Coming Home: Chapter 3
by Kerrin Watter
The next morning, Susan found Domino in the kitchen making breakfast.
Her movements were slow and controlled, as she methodically moved around
"Call work and tell them youre not coming in today," Domino said, her back still turned away from her sister.
"I .cant. I cant afford to miss any more work, Sarah."
"Suze, you shouldnt be working after what happened last night "
"Crap, Sarah. Like I havent before. Im not some weak little sister that you have to take care of. I dont need your protection! Now, Im going to work. Ill be back by five." She glared, her hand picking up an apple from the counter.
"Jo, get your shoes on - are you ready?"
Domino caught her arm, seeing in her face the exact same look that shed
shown to Nathan, locking everyone else out, and dealing with it on her
own. The only problem was, she was a killer, a mercenary - for her, it
was a daily risk; for Susan, it shouldnt even have had to be considered.
Susans eyes softened slightly, and she shook her head.
"The dangers still out there, Sarah. Its not confined to you, or just your job, its everywhere." She stopped talking, her brown eyes staring into a pair of violet ones. "And just like you, I dont want to talk about it."
"You have to. If you dont, youre going to become just like me. Cold and bitter, and twisted inside." Dominos voice was barely above a whisper. Susan shook her head.
"You dont have an exclusive on pain, Sarah. And I dont think youre the type of person you think you are. If anyone needs to talk about it, its you." Susan shook her head sadly, and began to walk out of the kitchen. "If you cant even tell your sister, Sarah, what hope is there?"
She left to find Jo, leaving Domino in the kitchen, wondering how Susan always managed to change the topic around to her. "Its a bloody talent isnt it," she mumbled, and followed Susan out of the kitchen.
Susan was halfway up the steps when she heard Dominos voice, and she paused, her eyes wide.
"I said Im sorry." Dominos jaw clenched with the effort of saying the words.
"But we need to talk, Susan. The bank rang yesterday. Youre going to lose the house."
Susans hand gripped the banister tightly, the only outward sign of her feelings.
"Damn it, Sarah, that is none of your business. How dare you."
"I know, and Im sorry, but we need to talk. I worried about you, and Im worried about Jo."
Susans eyes flashed angrily, and Domino winced inwardly - to bring it to this level was cruel, she knew, but she had to do something to make her listen.
"Look, Suze, you can scream at me all you want, but call work and take the day off. We need to talk about this, and Im not going to have my nephew being thrown out of his own home."
Susan walked down the stairs, her hand flying and slapping Domino in the face.
"How dare you. To say I cant provide for my child - I dont even hear from you for three years, and you waltz in, and tell me Im not a good mother! Im trying to hold everything together here, and pay off debts that arent even mine, and you have the gaul to say that."
"I know its not your fault, Susan! I figure that Robert left you with some pretty big debts, which youre trying to pay off. And that youre holding down a job, and raising a family without any help from anyone. No child support, no maintenance. That is not your fault. But its your problem now, isnt it. Now, I think I can help you with it. No - dont you dare throw this back at me. Im doing it for Jo too. Its not out of pity, its not because I feel obliged to, its because I can, and because I want to. At any rate, we need to talk about it. So ring work, and take the day off. And Susan," Domino paused, her anger fading as quickly as it had flared, "I never said you were a bad mother. How could I?"
Domino shrugged and went into the kitchen to make a fresh pot of coffee.
We stood outside in the summer rain,
different people with a common pain.
They sat on the front porch, the dappled sun casting ever changing shadows that danced on the wooden floor, and changed their expressions by the shadows and the light. Susan was speaking, her low voice having a resigned quality as she told her story. Pregnancy, marriage, then discovering a history of bad debts and poor investments. Then the drinking, gambling, and finally abuse that had ended her marriage. How her way out had become not the chance she had dreamed of, but the institution that had trapped her.
Domino watched her speak, noting the way her eyes didnt leave the table, and the detached clinical manner in which she told the story. The similarity was uncanny, the shame and rage and defiance identical. Domino clenched her coffee mug harder, trying to stop her introspection before she uncovered more about herself through her sister that she was prepared to deal with.
"What made you finally leave him?" Dominos eyes were piercing, she needed to know the answer, to understand both Susan and herself.
"He tried to hit Jo. Me, I could handle, but not my son." Susan took a sip of coffee, surprised to find her hands werent shaking. "I mean were tough, arent we Sarah. Weve taken the knocks, and there *is* a certain amount you can live with. You know that." Domino looked away at the statement, trying to hide from its implications that she knew were true. "But when he tried to hurt Jo, well, then it stopped being about me all together." Susan stopped talking, taking a deep breath and letting it out slowly as her gaze finally swung around to meet Dominos.
Susan could sense her concern through their tenuous link, and nodded, sending out a brief feeling of calm.
"Yeah, Im fine. That wasnt the most enjoyable thing Ive ever done, but Im glad I finally told someone. I guess." Her gaze hardened, and Domino tensed, her eyes suddenly finding the table top very interesting. "Your turn, Sarah. Whatever youve got eating at the inside of you, needs to come out."
