1. We are looking for a volunteer to help out with entering the DC and Marvel comics solicitations. If you are interested, please contact Harley.
    Dismiss Notice
  2. Just in time for Halloween, enter for a chance to win a $50 Gift Card from FUN.com! Details here.
    Dismiss Notice

World's Finest Writer's Corner Midnight Sun (BB) [J]

Discussion in 'The Story Board' started by The_NewCatwoman, Mar 23, 2006.

  1. The_NewCatwoman

    The_NewCatwoman Oh you've got to be kidding me

    Joined:
    May 2, 2001
    Messages:
    3,701
    Likes Received:
    0
    **Disclaimer: I own not one single character in this fic and do it merely for the love of writing Batman fan fiction. I'll admit a few things. The title is taken from a song by the same name by Ella Fitzgerald. The instance described in the beginning involving the fall from a window was inspired by an near identical instance from the early 1950s as described in Robert Kennedy: His Life by Evan Thomas. And finally this entire story was fueled in part by a story posted by klammed on this very board entitled Consolations. Hm, I think that's it. Also thanks to KW for inadvertently sparking this as well.**

    He could hear her even before the hands of the clock were turned and the mechanisms activated allowing it to open. There was the dull pad of her footsteps, a sound that hadn’t been heard in decades. The slow, methodical, always inviting melody of her breathing. This simple evidence of her continued existence warmed him.

    A brief spate of adolescent feelings raced through him, causing him to wonder if he should change positions, if his hair was mussed, or perhaps if he should pretend she wasn’t there at all. He chose the later, his eyes, getting older and more strained by the day but still quite reliable at his age, narrowed and he commenced updating his police report. Antony De Luca, former Detective for the GCPD in what was commonly referred to as the “Halcyon Days” had finally succumbed to thyroid disease earlier in the week. His funeral had been that very day. Bruce had secured an anonymous donation to the family ensuring that his headstone would be paid for along with a plot for his ailing wife Isabelle.

    De Luca had been a formidable detective in his own right, and while he didn’t come close to the Batman in his talents, he was an amazing driving force and one of Jim Gordon’s personal favorites. Things had unfortunately turned sour for Detective De Luca when he’d been swallowed by a slanderous account that he and another officer—Esperanza—had pushed a pedophile out of a fourth story window to his death when they’d encountered him abusing a young boy. The official inquiry had been inconclusive but the damage was done, the decision was made that De Luca should step down. That dismissal had striped him of his pension plunging the family into a semblance of poverty.

    Bruce grit his teeth as he typed the last few words, saved and closed the file. His eyes never leaving the screen as he felt her fingernails graze his shoulder blade, “I was afraid your little houseboy might get upset, but he’s nowhere to be found. Pity. And I wanted to play with him so very much.”

    Bruce smirked, “He’s not my houseboy.”

    She sat on the edge of the console and he drank her in with his gaze, “Tell that to the Gotham Tattler... He looks so much like you. Still keeping secrets I see.”

    Bruce leaned back in his chair, resting his cane across both knees, “I have maintained for most of my adult life, and will continue to, that Dick is not my biological son and that there is no reason to expect him to be. And to my knowledge that position still stands for anyone else you’re entertaining.”

    Selina stared at him contentedly, “...It’s good to see you Bruce.”

    She reached out as if to touch him but withdrew her hand and looked down at her feet, “You’ve changed so much.”

    Bruce considered her words without too much emotion; he was the last person that would get sentimental over his no-longer-debonair looks. To mourn for something that had only served as a physiological ploy was a waste of time in his book. But Selina, she still looked every bit as captivating as she always had. “Where have you been hiding yourself?” he asked.

    She looked directly at him, “You couldn’t possibly expect me to believe you didn’t know.”

    Bruce gently squeezed his cane, “You made it perfectly clear the last time we spoke that that wasn’t an option... I respected your wishes.”

    She sighed, running a hand through her hair, “Northern Florida mostly. I bought some land and settled down for a long time. The kind of quiet I’ve rarely been able to find. It was like nowhere else on earth Bruce... Solitude. It made me finally realize why you always held on to this old place. That sound gets into your bloodstream and next thing you know you’re hooked.”

    “If you don’t mind my being blunt?” Bruce asked uncharacteristically gracious.

    Selina smirked, “That depends. What about?”

    Bruce looked at her directly, “Why are you here?”

    “Not pulling any punches are we?” Selina asked as she stretched her arms, intertwining her fingers in front of her with her palms facing him.

    “I already made that clear.” Bruce continued unabated.

    She nodded, “So you did.” Then she sighed, “I decided it was time to bury the hatchet Bruce. Neither of us has what we wanted out of life.”

    Bruce interrupted, “I respectfully disagree.”

    Selina leaned forward and laid her hand just lightly on the inside of his wrist in order to emphasize her point, “Bruce. You’re alone. All this time you’ve told yourself that it was for the best when it was the last thing you would have ever wanted.”

    Bruce pulled his hand back and stiffened, staring at the console, “Don’t presume you know me that well.”

    Selina sighed again, “All right Bruce. I don’t know you at all. No one does. You’ve made sure of that. No more family. No children. No friends. Nothing. Have it your way.”

    Bruce watched her hop onto her feet; the years seemingly had no effect on her agility or balance whatsoever. He ignored the desperate urge growing within him to call her back and explain. Listening as those same footsteps carried her up the stairs, his shoulders hunching when she paused, “I’m staying at the Kipling Hotel if you have a change of heart. Can you believe it’s the only place left in town that was established before our time...? Hm, how things change.”

    He could feel her glance at him before continuing up the stairs, “Or maybe they don’t.”

    ***

    Selina lay on her hotel bed, tossing and catching a pillow between her feet, and the breeze blowing in from the balcony cooled her freshly bathed body. First toss she cursed herself for even thinking that Bruce had been worth the trip. Second toss she cursed him for even surviving as long as he had. And finally third toss she kicked the pillow across the room and sat up. Pulling her robe closed she tensed her body and spoke, “I’m sure I don’t have to tell you how rude it is to stare at a woman in her private quarters. Particularly at this time of evening.”

    The room stayed silent and she picked up another pillow, throwing it sharply toward the left until it smacked something mid-air, “You may be invisible but you’ve got a thing or two to learn about being quiet little boy... Or, the new Batman I presume.”

    She heard them turn something on their torso and the cloaking shield dropped away revealing what had been her favorite suit decades past. Despite her anger she grinned, “You should put on more weight. You look like a whelp in that thing.”

    Batman grimaced and stepped forward, his voice husky and strained. She couldn’t tell if it was from overall embarrassment or if that was the exact tone he usually relied on, “How did you know I was here?”

    “More importantly, does your... employer... know you’re here?”

    “I’m asking the questions lady.” He replied irritably.

    Selina picked up another pillow and held it against her front, “I’m the one that should be furious buddy. You don’t see me sneaking into your private quarters and getting a token view of your more... intimate parts.”

    She smiled imperceptibly realizing that she’d temporarily disarmed him, he was redder than a strawberry beneath that mask, “Tell me, do you usually use that thing to spy on the other little girls?”

    He became insistent realizing he was losing ground, “You still haven’t answered my question. Why are you here Ms. Kyle?”

