thepainted_lady: (It's not always that simple)
1. We both had lives before. We all have them, I guess. But for me, it's just that. Before. There's a strict line of demarcation there--my life before, and my life after. Again--I guess we can all say that--before we left our old lives, before we found this home, this family. But that's not it for me, not really. Yes, there was a renewal the moment I stepped through the gates, there was a feeling of coming home, of finding what I'd been looking for. But all of that faded into the background the next morning, because the moment life truly began again for me was the first time you touched my hand.

2. You're the only thing in my life I've ever depended on, and the only person I think I'll ever fully trust. I just wish that was enough.

3. Thank you for coming back for me. I'll make sure you never regret it. However it started, whatever we had to go through, it's all made me certain of one indisputable fact: I love you.

4. I would have given you anything. I did give you everything. There's part of me that still wishes I'd never woken up, because there's a pain that I can't seem to shake that I live with every day. There are days I can't breathe for it. But I'm not that girl anymore. I see you now, with all the blinders off. I may be alive, but you killed something precious that day. Things still hurt, but I'm stronger now, and I don't care what I feel--it's over.

5. I never wanted to let you down or hurt you, but I know I keep doing it again and again. All my best efforts seem to do nothing but backfire, when all I ever wanted was for you to be safe and loved and have a chance at everything I never did. I love you. I would do anything for you. And I hope some day you can forgive me.

6. Sometimes I wonder if things could have been different, but I'm glad you're happy now.

7. You're the most confusing person I've ever met. Normally I know exactly what someone wants from me, but no matter how hard I try, even though I can read you just fine, I can't figure you out. ...It's kind of exciting.

8. I don't think there are enough words to say, "thank you." Everything you've done, you didn't have to. I can't imagine how much we've turned your life upside down and what we've put you through, but I want you to know I'm grateful--to you and for you.

9. Sometimes I don't think it's fair to you, to be trying to build something with me, when I know I'm shattered into so many pieces I still feel them cutting at me all the time. There's so much you don't know, and that scares me. But you make me feel safe, and you make me smile, and you make me feel...hope for the first time in so long I can't remember. I'm terrified of falling for you, but I think it might be too late.

10. I didn't want to like you, but I couldn't help it. I didn't think I could forgive you, but it wasn't really that hard. I never thought I'd love you, but now I can't imagine how I ever couldn't.

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thepainted_lady: ([Amanda] Listen to me)
Happy birthday, sweetheart. Seventeen is a momentous year. I just want to say how glad I am to have you in my life again.

I love you,
Mom

[on the table are gifts: silver bangle bracelets, a "forever my daughter" ring, and a very colorful pair of cowboy rain boots.]
thepainted_lady: (Lost without you)
"Your absence has gone through me like thread through a needle. Everything I do is stitched with its color." ~ W.S. Merwin

The pressing panic that had caught in her throat the day she had arrived here, ripped away from her family, away from her home, away from everything she'd known was back. She'd gone to work through the week only because at least it was at least something familiar, but as nice as Sarah was, she wasn't family, wasn't someone she could cling to, and Puck had a girlfriend now, and, anyway, she could hardly use him that way. As nice as their night had been, he was a seventeen year old boy, not someone she should find herself depending on. It wasn't fair to him.

The dance had been...lovely, but what she found on waking up the next morning...had not been. Since then, life had been a fog, and no matter how hard she tried to pierce it, she couldn't seem to get through. Just because he'd bid on her, wanted to see her, even just because he was from her world was no reason to rely on Noah Bennet. Back home he had...hunted them. He'd been the enemy for a long time. He was a...friend now, and she wasn't afraid of him anymore, but that didn't mean he wanted to be burdened with her problems. The rest of them were just acquaintances, really.

Samuel was gone.

Edgar hadn't spoken to her since...she'd made a fool of herself.

And now Amanda was gone, too. )
thepainted_lady: ([Edgar] Trust you with my life)
[ooc: Based on RP with [livejournal.com profile] heroslayer and [livejournal.com profile] hadtobeahero. Edgar is [livejournal.com profile] watchesover_her and mine for purposes of the fic. :-D]

"Say that one more time, love. You’re a what?"

