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 Home Again, Home Again -- Jiggity Jig, Marco Polo
Magdalena Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 08:57 PM
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As dawn crested over the city, Lena slogged through the streets, cold and tired. The night had re-frozen the snow into a dangerous crust that stabbed at her ankles, the delicate ice shattering at her skin and filling her shoes with rapidly melting snow. That was the least of her miseries, though.

She hadn't had a customer that night.

Nights like that happened on occasion, and the only time Marco hadn't been angry over it, he'd simply not known it happened, being away for a week. She'd ended up breaking into the apartment next door and stealing a lantern to sell on the street in order to make up the difference. Sadly, Marco was not away this week, and she had no recourse but to go home and be dealt whatever hand was waiting for her. Heart hammering against her chest, she stood outside their door in the snow for a long minute before entering.

With any luck, he would still be sleeping. Sometimes he stayed up late, and she didn't have to deal with him until the next evening. Of course, as soon as he didn't see money on the table, he might wake her up.

Stepping softly, she removed her shoes at the door, ears pricked for the slightest of sounds. Nothing, as far as she could tell. All was silent in the house. Slowly and with great trepidation, she moved towards the dingy front room, eyes nervously going everywhere in quick, rapid movements. Perhaps he truly was asleep. Inhaling a little deeper, she crept towards her own room.
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Marco Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 09:08 PM
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Unfortunately for Lena, Marco was awake. Barely so, but still awake nonetheless. He was sprawled out on the floor just behind the sparse furniture they owned, his naked back firmly pressed against the cold wood. Somehow, in the course of his last run, he'd misplaced his shirt.

Had it been stolen by an angry customer? Yanked away by an alley thief? Or had he torn it off himself in a fit of rage?

He didn't remember.

"Lena," he called out, every syllable as crisp as the cold night air.
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Magdalena Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 09:10 PM
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His voice was like an electric shock, running all the way down her spine and to her toes as her heart became heavy with dread. After freezing a moment in surprise and anxiety, she continued walking. She saw his feet, first, and then as she moved forward the rest of him came into view. He was only partially dressed. Embarrassed, she averted her gaze. After a tense moment, she murmured, "Good morning."
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Marco Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 09:18 PM
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His tone was languid, almost lazy. "Is it a good morning?" Any opportunity to demonstrate his proficiency in this foreign tongue, he took. The fact that she couldn't even speak proper English even after living in New Venice slightly annoyed him, but perhaps it worked for her. He raised an arm.
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Magdalena Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 09:19 PM
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She remained frozen, and silent.

Guilty.
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Marco Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 09:21 PM
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He gestured to the space on the floor beside him.

"Come here."
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Magdalena Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 09:23 PM
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She did not want to. Inhaling deeply, she moved to stand beside him, technically in the right spot but not wanting to lie down. Too vulnerable. Maybe he would content himself with smacking her legs.
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Marco Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 09:24 PM
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He patted the floorboards firmly.

"Lie down."
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Magdalena Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 09:26 PM
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She paled a bit, but leaned down, putting her hand on the floor to steady herself as she sat. For a second, she considered staying sitting, but as a general rule she did not like to make Marco repeat himself. She laid on her back, staring up at the ceiling, her stomach shriveling into a little knot.
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Marco Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 09:29 PM
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He felt rather than saw Lena settle into position next to him. He laced his fingers and placed them on his stomach, staring up at the ceiling.

"How's your back doing?" he asked. He knew it hurt her sometimes, those old wounds that his family never spoke about again.
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Magdalena Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 09:30 PM
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Feeling vulnerable, she folded her arms across her stomach, tightly. "Good," she murmured.
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Marco Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 09:41 PM
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"Good," he echoed. "Let me know if you need any medicine for the wounds. I know a guy."

He paused for a moment, the only sounds issuing from the slow rise and fall of his chest.

"We have such a nice ceiling, don't we. I don't know why we don't spend more time looking at it." It was dusty, grey and cracked, with patches of old paint flaking off.
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Magdalena Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 09:43 PM
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The wounds were long since healed, just scars, now. They rarely bothered her. Frowning, she wondered if he was high, again -- if he'd forgotten what year it was. Maybe if he was high, he was in a good mood.

Not wanting to ruin it, she whispered, "Yes?" Agreeing, but unsure, not of herself but the whole situation.
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Marco Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 09:46 PM
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"You sound unsure," he replied.
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Magdalena Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 09:47 PM
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"No. I mean, yes. Yes," she said, with slightly more firmness.
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Marco Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 09:49 PM
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His tone shifted slightly. "So which is it. No or yes?"
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Magdalena Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 09:51 PM
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Fear traveled up her skin. "Yes. Our ceiling is nice."
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Marco Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 09:57 PM
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"I hope you're not just saying that just to agree with me. You know how much I hate that."
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Magdalena Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 09:58 PM
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Her arms tightened on her abdomen. "No. Of course not."
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Marco Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 10:01 PM
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"Good." He absent-mindedly patted her hands. "You're cold. Would you like a blanket?"
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Magdalena Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 10:02 PM
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She frowned in mild confusion. "There's one on my bed," she reminded him. Bed. The place she'd dearly like to be, right then.
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Marco Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 10:08 PM
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"It's fine, I'll just use my hands." He took her palms in his rough hands, rubbing them like he did when they were both younger to warm them up.

Then his grip tightened like a vise.
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Magdalena Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 10:10 PM
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She almost relaxed when his grip suddenly became bone crushing. Crying out in pain, she felt herself sit up, curling over the hand protectively, even though she didn't dare try and wrest it out of his grip.
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Marco Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 10:15 PM
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He sat up as well, pulling her towards him. "Where's my money, my petal."
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Magdalena Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 10:16 PM
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Her voice was frantic, rushed. "Nobody wanted me!" It wasn't her fault. It was too cold, and times were rough.
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Marco Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 10:20 PM
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"Shhhh. It's okay, it's okay," he muttered soothingly as he released his grip, cradling her face in his hands. He stared at her. "Why wouldn't anyone want you? You are so beautiful, my little sister." He kissed her forehead gently.
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Magdalena Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 10:22 PM
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She immediately reclaimed her hands, trying to massage the blood back into them. She was shaking as he kissed her. That was the hardest part of Marco -- not knowing when the rage was going to come. "I'm not pretty, here, just different."
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Marco Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 10:28 PM
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He smoothed back her waves of dark hair. "Nonsense. If they cannot see true beauty, they are the fools. We have no one else here, Lena. Only me and you." He smiled shyly at her.
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Magdalena Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 10:29 PM
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She blushed at the compliment, gaze lowering in modesty. She never really knew what to do with compliments -- especially from him.
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Marco Suarez
 Posted: Apr 25 2012, 10:31 PM
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He placed his forehead against her own softly, so close he could feel her breath against his lips. "You'll do better next time, won't you Lena?"
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