    “So you do know my name.” Selina obliged aloud, “And what else do you know?” Standing she crossed the room and began examining the suit, suggestively pinging one of the ears with her forefinger.

    Batman grabbed her arm, probably much more harshly than he intended, and asked again.

    Selina forced a grin before quickly striking the pressure point located in Batman’s shoulder, disabling his arm and pushing him to the ground, stunned, “You’re cute kid, but you’re no Stud.”

    Batman stared at his arm before demanding angrily, “What did you do to me?”

    Selina squatted down, squeezing the pillow with one hand, the other gently lifting his chin, “I guess Bruce didn’t teach you about pressure points, but then why should he? No one really knows them anymore and that suit you’re wearing more than makes up for disadvantages in added strength alone... And don’t look so upset, your arm’ll be fine... Now I take it Bruce doesn’t know you’re here, otherwise,” she stood up and began to pace leisurely, “You wouldn’t be here.”

    “I don’t know who you’re talking about.” Batman insisted.

    “My, you’re stubborn.” Selina turned away from him and finally tied her robe fully closed, “I didn’t come here to play with you baby. Well, not really. I came to see the man you’re so vehemently denying.”

    Batman got to his feet, careful to use his other hand to keep his limp arm secured firmly to his side, “Are you sick or something? Dying?”

    Selina shook her head, “Not that I know of. This is no last chance ditch all effort to see the old guy before I check out for good. Nothing like that. Besides, if he and I have our way we’d outlive everyone...” She lowered her head and spoke quietly, “Maybe when everyone’s gone and I’m all that’s left things’ll be different.”

    “Then why are you here?”

    “Is it a crime to get a little homesick sometimes?” Selina asked slowly losing her patience, “Why are you following me any way? Shouldn’t you be out pinching petty thieves and baby rapists?”

    “I saw you leaving the Manor. Knowing your history...”

    “You wanted to be sure I hadn’t returned to take up my gig. Yeah I got that... No such luck little boy. I’m retired and I have no desire to be anything else.”

    Batman prodded her almost mockingly, “You sure about that?”

    Selina turned sharply, her voice barely above a whisper as she pointed toward the balcony, “Out. Now.”

    “You hadn’t let me finish.” He continued, “Knowing your history, your love of money. Your complete disrespect for everything the old man stood for... Just sounds like you want to sink your claws into a hopefully senile old guy’s fortune to me... I’m not some every day dreg. I know what’s going on.”

    Selina shook her head, not bothering to convince him of otherwise, “Believe what you’d like, but I don’t need Bruce’s money or his name... Dreg hm? That’s not even proper English for God’s sake. Not really...”

    Batman made a face but didn’t reply.

    Selina moved to the bureau and self-consciously fixed her hair, “Kids these days. Slag this, dreg that... Moronic. I think the word you’re looking for is ‘Rube.’ As in ‘I’m not some every day rube’ little boy.”

    Batman raised his other hand dismissively, “Whatever... I’ll be watching you. I’ll have you know if you lay one money-grubbing hand on the old guy I’ll take you in myself.”

    Selina turned around and leaned back against the dressing table next to the bureau, “You’ve got it so wrong it’s almost funny.”

    Realizing the room was empty she lazily pulled the top drawer open and pushed it shut again, “Not bad. You actually fooled me that time.”
     
  2. Kylewayne

    Kylewayne Mrs. Outlander00

    Joined:
    May 1, 2001
    Messages:
    3,810
    Likes Received:
    0
    take #2

    I seriously love the way you narate and write a story Tink! It's as if the story is unfolding right before your eyes! I'm loving the way you always portray Selina, Bruce and the rest Bat family. Write more!
     
  3. klammed

    klammed the fool.

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    1,690
    Likes Received:
    0
    That this story was "fueled in part by a story posted by klammed on this very board entitled Consolations" is an extreme honour. I've never had anyone write anything 'inspired' by mine. For that, I thank thee. :)

    (And the funny thing was, I didn't see the line in that disclaimer till I'd re-read the ficcie.)

    You characterisation is top notch as usual. Very interesting how Selina seems so much younger than Bruce now, the guy's really aged, phsyically, psychologically. The conversation with Terry was also neat, loved the bit where she commented on all the slang used by 'kids these days'.

    And 'houseboy'? Classic. :D
     
  4. Phantasm

    Phantasm Bittersweet Symphony.

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2004
    Messages:
    5,881
    Likes Received:
    0
    As well done a piece of writing as ever. It would be just wrong to expect anything less from you. :) You have proven time and again that you know your stuff. And execute that knowledge and ideas so admirably well.

    Please write more!
     
  5. The_NewCatwoman

    The_NewCatwoman Oh you've got to be kidding me

    Joined:
    May 2, 2001
    Messages:
    3,701
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thank you for always taking the time to read KW. And your wish is my command.

    tNC
     
  6. The_NewCatwoman

    The_NewCatwoman Oh you've got to be kidding me

    Joined:
    May 2, 2001
    Messages:
    3,701
    Likes Received:
    0
    You're quite welcome, as your story was directly responsible for the idea. And thank you for your kind words, I could lament about kids these days with the best of them. Lastly, everybody loves elderly Bruce.

    tNC
     
  7. The_NewCatwoman

    The_NewCatwoman Oh you've got to be kidding me

    Joined:
    May 2, 2001
    Messages:
    3,701
    Likes Received:
    0
    I guess writing Batman fiction for geez, eight years, that'll do it for you. If I don't at least have an angle on something by now I'd seriously consider quitting this racket. But thank you for your thoughts and encouragements as always.

    tNC
     
  8. The_NewCatwoman

    The_NewCatwoman Oh you've got to be kidding me

    Joined:
    May 2, 2001
    Messages:
    3,701
    Likes Received:
    0
    **Disclaimer: This part was written to two songs by Frank Sinatra, "It Was a Very Good Year" and "I Got a Woman Crazy About Me (She's Funny that Way)." The quote at the end is attributed to Gregory Peck**

    Her hands stuffed in her coat pockets she waited, a wad of Big Red resting on top of her left wisdom tooth, eyes shaded by aviator’s sunglasses. She paced back and forth, the comforting chill of the autumn afternoon easing into her collar and wafting her hair. There was a strange sound, the school bell she reasoned, but it sounded so much different from the crisp blang of her memory.

    She turned and stood still, watching as students poured out of the building until she made him, worn leather jacket, grey jeans with the cuffs folded up. Give him an eighty-year head start and he could have been any hot-rodding teenager of her mother’s generation.

    She resumed her pacing, waiting for him to take note of his surroundings, to find the unfamiliar woman in the trench coat waiting at the top of the hill. There they were... those surprising blue eyes. How did Bruce manage to find so many boys that looked like him? She smirked, there were probably any number of women that could give him a run in court over a paternity suit, and yet none did. He was perpetually loved despite himself.

    She pulled her collar up and scolded herself, and wasn’t she just proving her theory right? She couldn’t stay away, even when she’d sworn to. And now she was laying herself bare to some kid, and for what? To endear her to him? She felt the need to explain somehow, to put his fears at rest.

    She began chewing the gum again, grasping the small red package in her pocket, prepared to offer the boy some. A sort of peaceful declaration. Neutral terms as it were. Then why was she so nervous?