Lydia supposed that complete disbelief was better than some of the alternatives--namely incoherent rage--but she wasn’t ruling that one out when it had sunk in. Glancing down at the tea Edgar had gotten her when she’d arrived at his apartment, she stared in the depths wishing she had some ability to read leaves and see any possible way this was going to end well.

"A vampire."

At the silence from the other side of the table, Lydia glanced back up, meeting Edgar’s gaze that questioned if she had gone mad, or were playing some sort of joke, or had wandered into the realm of a world he hadn’t dreamed existed. She willed him to believe her, though was careful not to put any compulsion behind her words when she spoke. Not yet.

“I’m serious, Edgar. I know it sounds...crazy, but.” She took a breath. “Vampires are real. One found Sylar and turned him a while back. He...couldn’t stay in New York, and he came and found me. After a while, he made me one, too.”

“Why?”

Lydia blinked. It was a perfect question, really, one that gave her the opening she needed to defend Sylar without even having to be seeming to, but somehow she hadn’t expected it. )
thepainted_lady: ([Vamp] Lure)
[ooc: Claire, Amanda and Edgar do not refer to any particular muses/are not binding on anyone. Sylar is [livejournal.com profile] heroslayer and Peter is [livejournal.com profile] hadtobeahero, and this prompt is a follow up to a RP with them.]

The sun was trying its best to crisp her skin. Even with the protection of her ring and the darkness of the sunglasses she hid behind, Lydia felt exposed. Before coming to the Park, she’d fed well and had several cups of coffee, speeding her heartbeat up uncomfortably and leaving her skin flushed and warm. All she could do, she’d done, but the sun’s light brought out the underlying pallor of her skin, and the cutting black vines winding around her, cruel thorns dripping crimson flowers like blood. There was no way they wouldn’t notice. Trying to cover them up would have been even more questionable, as if she had something to hide, and she wanted more than anything for them to think all was well.

As well as it could be, at least, when she’d been alive for months and let them think she was dead, buried in the dust that settled after Samuel’s betrayal.

With a sigh, she dragged her fingers through her hair, pushing it back, grateful it, at least, had remained unchanged, for the most part. A few more highlights, a bit more vibrant, perhaps, but she’d always had fun playing with it. They’d just think she had good shampoo. Her eyes might draw comment--the lights of the carnival had downplayed the shift in their color last night--but hopefully it wasn’t too noticeable.

They hadn’t warned Samuel of his impending doom, at least.

“Mom?” The slightly choked word skittered over her skin, breaking her reverie, and she froze for a moment, before turning, careful of how she moved, making sure not to spin too fast. The speedster standing next to her daughter would catch any differences there, and Peter had said sometimes they didn’t move like humans anymore.

“Amanda...” She stared at the girl for a long moment, before moving tentatively toward her. That was all it took, and her arms were full of her daughter--her living, breathing daughter--and all the little things she’d memorized about her were thrown up against her senses in dizzying detail. The smell of her shampoo, the warmth of her skin, the racing beating of her heart that Lydia’s only dimly echoed now, even with the stimulant.

Amanda was crying, an excess of emotion pouring out in salt water drops that were near scalding against Lydia’s skin. )
thepainted_lady: ([Amanda] Listen to me)
Dear Amanda,

I know there’s a lot you don’t understand--about me, about my life, about why I left, about why I didn’t want you here. The last is the worst, I think. I see it in your eyes every time you look at me, that hurt, the betrayal, the accusation. I’m a bad mother, or I never wanted to be one, or I don’t want you, or ... whatever it is you think. Maybe the first is true...maybe I am a bad mother...but you mustn’t think the other two.

The only thing I ever wanted for you was to be safe, happy, to have everything I never did.

I didn’t know about abilities when I left you with Carol--I didn’t know what I was except that I felt like a freak. She was older and married and able to give you so much I couldn’t--a stable home, a normal home, with two parents who loved you. Because she did love you. I could feel that from her, completely, and her husband was a good man. He wanted to be a good father to you, and that was something that no matter what I did, I couldn’t give you.

Even once I found out about abilities...what life was being the daughter of a single, teenage mother at a traveling carnival compared to a comfortable, cohesive family? You could go to school, have friends, put down roots, grow up learning to ride a bicycle and playing with dolls...We were outcasts, the people society didn’t want, and as far as I knew, you were normal. You had a chance at a life in a world that didn’t want me.

