bush had broken her fall, but she had to lie and say that she had fallen out of a tree she was climbing. And James was even worse than her father, and Marcus would never reign him in.

    No, she had to make a break for it.

    "Thank you...thank you..." she whispered, clasping Adam's hand. He gripped back.

    "Listen. I know a place you can go for safety. It's a kind of...fort about thirty miles east of here. It doesn't have a name and it isn't on any map. But if you make it there, ask for a woman named Eva and tell her that the falcon sent you. Good luck," he squeezed her hands one more time and ran away down the hall.

    Maren stood, stunned for a few moments before she gathered her wits. She sneaked quietly back into her room and instantly began to collect everything of importance into a small bag. A few practical items of clothing, personal hygiene products, sentimental objects she associated with Mirette, Carter, and her mother, and little else. She'd make a stop at the fallout shelter in the woods to get food, a map, some survival tools, and a few of the most important books to her. She considered leaving a note for Mirette, but realized that her sister wouldn't be able to hide such a thing from their father even if she wanted to. Besides, if she left a note, they'd know that she had run away permanently sooner. Perhaps if they thought she was going about her usual business, she'd a full day before anyone started looking for her.

    She slung her bag onto her back and left her room without a look behind her - there was nothing here for her now. She grazed her fingers on Mirette's door as she passed by, tears slipping down her face.

    "I'm sorry, Miri," she whispered before running down the corridor and out a side door into the dawning day.
     
  12. The next morning, Mirette stirred herself awake at the ridiculously early hour of 7:15. She wouldn't risk sleeping in and alerting her father how late she had been awake. She slipped off of her bed, brushing her long red hair out and applying a conservative amount of makeup--just foundation, blush, and black mascara, no shadows. She stepped into dark jeans and a fitted t-shirt with a deep green hue, checking her appearance once more before checking on Maren next door. She knocked, waiting for permission to come in. Her vision fuzzed at the corners from the lack of sleep, but she wouldn't let that show.

    A moment later, Mirette knocked again, a little bit louder, and still she was not given permission to enter. She wanted to respect her sister's privacy, but Maren could conceivably get in trouble for sleeping late. Tensions with their father had been rising lately, and Mirette didn't want to be responsible for. Well. For anything. Against her better judgement, she opened Maren's door, and it did not take much time to realize that her sister wasn't there. That was odd. Mirette was the early riser, and she doubted she would find Maren in the dining room at seven-thirty AM. Nevertheless, she went to the dining room, only to be proven correct--her sister was no where to be found.

    Mirette sat down behind a collection of food she knew to be set out for her, her eyes narrowed in confusion as she thought of where else to look. It baffled her. It wasn't like it was abnormal for Maren to disappear, but they'd made a specific plan to spend the morning together. The more time she spent piecing everything together, the less likely it seemed.

    Mirette looked to her plate, grabbing the fork and moving some food around. But she didn't eat anything. It wasn't the first consecutive day that she hadn't felt very hungry. She glanced around, looking for any spies or servants, and then she threw the food away, dividing it amongst the bins in the surrounding area, and then she put her plate into the sink and went back for her room.

    Mirette swung her door closed once she arrived upstairs, but the handle didn’t turn all the way and so the door remained slightly open. Mirette didn’t notice--she was preoccupied.

    Mirette punched her bed post in frustration before collapsing on her bed, finally allowing all of the tears she’d kept in, as well as those she’d just caused out of pain, to fall. She couldn’t keep them in any longer, and she didn’t need to now that her door--she thought--was closed.

    Her hand stung, and she held it tightly to her chest, crying heavily now. She just...couldn’t.

    Elodie slunk her head along her husband's shoulder, gripping his upper arms and allowing him to lead her to the couch. Her vision soared as they walked, and Elodie wavered as they sat down, bit in her lip. A single tear escaped as she pushed her body into Marcus', his own strength keeping her propped up. She winced as he dabbed at the wound at the back of her head, and, for a moment, Elodie wondered silently if she had another concussion. She didn't voice the concern.

    Her mouth opened as Marcus spoke, but she nodded against his shoulder. More to quiet him than anything. Marcus had controlled her wardrobe since they were in college. It was all bullshit.