    Steadying her breath she began walking toward him, he’d stopped and retrieved his cell phone, his brow furrowed and she guessed he was arguing with someone.

    At twenty feet her ears began to burn. At fifteen it spread to her hairline. At ten her mouth went dry and at five she closed her eyes, “Terrence McGinnis?”

    She was met with silence and against her will she opened them, expecting that he hadn’t heard her. Instead he stared at her, eyebrow curled; doing a darn fine job of hiding the fact that he recognized her. For a moment she second-guessed herself, but she knew it was useless. Here was the same boy that had walked in on her the previous evening. That she had feigned control and confidence for. He certainly wasn’t about to scare her off now.

    She had to admit he was attractive, even startlingly so, but not like Bruce. Bruce who radiated self-control and the most beautiful sense of dignity she’d ever seen. This boy was still a teenager, still ready prey to all of the misconceptions and terrific insecurities of such an age.

    She pulled her hair away from her forehead and extended her hand willing to be perfectly hospitable, “You may not know me,” she began, “But I know your employer pretty well. I think we should have a talk.”

    The boy continued to stare momentarily before excusing himself from his telephone and shaking her hand, his expression giving way to dazed curiosity. He didn’t appear ready to speak for whatever reason, and nodded softly.

    They walked in silence to a park nearby, regaining some of her self-assurance she smiled quietly and didn’t look at him, “You were in my hotel room last night.”

    The boy didn’t miss a beat, “I don’t know how. I was at the library studying with my friend Max.”

    Selina’s smile widened, “I don’t know what good its doing you, your failing half your classes aren’t you?”

    He maintained his lie, “Well with grades like mine don’t I need to be in a library?”

    Selina shook her head, “I don’t know what your grades look like, but I can only imagine, what with having to keep an eye on this city every night... Doesn’t leave much room for anything else. Or does it?”

    He stopped and turned to her, unconsciously standing as straight as possible in order to appear taller, more unshakable, “What do you want Ms. Kyle?”

    Selina withheld a more physical exclamation of satisfaction and settled with balancing on her heels, “So you do remember.”

    Terrence nodded, his face reddened, “I hadn’t meant to—I never—”

    Selina raised her hand, “I’ll live. You’ll live... Just don’t mention it to Bruce; he’ll never let you forget it.”

    Terrence nodded, “Why are you following me around?”

    Selina spied a park bench and motioned for him to follow, “I could ask you the same question.”

    “You have to admit I have pretty valid reasons for wanting to look out for the old man... And you have your reasons for... other things...”

    Selina offered him the stick of gum which he declined, so much for that, “What did Bruce tell you about me?”

    Terrence draped his arms over the back of the bench, “That he loved you.”

    Selina nodded, “I wanted to settle down, children, that old-American story... Of course you can guess what the answer was. I decided not to stick around and watch him waste away.”

    Terrence shook his head, “He needed you, just to be there, just to love him back... And you bailed.”

    Selina crossed her legs and leaned back, “Yes.”

    “You’re crazy.”

    Selina shook her head, her eyes cast downward, “Is it crazy to be a woman and want more than night after night of sewing up the same old scars... Physical and psychological? Bruce and I each have our own issues; I couldn’t deal with his and my own. Hell, I don’t believe any woman could... He’s impossible when he gets into those moods of his. We’d only hate one another by the end of it... But still I wanted him, and he couldn’t understand that.”

    “So why do something ridiculous and bring children into the world? If you want my opinion—”

    “You’ll offer it either way.” Selina interjected calmly.

    Terrence frowned, “Neither of you are cut out for parenthood, that’s just a fact. What good would they do you? Bruce would be too busy being Bruce and you’d be too busy doing... Well whatever it was you were doing when you weren’t Catwoman.”

    Selina smirked, “You’ve gotten it completely wrong. Bruce loves children, and he’s more than capable of sentiments... Boy is he ever capable... As for me, well, you seem to imagine I’d be out of place in his world of bored socialites, pawning their children onto nannies and leaving the house to the maids. Or in Bruce’s case, Alfred.”

    Terrence curled his brow at the name but didn’t interrupt.

    “Yes I love Bruce. And I loved him enough to compete with those sordid headlines, the parade of cigarette girls, and his bottom-pinching alter-ego of a womanizing maniac. I loved him enough to deal with his... moments... Of waking up to find him exhausted and bloodied in his father’s study. To smile through his terseness, his stand-offish habits. His perpetual fondness for leaving me alone at parties, presumably to have quick flings with whatever sexpot was visiting... When he was really off playing hero. And I kept it all to myself. I never asked him to stop, to change his ways, to try to fix the public’s perception of him. I knew what it was already and I loved him... But I wanted my own niche in his world... So perhaps I was crazy. I would’ve happily played the part.”

    Terrence brought his hands together in his lap and began counting the leaves between his feet, “I saw the old newsreels. The manor’s got this old projector thing, a little theatre on the third floor... He never uses it. I was bored one afternoon after training so I set it up. It took me an hour but I got the hang of it. And there were the two of you, speeding down country roads and the whole deal. It looked pretty weird, like something my grandparents would watch.”

    Selina made a face and studied her nails, “I’m surprised he kept them. They were a sort of... gift... on one of our anniversaries from a friend of his at an old East Coast motion picture distribution headquarters that used to be downtown. He put together all of the reels he could find and sent it to us. Driving, sailing, me with my hair tied in a scarf, Bruce in sunglasses; we looked like happy morons...”

    “It must have hurt when he turned you down.” Terrence reasoned as he pushed his hands into his pockets, “So what? You’ve come to get your revenge? Did you marry some old guy and have a few of those kids you wanted so much? Inherit a fortune when he died and want to rub it in Bruce’s face?”

    Selina didn’t humor him, “Yet and still you assume the worst about me. I’m not married or widowed. Never have been. I have no children, and I have no lawful obligations to anyone... You’ve got Bruce up on a pedestal, same problem that those other little kiddies of his had.”

    Terrence’s brow wrinkled and he sneered, “I don’t worship the old man.”

    “Oh but you have to, even if you don’t realize it... How I wish you could have seen him, tucked into the corner of some of those old chauffeured limousines with the Dotties, and Julias. That was the Bruce Wayne everyone thought they knew... And he pushed it as far as he could. I don’t believe he enjoyed it, in fact I think he cringed whenever they touched him, even if they couldn’t see it... But I knew and he knew. He’s not so high and mighty.”

    “Then why the heck d’you care?” Terrence interjected angrily, much more protectively than he’d intended.

    “Because it’s dirty McGinnis. All of Gotham pitied me, felt sorry that I was with a man who couldn’t be bothered to hide the demons of his personality. That I put up with it... And when he wouldn’t make room for another possibility, one that might force him to make some kind considerations for me, for our children, when he wouldn’t allow it, I lost it. I split and I told him not to follow me... He respected my decision so I had no alternative but to respect his... The house always wins...”

    Terrence shook his head condemningly, “You wanted him to follow you. To beg you to come back.”

    Selina scoffed amusedly at herself, “What a fool I was. I had no choice but to stay away... And it was painful.”

    Terrence played with his thumbnail, “Why are you telling me all of this?”

