[Rufiya] Faithfully [Shelby]

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  1. "I fucking hate the cold." Leviticus, or also known as Levi, muttered under his breath. He then watched as that breath formed steam as it collided against the Chicago air and for a moment he frowned. It was as if all the forces that made the world spin just continuously slapped him in the face as of late and Levi was pretty sure that nobody enjoyed that.

    He was in a long extending line of people in heavy coats waiting to board a normal passenger train. Levi occasionally glanced at the slightly wrinkled ticket in his hand, balancing on his heels trying to get the nerves down. This wasn't any ordinary train ride. When only one person separated Leviticus from the warmth of the automobile, he tightened his scarf. The man checking tickets was a frail man who seemed automatically intimidated by Levi's height and bulk, in fact Levi could prop his elbow on the young man's cheesy uniform hat and still stand up straight.

    "I'm heading towards the north, my ticket is gonna take me all the way to Illinois but uh..I'll be getting off on the Fairmount City stop." Levi told him in a husky, deep yet soft-spoken voice. It was voice that Levi hadn't used in ages, it was the kind of voice you'd give to a stranger to give of the impression that your a decent person. The voice Levi used the past couple of years was loud and threatening enough to keep all the inmates off of him. The ticket checker reluctantly shook Levi's hand as part of protocol (trying to hide the pain from Levi's naturally strong grip) and welcomed him aboard.

    Levi took his seat at the very back of his unit, huddled up against the window and using his longcoat as a makeshift blanket. The train-ride would take at the very least four hours and though there was the fact that one of the most important people in his whole universe waited at his stop the side effect of hardly any sleep in the past week was gnawing at him. He wondered if Tessalyn ever got his discreet letter, and whether she'd actually wait for the "someone you used to know" at Fairmount's train station.

    Before Levi was about to finally fall into a deep slumber, the sound of a radio calling attention that an escaped inmate was on the loose reached him. He shuffled uncomfortably at the sound of the description but virtually almost no one looked at him. So all he did was pull down his hat, pull up his scarf and try to get some sleep.
  2. Why was she here? What was she doing? She should be home with her children, making sure that they were doing the homework that they needed to get taken care of, making sure that they were actually eating properly. She shouldn't be here, not waiting on... Someone she used to know? It wasn't making any sense to her, and though she desperately had tried to let that phrase slip from her mind ever since he first laid eyes on those words a few days ago, she was unable to do so. Something about that bothered her, puzzled her mind. Who could this person be?

    A family member, perhaps? But if that was the case, why hadn't they just called, or just come by her house if they wanted to see her. That would have made things much easier on her, on the both of them she was sure of. But of course things hadn't happened that way.

    A sigh escaped from her lips as she ran a shaky hand through her hair, pushing a few strands away from her face. Her body trembled, not only from the cold, but also from this sense of unease that continued to pile up in the pit of her stomach. This situation was not making one ounce of sense to the woman, and though she tried to console her own mind with her own thoughts, she couldn't.

    Tessalynn wrapped her coat around her body tighter, her body curling up a bit more in the bench she sat on. Her eyes peered out, looking at the figures that walked past her, their quiet chatter echoing about the station. Some people stood around, waiting, just as she was, for this train to appear and drop off its passengers. But as a few people continued to drift closer to her, their words hushed within the crowd, she couldn't help but pick up on a few things they said.

    "Did you hear about the inmate that had escaped from prison?"

    "Yes... Hopefully he won't come here though."

    The mere thought of that made Tessalynn flinch and tense, her mind instantly going to her ex husband. No, it couldn't be him. He wouldn't have escaped, no matter how twisted she figured his mind was now. Levi... Oh how she had loved him desperately. They had a great family, something she had always wanted. But then... He just had to mess things up! It brought anger to her, but it also brought a sense of sorrow. What had happened to them?

    She couldn't ponder on the thoughts too long, though, because shortly after the sound of an oncoming train could be heard in the distance. She turned to look down the track, the squealing of wheels becoming loud as it continued its way. Tessalynn stood up then, hands in her pockets as one clenched around the letter she still carried with her, that anxious feeling becoming more prominent to her.
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  3. That sleep Levi had been craving on the train, didn't come. Around the two hour mark, Levi finally let out a low cynical laugh that signaled he knew that those all controlling forces were still prepared to constantly slap him with difficulties. Maybe Levi deserved it, maybe he was hysterical. Maybe that drunken brawl was only a part of his imagination. Maybe he really wanted that poor kid dead..No. Levi shook his head, making sure those doubtful thoughts would leave him. If he really was guilty of murder in the first degree, then what was the whole point in trying to fix the wrongs he left behind? Might as well ask them to stick in that lethal bullshit right now, Levi sarcastically thought. It gave him little of what his drive was thinking that way.