Then I found out you were like me, and, Amanda, you have to know I was going to come for you. I understood--you couldn’t stay there. Carol wouldn’t understand. You’re like me. But the government had been hunting us, and Joseph had been murdered, and there were new people in the carnival I couldn’t trust...Edgar was going to come for you, take you somewhere safe, and I was going to follow. I was going to do my best to find somewhere safe for both of us, to be with you...

But you found me first, and you overheard things that weren’t true, things I was saying to protect you, because I didn’t trust Samuel’s reasons for wanting you with us. You were my daughter, and he didn’t need to be making decisions about you. I had to assure him of my loyalty, though. He’d already taken the money, cut off my one avenue of escape...I had to placate him...to try and think of something else, another way to get to you, to make you safe...

I didn’t mean the things I said. I never meant for you to hear them.

You mean the world to me, Amanda. You’re the one thing I’ve longed for all of my life. Leaving you is the only regret I’ve ever let stay on my mind. You’re the one thing I did right--the best thing I’ve ever done, and I have wanted you with me from the day I walked out of Carol’s door.

I just loved you enough to give up what I wanted in order to try and give you a better life. I never meant to hurt you with that.

I’m sorry. I hope one day you’ll understand, and one day, maybe, you’ll forgive me.

Love forever,
Mom

[Complete list here.]
thepainted_lady: (Downcast)
Dear Gail,

We don’t talk, really. I mean, I’m not sure we’ve ever sat down and actually had a conversation, at least not a real one, deep and true. And yet, you’re family, part of this place, and of us. More than that, you’re a mother--a better one by far than I have known how to be. I watch you with Jennie and I...envy you, having her, having the chance to be with her. You make me realize that maybe I could have done things differently, if only I’d known this place existed.

Even now...you’re the one to have taken Amanda in. You’ve given her a home, a place to sleep, a feeling of stability that she doesn’t seem to get from me. You’re still more of a mother to her than I am, and I don’t know how I feel about that. I’m grateful. I’m jealous. I’m wistful. I wish I knew how to do it. You make it look so easy. I know it’s not.

I wish I had the nerve to actually talk to you about it, to ask you about it, but I just...feel lost, like a failure when I think of it, and I can’t seem to find the nerve to ask what should be the easiest questions in the world.

So....here’s this instead, a cop out, maybe, as a letter, a note slid under your door. I’d like to talk sometime, if you’re willing. I want to be a good mother to my daughter. You know her better than I do...

Can you help me?

Lydia

[complete list here.]
thepainted_lady: ([Amanda] Listen to me)
Dear Danny,

She’s beautiful. I don’t know if you care, or if you even ever think about us. I don’t know how you couldn’t. We were just kids, then, but now, somewhere in the world, you’re presumably a man. Maybe you’ve settled down, married, have other children--but surely, you must think of her sometimes, if not of me. You had to know I wouldn’t get rid of her, so wherever you are...does your mind rest on her, the daughter we made, the one you didn’t want?

I don’t expect you to think of me. To tell you the truth, I don’t think of you all that often. I thought I loved you, it’s true, and maybe I even did, to some extent, but I was fifteen--what did I know of love? You were an idea as much as anything, and a chance at a life away from the one I despised.

But I never stopped thinking of her, after I gave her up. Did you, after I left? I knew you didn’t want her, that you didn’t want me. I could feel it, sense it deep down inside. You wanted to run. I didn’t want to be abandoned. Were you relieved when you woke up to find me gone? Did you even try to look for me, or did you just continue on your way, one less burden to worry about?

It doesn’t matter, not anymore. I wouldn’t even begin to know how to find you, or where, to send this, but I thought you should know--she found me. I met her. And no matter what a mess we made of each other...we did something right, you and I. She’s beautiful, perfect, everything I could have hoped for in a daughter. I look at her and I see so much of me, but...how I could have been, if things were different. I see you, too. Your sass, your fire, your defiance..maybe some of those were mine, but I learned so many of them from you. She has your eyes, too. Your lips. When she smiles, sometimes I see flashes of you, and I remember.