    “Because I’m human and so is he. And now that I’m old enough, I’ve decided to try my hand at coming to peace with our past. What I’m doing doesn’t involve you, but I thought since you were intent upon making yourself a nuisance, you should at least have an inkling of what’s going on... So don’t mind me, traipse around in that suit of yours, if you hear any wayward cries that’s just me exorcising a few old demons.”

    Terrence shook his head once more and stood up to leave, “Look I’ve got to get going... If you’re coming out to the Manor I’ll be sure to give him a heads up, god knows he doesn’t need another heart attack getting a look at you.”

    Selina looked at him strangely, “Don’t tell me he never told you.”

    “Told me what?”

    “I’ve been to see him once already, and I’m going to keep doing it. So pick your visiting hours very carefully, lord only knows what you might hear.”

    Terrence made a face before coughing, “Great, you’ve just killed my appetite for the next month.”

    “Do me a favor and get your silly little mind out of the gutter McGinnis... And I’d like to see you complain once you get to be our age. After all, Bruce was the most striking man this town ever knew remember?”

    Terrence raised his hands and looked away uncomfortably, “The past is the past is the past.”

    “Nice little aside to Gertrude Stein, maybe you’re not that much of a dunce after all.”

    Terrence made a confused face and she pursed her lips, “Stein, McGinnis. A rose is a rose is a rose... Oh never mind.”

    She stood and turned to go the opposite direction, “See you around little boy.”

    **Flashback**

    *Outside Chicago, Illinois*

    “Your cousin tried to start something with me.”

    Bruce sat perched on a rock, looking back at the cabin they’d been staying in, loosening the topmost buttons at the collar of his polo, “He tries to ‘start’ something with everyone. He’s very personable.”

    Selina made a face, “You’re kidding. You have to be... He made a pass at me Bruce; I don’t know how I feel about having the room next to his. Who knows, I might wake up in the middle of the night to find him trying to climb into my bed.”

    Bruce appeared slightly saddened, “I thought that was right up your alley.”

    She reached up and pinched the thin skin on his back, causing him to arch surprised and almost fall back, “You can get away with teasing me like that in the city Bruce, sometimes I even welcome it, but not out here. Not when it’s your own family. Where’s that Dagny girl, why doesn’t he go mess with her?”

    “He’s just trying to get your goat. Or my goat. We’ve been making half-assed attempts at one-upmanship since we were children.”

    Selina bit her lip, “It bothers you more than you admit, you just swore after all... And I don’t like being his little plaything. I can barely put up with being yours.”

    Bruce glanced at her, his expression still unchanged; he looked as if he wanted to offer an explanation or even an apology. Instead he shut his mouth and stared out over the water, “How old are you?”

    Selina pulled a stray leaf out of her hair and squinted annoyed at the trees towering above them, “Twenty-four, you know that.”

    He stood and began removing his clothing, “You’re old enough to take care of yourself Selina, you shouldn’t need me to beat up any bullies.”

    Selina sneered at him as he revealed his swimming briefs, making sure to check the fastener on the belt before kicking his clothing aside and diving into the lake.

    Selina assumed his vacated position and shut her eyes, willing away the sting of his words. Telling herself that his manners were suffering just as much as he was.

    He surfaced and stared at her, “I thought you liked him well enough.”

    She folded her legs Indian-style and leaned back on her hands, “I did. He’s smart, he’s funny and he looks exactly like a young Fred McMurray. But he’s a creep... How is he related to you again?”

    Bruce paddled one short lap back and forth before coming to stand on the bank, his arms akimbo, “My father and his grandfather were brothers.”

    “And they call him Kicky?”

    Out of nervous restlessness Bruce got down and began to do push ups, clapping between each repetition, “Kirk Sr. was Kirky, Kirk Jr. is Kicky... I wasn’t there when they were doling out nicknames Selina.”

    “So you and Kicky are the same age.”

    Bruce paused and glanced up at her, “I’m two years older than he... What does this have to do with anything?”

    Selina scooted off the rock and sighed, “If you need me I’ll be back at the cabin doing my best to defend myself against your cousin’s advances. Wish me luck and let me know when you care.”

    Bruce didn’t reply, waiting until she was out of earshot to curse once more and turn onto his back. Above him the foliage stretched as far as he could imagine and he tried to will away his guilt... But it was important; his feelings for her were growing too defined. What better way to distance himself from her than to tempt his oldest—and until a few years ago—most trusted rival with her as a prize. He reminded himself briefly that his father would be ashamed. When that emotional blow was complete he stood and grabbed his clothing, quoting aloud, “I had that stubborn streak, the Irish in me I guess.”
     
  9. klammed

    klammed the fool.

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    1,690
    Likes Received:
    0
    Mm, nice installment.

    " You’ve got Bruce up on a pedestal, same problem that those other little kiddies of his had." Fave line there :) Love the little developments, or should I say, revealings, of Selina's and Bruce's relationship.

    Can't wait for the next chapter
     
  10. The_NewCatwoman

    The_NewCatwoman Oh you've got to be kidding me

    Joined:
    May 2, 2001
    Messages:
    3,701
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm glad you enjoyed it.

    tNC
     
  11. The_NewCatwoman

    The_NewCatwoman Oh you've got to be kidding me

    Joined:
    May 2, 2001
    Messages:
    3,701
    Likes Received:
    0
    The Lost Boys

    **Disclaimer: This particular chapter was written to a wealth of songs, particularly "September In The Rain" and "Autumn Leaves," (the latter inspired the bit about sunburned hands) both sung by Jo Stafford. And "Why Can't You Behave" as sung by Ella Fitzgerald. The quote in the very beginning is taken from "Come Away, Come Away!" in J.M. Barrie's Peter and Wendy. The stanza after the flashback is from a poem by Maurice Baring entitled: "In Memoriam, A.H." The part about the little German girls was taken from the documentary "They Filmed the War in Color: France Is Free" as it aired on my local PBS station last night. A phenomenal piece of work for anyone interested in WWII. Ethel Kirby was inspired (at least looks-wise) by the character of Doreen from Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. As for the little bits and pieces about Anglo-Saxon attitudes toward Jews, I only seek to reflect the not-so-distant past as I understand it, as I also understand relations have changed.**

    “But where do you live mostly now?”

    “With the lost boys.”

    “Who are they?”

    “They are the children who fall out of their perambulators when the nurse is looking the other way. If they are not claimed in seven days they are sent far away to the Neverland to defray the expenses. I’m captain.”

    “What fun it must be!”

    “Yes,” said cunning Peter, “But we are rather lonely. You see we have no female companionship.”

    “Are none of the others girls?”

    “Oh no; girls, you know, are much too clever to fall out of their prams.”

    ***

    *Brief Interlude*

    “Can’t help yourself can you?”

    Bruce didn’t appear surprised though he hadn’t heard her approach. Rubbing his wrist absently he gave her his attention, “I beg your pardon?”

    Selina smiled and let her head tilt lazily to the side, the moonlight painting one side of her face. He struggled not to let his resolve fail him as she came closer and placed her hand on his cheek, “It’s one in the morning. I thought I might give you a little scare. But I didn’t expect to find you so far from your...I didn’t guess you’d be out and about.”

