What Is Being “In Love?”

What Is Being “In Love?”

February 17th, 2024 – Saturday: 5:00 PM

After talking with the Beast about helping him fix the table when parts show up, and sending Geist his “After Action Report” or A.A.R. Garrick transforms back to normal and goes to shower after everyone heads off. He checked his phone but nothing from Patsy.

“Hmm, she’s probably working on research,” he muttered and tossed his phone on his table in the room he and Katherine shared.

Ashmadiel was a sealed, unending, torq around his neck of twisted, braided wire spreading slightly apart in the front showcasing a deep blue sapphire captured in the wire. Garrick asked his sword that should he ever be knocked out or loose consciousness this is the form it should take instantly to prevent separation. He saw the relief the Wayfarer had getting his polearm back and decided he did not want to loose his friend, his confidant. It occurred to Garrick the longer he was bonded to Ashmadiel the less and less he thought of “her” as an object, but as a person. A person with needs and desires that he was trying to learn so he could give her the consideration she deserved for gracing him with the ability to make a difference in the world at large.

He had stopped trying to check for any news about Antarctica. Asking Optimus to send a message to Shorty-Five that he’s going to make dinner and leave a plate in the fridge for him along with some extra meals. His second message to him was about next month. He’s going to look into a mini-fridge for the basement to keep drinks and snacks for him.

He grabs his phone after the shower and slides on a tank top, pants, and some stretchy boat-shoes to get comfortable. He begins getting the supplies together to cook and takes a tablet from his room while he begins cooking. When he has time to wait for stuff to simmer, bake, etc. He let’s Ameera know he needs to know how people wan to be paid, wire transfered is preferred because they are easy to trace and track. He let’s her know on Sunday has 11:30am to 4:30pm because he is getting his cooking done today for the week. If he can’t get their info he’ll bring cash with him and a receipt/payment book to keep track. He would like to setup at the pool and perhaps paint either Desha or Stefania in a chair. If there’s time at the end he would like to sketch her for practice in various poses to work on his speed and technique. He jots down notes, while cooking, about where he will be tomorrow.

When he saw Katherine he mentions he has some art class assignments to get done tomorrow. He will be heading over to the model’s house, and points at the paper with on the fridge with magnets. It has the location and how to get there in case she feels the need to check on him. The look on his face changes as he continues, “I have been rehearsing this conversation over and over in my head.” He checks the food and takes the stuff off the burners and begins portioning it out for meals for everyone as he talks. It is very evident he is trying to use this to help keep his train of thought from derailing. “Since we promised to try and communicate better there have been some things bothering me and frankly I have an over-riding fear of screwing up my first relationship because I have perfectionist issues.”

Deep breath, “In prison monogamous relationships were not as common as you might think because the over-riding fear was based on self-preservation over everything else. Aside from my mother and father I really am so new at this I am working myself up into a tizzy every time I try to determine if I am doing the right thing. I am also trying to grow the number of people I know in my actual life because I feel finding friends online is a rare thing. It was a few days before Valentine’s Day when I said “love” in regards to a person out loud. I tried figuring whom I would use that phrase for and I know I love and care for you because of everything we have gone through. I have your back and you have mine. I knew I loved Patsy because of what we had shared but it was like the lightning in a bottle kind of thing. A spark and I don’t know why she has that effect on me. You know as much about me as she does but I know a great deal about you. I would hazard I know slightly more about you than I do about her. This comparison is what has me freaking out, Ameera is not trying to date me and seems genuinely supportive, Ramona seems nice but fanatical when it comes to her faith, which creeps me out if I’m being honest. I need to see and touch things, its the scientist in me and she accepted we’re friends now since she knows I’m dating someone. Ashmadiel (he pats his torq around his neck) has been trying to help find a path but asking a female angel about mortal women is rough considering she’d rather be seeking out evil and crushing it with her boot. Novia, likes me because I built her a leg however I really doubt there’s anything else going on there. Constance, one of the owners of the Robotics company I work for. I believe backed off of pursuing me when she found out I had a superhero secret lifestyle. I don’t think I am aware of anyone else but according to Brandon, my other boss and Constance’s brother, I wouldn’t know an interested girl from the broad side of a barn.”