    And, today, something angered him to the point where he hadn't even responded that he loved her back. That had never happened before.

    "I love you," she whispered into his ear once more, pressing her lips to his cheek. She pulled back, closing her eyes tightly.

    "I hope I'm not interrupting anything," the largely rhetorical question came from the doorway, where James stood. Elodie shook her head. "I'll leave you two," she whispered, moving away from her husband. She willed herself to walk without tripping, she willed her vision to work, she willed the spinning to stop. This time, she succeeded. Elodie did not look back, and left the office, heading back to their bedroom.

    Elodie heard not only the harsh thud, but also her daughter's sobs. She quickly walked to Mirette’s room, ignoring the guards who, to anyone paying attention, very clearly took note of what was going on. Elodie delicately pushed the door open. “...Mirette?” She closed the door behind her, before rushing to her daughters side and sitting on the bed next to her, pulling the girl into her and tenderly taking her hand. “What happened?” Mirette’s eyes widened when her mother came in to the room, but quickly melted into her, crying heavily into her mother now. “I. I hit the bed accidentally, and I hurt my arm.” The lie was alarmingly easy to tell, she thought, but she didn’t care.

    Adam seemed to know exactly what was soaring through her own mind, just like he always did. It usually brought Sera comfort, to have someone who understood her so completely, but not now. She loved her husband, more than she could describe, but he was often rash. Not to mention judgmental. Did he think Sera didn't know she was near the third rail with two murderers? She knew full well, she just didn't know how to get out of it. And him demonizing her like this certainly wasn't helping.

    I would rather die than hit you and the kids.

    At least for her, Marnee had been unplanned. She did not love her daughter any less than her son, but, nevertheless, they had been trying for Eli when he had been conceived. In another life, Sera would have wanted three or four children. But after having Eli, Sera had quickly learned more about the risk facing those who were less than obedient in Montreal, and as willing as she was to stay quiet in lieu of Torren's abuses, she didn't want to bring too many children into this world when, any day, Torren could decide to set up schools for early indoctrination.

    She and Adam rarely discussed any of these concerns, maybe out of worry of surveillance. Now, it seemed, they had slipped.

    "Adam," she whispered in protest. "I'm doing the best I can!" He stormed away from her, and Sera stared after him, shocked. Her heart pounded in her chest. She went to look for James.

    She didn't find him, but his briefcase in the front room told her that he was here. And he would certainly have reported to the president, so, thankfully, her job was done. She went to her own office, still fuming from Adam's onslaught.

    After Elodie left, James closed the door behind him, clasping his hands in front to him and moving to sit across from Marcus. It had been nearly twenty years since he had last seen Marcus like this, and very few times before that. He waited for his friend to speak.
     
  13. ((Fun facts galore, Cat =D: I'm referring to Matt being at the wedding with the "nearly twenty years" comment. Hope you're sleeping well!

    Also! When Torren finds out about Mirette and Jay:

    [video=youtube;wWAeSS4IJio]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWAeSS4IJio[/video] ))
     
  14. ((Haha great clip!))

    Maren had to stop herself from sprinting to the rusty old gate. It wouldn't take long for her father to realize that she had run away, but if she took the time to dodge the security cameras, perhaps he wouldn't be able to pinpoint exactly where she had gone. Of course she knew that her father knew that she left the grounds, but she was sure that he didn't know how she was getting out or where she went, or he would have sent people after her long ago. So she slowed down, tiptoed along the edge of the fence to avoid the cameras, and made her way through the gate for the last time. She slipped through, turned to look back at the place on the house where Mirette's window was, before turning away and continuing into the woods.

    She made her way to the fallout shelter in the basement of an abandoned house and swiftly collected everything she could take with her: as much canned food and vitamin-enriched water as she could carry, an old GPS that still seemed to work, a few old books that she had taken from the house, a compact tent and sleeping bag, and a warmer coat. She quickly reorganized the rest of the shelter so it looked like she had never been there, before leaving.

    She set out into the chilly light of the early morning. Adam Dupont had said to head east. She wasn't sure how exactly a government-sanctioned journalist would have connections to the outside world, but she didn't have anything else to go on. She rotated the GPS until it faced east and began to walk.