    Bruce resumed his stroll, “The boy has things covered for now. I can’t just sit there, not lately.”

    Selina let her pace match his and slid her hand through the crook of his arm, “You like him, don’t you?”

    Bruce didn’t try to imitate her delightful mood, “I was under the impression for a long time that you hated me. But you seem intent upon putting that myth to rest.”

    “I couldn’t hate you now Bruce though I have. Many times over in fact. When we were young and when we got older. Hated Kicky too.”

    Bruce’s brow perked at the mention of his long dead cousin’s name.

    “Where is he anyhow?” Selina asked leaning into his shoulder.

    “Buried. Stomach cancer twenty years ago.”

    Selina paused and looked at him, “I’m sorry.”

    Bruce didn’t slow, “He wasn’t. We spent a great deal of time estranged remember?”

    Selina shook her head, “I never thought about it. Wasn’t he your only relative?”

    Bruce nodded, “But you knew that.”

    “So why let him drift away?”

    Bruce finally stopped and looked back at the house, “Phillip left a collection in the attic. Stuffed game and hunting trophies. Antique guns... I refused to turn it over. After that he never spoke to me again.”

    Selina watched him bow his head; eyes diverted elsewhere, “You were always particularly nasty when you thought you were right.”

    Bruce cleared his throat and resumed his walk, “I won’t talk about it any further. It’s inconsequential at this point anyhow.”

    Selina felt a tickle in her nose and sneezed. Bruce made a face and retrieved a handkerchief, “Aren’t you well?”

    Selina briefly wiped her nose, “What makes you think I’m not well?”

    Bruce was silent for a moment, “One could readily assume you came to say your death piece. To declare to me how bitter I’ve made you... To say that I wasted your life and that you wanted me to be sorry.”

    Selina faced him and folded the handkerchief into a small square with the monogram side out, “No.”

    Bruce’s expression became that of reserved nothingness, “No?”

    Selina tucked the handkerchief into her coat pocket and leaned against him, her hands on his chest, “No. That had been my intention, sort of. I’m fit as a fiddle for someone my age. Unless catching a slight cold now and then is life threatening...”

    Bruce didn’t interrupt.

    “But things were such an awful mess when I left. Now there’s no use crying for what never was and never will be. You stuck to your guns... So to speak... And I think I’ve punished you long enough. And you have been very naughty as you very well know.”

    Bruce’s expression changed only slightly as he thought over some of his past actions, “You didn’t understand. I couldn’t allow myself... Selina, our relationship had become far too involved.” He sighed, “I had to stop it. And I succeeded, numerous times even. But there you were, always... It started outside of Chicago, I should have stopped it right there.”

    ***

    *Resume Flashback*

    “There she is, absolutely gorgeous. The kind of girl I’d bring home to mother... Well I would if I had a mother to bring her home to. Miss Anna Levy.”

    Bruce gave Kirk a sidelong glance and adjusted the collar of his tuxedo, “What’s stopping you.”

    Kirk stuck his hands into his pockets and leaned back against the main stairwell’s banister, “Image.”

    Bruce’s eyes lowered and he sighed, “Because she’s Jewish?”

    Kirk curled his brow, “Only half the battle. It’s mostly because she’s already engaged.”

    Bruce raised his still untouched drink in a mock toast, “Never stopped you before.”

    Kirk grinned, “Or you...”

    “Then you want to marry her.” Bruce stated scratching his chin.

    Kirk shook his head, “No. You want to marry Miss Kyle?”

    Bruce stood up straight, “No.”

    Kirk seemed less than comforted, “Social catch twenty-two. They let the Levys into the country club but they can’t swim in the pool. Like Groucho Marx said, ‘she’s only half-Jewish, can she get in up to her chest?’...Or something like that. Hey, she’s moving out East when she’s wed. Perhaps you could...”

    Bruce shook his head, “No thanks. I have my hands quite full.”

    “Ah, Miss Kyle, the lovely little girl you haven’t let out of your sight since you arrived.”

    “Don’t get any ideas about us.”

    “I wouldn’t dare, Brucie. But she doesn’t look as if she’s having a good time...” Kirk pursed his lips, “I was surprised you accepted my invitation. We’ve barely spoken since we were children; I’ve always regretted that.”

    “I don’t believe that’s true. I distinctly remember you cornering me in your wreck of a car with Miss Hartman.”

    “And you wasted that precious opportunity, told her you didn’t want to talk, got out and marched directly into the woods...Took a day to find you.”

    “I wasn’t that sort of boy.”

    “You were fifteen. Boys become men at younger ages.”

    “I can assure you that your concern for me these days is unfounded. I passed that mile marker years go.”

    “In eleven years you’ve managed to go from the brooding, bookish jerk we all loved and loathed to the brooding, boorish jerk we loath to love. I think you’ve actually backtracked... Was it really that bad?”

    Bruce narrowed his eyes, “Excuse me?”

    Kirk sipped his drink and looked Bruce full on, “I don’t remember them that well. Of course I was only six when they died. Right smack dab in the middle of our immature plans to sail for China in that little dingy of yours...You were one of my best friends and I couldn’t seem to reach you anymore...Was it worth it? Wasn’t there ever any consolation?”

    Bruce put down his glass, set his hands on the back of his neck and looked at the young man who had become a stranger, “You never miss your mother?”

    Kirk pursed his lips once more and his face appeared blank, “I’ve found that every week a new woman wants to be my mother. They’re not very original but I’ll take it.”

    **End of Flashback**

    You found a sterner guide;
    You heard the guns. Then, to their distant fire,
    Your dreams were laid aside;
    And on that day, you cast your heart's desire
    Upon a burning pyre;


    ***
    “He persisted. I was half-tempted to give in just to spite you...but I knew he was only teasing. That I wasn’t really worth the effort after the fact.”

    Bruce curled his eyebrow and shrugged, “Did you expect me to be jealous?”

    “Either you trusted me too much or you didn’t care to trust me at all.”

    “You knew.” Bruce replied.

    “Knew what? How you felt about me? How you spent your nights? Where you disappeared to? Eventually... And I stayed.”

    “I never required that of you. I couldn’t give you what you wanted. I don’t believe I could have been that selfish with you. ...Never with you.”

    “Yes, Bruce, you the uncompromising hero. Always selfless. Always willing to sacrifice. But you tossed me out right along with your dreams. It’s as if you never saw anything again after their deaths but blackness. Your life was over the moment theirs were.”

    “You should have gotten married then. You didn’t need me to fulfill that desire. If anything there were always a crowd of suitors waiting after me. Ready to take you away from whatever misery I seemingly afflicted. You made your own decisions.”

    “What good could it have been if it wasn’t you?”

    “And what good could it have been if it was?”

    Selina placed her hands at her temples and shut her eyes, “Alright... Stop this. No arguing remember?”

    Bruce turned away and preceded down the old, neglected garden path, “I don’t know what you’re really trying to accomplish.”

    Selina followed him, strolling merrily behind, anger already forgotten, “You know the only part I liked about that trip to Illinois? When your hands were terribly sunburned those last two days and you didn’t want to let me but I had to dress you a little, the buttons at least, and feed you.”