Finishing putting the food in the meal containers and now labeling them as he continues. “Brandon went on to say that I’m a natural charmer and this has been clearly something I learned from watching my father. This morning it had hit me how much my life has changed in a month and two days!” He looks frantic and more than a little terrified he’s made her mad regardless of any physical cues from her. “Please, believe me that I just don’t want to see you hurt but I think even my idea of monogamy and yours may have very different preconceived notions. Given that while I really want to try out this pill,” he clearly is wearing tight pants in an effort to keep it from moving around, “but I also wonder if somehow my heightened anxiety is a side effect. Also, the fact that my complete basis for my case study was in prison and literature I’ve read. I believe has given me faulty data to begin with.”

Another deep breath, “I don’t know if I’m “IN LOVE” (yes Garrick made air quotes) with anyone or anything! For god’s sake I see sex the way some people look at yoga! I don’t know what to look for to know if I am in love, or is in love the same as infatuated? My mind is spiraling out of control because I am terrified I have somehow let you down because I don’t this answer! I know I love you but I feel like I am somehow fucking up before I even start!”

He looks like he’s on the verge of hyper ventilating and a full blown panic attack. He begins to ramble on about how to know if one is in love and then how to prove that he’s in love. Followed by him becoming terrified if he were to find out he’s in love with anyone else, because he doesn’t want to lie about being in love with Katherine. This leads him yammering about making sure she never gets hurt because her ex was a douche. What becomes very apparent is he never even considers once how he might actually feel. He appears ready to crush his existence into a mold to make her happy and anything regarding his happiness be damned. To Garrick the line feels like a throw away but somewhere in all of it he mentions, “Besides given what I’ve endured I should just be lucky anyone loves me. After all, you’ve only lied to me once and I hear people talk about how their significant others lie and cheat all the time! I’m so far ahead of the game…” It is almost becoming to fast to keep up with.

Simultaneously going on with his soul bearing speech. He continues going through the motions putting of food into the fridge. Sitting at the kitchen island he makes eye contact and his hands are trembling.

“Now?” She finally asked incredulously, with tears streaming down her face. When did she start crying? “NOW?!” Was this a question, or an exclamation? “With all the shit that Phantom just dropped on us, on me, and everything I said to you… all the trust I gave you… you drop all this on me now?!?” Her face was a mixture of pain and anger as she continued to try and take in all that Garrick just unloaded on her.

“I’ve tried, Garr-bear. I’ve tried to understand. But I don’t! How can you learn- how can you teach yourself nuclear physics? Or programming? Or how to draw so beautifully with less than a month of drawing lessons? But you can’t learn anything about relationships!?” Her voice broke with emotion as she said this to him. “It’s… It’s not ‘can’t’ anymore, Garr-bear. It’s clearly ‘won’t.’ This…” Her heart broke as she said this so softly. She barely wanted to hear it herself. “You don’t want to be stuck in a relationship with just me anymore. Maybe you never did.”

Garrick was thinking of the night they first had sex but it wasn’t pleasant or dirty thoughts it was wondering why she was interested in him? Was Nathaniel going to kill him that night or in the morning? Had they broken up? He had thought they were only friends because he had fucked up sharing to much. He had been happy to just be friends with Miss Amazing and Patsy. Then they fought and Patsy left and when Miss Amazing was stalking up to him he was afraid if he didn’t go along she would leave to and he would be alone once more. The thoughts felt like a loop in his head and his stomach churned as he realized she was staring at him tears streaking down her face. “OH GOD SHE’S READING MY MIND,” began to echo in his head alongside full blown thoughts of how to kill himself for hurting her.

“I pushed you into something you didn’t want, didn’t I?” She asked out loud but wasn’t really saying it to Garrick as much as she was saying it for her own benefit. “I-“ She looked like she wanted to say more, or like she would say more, but deliberately held back whatever it was. “I don’t want to lose you,” she finally said, calming down. “I don’t want to lose us.”

Garricks eyes darted to his knives and wondered if he was no more then maybe she would find someone worthy of her. His happiness didn’t matter if she was hurt, his life didn’t matter if he lost his partner. He’d promise to not hurt her and now he’d broken her heart and hurt her. In his mind he was screaming this at her, “I’LL BECOME WHATEVER YOU WANT JUST DON’T END UP LIKE MY SISTER! DO WHATEVER YOU WANT TO ME JUST DON’T BE SAD! I’M SO SORRY I HURT YOU!” Visually to anyone in the room watching or viewing the video would see Garrick was failing to utter sounds and he looked hoarse while raising a hand toward her afraid to touch her because she might vanish and terrified to let her go.