    Though, the damn radio stations never failed to remind him that he in fact did take somebody's life, reporting on the case of the escaped prisoner - him. "Leviticus Harley, convict escaped from prison by cutting through the prison fences during lockdown." First of all, Levi escaped via abandoned access tunnels under ground. The least they could do was actually get their darn information right, Levi thought. However, seeing as they didn't know exactly how he escaped they shouldn't know where exactly he was. And Fairmount was really the perfect place to hide seeing as it was pretty secluded and hidden away from the world.

    When the train finally stopped Levi had the most uncomfortable feeling in his stomach. It was a mixture of uneasiness and worry along with a crappy bowl of soup offered by the train workers. He knew Tessalyn probably still held things against him. And he had no way to justify his actions those years ago, heck Levi hated himself for it. There are still so many times where he wonders what if, he hadn't taken that military path. Or what if he didn't go to that bar? Maybe, little Gracie and Niko would have a father..

    He continued being as discreet as possible without looking suspicious as he joined the others who slowly filtered out into the snow train station. He stepped outside searching the faces in the crowds of people. He saw people reunite and hug each other with so much affection it kinda saddened him knowing that wasn't the case for him. It was then when he saw her. "Tess.." He muttered, standing there in awe. She was as gorgeous as ever. Maybe a few stress-lines here and there and this odd weariness to her expression but damn. Levi was breathless.

    At first he contemplated turning back, to run away from his broken commitment. She didn't want to see him, the last time she did he was being hauled off while drunk (luckily the kids were fast asleep that night). But then again something held him there, steadied him. Death was approaching and this might be the last chance he had to at least try and fix things. So he took a big breath and simply walked over. Gave her this half-sheepish grin kinda thing and spoke. Back I'm his mind he wondered if Tess was already over him. But he was beyond the point of no return.

    #3 Rufiya, Jan 26, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 26, 2014
  4. As the train came to a screeching halt, Tessalynn couldn't help but wince at the sound of the loud machinery. She hated coming to train stations, and just trains in general, though that might just be from her own sense of paranoia about the contraptions. Something about trains just unnerved her, and being in this situations only seemed to strengthen that worry she held within her system. But she knew she had to calm herself. She couldn't look like a complete wreck in front of this person she was supposed to meet up with, despite the fact that that was the way she felt and had been feeling like since she saw those cops take away her husband.

    Images began to appear in her mind about that night; how she had yelled and screamed, demanding to know what happened. That night had been a mess, something that she wanted to forget. Unfortunately, it was something that she had never been able to forget.

    When people started filing out of the train, most of their face filled with joy to see their loved ones, she couldn't help bit grit her teeth. Children's voices rang out with glee and they stampeded over to the one they probably hadn't seen in a while, older folk's moans of joy circling about as they laughed. Just seeing others be so happy when she herself was just about miserable... She was jealous. She used to be that happy. She used to laugh, joke around, and do all of that, and though there were moments now and again when she allowed herself to relax, it just wasn't the same. Nothing was the same.

    She swallowed, her thoughts once again consuming her, her mind not on the present anymore. But when a voice rang out in her direction, she flinched, bringing herself back to the present, and looked around. A man was standing in front of her, and as she blinked, her eyes traveling up his torso, crossing over his face quickly, her mouth dropped open with a silent gasp. How was he...? When did he?

    He looked different, much different from the last time she had seen him, yet there was still that undeniable sense that this was the man she once knew. Someone that she used to know. She took a step back, her back pressing up against the wall behind her as she continued to stare, her eyes wide with shock. "How did you..." Her voice dropped off as a tremor in her voice took over. "What are you doing here?"
  5. And just like that, the beauty and composure of a face so familiar to Levi was disrupted, distorted. She was shocked to see him, scared maybe. He backed up slightly as she did. His hands raised in a calming gesture while he tried to hide the disappointment and sadness that felt ridden all over his face. None of those emotions were unsuspected but it still burned to realize once again how much Levi was a fuck up.

    He glanced around him, glad to see that while everybody was preoccupied with their fucking dandy reunions (Levi couldn't help but be bitter) they hadn't noticed him. He sighed while in thought, searching for the answer to her question. There was so many things he could say and be factually correct but which one?

    "Tess..listen, death's row is right around the corner for me...and I want my - our children to know that their father is so much more then just some inmate who was killed by some damn needle." He began slowly, making sure his voice was only audible for her. For a moment he thought back to his children, his beautiful beautiful kids. He only knew them by memory and old outdated two year old photos, how might they look now Levi wondered. He let that sink in for a moment by turning around and delving deep into his thoughts. He gulped for courage and turned back around.