    Bruce’s eyes narrowed at the memory, long misplaced within his mind... Degradation he wouldn’t have allowed under any other circumstances, but it was her, and she never told anyone. He was significantly healed by the time their train pulled into Gotham and that was all that mattered.

    He took a deep breath and heaved his shoulders slightly, “You wanted to mother me.”

    Selina turned her head to the side once more though he failed to notice with his back to her, “Isn’t that what young women did back then? Besides, you wouldn’t let me touch you in front of Kicky. You’d rather have starved... Your secret’s safe with me.”

    “Is that the only reason you loved me?” Bruce asked in a quieted voice.

    Selina shook her head, “No. But it helped me remember when you were your usual self. Stroking about, dressed so nicely, rude as it was humanly possible to be. No one knew how vulnerable you could be but me. I wouldn’t have violated that so I kept it close instead.”

    Bruce grunted unintelligibly but didn’t interrupt further.

    She regained her place at his side, “So yes, even then I started to fantasize. It couldn’t happen, especially after I took up being Catwoman again but... Well, a girl can dream can’t she? I think what really set it off was that trip to the beach in Germany, those three little girls on their stomachs. With their little arms outstretched and they were kicking and paddling right there in the shallowest water... I thought about it all that evening. But I put it out of my mind because I didn’t want you to know. And I always kept it to myself just like everything else.” She pointed to her head, “Right up here with your hastily scribbled postcards and teaching me ‘Good King Wenceslas’ during that impromptu piano lesson. When someone has as many memories as I do, how could one possibly fall out of love?”

    Bruce silenced her, his face unreadable, “You’ve given me your answer, now let it go.”

    She glanced at him, wondering, “You almost seem ashamed. What could be the matter?”

    His voice was stiff, “Those things weren’t supposed to happen. You weren’t supposed to happen. I put them out of my mind for a reason; I would appreciate it if you didn’t remind me any further.”

    “How about if I remind you of Ethel Kirby...that damned platinum blond thingy with a tan to shame the gods. You taught her to play golf and always chose her as your partner when we played doubles in Tennis... Wasn’t I supposed to notice that?”

    Bruce nodded reservedly, “You were.”

    “And Betty Tannenbaum, that went over well. Can you imagine that, a German Jew with a name that means Christmas Tree... Hm.”

    “You’re anti-Semitic?” Bruce asked lightly.

    “Hardly. I am however bothered by a girl who willingly muscles in on someone else’s date... repeatedly.”

    “There was a little rumor that you’d been to bed with her husband, Niclas. I knew it wasn’t true but... It made Mrs. Tannenbaum very angry wouldn’t you say?”

    Selina curled her brow at him, “Stop fooling around with me, Bruce. I know what you’re doing and it’s worked far too many times in the past. You’re focusing on the rough stuff to remind me of just how incensed I should be and give me an excuse to leave. It’s your one form of cowardice and it’s insulting.”

    Bruce frowned deeply, “I didn’t bring them up.”

    “And I didn’t mention the affair... Now come inside,” She commanded, turning toward the house.

    “Why?” He questioned, still deeply bothered.

    “You’re hungry aren’t you? Knowing you, you haven’t eaten yet... Besides...I know you never really let those other women get anywhere with you... And you certainly never sent them postcards.”
     
  12. Kylewayne

    Kylewayne Mrs. Outlander00

    Joined:
    May 1, 2001
    Messages:
    3,810
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wow, this was full of emotions... and inner emotions that Bruce would never really normaly show. It's nice to get a feel what Bruce is REALY like under all that stone cold armor of his. I like the way you showed us his vulnerability. He seemed more human.

    I absolutely adore the way you personified Selina. Elegant and classy as ever. Her knowing how to "handle " Bruce and be a lady no matter what he tossed her way.

    I am totaly enjoying this tNC! =D
     
  13. AceOfKnaves

    AceOfKnaves Why aren't you laughing?

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Messages:
    3,445
    Likes Received:
    0
    I know this comment is overdue, things are so crazy these days. But you know I'll take time out of any day to read one of your stories. ;)

    I'm really liking what you've written so far for this one. The relationship between Selina and Bruce, old and...well, older. Very tense, and fiery. Captivating to the last, as always. In Selina's defense, I wouldn't have put up with half of the things he put her through during their relationship. She's got more resolve than I. ;)

    I'm also enjoying Terry's protectiveness over Bruce, not trusting Selina to not have an alterior motive for her returning to Gotham. Much like a son would be towards a father, or a relative to another.

    Write more! :D


    ~Sel~
     
  14. klammed

    klammed the fool.

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2005
    Messages:
    1,690
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wow, what will happen at the end of this story, I wonder. Love the developments, as always. Selena reallys knows Bruce inside out doesn't she? Like Kylewayne said, very nice to see Bruce's 'human' side, and well captured too.
     
  15. The_NewCatwoman

    The_NewCatwoman Oh you've got to be kidding me

    Joined:
    May 2, 2001
    Messages:
    3,701
    Likes Received:
    0
    :p

    I'm glad now that you've seen the finished product (where this chapter is concerned) and enjoyed it. I'm also glad it seems that I'm getting their characterization correct for a change. Now you've suddenly changed your mind and consider him human; I suppose that means I've done my job.

    tNC
     
  16. The_NewCatwoman

    The_NewCatwoman Oh you've got to be kidding me

    Joined:
    May 2, 2001
    Messages:
    3,701
    Likes Received:
    0
    Don't worry I would never hold it against you, I know how busy you are (and wish I was just as busy) and that things are hectic but wonderful.

    As for our dear old Brucie. Whenever I'm writing this (and the one-shots) I always get a sense of how absolutely sad he is. In my old stories (and currently in Broken) he's so in control that even when bad things happen he can deal with it. Selina puts it out of her mind, but he takes it head on and still looks for the joy in life. And in those stories I gave him plenty, even with (oh gosh my old, old story Breakdown comes to mind) getting chased down and shot and eventually killed in one of them, I also gave him children and a wife(wives) and a general sense of well-being. In this story he has none. There's only Alfred, Kicky and Selina. I don't know that I'll bring Dick into the story as I hate to tread waters that have been covered before--perhaps that is why I never cover his story directly but always the aftermath be it far in the future or just a year later like in Delicious Torment.

    But one thing I hope to convey, though I doubt he'd admit it, is how much Bruce loves Selina which to me is why he goes out of his way to turn her off. I think some part of him wants to protect her from his worst side so he goes out of his way to be rude and play around--and for once I'm not shying away from his playboy reputation. But as she pointed out, there are the other things he does that allow her to see that he's really not like that.

    But I'll agree with you that I do get annoyed when a fellow runs hot and cold constantly.

    Thank you very much for reading,

    tNC
     
  17. The_NewCatwoman

    The_NewCatwoman Oh you've got to be kidding me

    Joined:
    May 2, 2001
    Messages:
    3,701
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm glad you enjoyed everything I'm putting up. And as for what will happen, who knows?;)

    tNC
     
  18. Phantasm

    Phantasm Bittersweet Symphony.

