Carrie

TT4.80a: Vanishing Act

PREVIOUSLY: Chartreuse knows something is up with Carrie, but not what. Carrie will have destroyed a time travel chip, and may be destined to leave town.

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PART 80a: VANISHING ACT

minibannernewChartreuse entered the classroom she’d been invited to after school, to find Carrie sitting behind the teacher’s desk. She took a second to appreciate the fact that her temporal friend had asked to meet in the same room where they had ‘interfaced’ during September’s dance before closing the door and setting her books by the chalkboard. “So, is class in session?”

Carrie looked up. “I hope not. Because I don’t seem to have the right answers today.”

It was just the two of them. As Chartreuse approached, Carrie stood and walked around the desk to meet her. “Chartreuse…” Her fists clenched and she looked down at her feet. “Damn it. What I SHOULD tell you here is that I don’t care about you, and that I never have, so that you can get over your feelings. Because where I’m going, I can’t take you with me.”

“Carrie?”

“Except I can’t say that, I can’t, because I’m scared Chartreuse, I’m SO scared about how things might play out, and you’re the only one who knows about everything that I’ve seen and done and…”

She looked back up then, and she was so close to tears that Chartreuse didn’t even think about it. She reached out to grab Carrie in the biggest, tightest hug that she could manage. Carrie sobbed then, and after a moment, her hands slipped around Chartreuse’s sides to hug back.

Chartreuse closed her eyes, preferring to let her other senses capture the moment. The feel of how Carrie’s body was pressed up against her. The scent of whatever fragrance her friend was wearing. The sound of the quiet sobs of the girl she’d fallen for.

Alas, she knew the moment was bittersweet. To the point where, when Carrie finally released her, and started to draw back, Chartreuse nearly didn’t let her.

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TT4.78a: Cheer Up

PREVIOUSLY: Glen gave mental suggestions to others, trying to do away with a chip Julie had created, meant to restore the time machine. Instead of Lee getting the chip, a future Carrie appeared to destroy it.

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PART 78a: CHEER UP

minibannernewThere were two major announcements at school on Monday morning. The first was that Glen would no longer be the bass player for Corry’s band. While there was some confusion within the school about that, it at least made sense to Chartreuse. After all, given what Tim had said on the phone about the conflict he and Lee had experienced with the redhead on the weekend, not to mention the audacity of Glen mind controlling their friends, they could hardly keep working together in a band. Not in any amicable way.

The second announcement was that Laurie would be acting as the head cheerleader until further notice. That was the announcement that didn’t make sense to Chartreuse. Not because it was Laurie – she knew better than anyone how much her friend had been going all out this year, even sketching diagrams of possible new routines for the team that week Carrie had been in hospital – but because giving up the lead ran against Carrie’s nature. More to the point, the timing implied a temporal connection that she couldn’t see, again based on the weekend’s events.

Chartreuse knew Carrie could avoid her at the end of the school day, if she chose. Their timetables were almost a match – except last period, when Chartreuse had Physics while Carrie was in Drama. So the mystic girl made a point of standing outside the Art room at the end of lunch, before that class started, reaching out for Carrie when her friend arrived moments before the bell.

“Carrie…”

“Chartreuse, not today,” Carrie sighed, evading the outstretched arm.

“Carrie, please don’t make me do a reading. I want to help, and Laurie’s, you know, my friend too. Where is this headed?”

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TT4.75b: More Questioning

PREVIOUSLY: Julie told Clarke’s sister that she had a way to not cut herself off completely. Chartreuse struggled with how to admit her feelings to Carrie.

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PART 75b: MORE QUESTIONING

minibannernewClarke followed Tim upstairs to his bedroom. “You know, we could simply talk down in the living room,” he suggested.

Tim shook his head. “All discussions with L-Luci about L-Linquist’s l-language have been in my room. M-Might as well keep the weirdness confined to that part of the house.”

Clarke frowned. “What’s Julie doing that’s weird?”

“Nothing. S-Sorry, that’s not what I m-meant…” Tim pushed open the door to his room then gestured at his desk chair, moving to sit on the edge of his bed. Clarke closed the door after them before sitting. “It’s just, everything’s kinda connected,” Tim finished. “And I don’t want m-my parents walking in at a bad time.”

“Right. Okay.” Clarke rubbed his neck. It felt like they should ease into the conversation. “So, how are your studies?”

Tim smiled. “Fine. Also, Julie appreciated your birthday card.”

Or Tim could cut to the chase for him. “She… said that?”

“Not at first,” Tim admitted. “I’m still trying to understand her m-mannerisms. Her exact words were, ‘At least he didn’t send a gift too’, but she seemed flustered. The way L-Luci gets sometimes when explaining to me about a l-linguistic time travel thing that once included Frank.”

“Ah. And her parents, did they…”

“They d-didn’t do anything. They d-didn’t even come back to town this year. Jeeves got Julie a cake, that seemed to be enough.”

“Right,” Clarke said, feeling relieved. He’d hated the idea of not being there for Julie while her parents were around. A thought occurred. “How much has she told you anyway? About her family?”

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TT4.72b: That’s a Wrap

PREVIOUSLY: Julie agreed to talk to Mary Clarke. Carrie had a condition for all the interactions.