    "Give me at least two weeks..and I'll be gone. If something goes wrong between then and now..well you can say I held you captive and I'll agree." He then told her. It was something he had thought about a long time now. Though she was no longer his wife he'd never forgive himself if she was to be hurt more by his actions. Tessalyn was and is the strongest woman in his life but she had already been dealt a shitty card by marrying him. It was a bitter thought. But Levi thought of it true.
  6. She couldn't believe that him, Levi, was standing right in front of her again. Never in her life had Tessalynn expected him to come back into her life, especially not like this. Try as she might, for the past couple of years with him being gone she had been trying to forget about him, or at the very least get over him. Before she thought she had; sure, his presence lingered in the back of her mind often, but she had convinced herself that she was over him. That she would finally be able to move on and be happy with her children. But now as he stood here in front of her, she realized that she had never gotten over him.

    It was still a wonder how he was even standing there in her eyes though. He had been locked up. Was he really the one that had escaped? The sudden realization made her shift her eyes to look at everything but him, her eyes once again scanning the crowd. None of them seemed to notice anything out of the ordinary, not that most were even paying attention. Funny, she thought, how a fugitive could be walking among the crowd and go unnoticed, just like he was.

    As the words began to spill from his mouth, Tessalynn turned her gaze to look at him, her eyes narrowed as she listened to his request. Was he serious? "Why should I allow you to see our children?" She asked, the bitterness she had held within herself beginning to come out, slowly but surely. "You haven't been in their lives for years, years Levi, and even when you were here you were hardly there for them." She remembered back when he had just gotten back from the military, and how he had seemed to change since then. She had thought they would go back to being their usual, happy family, but things just hadn't worked out that way.

    "Do you understand how confused they're going to be if they see you suddenly?" They've been asking so many question about their father recently; always asking where he was, and when he was coming home. It broke her heart to always change the subject when they asked those questions, especially to see the disappointed looks that crossed over their little faces. It was too much at times, and she hated having to lie to them. She just didn't have the heart to tell them that their father was in jail for murder... "How can I even trust you won't hurt them?" She would damned if she let him hurt her children.
  7. The words that came from her mouth stung more then any makeshift shank or surprise canister of tear gas. Though Levi was hardly the man he was when he got back from the military especially after his years within the system, all of what his former significant other in different senses were true. He let each word spoken in her voice sink in before sighing. All the words he wanted to say, to explain just scrambled into a flurry within his mind.

    Tess..even in her anger she was still stunning. The both of them had moved towards each other in order to be discreet and Levi couldn't help but feel his heart beat at how close she was. If only she knew how much his heart ached for her while he was locked up.

    But then his attention was redirected to the fact that Gracie and Niko were getting older and these past few years without a father. His heart ached even more to remember just how the consequences of his actions would last forever.

    "Tess..please. I just need to see them. It was the possibility that I could just see them and hold them as if everything was normal that kept me going for long." He pleaded. He decided to leave out the part of all the crumpled letters sprawled across his former cell, all of which failed attempts at apologies. He also left out that the holding part, included her. Inside he wanted to laugh at himself for even thinking she'd still romantically want him, the bitter after taste her words told him enough.
  8. He seemed so... Sincere about what he was saying. As if he really just wanted to see his children one last time, to tell them things that... That she wasn't really sure of, and that bothered her the most. For him to just come out of know where and request for something like this? How come he hadn't sent any letter to them then? It was obvious now that the letter she had received before had been sent by him, so if he had been able to send that, why hadn't he, for years, been sending things to his son and daughter if he truly cared about them. Why hadn't he sent her anything until now?

    Tessalynn could feel the beginning of tears welling up in her eyes, making her look up and bite her bottom lip. She blinked frantically, willing away the tears and emotions that coursed through her at the moment. It was all so sudden, and she didn't know how to handle it. She didn't know how to handle being around Levi anymore. Those once suppressed feelings toward him were beginning to reappear themselves, and she almost detested it. Almost.

    "But things aren't normal, and they haven't been since you came back from the military." She tilted her head back down and ran a hand through her hair, a nervous habit she had always had. "How could you act as if things were normal?"