But only sometimes. Mostly, I just see her. I see the years I lost, and the things I missed out on. You missed them, too. There are so many more you’re going to miss, as well. Does that bother you? She hasn’t asked about you. I don’t know what to say when she does. I’d like to tell her that you loved her, too, but if you had....life would have been so different for us all.

People change, though. They grow up. They regret the things they did when they were careless children, frightened and irresponsible. Have you? Do you?

Maybe one day, she’ll find you, too. If so--I hope for your sake, and hers, you’ve changed, grown. But if not--it’s your loss. Because we created something amazing, you and I, and if you could see her, talk to her, I think you’d see that, too.

Lydia

[Complete list here.]
thepainted_lady: (....Excuse me?)
[Complete list here.]

Dear Carol,

I got your voicemail. I know you said you never wanted to hear from me again--don't worry, after this, you won't. You're right, of course. It's better for everyone this way. I just thought you would have wanted to know Amanda was safe--even after so long away from her, that would have been my primary concern.

By now you've seen the news, I'm sure. You know about people who are different. You should realize Amanda and I are two of them. She wasn't disturbed, wasn't setting fires to spite you. She didn't need therapy. She was trying to deal with an ability she didn't understand.

If I'd realized she was like me, if I'd known what I was, maybe I never would have left her with you. But I thought you'd be good to her, love her, raise her right, give her everything I never could. For a while, I guess you did, and for that, I'll be grateful. But you hurt her, too.

I know what that's like. You never had to feel it--to feel so lost, so different, so out of control, when your body and emotions are rebelling against you. You were always perfect, in control of everything. Perfect daughter, perfect wife, perfect mother, perfect sister.

Except you didn't believe me when I told you about myself, about Dad. You didn't believe my daughter when she told you about herself. You were so blinded by how the world should be, you couldn't see how it was.

Maybe you'll have to wake up now.

But either way, Amanda's with me. I can take care of her, now, and I will. I love you, Carol, but I'm better for her, for what she's going through. I can give her what you can't. So, thank you for all you did--for being there when we both needed you. But my daughter isn't troubled, she isn't a freak--she's special. Like me. And we're going to be just fine.

I wish you all the best in life.

Lydia
thepainted_lady: ([Amanda] Listen to me)
I dreamed a dream in time gone by
When hope was high and life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving

Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung, no wine untasted


Dearest Amanda,

His name was Danny. )

But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
As they turn your dreams to shame


I ran home )

And still I dream she'll come to me
That we will live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather


I found a new home.  )

I had a dream my life would be
So different from the hell I'm living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed the dream I dreamed
thepainted_lady: (Trusting soul)
Lydia had missed the last fourteen birthdays with her daughter. To be sure, sometimes she'd managed to send cards, but she hadn't always been able to get away, to send them, and to send too much would risk them tracking back to her. And letting the family know about her past, to be able to make the effort, wasn't always easy. Trips to the post office would be noted, possibly questioned. She'd tried, but she knew it hadn't nearly been enough.

This year, she was determined to do better.

That Amanda was turning fifteen, such a painful year in Lydia's own past, she was sort of trying not to focus on. It was going to be a good day. She was still getting to know her daughter, and had been uncertain what, exactly, she'd like, but she had one idea for part of spending the day she hoped she would approve of, at least, if the gifts weren't quite...right.

All gaily wrapped in bright paper, she had several packages. Inside were: a hand-woven charm bracelet; a brightly colored, butterfly hoodie; and a smaller box containing an aquamarine belly button ring. She has a matching amethyst--her birthstone--one in another box...as a thought that, maybe, if Amanda wants...they could go into town and get piercings done at the same time.

She's let the right people know it's Amanda's birthday, and there will be a larger celebration later, but for now, she just wants to have some time that's just hers with the daughter she's spent too much time away from.
thepainted_lady: ([Samuel] Cut your heart out with a spoon)
"Don't worry, you'll meet her soon enough."

Worry wasn't really the primary emotion running through Lydia's veins as she watched the blond woman enter the carnival. It was something darker, something she couldn't quite put her finger on. The intensity of it took her by surprise, fingers curling into a fist, fingernails biting into her palms until they bled. The sketch had been good, but the woman was older now, though the softer colored lights of the carnival were as flattering to her as to anyone. But it was the look in her eyes that set Lydia's teeth on edge, looking around as if there were something wrong with their home, something beneath her about them all.