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PART 72b: THAT’S A WRAP

minibannernewMary sat on the couch rubbing her temples as Julie stood over her. Like Carrie, Julie had requested a closed session. And like Carrie, Julie had wasted little time in laying out the situation, backing up Clarke’s account of the time travel incident from last November. About her self-suicide.

The accounts matched perfectly – perhaps a little too perfectly? Because as much as she loved her brother, she had to allow for the possibility that discussion with his friends could have “filled in gaps”, consciously or not, in the eleven months since then.

“I’ll be frank,” Mary said at last. “If my brother hadn’t been so adamant about this talk, I would have thought it all to be a practical joke. As it is, I’m still sorely tempted to chalk everything you’ve said up to a mass hallucination. But okay – if you did truly travel in time, and DID come close to killing your parents… well, Julie, it’s a wonder that you can stand there and speak about it so calmly.”

“I don’t allow myself to dwell too much on the past,” Julie yielded. “Memory can be deceptive. Doc Golden taught me that.” She paused, then moved to sit on the couch next to Mary. “But I won’t say that my actions back then don’t haunt me. They do. That’s why I volunteered to go on more time trips with everyone. It’s also why I’m currently…” She stopped herself. “Why I allowed myself to be put into the position that I’m currently in.”

“You mean with respect to your parents?”

Julie shook her head. “No way. They’ve been a non-factor for close to a year now. And with Golden’s help, I’ve been dealing with the fact that my parents don’t love me, not to mention my little self-destructive impulses. Plus Jeeves is acting more and more like a father to me, and as long as he doesn’t outright demand custody, mom and dad are content to let sleeping dogs lie. They see it as better than a huge legal scandal. No, I meant the position with respect to my isolation.”

“Okay, so like my brother, I’ve missed the direct link. Why are you pulling away from everyone?”

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TT4.72a: Killer Conversation

PREVIOUSLY: Luci and Frank have each talked to Mary, Clarke’s sister. Carrie is trying to convince Mary of time travel.

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PART 72a: KILLER CONVERSATION

minibannernewCarrie collapsed back onto the couch, breathing hard.

When she reopened her eyes, it took a few moments for the image before her to resolve itself into the concerned and slightly confused expression of Mary. “What… what just happened?” Clarke’s sister inquired softly.

“What did you see?” Carrie said testily.

Mary hesitated. “It looked like my quarter… vanished. Only to reappear a second or two later. But it could have been a trick of the light…”

“It wasn’t the light,” Carrie said, clenching her jaw. “I moved it forward in time.” Whereas if she’d moved it back, causing coexistence instead? Boom, and no more quarter. Not only more difficult, but far too dangerous.

Mary’s pause was longer this time. “And that’s the proof,” she concluded.

“That’s it,” Carrie affirmed, finding the strength to sit up and wipe her brow. “It’s the best I can do right now, without losing complete control. I’m still in training. Hence, using a quarter, not a person.”

She held Mary’s gaze until the older girl was forced to look away, back towards the coin. “I’m not sure I’m convinced,” Mary admitted. “However… I’m no longer as skeptical either.”

“Will you at least accept that time travel may be possible for the remainder of our dialogue?” Carrie pressed.

Mary re-pocketed the quarter. “I’ll accept that there is something beyond the norm that you and your friends are experiencing. We’ll call it time travel.”

“Don’t call them my frie–” Carrie cut herself off with a wave of her hand. “Never mind. On to my more ‘personal difficulties’, as you put it earlier. Okay?”

Mary nodded. “All right…”

Carrie took in a breath. Suddenly faced with the prospect of admitting it, she was no longer sure she wanted to say it any more. But if she couldn’t tell Clarke’s sister, who else was there? “I killed Frank,” she blurted. “And I had to wipe out an entire timeline to erase that misdeed.”

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TT4.71b: Psych Doubt

PREVIOUSLY: Clarke needs Carrie to talk to his sister Mary about time travel, to help Julie. Luci spoke to Mary about her past.

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PART 71b: PSYCH DOUBT

minibannernew“Carrie!”

Carrie turned away from the cheerleading discussion she was having with Steve. “Clarke? What the hell are you doing out here, you’ve got a game in under ten minutes!”

“I have to know your answer,” the blonde boy insisted. “Before the game. About whether or not you’ll talk to Mary about you-know-what. Chartreuse said you’d think about it!” he reminded as Carrie opened her mouth.

The head cheerleader paused, then flashed a smile in Steve’s direction. “Go tell the others we’ll be running routine six to start. Laurie takes point, she’s been acting like a bundle of energy all week.” Carrie’s fellow cheerleader nodded at her, then as he went to join the others, the blonde returned her attention to Clarke.

“Clarke, you HAVE to realize this is neither the time nor the place.”

“Carrie, please, YOU have to know there’s no way I can concentrate on the game, not with this foremost on my mind.”

Carrie shifted her gaze to the side, tugging on a strand of hair. When she spoke, she kept her tone carefully neutral. “Okay Clarke. Because it’s you… and because of what you’ve done for me and Julie in the past… I’ll agree this ONE time, to do what I can to convince your sister. But there’s a condition!”

Clarke regarded the index finger which she was now jabbing upwards at his chin, and at the cold intensity of her gaze. “Name it.”

***

Mary looked down at the phone receiver in confusion before lifting it back up to her ear. “Did you just ask me if I enjoyed your school’s first basketball game of the year?” she asked, mildly amused.

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