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2004
    Messages:
    5,881
    Likes Received:
    0
    This is crafted with such elegance and remarkable prose that at times this style of formating which consists of the setting switching back and forth between past and present, each segment announced with the standard typical astrieks almost seems far from befitting. I liked the start and realize was also somewhat hoping that the pace and setting would remain rooted in that which was introduced.Or that the switching implemented would have been done with a little more inspiring a manner.

    Bruce and Selina and what they mean to each other is nicely expored. The complexity with which Bruce deals with such a simple emotion is sad and also a tad bit hilarious.

    Please write more.:)
     
  19. The_NewCatwoman

    The_NewCatwoman Oh you've got to be kidding me

    Joined:
    May 2, 2001
    Messages:
    3,701
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm not quite sure what you mean about the asterisks. I employed that technique as readers were complaining some time ago about having problems distinguishing between flashback and present. As for the presence of flashbacks themselves, I intend to employ them as opportunities to provide background for events that have happened in their lives, people that have come and gone and so on and so forth. There's so much that they never explained in BB that the opportunity to tell it my way is too hard to resist.

    Thank you for your kind words about my prose style; I am sincerely grateful.:)

    tNC
     
  20. The_NewCatwoman

    The_NewCatwoman Oh you've got to be kidding me

    Joined:
    May 2, 2001
    Messages:
    3,701
    Likes Received:
    0
    **Disclaimer: The opening quote is by James Joyce, unfortunately I cannot post the link here as the surrounding content is very, very questionable. I'll merely say that it was taken from a letter written to his wife Nora in 1909. This particular part is rated J, as it gets just a little...interesting. I think that's everything.**

    “How on God's earth can you possibly love a thing like me?”

    ***

    “I can’t imagine that I ever made you happy,” Selina commented suddenly.

    Bruce closed his eyes and blew at the smoke rising from his coffee cup, “Why would you imagine such a thing?”

    Selina smirked and sat back in her chair, “And you always said you were no good with words.”

    Bruce opened one eye, “I beg your pardon?”

    Selina placed two spoonfuls of sugar into his cup followed by a small helping of cream. Stirring it, she brought a spoonful to her lips and tasted it, “What would make me think such a foolish thought. That I could ever truly satisfy you.”

    Bruce didn’t bother to dissuade her; he knew she was only teasing. His mind suddenly remembered Sunday mornings and the Technicolor green of the lawn in springtime. Her barefoot form setting up his badminton kit. He reached up and took her wrist, directing the spoon to his mouth, “I’ll admit I told a lie the other night.”

    Selina barely managed to hide her surprise, “Oh really?”

    He nodded, wiping his mouth with the linen napkins she’d found somewhere in the cabinets, a pattern he hadn’t seen in decades, “I was lying when I said that I’d respected your decision about my not following you. I actually drove from sunrise to sunset before I got to Georgia and realized what I was doing....It occurred to me that you didn’t want me and that it was just something I would have to accept.”

    Selina stared at him with a reserved expression as he finished, “I didn’t sleep for a week. Not that it would have been too much different from my usual schedule. But there were no naps in my office, nothing....I couldn’t bring myself to admit it to anyone, least of all, Alfred. You always told me I had too much pride and not much room for anything else.”

    She didn’t want to spoil him with her reply, not yet, “Anything else you feel like admitting?”

    “You first.” He challenged with his old grin.

    Selina seemed to consider it for a while then agreed with a nod, “Niclas Tannenbaum kissed me. And he would have tried to do more, too, if it weren’t for that lovely telephone of his. It just kept ringing and ringing...The most beautiful jingle-jangle, not like these beeping contraptions...Quite the adventurous fellow too. Liked having old Betty ride him around their apartment complete with crop and bit. He told me all of this while trying to have ‘just one cocktail’ with me....A little red devil in his own right he was.”

    Bruce looked at her mildly surprised before recovering, “There but for the Grace of God go thee.”

    Selina smiled and placed her hand on his cheek, “See there? All smiles. And just think you were always such a little puritan with me.”

    He gazed at her, remembering the faint freckles that had long since faded from the length of her spine, like so many tiny seeds dotting her olive toned skin. He also remembered alcohol rubs and finally the Hail Mary’s whispered the first time he’d taken her to the alley with him. When he’d shown her his past, present and future and she hadn’t even known.

    **Flashback**

    *Lansing Beach, Miller Harbor, Gotham City*

    She reclined, reached for Kicky’s cigarette case and pulled one out, tapping it against the gilded surface before handing it back to him. Allowing him to light it for her she counted exactly three and three-quarter seconds before Bruce took it from her and broke it in half.

    Kicky sat up and tried to push Bruce away with his foot, “What on earth is it to you guy?”

    “That’s a filthy habit.” Bruce replied donning his sunglasses, turning his back to them both before walking angrily toward the line of striped changing tents with his clothing.

    Selina, who had been expecting the retribution, waited a beat before getting up to follow him, “Bruce?”

    He sat on the bench, surrounded by a blue and white striped interior, his clothing draped over his lap, staring at the farthest wall.

    She tied the cloth door closed and sat next to him, “You’ve been unusual today, at least for poor Kicky. What is it?”

    He didn’t respond and she kissed his bare shoulder, “I know smoking’s a bad habit Bruce but I wanted your attention. Is it so wrong to want your attention once in a long while?”

    She nudged his chin, “Let’s go get a Dr. Pepper hm? My treat.”

    “Twenty cents.” He replied flatly.

    “Glad to see your math skills haven’t suffered over the summer holiday Mr. Wayne.” She humored with a smile.

    He tugged the sleeve of her beach pajamas and spoke, “What month is it?”

    “It’s very late October Bruce. And unseasonably warm...But surely you remember that.”

    He nodded absently, “Had to be sure....Will you come with me tonight?”

    She smiled to hide her confusion, “Where on earth?”

    He kissed her shoulder in return, stood up and began to dress, “Be ready at nine-thirty. Alfred will pick you up but I’ll be the one bringing you home.... Dress modestly.”

    “What does that mean?” she asked making an effort not to get any ideas.

    “Wear black. A veil if you’ve got one. But don’t bring any flowers.”

    --#--

    Selina laid all of her her clothing across the bed, just four or so feet away stood her trunk, its drawers pulled open and all emptied.

    Placing her hands on her hips she made a mental checklist of every article she owned: one camel’s hair coat, and one worn fabric raincoat. Her simple black dress hat, one fur cap inherited from her mother, one old gray dressmaker suit, and one newer tailored black suit. Several tailored white and off-white blouses, along with a few similar blouses of the pastel variety.

    Then there were the handmade undergarments that she had invested in the moment she’d returned to Gotham. The two wool skirts and two light ones, and finally the new dinner dresses Bruce had purchased her earlier in the summer upon learning that she hadn’t chosen to spend her own money on them. He hadn’t asked twice, never assuming, or so she guessed as much, that she didn’t actually have that much money to spend.

    Then came dinner at the Foxes and the Mountwrights and a bauble or two. No stupid flights of fancy, no elaborate heists, no not yet.

    Standing back she tried to imagine what Bruce had planned for the evening. It wasn’t his birthday and even if it was that would be an opportunity to remove clothing; he certainly wouldn’t tell her to dress modestly.

    Crossing the small bedroom of her rented apartment she picked up the afternoon newspaper resting on the vanity and scanned the headlines, bylines, current events, and world news....Nothing. Then she checked the date, October twenty-seventh. What could be so important about an ordinary Thursday?