    It made her wonder if Grace and Niko thought things were normal, or if they knew that something was amiss and had been for a while. No, the couldn't understand what had been going on. They were too young. "What would I even tell them once you're gone again? How do you think they'll feel about it?"
  9. Shit. She tried to hide them, But Levi saw. The small glint of a tear that reflected their snow white surroundings. Levi hated to see her cry, even if he was usually the main cause of it. He stayed silent letting her recollect her thoughts and coming up with a reaction. He paid attention to all those small subconscious habits she always use to do when they were together. The hand through the hair, the biting her lip it was if everything she did reminded him of before. Heh, it was probably those damn forces again.

    In truth, he didn't have the answer to her final question. As foolish as it seemed he hadn't thought that far, he just focused on seeing them as he crawled through claustrophobic tunnels and ran through forest in the dark nights only a few days ago. Fuck, fuck. What do I say now? Levi thought his minds scrambling for an answer.

    "The truth. Tell them that they won't see me for a long time and that I love them." Levi finally spoke. The words had a sharp after taste but it was the only thing he could say.

    By now, the train station was beginning to empty and a few curious onlookers still boarded the train began to stare. Levi glanced around nervously before turning back to her. He wanted to place his hands on her shoulders, to steady her, to calm her but obviously he didn't.

    "Look.. I can't stay here for long Tess. Tell me whether I have my weeks or I'm gonna go back on that train and turn myself in at the next stop, alright?" He said as he felt his body tense up at the unneeded attention.
  10. "The truth?" Tessalynn scoffed, her voice rising a bit. Her sudden little outburst brought even more attention to them than before, something that she hadn't realized until now. She looked around, the lack of people in the station beginning to unnerve her, but she quickly turned her attention back to Levi. It wasn't that often she actually raised her voice, especially out in public, so she still found herself a bit shocked about the situation, even a little embarrassed. "I mean..."

    Again she ran her fingers through her hair. What was the truth anyway? Had what happened at the bar a few years back really happened? All the stories she heard seemed to point out as Levi being the murder and having done the action on purpose. Though she hadn't wanted to believe any of it, especially once it happened, she didn't know if she could deny it, even now. But now that she thought about it, had she really heard his side of the story? Could there be something different about it?

    When he mentioned him not being able to stay there longer, she looked around again. The train was readying to leave once again, just about everyone who was boarding already on the train. Could she really just let him walk away again, especially like this. Especially without being able to see his kids.... Did he deserve to see them? Honestly, she wasn't sure, but something in her mind, and maybe even her heart, told her not to let him leave yet.

    "I won't be the one telling them that after you leave, they won't see you again. You have to be the one to tell them."
  11. It was good to see Tess still had some fire left in her, Levi thought. Even if it was him on the burner. He let out an odd sigh/laugh of relief at her acceptance. Taking one look back at the train behind him as the loud screech of metal signaled its leave. Turned out either way he would've already been stuck there. "You were always the negotiatior when we - er..never mind." He began, speaking almost casually before realizing what he was about to say. He took up the worn cap he was wearing as nobody else was around and scratched his generally overgrown hair sheepishly. "Lets just uh, get going I guess. The sooner I'm not out in the open the better.."

    He thought to himself while following Tessalyn to her vehicle about so many things. Did they still live at that small cabin? Does Niko have a special girl yet? Has Gracie already learned how to play guitar like she wanted? Some thoughts saddened Levi as chances were he wouldn't be able to see all of his questions, or his children's dreams manifest into reality. Damn. It stung, a lot.

    Leviticus couldn't help but steal glances at Tessalyn. He noticed things he hadn't those years ago, maybe those small bags under her eyes and the faded smile lines developed while he was incarcerated. He was tempted to ask her whether she'd been seeing some somebody lately but he was pretty sure that it would accomplish nothing but make it more awkward for the both of them. For a moment he thought about what if she was seeing somebody, an undeniable jealousy forming in his chest at the thought. But really he almost felt guilty for feeling that way.
  12. The screeching of the wheels made her wince, again, but she completely blocked out the noise and continued to stare up at Levi. Just standing here in front of him made her remember how she always teased him about how much taller he was than she, especially with him being nearly a foot taller than she, and obviously just bigger in size than her. She always found it humorous, especially when she thought about Niko. She always wondered if he would end up growing to have the same body structure as his father, and though the thought scared her, she almost found it endearing. In a way, she always looked to her son and thought about Levi. It probably wasn't the best thing to do, what with her always having Levi in the back of her mind, but she couldn't help it.

    She nodded her head slowly and turned around, ignoring his first comment. She had a feeling about what he would say and she really didn't want to hear it. All the hurt that would come from just mentioning what they had... "Right."

    When they made it to the car, the same one she had had for years, she unlocked the doors before hopping into the front seat, a sigh escaping from her lips as she turned the car on, heat instantly blasting in her direction. It warmed her up quickly, and as soon as Levi got in the car, she took off. For a while all Tessalynn did was keep her eyes on the road, her lips closed shut as she thought about what she could say, or do in this situation. She had so many questions... Oh, how she hated how quiet things were, and how awkward things were.