Domnio shook her head, her black hair cascading across her face like a shield.
"I know you wont tell the people you work with, or whats his name, but you do need to tell someone."
Domino laughed, a hard, self mocking sound coming from her lips. "I
survive by *not* telling people, Suze. You know that."
"And I know *that* is whats going to get you in the end. As you said last night, youve been there. You know what its like. And I know youre strong enough to face it." She reached across the table, laying her hand on Dominos arm. The tenseness radiated off her, and Susan could feel her terror and fear at having to talk about it. "Im not going to judge you, Sarah. Hell, here you only have to be you. You dont need to be a leader, or a fighter, or a merc, or a partner. Here youre not Domino. Youre just my sister, and here thats all you need to be." Susan finished speaking and settled back into her chair, a patient and encouraging expression on her face as her sister finally began to talk.
They spoke for most of the morning, communicating, not just talking, breaking down the barriers theyd both set up. By lunch, they were both exhausted, and Jo was hyperactive. They packed a picnic, heading down to the park, where he could run himself out. Susan popped a camera into her bag, feeling that she needed a solid memory of the last two weeks. After this morning, shes going to go. I know it, Susan thought to herself, as they walked to the park. She smiled in defeat. This is probably the first time shes opened up for a long, long time - knowing Sarah, shell be gone by morning. She knew her sister couldnt handle closeness, preferring to keep everyone at an arms length. She understood exactly how she felt.
They picnicked happily, the mornings argument and talk fading into the background. Jo ran around, chasing birds, scraping his knees - having a generally great time. Domino looked into herself and found that just for a few minutes, she was at peace. She smiled and sighed, content that just for a moment, everything was right in the world.
"Hello ladies. Lovely day."
The old man tipped his hat to them, and they smiled in return, chatting pleasantly about the weather theyd been having. Jo ran over, and Susan scooped him onto her lap, her other hand digging in her bag.
"Would you take a photo for us?" She held the camera out to
the man, expecting an instant rejection from Sarah, but none came. They
stood up, Susan holding Jo for the first photograph, and then him standing
between the sisters for the second. They thanked the man, the pictures
developing as they watched. The remains of the picnic were in the background,
the family resemblance strong in the photographs. Susan pulled a texta
from her bag, and scribbled her number on the back, before handing one
of the photographs to Sarah.
"For me?" Sarahs eyes shone, and she carefully tucked the treasured gift into her jacket.
They packed up soon after, Domino informing them that she was heading home the next day.
Early the next morning she left, amidst hugs, kisses and tears from Jo, and a knowing smile from Susan.
"Keep safe, Sarah."
"You too, Suze. And thank you."
She waved, and pulled her car out of the drive, heading back to New York.
She wished she could have told them how she felt, but she wasnt good
with goodbyes, and had to get out of there.
Love ya Suze. Hope you know that, she thought at the house.
An amused chuckle sounded in her mind.
You dolt. Were gonna miss you, Sarah, so keep in one piece. Love ya too. And with that, Susans voice was gone, leaving Domino to drive back to the Mansion in silence.
She pulled into the drive at sunset, not wanting the trip to end. She sighed, and pulled her duffle bag from the car. She wiped the last traces of a smile off her face, hardening it into her all familiar mask, before preparing herself for the questions that were soon to follow.
Nathan watched as she walked up the steps to the front door, as casual as anything, as if she took off without notice regularly.
She walked through the door, heading for her room. Shed made it halfway up the steps before she heard his voice.
"How nice of you to join us, Dom. Where the hell did you go?"
"Away. Now, Im going to my room."
She turned her back and walked up the stairs, continuing down the hall. She unlocked her door, but a creak behind her stopped her from entering.
It was Logan, a quizzical look on his face.
"Yeah, Logan, it was."
"I take it you found what you were looking for." His eyes were concerned, and she smiled as she gently placed her hand on his arm.
"Yeah, I think I did. Thanks."
She smiled and went into her room, pulling out the photograph and committing every detail to memory, before hiding it away.
She strapped her communicator back on, and saw that she had a danger room session scheduled for tomorrow morning. She sighed, then unpacked, the night unfolding as it always did at the Mansion. Twenty minutes later, she was dressed in comfy old fatigues, a black shirt matching the now-visible mark on her eye. All traces of who shed been for the last two weeks were gone, and she was Domino once again.
An hour later she was in the rec room, her hands busy polishing and oiling her gun. Yep, life was back to normal. She fingers worked automatically, her eyes wandering to the television where a man in a lion suit was prowling around. She threw her head back and laughed, the rich sound rolling around the mansion, as her fingers found the remote and switched off the television.
Lyrics used were taken from:
Family - Dar Williams 1996 (Pierce Pettis, 1993)
Natural - Monique Brumby1997
(In the order of Dar, Monique, Monique, Monique, Dar)
No infringements intended.
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