TT3.66a: Shattered

Previously: Clarke is talking to his sister Mary about visiting people on Sunday. Luci blew up Tim’s bedroom mirror using the energy gun.

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PART 3.19a: SHATTERED 1

MiniBanner“My God! Phil, were you all right?!”

Clarke pulled his gaze down from the ceiling. “Yeah, Mary, I was fine. I even reacted in time to shield Tim. Luci got nicked in the arm by a shard of glass but it was nothing serious.”

“Why in the world would Luci heave a latin dictionary at the mirror on Tim’s dresser? She had to know it would shatter!”

Clarke winced. “I didn’t exactly say it was a dictionary. I mean, that’s what we told Tim’s father but… it’s complicated.”

“You keep saying that,” Mary sighed. “Phil, sister or therapist, I can’t do you any good when you keep sidestepping the truth.”

“I know, I know, it’s just… look, I’m sorry sis. The full truth is something I don’t think you’d be able to buy into right now.”

“Maybe, maybe not,” Mary responded. “But okay, putting that aside for the moment, I’m getting the distinct impression that everything to this point? Has been background events. It’s like you’re avoiding some major issue. What else happened today? Who else were you talking with?”

Clarke swallowed. “Uhm, well, actually I ran into Corry and Laurie after leaving Tim’s,” he ventured. “They were outside the Veniti household, heading off for the rest of the day with their parents. Chartreuse was there too, to see them off.”

***

“Hi Clarke!” Laurie said, beaming at him as she ran down the driveway. She paused when she was two steps away and tilted her head to the side. “Um… hey, I think you’ve got ice in your hair.”

Clarke blinked at Laurie and reached up to where she was peering.  “Er, thanks,” he replied, plucking the small shard off his head. “It’s glass actually.”

“Oh. So, what, did you come by to see me? Or you just taking the really long way around to Julie’s house?” Clarke flinched as he realized the accuracy of her statement.

“Glass? Like, why would you have glass in your hair, Clarke?” Chartreuse asked, coming up beside Laurie.

The tall blonde sighed. “Let’s just say that Luci and Tim still have a ways to go with Linquist’s translations. Not that they’ll be able to do any more of it today.” He could still recall Luci muttering over and over ‘That wasn’t supposed to happen’, while the two of them had been escorted out of the Whitby residence.

“Oh,” Laurie repeated. She glanced from Clarke to Chartreuse, then back. “Well… I’ve said ‘hi’, so I guess I should get back to helping my brother load bags in the car.”

“Ah, don’t bother,” Corry said, walking up to join the three of them. “Dad says he’ll take care of the last thing once Mom’s got her camera packed inside it. Which will be once they find it. Which will be once he stops berating her for not finding it last night.” He clapped a hand on Laurie’s shoulder. “Good to know your scatterbrained nature is hereditary, eh, little sis?”

Laurie flushed a bit in the cheeks, glancing at Clarke out of the corner of her eye. “I’m not THAT bad,” she protested to her brother. “I mean… at least I’m not the one who’s grounded all next week!”

Corry’s expression turned dark. “I’ll thank you not to mention that again. After all, I wouldn’t be in any trouble at all if I’d been allowed to time travel back, as planned!”

Clarke exchanged a quick glance with Chartreuse, who shrugged. “Corry, your parents didn’t buy our excuses as to your two day absence then?” the tall blonde inquired.

Corry looked over at Clarke. “Hm? Oh, well, they sort of bought it,” he yielded. “Only the idea of me staying over at Julie’s for two days is a stretch, even if you did somehow get Jeeves to vouch on my behalf. Now, for it to be after all the crazy stuff that happened at school…? Let’s just say I got the whole ‘family values’ speech, with this outing thrown in to boot. My dad in particular isn’t as easygoing as Frank’s parents are.”

“Plus Mom now thinks Julie and my brother are a romantic item,” Laurie put in. “So that’s awkward.”

“Yeah, there’s that too,” Corry sighed, rubbing his forehead.

“You get what Julie was, like, saying about why we couldn’t, you know, send you back though, right?” Chartreuse asked.

Corry waved off the pink haired girl. “Yeah, yeah, I understand the whole didn’t-happen-so-can’t-happen-and-don’t-piss-off-freaky-golden-eyed-weapon-girl reasoning. Doesn’t mean I have to LIKE it. For that matter, I’m surprised Julie was so willing to go along with placating Carrie. Reading between the lines of Laurie’s catchup story, I gather Carrie was treating Julie pretty rotten after me and Frank left.”

“They’ve both been under more strain than usual,” Clarke put in quickly. “With Mindy gone, I’m hoping we can smooth things over once again.”

“Mmmm. That’ll take effort,” Corry said slowly. “Assuming it’s even possible. But then again… I now have a gaping two day HOLE in my life, so what the hell do I know, right?!”

“Hey, one more day and you’ll be, you know, caught up from the extra few days you spent in the past last year,” Chartreuse offered up.

Corry fired Chartreuse a look. “NOT helping,” he said pointedly. “For that matter, I’m not getting suckered into any more time trips. Keep me apprised of your group’s situation, yes, inform me of any attempts by Glen to use – what was it, strange mental powers? – hell yes, but DON’T count on me for physical assistance in any further temporal shenanigans!”