    But it eventually became too much for her, the silence, and for a second she let herself glance at Levi. "H-How did you get out?" She didn't know why that was the first thing she asked, and really she didn't even know if she really wanted to know. The hands that held onto the steering wheel clenched tighter, her knuckles becoming paler.
  13. "I didn't kill anybody else if that's what your asking." Levi spoke, slightly on edge by such a tense topic. The words almost came out sharply and defensively. He bit his lip hoping she didn't take his normal reaction wrongly. He looked out the window at the snowy scenery that rushed by like a montage as he recollected the events of only a few days ago. Hoping she wouldn't be insulted by his sudden answer, he continued on with more elaboration.

    "Heh..I had actually been planning the escape ever since I saw a man who's situation was kinda like mine take the injection, it involved me accessing these tunnels that ran underground by a panel in the wall. It was in the middle of a convenient riot, I slipped inside. Climbed down a wall of pipes until I only had enough space to crawl on my stomach and army crawled for about an hour until I ended up outside where the tunnel, which turned out to be a sewer pipe, met some lake. I ran for another two hours through the forest, scratching myself up on all kinds of things..eventually I found a small town, got my hands on some clothes and hitchhiked until I found you." It was a lengthy explanation but still was the shorter version. His words slowed down at his last three, he hadn't meant it that way but it definitely came out that way.

    "First thing I'm gonna do after squeezing the life out of Niko and Gracie is take a shower, if you don't mind Tess." He spoke, his voice hinting humor for a moment thought it quickly faded and he turned to look forward at the road they drove on. All he thought about was Niko and Gracie now. Goddamn he missed them. And knowing how close he was to them made himself feel like a giddy innocent young child. However he managed to contain the feeling and excitement on the inside rather well.
  14. She flinched at the tone he took when answering her question. She knew she shouldn't have asked in the first place, but still, why did he feel the need to actually say, first, that he hadn't killed someone again? A small shiver was sent down her spine as she thought about it. If she had to think anything about the situation, at least he hadn't went and did that again, which would probably just add on to his record, not like he probably had much leeway when it came the conclusion of his days. To be honest, thinking that he would be getting the death penalty made her sick. How could this be happening to him? Levi, of all people.

    What had happened to him?

    Tessalynn listened to his explanation, her minds sticking to the last three words he spoke. So he was looking for her? 'No,' she told herself, giving the slight shake of her head. He came to find his children, not her. She bit her lip and nodded her head. "Seems like you had been planning that for... A while. I guess those military skills came in handy."

    Her shoulders stiffened when he mentioned squeezing the life out of Grace and Niko, her eyes just about shooting daggers at his direction. Always had it been an automatic response for her to react in such a way when someone spoke that way of her children. Call her being over protective, but she didn't want anything happening to them. She didn't need anything else happening to her family. And with him already having killed someone before... "I don't know how kindly they'll take to you at first, if they can even recognize you that is. You didn't use to have that much facial hair the last time they saw you."
  15. A quiet awkwardness drowned the both of them in car again. They had both through different words put each other into this weird uncomfortable silence. The more he thought about it, Levi realized that even though he definitely wasn't as horrible man as he was post-military career but he was certainly not the young, composed man he was pre-military. His words were a bit more outlaw-ish (an ironic way to think about it, Levi laughed cynically in his mind) , his demeanor and way of speaking even more so. The reason, well prison life was hardly easy. He learned how to survive while serving, but never did he have to deal with a fake shank or some random gang mauling out in Iraq. It was a new world inside those tall looming concrete walls. He almost felt ashamed for changing, though a part of that change was him sobering up so it wasn't all bad. Levi let his hand lightly touch the pink scar in the shape of a nasty knife right on his shoulder. It was hidden by his shirt however.

    "Well..they did come in handy. But I'd prefer if I had never learned them really.." He muttered under his breath however. He still refused to make direct eye contact with his former S.O, still to much of a sorry sob to muster up the courage to do so. He wanted to tell her that he regretted leaving all those years ago but something held him back. Maybe it was the fact that it wouldn't really change anything. He was still gonna die, she would eventually move one. Fuck. Levi hated when he thought things out.

