Location: Townsend Tower - Atlanta, Georgia
Timeline: The Year of the Apocalypse - 23 January 2012
They had finally let her out of the danger room when she’d returned with Dyami the following day. Sure, she still felt like she wanted to die, but that wasn’t something that she was going to be sharing with anyone, anytime soon. Bethany couldn’t deal with the thought of Jon possibly dying because of her death wish. Still, it was difficult to think of much else.
She had stopped in her room and cleaned herself up. Deciding that she needed some training, she donned her black sweatpants and tank top. The green-eyed brawler still hadn’t decided whether or not she’d be staying at Townsend Tower. The very thought of having to watch as Jon built his life with Cece made her blood run cold, and she sighed as she looked out on the city in the early morning hours. After a moment, she made her way to the door, taking up her bag, and headed for the gym.
There were a few people there, which wasn’t overly surprising. While she was normally up before most people tended to be, she was there later than usual. A few of the people there gave her strange looks as she set her bag down and wrapped her hands to start working the boxing equipment. At first, it was just a little strange, but as time went on, the stares and the whispers started getting to her.
Trying to ignore the discomfort that was niggling at the back of her mind, Bethany stepped up to one of the large punching bags and began going over her routine. Something didn’t feel right about the whole thing, and she realized that she just wasn’t used to training on her own. All of her life there had been someone around to train with, or beat on, as the case may be. Now, she was alone, and that pain in her chest twisted once again.
She glanced around, hoping to see if someone would be willing to work with her, to at least hold the bag, and realized that most of the people there had moved away from her. They had formed small groups that were talking quietly amongst themselves, eyes darting to her, then away quickly as they realized that she was looking at them. Rather than attempting to find a partner, she simply went to the bag, sighed, and began her routine.
By the time that she was halfway through, Bethany had lost all drive to continue. She stopped, sighed heavily, then went to the locker room to shower and change. And that’s where she heard the first of the whispers.
“Why in the world would she come back here after what she did?” One girl asked, her voice quiet, but still carrying in the tile-covered room.
“I don’t know, but I sure don’t want to work with her. She’s like some ticking time bomb or something.”
“I know, right? I mean, she’s already destroyed half of the gym. I sure don’t feel safe with her around.”
“Her friend, that totally hot English guy, doesn’t even hang out with her anymore. That’s got to say something. I mean, they were kind of joined at the hip for a while.”
“Yeah, I know. I wonder what she managed to do to scare him off.”
“Well, rumor has it they went on some mission or something, and he lost a leg. She almost died...again.”
“Talk about a bad luck charm...”
Bethany had stayed in the shower longer than she had intended, sitting on the bench inside the stall, her feet up off of the ground as the water ran over her. So this was the gossip that was already going around? That she was cursed? Bad luck? Once the chatty gossips left she had dressed quickly, cloaked herself, and made her way to her room to drop off her bag, then to the cafeteria.
She didn’t normally require food, but she still liked the taste. But, again, when she entered the room it almost seemed to develop a grave-like silence. Bethany paused just inside the doorway and multiple sets of eyes landed on her. “Oh boy,” she muttered, then tried to ignore it, heading to the line to retrieve whatever foods that the chef had deemed necessary that day.
As she grabbed her food and made her way back to a table in the corner she almost felt the eyes on her. Bethany sat down with her sushi, something that she’d been given pretty regularly by the chef, though it normally varied with the day. It was something that she found that she enjoyed simply because she tended to like fish, but the rest of it made for an interesting mixture of texture and flavor that she’d never had before coming to the Tower.
People whispered behind their hands, or heads huddled together over tables. Some people apparently thought that she didn’t have ears. More of the same type of gossip filtered through the room, and it took all of the joy out of the meal that she’d been given. After picking at it for a few minutes, Bethany sighed, dropped her food in the trash, and left.
It was on her way to the rooftop garden that she ran into Jon and Cecily walking hand in hand. She seriously considered just cloaking herself and finding another place to be, but there wasn’t really any time. She’d already been spotted. The green-eyed brawler sighed, and offered the best smile that she could muster. “Hi,” was all that Bethany could manage at first.
“Hey, Bethany,” Jon greeted. Since the soul bonding, he was trying his best to ignore her constant presence in his mind and emotions, to function normally.
Cecily signed her own greeting, giving Bethany a smile and a hug before clasping Jon’s hand again.
“A few warm up laps before the torture begins,” Jon explained. “Sorry. I know this is your spot. Cece likes it, though.” He glanced over at the bench where he and Cecily had been snogging just a minute ago. “I didn’t know they let you out of the danger room. Are you...feeling better?” he asked her with concern.
Bethany half-heartedly returned the hug that Cece gave her and sighed. Now she couldn’t even go to the only place on the grounds where she had felt some kind of peace without running into them. Apparently no one, not even Jon, cared what this was all doing to her. “Well enough to not be locked up anymore, I guess,” she said, trying to beat down the searing pain that seeing them together dredged up.
“Look, I’m sorry. I had a bad reaction to all of this. I still can’t say that I understand why...” Bethany shook her head and dropped her gaze. “Anyway, I’ll let you get back to what you’re doing. Like I said, you’ve got better things to worry about than me.” She turned quickly and started back to the elevator.
“No, luv. It’s okay,” Jon said. “You can stay.” He reached out and grabbed her arm, stopping her. “We owe you.”
Bethany stopped, her head dropped, and she sighed heavily. “You don’t owe me anything,” she said softly.
“Yes, we do, Bethany. Thank you for everything you’ve done. I….know it hasn’t been easy.” He pulled the young woman into a hug, Cecily stood back with a slight smile. Her dark eyes met Bethany’s green ones with a bit of a knowing look and she bit her lower lip.
The tactical teen fought back the tears that tried to force their way to the surface, and she returned Jon’s hug weakly, that link between them tearing at her very soul. After a moment she pulled away and shrugged. “I didn’t do it for thanks. I just want you to be happy.” Again, Bethany turned quickly and headed for the elevator before she could start crying in front of them. “It’s okay. I’ve got things to do anyway.” Far less painful things, she thought to herself as she all but fled from the pair.
Jon sighed and watched Bethany go. He turned to look at Cecily, who had that faraway look in her eyes as she stared after the fleeing brunette, as well.
“Cece?” he asked. He snapped his fingers in front of her, to no effect. He looked concerned and stepped in front of her vacant stare. Lifting her chin, he kissed the blonde.
Cecily startled out of her trance and kissed him back, her hands sliding up Jon’s chest as her tongue met his. His strong arms encircled her, making her feel safe, needed. She felt herself hit the wall as the kiss deepened and had to pull away, breaking the moment as Jon’s hand started wandering. She gave him a sheepish look.
“Sorry,” Jon murmured. “I got carried away.”
Bethany slid down the wall of the elevator once the doors were closed and rode down to the floor that the opulent lift ended at, hugging her knees to her chest. She pulled herself off of the floor just in time for the doors to open, then she hurriedly made her way to the next elevator. Then she pulled her cloak up around her and made her way, unseen, to her room, closing the door quickly, locking it, leaning her head against it for a few moments, before turning to the large window that dominated one wall of her room.
This wasn’t working for her. It was really becoming more than Bethany could take. The Tower may have served as a beacon of hope and friendship for some, but it wasn’t feeling that way for the tactical teen. It felt more like a cold place where hopes and dreams went to die, and her thoughts turned to escape rather than sticking around to see what other soul sucking, heartbreaking events were going to transpire.