Laurie pulled her gaze away from Clarke long enough to turn back towards her brother. “Shenanigans? Aren’t those like polygons?”

Corry opened his mouth to reply, then thought better of it and simply shook his head. “Nevermind. C’mon sis, let’s help the parental units get a move on.”

Laurie hesitated, then nodded. “Sure you don’t want to stick around for, uh, a glass of juice or anything, Clarke?” she asked, casting one final glance his way.

“No. Thanks though,” he replied.

“Oh, and hey, Clarke?” Corry called out over his shoulder, even as he began to walk back towards the house. “Keep an eye on Julie for me tonight, okay? She was looking kinda vulnerable and I think you’d be a better person to talk with her than me.”

***

“Aha! Now I know what you’re hiding!”

Clarke froze. “Hiding, Mary?”

“Julie,” his sister stated. “Our conversation is all about Julie.”

There was a moment of silence. “Why…”

“Your voice is catching every time you say her name,” Mary pointed out. “And you’ve been trying to avoid mentioning her, despite how your connection to her has been referenced in every single conversation so far.  Come on, Phil, you’re running out of other people to talk about. You must have seen Julie earlier today. So what’s the big mystery?”

Clarke rose from his bed and went to his window, staring out at the darkening sky. “No mystery,” he said at last. “Here’s how that conversation played out…”

***

Clarke was a little surprised to see Julie herself answer the front door. “I saw you heading up the driveway,” she began by way of explanation. “I knew you’d come today. We… we have to talk.”

“I agree,” Clarke said. He held up a small box. “And I brought some eclairs along, to try and help with the mood.”

Julie’s eyes slipped down to the box. She closed her eyes. “Damn. I wish you hadn’t done that,” she whispered. Reopening her eyes, she turned. “Come into the sitting room.”

Clarke hesitated for a moment, then shut the door behind and followed after her. “This… seems pretty serious,” Clarke observed as Julie sat down on the couch. He dropped the eclair box on the table. “But look, it’s important that you don’t think what happened last night was your fault, we never–”

“We’re through,” Julie interrupted.

Clarke nodded as he sat. “Carrie said the same thing,” he admitted. “But I don’t think–”

She spun to face him. “No, not ‘we’ as in the time group. We. Us. Whatever the two of us have. I’m sorry, but it’s over.”

Their eyes locked. He saw the determination in her gaze… and he didn’t understand it. Not at all. “Jewels,” he said softly, reaching out towards her. “You can’t mean…” His voice trailed off as she stood, slipping just beyond his reach.

“Ph– Clarke, please don’t make this harder than it has to be,” she replied, back now towards him, her hands tightening into fists.

Clarke paused, trying to figure out what he was supposed to say to that. It was like Grade Ten all over again. But why? “Jewels, I don’t understand,” he admitted. “I mean, you wanting to back out of the time traveling makes some sense to me but this…? I need an explanation!”

It took a moment for Julie to respond, and when she did, her voice sounded empty. “Where I’m going next, I can’t take you with me. If I did, at best you would slow me down, and at worst… you could be used against me. And I won’t have you hurt like that. Not like everyone else I’ve managed to harm in the past few days. Not that way.”

Clarke stood. “Jewels…”

“Julie!” the brunette snapped, her body shaking slightly. “Gods, Clarke, just… just call me Julie…! Please, Clarke… PLEASE…” Her voice nearly cracked.

He swallowed. “Julie then. You… you’re talking nonsense! What do you mean where you’re going? Are you leaving town? Or are you planning to leave this time period entirely? Because I don’t think that… wait, your parents aren’t doing something more to you, are they??”

Julie turned back to face him, her expression one of anger and disbelief – but her gaze swiftly softened and became one of quiet sadness. “Oh Clarke… simple, unaware Clarke… no, my parents aren’t a factor. And I didn’t mean going physically, or temporally. It’s about… about me fitting in. The only way I can.”

“Yes, right, we talked about that the other day,” Clarke said desperately, searching for meaning in the conversation. “And with teamwork…”

“No, Clarke.” Julie shook her head. “I don’t do teamwork, remember? If you don’t believe me, just ask Carrie, she’ll set you straight.”

“She’s sorry for slapping you. She told me. She said your idea was good.”

Julie smiled, but it was a sad smile, and her tone still sounded hollow. “That’s nice to know, but… it doesn’t matter. Not now that I know that the only way to fit in… is to cut myself off from the rest of you. Completely. The next choices I make, I must make them on my own.”

Clarke ran a hand back through his hair. “DAMN it, Julie… what you’re saying, it makes no sense!”

“I’m sorry you feel that way. But you can’t change my mind on this matter, Ph–” She swallowed. “Clarke. Please, for all our sakes, don’t try.”

It was at that moment, that Clarke knew she was lying. There was resolve in Julie’s face, but lurking behind that mask was something more. Some hope that he would see an alternative, and be able to try… something. But how could he do that when he didn’t even know what in the world she was talking about?

*

-BOOM. It can’t get worse than this, can it? (idle whistling) Incidentally, anyone spot the callback to Book 1, with the eclairs? Also the last time we saw Mary.

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