    But as the words spoken by Tessalyn rung through his mind, another pang of pain hit him right in the chest. She was always the smart one in their relationship and it took him a moment to remind himself that they weren't the small innocent children they were. What if they didn't accepted him? He was nervous now. He tried his best to hide it from Tess, though he could feel his out of place sweat occasionally drop down his forehead. It was an odd and uncontrollable tendency of his. He just decided to focus on the new scenery, the forest trees soon formed into buildings and Levi once again reminded himself that he was back in Fairmount. He still wished that his homecoming would so much different then this...
  16. ((Ahh, it's kind of long. Sorry about that.))

    Tessalynn sighed, her grip loosening on the steering wheel as she caught the faint words that came from Levi. Though she hadn't been able to hear all of what he had said, she thought she had gotten the gist of that. Did he regret going to the military then? The thought puzzled her. If he regretted it, then why did he leave in the first place? 'It was a different time,' she told herself biting her lip subconsciously. She could never lie and say that she hadn't gotten upset when Levi told her about enlisting into the military, especially when she thought about their young, at the time, children. To be honest, she was furious, and also saddened. But lo and behold, Tessalynn being her positive self, she thought that maybe it would be a good thing to help the country that they lived in. That was always good, right?

    She wasn't so sure, not even now. Had he not left, would things be different? Or maybe if she had done things differently, when he had come back, things would be different? There were so many times where Tessalynn blamed herself for Levi changing so much. She wasn't exactly sure though, but she couldn't help but beat herself up about that.

    She didn't speak anymore throughout the rest of the ride, her eyes shifting over to Levi every once in a while, taking notice of the scars that adorned his face. He looked rough, but nevertheless it was still him, somewhere. As they drove past the small town of Fairmount, the shops passing by, as well as the few people that walked the road, she wondered if he remembered any of this.

    It wasn't long after bypassing all the stores and the general center of town when she turned on a dirt road, the gravel kicking up as he tires drove over it, the crunching sound filling the silence. More trees began to appear before lights started to form, the beginnings of a building coming into view until the cabin house she owned finally appeared. Generally the place was the same, save for a few minor changes, but overall Tessalynn hadn't decided to change much of the house, even after Levi left.

    She put the car in park, though instead of doing anything instantly, she just sat there, looking out the window, trying to get her mind together. "You're going to have to stay in the car, for a minute anyway. Just until the babysitter leaves." She turned to look at him. "I'm sure your news of escaping has already reached here, especially with how quickly things spread around here, so we don't need to stir up any kind of trouble. Okay?"

    Without waiting for him to respond, Tessalynn turned the car off, taking the keys with her (mostly just out of her not being sure if she could trust him not to steal it), and heading up to the house. Quickly she unlocked the door and walked in, the sound of the television coming from the living room blasting through the house. What had she told them about keeping the tv so loud? "Mommy!" Gracie clung onto her hip, nearly knocking Tessalynn off balance. The woman couldn't help but smile and shake her head, but she picked her head up once Emily, the babysitter, walked out.

    "So, did you get everything done you needed to get taken care of?"

    "Yes, and thank you for being able to come out and watch the two on such a short notice. I really appreciate it." The girl merely smiled, replying no problem. But then her face suddenly turned into a frown.

    "Um, Ms. Carter... Have you heard about..." She stopped, looking down at Gracie before looking back to Tessalynn. She understood what she meant, and quickly nodded her head.

    "I heard, but don't worry, I'm fine. I doubt if he would come here anyway."

    "Well if you ever need anything, don't hesitate to call me."

    "I won't. Thank you." The two finished up their conversation quickly before Emily headed out the house and back to her car, slowly heading down the drive before she was out of sight. Tessalynn sighed, running a hand through her hair, before she walked back to the front door, leaned against the threshold, and motioned for Levi to come in, though hesitating on the action slightly. "Gracie, go get your brother." She looked down at the girl, watching as she nodded her head and quickly ran off to find Niko.
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  17. Leviticus was nothing shy of complete silence for the remaining duration of the trip. The same anticipation gripped him tightly, but so did the apprehensiveness. The nerves in his mind kept snapping at him as different scenarios ran through his head. Oh how heart broken would he be if the kids still retained memories of how much of a dumbass he was when he got locked up. If his two innocent children, his blood, were to know him as some prisoner in line to take the needle who drank and shouted when he was with him he'd probably say his final goodbyes right there and walk far away that nobody would hear or see him put a bullet through his head.

    "Like a coward.." Levi spoke in his mind, he glanced at his right hip the one facing away from Tessalyn. His long winter coat had concealed the revolver holstered to his hip. It was unloaded and on safety but the metal chilled by icy winds was unnerving when put together with his thought. He had received the gun from an old mate of his, from the army. It was unmarked and more or less illegal but then again he was illegal. Levi frowned, it was charity from one of the people who was with him when that brawl broke out. Levi guessed he felt damn guilty for getting off the hook while Levi was locked up. For a moment he regretted accepting it, if Tessalyn were to see it oh boy but at the time it seemed like a necessity to an inmate on the run.