Pushing her hair back behind her ear, Lydia trailed along behind them, gaze assessing, taking apart each little piece of the other woman with a look, and still not seeing what the appeal was.

...Her steps faltered a bit, though, as she realized what she was doing, and she came to a stop, staring after the retreating figures.

"Who's that?" Amanda asked, coming up beside her.

"Samuel's brought her here," Lydia said, trying to ignore the painful twist inside of her stomach.

"Why?"

The words were simple ones, really, or should have been. She'd read it in his eyes, as the cold certainty that she could see him dead had settled in her stomach. But why? For Joseph? For Edgar? For the family? Was he truly a threat, or just grasping power he'd been denied all his life? When she'd told him his secret was safe with her, she'd still believed he could be something more. Part of her knew she was right. You didn't look into a man's soul as often as she had his without knowing him. But she could still deceive herself, it seemed.

"Mom? Why is she here? Who is she?"

The words came, from some hollow pit she couldn't quite feel from. "He loves her."

"Her?" She could feel Amanda's shock like some dim echo, recognizing that emotion if she was only starting to put a name to hers. "But I thought..."

"You were wrong." Lydia's voice came softly, but it felt like each word was a slice of a knife.

She felt the cut of the realization that had been growing for a while, now, and with it the sting of tears that burned off in the wave of something darker, something that must have shown on her face.

"Mom...?" The worry was easy enough to feel, as well, as she let herself focus on the emotions around her instead of her own. Maybe she couldn't name the feeling pressing down and choking her without admitting things she'd no intention of saying aloud, but she could recognize the secondary emotion it sparked welling up in a red wave.

"Samuel's going to be busy for a little while," she said quietly, breathing in the familiar scents of popcorn and caramel and fried delights around them. "I think it's time we had a family meeting."

Turning away from the sight of the couple lingering at the door of Samuel's trailer, she swung around and moved toward the family's gathering area. Apparently there were limits to her loyalty, after all.
thepainted_lady: (*amused*)
"Come on," Lydia said, watching her daughter as she was bent over a notebook, scowling. The homeschooling program of the children of the carnival was very loose, but there was some of it, and Amanda working with the teachers had been one condition of Lydia finally giving up fighting Samuel on her staying.

Amanda had not been exactly amused, but with Samuel and Lydia in agreement, there was really very little anyone would do to defy them. Even the teenager caught on to that, pretty fast.

"I have homework," she said now, not looking up, something of her resentment over school showing in a reverse determination to irritate Lydia.

Lydia just smiled. "It will wait. Come on."

Amanda looked up for a moment, then shrugged and shut her notebook, falling in to step beside her. Lydia paused just once, to get them both cotton candy, which made Amanda give her a suspicious look. "What's going on?"

"We're going in to town," Lydia said, ripping a piece of the spun sugar off. "I figured we could use the energy for the walk."

"And pure sugar was your idea?" Amanda still looked skeptical. "That's not very mom-like."

"It's not a day to be mom-like," Lydia said, glancing up at the sun in the sky, and flashing her daughter a mischievous smile.

"No?" Amanda asked, finally starting to smile.

"No."

"Did you tell Samuel where we were going?" Amanda asked, glancing back at the carnival.

"Nope," Lydia said.

"So we're both basically playing hooky."

"Yep." Lydia grinned. "It's a time honored tradition in the family. Or, well, it was for me."

"Aunt Carol..."

"...Never skipped a day of class and really disapproved when I did."

"But she's not here."

"Nope."

"And Samuel doesn't know we're gone...."

"Nope." He probably wouldn't have cared that they were leaving, honestly--but it was more fun to sneak off.

Amanda's smile grew. "What are we going to do, then?"

Lydia took another bite of the cotton candy, letting it melt on her tongue, turning it blue, then flashed her daughter a smile. "Anything we want." She glanced down the hill toward the town in the valley, then shot Amanda a challenging look. "Race you."

She heard the slight shout of protest as she took off, that she was being unfair, but she could hear her daughter's footsteps coming fast behind her, and the catch of her breath on a laugh, and she let herself laugh as well as they ran down the hill, trying not to slip and fall, and making their way to a few hours stolen freedom, together.

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thepainted_lady: (Default)
Lydia

October 2011

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