    Adam continued to roam around the house until he found the front door. He usually said goodbye to Sera every morning before he left for the station, but today he wasn't sure he could look her in the face. So he slipped quietly out the door and got into his car. He set his forehead on the steering wheel for a few moments, taking deep breaths. He and Sera had once been so in love - they had valued the same things, laughed together, they had cried together when tragedies were happening left and right in the chaos after the war. Then they had brought Eli and Marnee into the world, and he had been the happiest man in the North American Union. He couldn't put his finger on what had changed, but something had. He wasn't able to ignore what his wife did every day anymore. No matter what they had said before about maintaining their values despite their jobs...he suddenly realized that what Sera did for a living mattered. She was implicit to the evil that had consumed their world, and no matter what she said, it was what she did that mattered.

    He put his shaking fingers to his hairline and tremblingly pushed his hair out of his face. After taking some more steadying breaths, he started the car and drove to the station, where his children were being watched by a nursery attendant. He scooped them up in his arms and held them close for a few moments before giving them each a kiss and going to his office.


    President Marcus Torren looked up to see James enter the room.

    "I love you too, Elle," he squeezed her hand. His long-suffering wife could take a hint and left the two men alone. Torren waited until the door was firmly closed behind her and he heard her shoes clacking away down the hall before he turned to James.

    "We have a problem. Maren. I want you to find someone to keep an eye on her, every minute of every day, starting immediately. I'll want daily reports."
     
  15. ((ALSO also, when Torren FIRST finds out about Mirette and Jay:

    [video=youtube;z9rPW94t4vk]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z9rPW94t4vk[/video] ))
     
  16. ((Changed my mind =). Here ya go--all of it!))

    Elodie hugged the girl to herself tightly, petting her hair down.

    "Shhh..." she whispered, before loosening her grip on her daughter and gently taking hold of Mirette's wrist.

    Mirette meowed in pain slightly when her mother touched her wrist.

    Elodie shushed her soothingly again, tutting as she examined the wound. "It's not broken, Mirette, it's just a sprain. I know it hurts, but it'll be okay," she told her, smiling down at her daughter. She placed Mirette's hand into her lap. "I'll be right back."

    Elodie kissed Mirette on the forehead, rubbing the girls' knee and moving for the door. She went to the bathroom within the master bedroom, picking through the cabinets in search of a bandage with which to wrap Mirette's wrist, but none were there. Elodie sighed, power walking down the stairs to go through one of their supply rooms.


    James nodded, understanding. He didn't know what the bitch was up to this time, but acting out wasn't new for her. "I'll take care of it," he responded. He knew when his best friend was willing to hear his counsel. Now wasn't one of those times. And he would have liked to pay Maren a visit anyway.

    James rose from his chair, nodding once more at Marcus. Normally, their mornings started with long discussions on what went on in the world, and what needed immediate attention. That would have to wait. Not that he particularly minded when it gave him permission to be alone with Maren. He nodded at Marcus and turned, leaving the office.

    "Elodie," James greeted her with a wide grin as she left the final stair.

    He frowned when she gave him a nod, but kept walking--such a 'welcome' wasn't quite normal for her.

    "Ellie," James repeated, placing a hand on her shoulder and turning her to him. "Is everything all right?"

    Elodie turned to James in surprise. "I. Yes, yes, it's fine. I'm just trying to find something to wrap Mirette's hand with. She's got a bit of a sprain."

    "What happened?"

    "I don't know," Elodie said, quickly, "She says she was being clumsy, and hit her bedpost. Look, James, it's not a big deal, but I'd rather get it wrapped and give her some pain meds, and then we can talk, all right?" Elodie smiled slightly. "Sorry."

    "No," James said. "You're absolutely right. I'm sorry."

    Elodie nodded, a good natured smile still on her face.

    "You know," James said, as Elodie went for the back rooms again. "You don't have to do that. Jay's stalling outside, but we could grab him and make him do his job."

    Elodie waved a hand. "That's very unnecessary. It'll just take a second."

    James shrugged. "All right. Whatever works."

    Elodie nodded one final time before opening the door and going inside the storage room.