    Then it hit him, it wasn't that it never occurred to him but every once in a while it would just reveal itself to him in a way that always brought out a different reaction. He really is fucked up. Maybe it was the military, maybe it was prison. Heck maybe it was both, but Levi knew that in his mind when he holstered that gun for the first time he showed that he was ready to injure somebody else, maybe kill just so he could reach his goal. Levi grimaced at the firearm now. He was ashamed to have it but it didn't change his thoughts on taking his life. Out in Fairmount, there were plenty cliffs to jump of off. Levi shuddered at how his thoughts automatically redirected to his demise.

    But then they arrived. He looked at their - or should he say her humbled cabin home. A light layer of snow lined the roof and from the window he could see he gentle light emitting from a contained blaze. It looked so much different seeing it from the front window. Last time he saw it like this he was half-drunk and handcuffed. Another shudder. He only nodded and made an odd grunt to acknowledge Tessalyn's request, he watched quietly from his seat while the icy air crawled through the cracks of the car. His eyebrow raised at the young woman who left their home, she was young and probably the babysitter. And surprisingly this thought gave him a weary smile. He hadn't even wondered what Tess had done with the kids when she decided to meet up with him. From the moment he met her all the way until now Leviticus always knew that she would be one heck of a mother.

    He sat their in a quiet awkwardness while Tess signaled him from the doorway. For a moment he thought he saw a flash of ash-grey hair and he automatically thought Gracie. His heart beat was escalating. It was now or never really. So he got out, stood there for a moment out of hesitation and nervousness and walked closer and closer to the house. He gave Tessalyn a knowing look as he passed through the doorway, and his eyes automatically scanned everything on the first floor. The old furniture, the little details but most of all he looked for his kids. He guessed they were upstairs.

    He could hear the tumbling of their footsteps above him and he could feel a slight dampness in his eyes. He turned to Tessalyn right before they came downstairs and said only two words in his gruff yet so emotionally-packed voice.

    "Thank you."
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  18. Tessalynn let her eyes wander about the premise of her yard, checking to make sure that there was no one in sight, and to make sure that there was no one lurking in the woods. More often than not she found herself looking towards the darkness that came from the trees, especially at night. But it wasn't necessarily because she was afraid of the woods; oh, on the contrary, if there was one thing she loved about this house it was the land it stood upon. It did make her nervous when she thought about Grace and Niko though, mostly because she didn't want to lose either of them in the woods, or something taking them into the woods.

    The thought made her shiver, but she quickly shook the feeling off when she heard Levi's steps pad onto the hardwood floor. It made her nervous, but she took a step closer to the door, closing it a little quickly, and then turning back around to face the man she didn't think would ever step foot in her house again. How badly she wanted this to be a different situation though! With him coming home, being the man and father she once remembered him to be. The 'protector' of this house, as she always liked to think, if only because before when ever he was around she felt the safest, and she knew that nothing would happen to the kids. Just seeing him in this house again brought a sense of remembrance, something that she had longed for.

    A slight pain could be felt in her throat as her emotions started to take over her. How was it that he was always able to evoke the most emotions out of her? And when he spoke, the way he said those two words, hadn't helped her cope with the situation, but she knew she couldn't loose it it front of her kids.


    When Niko's voice called from the top of the stairs, Tessalynn whipped her head up to see him and Grace standing there, their eyes trained on Levi. She motioned for the both of them to come down, giving them both, somewhat, encouraging smiles, before she clasped her hands together, watching as the two walked down the stairs. "Niko, Gracie, I wanted you two to see someone, again." She looked to Levi and then back to the children. "This is your father. Remember?" The little statement came out a bit awkward, at least in her opinion anyway. But what was she supposed to say? She had never told the kids about why their father wasn't around anymore; she hadn't had the heart to tell them that he was in jail for murder, and she doubted if they would truly understand. All she told them, when she did answer the question, was that he was just... Away.

    Both Niko and Grace's faces showed ones of confusion, their heads tilting as they seemed to take in the situation. Tessalynn bit her lip in anticipation, wondering what they would say and do. "Daddy?" Gracie's voice spoke out, her eyes blinking before a small smile broke out across her face. "You're back?"