She looked at Garrick, seeing the pain he was clearly going through by forcing himself to admit all this, then made a decision. “I’ll try,” she finally said to him. “It will take me some time. But… I’ll try to learn how to share you, if that’s what you want. If you’ll still let me.” She stood there facing him, the two of them with emotions raw and their souls bared. She didn’t know what it was about him that drove her to need him so badly. She just knew she wanted to be with him, to be by his side always. If this was what she had to do in order for that to happen then this was what she would do. Whatever it takes. Always, whatever it must take.

Something clicked in his head. Did she just say what he thought she said? Did she want him as badly as he wanted someone to want him? Was he really not going to be alone anymore? Unless he misunderstood the situation, both of them had appeared to him as though they had decided to sacrifice their happiness to not loose the other? Why did his stomach feel like he had butterflies? Oh lord was he sick? “DON’T VOMIT ON KATHERINE,” he thought to himself. What the hell is with the butterflies? His head began to feel warm and he said, “May I hug you?” Then blackness…
…when he woke up Katherine pressed a cup of the soup he had made to his lips, “Drink it slowly Garr-bear, it’s hot.” He realized she had moved the chairs and propped him up against the island. She was smiling at him, “Do you know where you are?”

“Uhh, yes I’m in OUR HOME.” This made her tear streaked face grin at his reference but he stopped her and his voice trembled, “Do I still get to be your boyfriend and partner, because I would rather cut my heart out than loose you?” He held up a hand, “Umm, I might be sick my stomach has butterflies in it.”

She wiped at her tear-streaked face and backed away. Taking his hand and setting the soup down on a chair seat to keep it off the floor, “Yes, we’re still a couple and partners. Why are you so brilliant and dense? Butterflies? You’re not sick but something doesn’t click right in your head Garr-bear.” Reaching for the cup again she gave him more of the soup. It was a style of tomato soup she had told him she loved last week. He had made it exactly the way she had described to him, “How do you feel?”

“Looking at you I feel happy and terrified that I don’t deserve to be happy,” a twitch in Garrick’s facial muscles caused Katherine to caress his cheek. She had opened up to scan his thoughts when he fell, and she was still connected to his mind. In his mind she saw Garrick having a verbal fight with his father until they were both exhausted about Garrick’s plan to heal Adeline. More visions flash by from his point of view. [FLASH] A young woman stabbing Garrick with scissors and a glowing hot fire poker on multiple occasions (the poker always involved Christmas), [FLASH] pushing him down a marble staircase, [FLASH] try strangling him, [FLASH] drown him, [FLASH] and blaming him for everything when she wanted to act out. Yet there was this feeling of familial love! Garrick still loved his sister and since he wasn’t transformed she knew where every scar on his body was belonging to her rage.

Garrick was still staring at Katherine in the real world and a slightly nervous look came over his face as he bit his lip. [FLASH] In his head it became sunshine and they were leaping from rooftop to rooftop. [FLASH] Then he was flying over the ocean holding her as her hand skimmed the water. [FLASH] Then they were starring at costumes and she was asking him why he wanted her to dress up as a belly dancer for his birthday. The next two thoughts surprised both of them: [FLASH] they were in a chapel in front of an alter. [FLASH] The other was a hospital room and nearly everyone he had known were crowded there staring through a window while he gripped her hand. Both of them were sweating and staring into each other’s eyes as Garrick said, “PUSH!”

Katherine shook her head, snapping out of his mind. They both stared at each other saying nothing blinking and Garrick finally asked her, “Does this,” tapping his melon, “mean I’m “In Love” with you?” Katherine realized all of these thoughts came flooding out after hearing her say, “I’ll try.” Katherine nodded and they both giggled as she moved over and then snuggled up into Garrick and he hugged her.

Art by: AZ_Artisan
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2 Replies to “What Is Being “In Love?””

  1. I thought for sure when Katherine gave him an opening he would jump at it! Really good log, love the tortured soul aspect.
    I can’t wait for the sword to want to have a relationship with him, and see how crazy that gets!

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