    James left his briefcase in place and walked authoritatively up the staircase, nodding gruffly at the guards he saw standing post. He went into the master bedroom, taking a bottle of ibuprofen out of the medicine cabinet in the bathroom. He filled a cup of water with the tap and next went for Mirette's, knocking slightly before letting himself in, grinning warmly at the girl.

    "Hey," he said, holding up the medicine. "Your mother mentioned you got hurt. I thought I'd offer my services."

    Mirette had been laying on her back on the bed, but now slowly sat up, her long red hair falling over her shoulder as she reached up and wiped off some of her tears.

    "Thanks," she whispered.

    James' brow knit as he slowly approached Mirette, sitting on her bed next to her. God, she looked so vulnerable. So ready for the taking.

    "What's wrong, hun?"

    "Oh, nothing, I was just being careless, and. And I hit my arm," she said, holding it up to show him.

    James stared at her silently for a moment before nodding. "Yeah, your mom told me," he repeated.

    "So," he started, opening the pill bottle. "Your mom will be up in a minute with a bandage, but we can start here. You weigh what?" He took this opportunity to look over her slightly. "110 pounds?"

    Mirette shook her head. "95. Close enough, I guess."

    Damn. "Yeah, that won't make a difference here," James said. It also wasn't normal. Hehanded her a pill and the water.

    "Take the one for now. If you need another, ask your mother."

    Mirette took the pill almost immediately, a small, grateful smile on her face now.

    "Thank you, Mr. Arceneau," she said.

    James smiled, petting her hair softly. "Any time."

    Mirette bit her lip slightly, running a hand through her hair. Her hand touched his for a moment, accidentally--or maybe intentionally--forcing it off of her head.

    James stared at Mirette for another moment, before standing from the bed.

    "Bye, hun."

    Mirette didn't reply, except to wave, and the door opened to let Elodie in with the bandage.

    James turned to Elodie. "I gave her an ibuprofen," he said. "She seemed to be in a lot of pain, like you were saying. He put the bottle on Mirette's desk.

    "In case you want to give her another," he said.


    Sera stared silently at her wall for so long that she lost track. Looking at her watch, she registered the time past as a half hour. Sera shook her head, biting her lip as a single tear escaped. I love you, she quickly sent to Adam in a text message, and then she stared at the screen with the message, black on glaring white. And then she tried to get back to work.


    "Daddy!" Marnee screamed as her father came in to view. The five year old jumped up, running to her father and burying her head in his legs. She wrapped her arms around his neck when he picked her up, and frowned after a moment, confused. "Daddy? Are you okay?"

    Juliet Deneuve approached from the hallway, standing in the doorway to cautiously await a break in Adam's reunification with his children. When he finally acknowledged her, the intern spoke up. "Sir," she started, still using the honorific out of respect or perhaps because she was starstruck. "I. Um. I got a lead last night from a friend of my mom's? Or, I don't know if it's really a lead, or what it is," she rambled. "I guess she knew the president and Elodie Torren in college? I have a transcript, she's kind of just musing. I don't know if you can use it or anything, but." She handed him the sheet. "I haven't called the Presidential Mansion or anything, I didn't know what you wanted to do."


    'I lived down the hall from Elodie Torren and Aimee. Freshman year at Yale. Elodie was. Well. There’s a lot to say about her. She was wonderful, the sweetest girl. Gorgeous. Brilliant. And humble. Everyone talked about her, which I suppose was odd--she was young, seventeen when we started. Elodie was the type of girl who you looked at when she came into a room. She just drew your attention, everyone, upperclassmen, professors, and administrators alike. I mean, she didn’t demand attention, if just sort of. I don’t know. And then Matt, he didn’t live on our floor, but he was always around. They were always together. I think Elodie offhandedly mentioned that they’d done their schedules together or something. But Elodie and Matt were always together, it was obvious that they’d been friends for a long time. And then Elodie and Marcus Torren started dating, and I don’t think Marcus liked Matt very much. There was a lot of two-sided animosity there, not that Matt started it. A few months into their relationship, Elodie started dressing differently. She’d always dressed very northern and chic--bright colors, fitted sweaters, skirts, and she always wore a scarf. I don’t think her clothes were really about her anymore after that. Anyway, soon, she was hardly ever around the floor, we kind of lost contact outside of the few times I saw her on campus.'
     
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