    "You came back!" Niko's eyes seemed to brighten before he took a step closer to the man, his head tilted up as he assessed the man. "But you look... Different. I think."
  19. There they were. The only two forces that really kept him going, the two forces that empowered him to not fall even deeper into alcohol during his incarceration. Damn, there they were. Leviticus still couldn't believe it, he just stared at them blanky as they did the same to him. And when Niko spoke up, Levi didn't hear a single word. He dropped to his knees, pulling Niko, his son who looked so much like Tessalyn into a cradling hug, quickly pulling Gracie in as well. He buried his face into their shoulders as he spoke a rare thanks to God. He was reluctant to let them go but eventually he did and he stood up. Niko and Gracie were giddy with excitement the thought of eventually leaving again was heart wrenching.

    "Dad! Dad!" Niko shouted, almost jumping out of his pants. "Your back!"

    Levi offered a weary smile, ruffling his little boy's hair. "You and Gracie have grown, I almost didn't recognize you. Did you take care of mommy while I was gone?"

    Niko puffed up his chests and offered a confident smile. "Of course! I've been trying my best-est!" Levi laughed, glancing at Tessalyn for a single second before quickly turning away.

    "Let daddy take a bath okay? And then we can talk all night about everything been okay? Niko? Gracie?" Levi spoke maternally, his attention going to the quiet little girl who stared in awe. The two children offered nods and Levi walked towards where he remembered the bathroom, leaving the door open a crack as he slipped in. The first thing he saw was his reflection.

    It was the same burly and bearded man he saw for the past years, but Levi himself could tell something was different. Maybe it was the resparked life in his grey eyes. But anyways Levi slipped off his jacket and sweater, so he only wore his tanktop which revealed multitudes of small cuts sprawled all over his arms. He placed the revolver carefully on the counter before then taking off the tanktop to reveal more cuts on his abdomen and back. Levi was focused one a single nasty one stretching from his shoulder to his chest bone when the small girl voice surprised him.

    "Daddy?" Gracie repeated. She stood quietly next to the doorframe where she intently stared at he cut up father.

    "Gracie?" was the only thing Levi managed to say before the little girl ran off shouting for her mother's assistance. It was only mere seconds before Tess would appear at the scene so in a quick panic, Levi swept the firearm into the trash bin.
  20. Tessalynn let out a breath, not having realized that she even had been doing so, when Niko and Grace started to acknowledge their father, their reactions so different than she had expected. But, honestly, it wasn't so bad. At least they weren't cowering away from him like she had originally thought, and they were even embracing his return. But then... It just made her realize all the more that his departure would probably break their hearts even more than it probably would have normally. They were still so innocent and naive about the situation and everything that revolved around their father. How would they take to him leaving?

    She watched their interactions with a heavy heart, though a small smile still managed to sweep across her face. This scene, this picture of Levi holding his children like a father should... Again it reminded her of how they used to be, how they should be, and she wished so badly that this could just be a normal occurrence. That he had always been there with them, talking to them the way he was, getting the kids as excited as they were now. This moment was precious, something that Tessalynn wanted to continue to remember, but once again reality slapped her in the face, telling her that the only reason the kids were being like this towards him was because they didn't know anything about him. They just saw him as their father, not a murder like everyone else saw him.

    So she let them have their quick moment before Levi headed towards the bathroom to wash himself up, her eyes going over to Grace, who had disappeared shortly after, and then to Niko who still had that proud smile across his face. He really was happy to have his father back. A little laugh escaped from the boy before he looked up at his mother and shook his head. "Oh! Grandma called today. She says she needed to talk to you."

    Trying her best not to roll her eyes at the statement, Tessalynn merely sighed and nodded her head. Oh, if she knew her mother she already knew what this conversation was going to be about. More than likely her mother had caught news of Levi's escape, and with her mother having grown a strong dislike towards the man since he decided to leave for the military, that dislike growing after he ended up going to jail, she just wanted to make sure that her daughter and grandchildren were all right and safe. "I'll call her back. Thank you. Now, go ahead and do what you want while you wait for your dad to come out; he'll be here for a little bit."

    Niko nodded his head and ran off, and after he left her sight Tessalynn headed towards where one of the house phones were, but at the sound of Grace's shout, she quickly turned around and looked in the direction in which the little voice came from. Oh no... "Gracie?!" She rushed over to the bathroom but stopped when she saw her daughter in the hall, pointing towards the bathroom with a concerned look on her face.

    "Daddy, he needs help!"

    Tessalynn blinked before she walked closer to the bathroom, standing by the door frame but completely stopping as she caught sight of Levi's battered and scared body. So, he really had gone through hell to get here... Her eyes traveled over his body, a small gasp coming from her lips as she took notice of a couple of bad scars before she looked up at his face through the mirror, a look of concern adorning her features. "Do you... Need anything? Any help?"
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