    She chucked the newspaper behind her and opened the Killinger’s bag containing the brand new veil. Picking it up, she spread it across her right hand and examined it. Could Bruce be going to Mass? He’d never struck her as the religious type though he had observed the various holidays of the year, and even that seemed to be more out of habit than respect or devotion. Instead it seemed more than likely one of Alfred’s requirements along with prayers before meals. The older man did seem to have a rather father-like hold on Bruce that hadn’t seemed obvious at first. But she supposed when one fed and clothed the same person from childhood upwards a bond would certainly form, for better or worse.

    After a thirty minute bath she busied herself with her talcum powder, make up and jewelry. Then, ignoring a slight wave of dizziness, dressed in her brassiere and brief girdle, secured her stockings and stood before the mirror to check the seams. Next she donned a slip, the black skirt, a cream colored blouse and the jacket. Finally she combed her hair back, fluffing it with her fingers before securing her hat and veil.

    Steeling herself she returned to the mirror and pouted. For all intents and purposes, she looked as if he were escorting her to a funeral. But from his actions all that morning and his tone, somewhat more somber than usual, that’s exactly what she could expect.

    She spent the next thirty minutes re-hanging all of the clothing. Suddenly she was sitting in the living room watching the sun sink down past the apartment house roofs and radio antennas of her neighbors homes.

    At precisely nine forty-five she awoke to the sound of polite knocking on her door. Grabbing her handbag she smoothed her skirt and met Alfred in the hall. Downstairs Bruce was waiting next to the car, dressed in a dark suit and tie, a matching trilby was perched on his head.

    She shivered slightly as she let her eyes sweep over his form, shrouded in the shadows of the El tracks above him. A train rattled by and a swirl of leaves gathered about them. “Ready?” he had to raise his voice for her to hear.

    She felt herself shrug as Alfred opened the car for them and she climbed in first. He followed, removed his hat and draped his arm over her shoulders. She leaned against him and finally answered, “Ready if you are.”

    A few minutes passed in silence and Selina began to finger his pocket square, “Bruce?”

    “Hm?”

    “Where are we going?”

    Bruce’s face darkened somehow and he shifted away from her slightly “We’ll see.”

    Selina began to tug very lightly at the square’s peaks, “Bruce?”

    “Hm?”

    “If you don’t mind my asking....Why is Kicky always alone? Is he alone like you? Or, is he alone like I am?”

    Bruce waited sometime before nodding, “His father died in a plane crash...I’ve never asked about his mother. I can only take it for granted that she’s dead, and has been for quite some time now.”

    “Why don’t you know? Wasn’t he your cousin?” Selina asked gently.

    Bruce pursed his lips in thought, “The men in my family die and the women aren’t born Wayne’s...they marry and become Wayne’s instead. It has been that way for generations. We all expect to die in some grand fashion. Besides, I honestly don’t feel that Kick would want to talk about it.”

    Selina was silent for a moment, the atmosphere of their backseat solitude seemed to demand serious thought followed by lowered voices. “What happened?”

    “To Kirky? I told you.”

    “To everyone.”

    Bruce glanced down at his watch face; the hands read ten twenty-two, “My great-great-Grandfather was the first Solomon. He was the one to establish the Gotham Buggy Whip Works. His son dropped the ‘Junior’ and became a judge. He had one son named Phillip and then another named Solomon the third. That boy died at one year old of Whooping Cough. Much later he had his last son, and he named him Thomas; all before he died in a car wreck in nineteen-thirty.

    “Phillip fought in the Great War, came home, married and quickly produced a son, Phillip Junior. Thomas and Phillip Junior were only one year apart and grew up together like brothers. They both went to serve during World War Two, but only Thomas returned....The year before Pearl Harbor, Phillip had had another son whom he named Kirk Anthony.”

    “Thomas met Martha Ahearne while he served in the Army as a medic, and she served in the Army Nurse Corps. They returned together but didn’t marry until nineteen fifty-three after he’d returned from Korea...My father didn’t want children. Sons often died in our family, each generation could expect at least one death...Solomon Junior and Phillip Junior each confirmed that superstition for him....In nineteen-sixty he finally relented and I was born. And, the year after next, while Kirk was serving in Vietnam his wife, Annette, gave birth to Kirk Junior.”

    Selina wrinkled her brow and found she was staring at his chin. His eyes were aimed toward the front of the car, challenging his opaque reflection to deny his words. She noticed as the car began to slow and looked out the window into a part of town she didn’t recognize.

    Bruce tightened his tie and put his hat back on, “My father was wrong Selina, he shouldn’t have been afraid of losing me. Kick and I were spared. But, in return...”

    The door opened and Bruce slid out of the car. Turning around he took her hand and helped her out. Though the temperature hadn’t dropped by more than five degrees a brisk wind swept across them. Bruce took two roses, free of thorns, in one hand and grasped Selina’s hand in the other. Some thirty yards away they entered the mouth of an alley.

    He removed his hat once more, bent down on one knee and laid the two roses, one crossed over the other, under the halo of the streetlight. Blessing himself his lips moved in an unheard prayer.

    Selina watched with widened eyes as he returned to her side but didn’t touch her, facing the street instead. The relative tenderness had completely vanished from his form. His head bowed slightly as he replaced the trilby and nodded toward the car, “My parents were murdered here when I was a child.

    Then without much pause he continued, “We’ll go back to the Manor and change cars. I’ll drive you home if you wish.”

    “And if I don’t wish?” Selina asked, doing her best not to sound too suggestive.

    “If there is any place you would like to go Selina it will have to be another night...”

    He didn’t wait for her to come back to the car but instead climbed in, leaving her to stand with Alfred.

    The Queen’s English was never spoken so low and clear, “You’ll have to excuse Master Bruce, Miss Kyle. He prefers to be alone at this time of the year. I thought that his bringing you and inviting Mister Kirk back to Gotham might give me a glimmer of hope for him. I suppose I was mistaken...I am however surprised that you managed to elicit so much information. I doubt even his cousin knows exactly as much as you now do.”

    Selina folded her arms and sighed, “Why isn’t our dear friend Mister Kirk here?”

    Alfred’s brow curled, “It is unfortunate that the other branch in the Wayne family also has his share of demons....He chose not to come tonight rather than be reminded of what he and Master Bruce see as their impending mortality.”

    Selina frowned before climbing into the back of the car. There she was prepared to let her annoyance at his strange behavior fester and to ride home in absolute silence. Instead she saw him sitting next to the far window with his hands between his knees, his head resting against the back of the seat, eyes closed. She felt his cheeks and was surprised to find them damp. No wonder he’d wanted to get back to the car.

    He flinched and grabbed her wrist a little too tightly for her comfort but loosened his grip when he looked at her. She had given a little start but now settled against his chest. In their shared silence they heard Alfred enter through the driver’s side door and start the engine.
     
    #20 The_NewCatwoman, May 2, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 21, 2008

Share This Page

  • Find Toonzone on Facebook

  • Toonzone News

  • Site Updates

    Upcoming Premieres

  • Toonzone Fan Sites


Tac Anti Spam from Surrey Forum