Dragons in the Dark – The Letter

My dearest Lucas,

Please forgive me for not having the courage to say these things to you in person. My courage all seems to be spoken for lately.

You have been my rock through the last horrible couple of months. You saved my life so many times, I’ve lost count. I owe you my…everything. And that’s one of the reasons I have to leave.

I am not the woman you fell in love with. I don’t even know who that woman is anymore. On the other hand, I don’t know who I will be when I’m finished rebuilding myself. I may be someone you can’t love, although I hope that’s not the case.

Since the Hallowe’en party, I have felt like I’ve been standing in quicksand. Each time I find a footing, it’s whisked away from under my feet to let me sink a little bit deeper into the earth. I knew that I could depend on you…some days, you were the only solid thing in my life. But when you turned down ‘Master of Honor’, I knew that I was taking advantage of you.

I’ve felt our relationship slipping away over the last few weeks from lack of balance. You were doing everything for me, but I had nothing to give back. There was no way that we were going to last like that. But I have nothing to offer right now. It’s all going into finding that footing I was talking about. I was afraid that you would turn down this role and then we’d break up and it would be for nothing! I couldn’t let you do that!

So I’m going home. I already have a full schedule of appointments set up with Dr. Suhlman. I’m staying with Holly, not my mom, so I should be out of the line of fire from my aunt until I’m better able to deal with her.

I talked to Marisa about this before I left and she said that it’s not fair to anyone involved for me to only be able to commit a few months to this. Her suggestion was at least a year. Can you give me a year? A year to find my footing, to find my family again, to build a solid foundation to be able to build a relationship on?

If you can’t, I’ll understand. If you need to move on, please do. I’m sure I’ll hear about it and I can do the same. But I think we had something special before all of this blew up in our faces. I think we owe it to ourselves to see if we can recapture something of that once I’ve done the work I need to do.

In the meantime, go and make your movie, movie-boy. That’s what you do best and I never wanted to hold you back from that. I love you with all my heart and I always will. A year, if you’re still interested. I’ll look for you.

With all the love in my heart,

Glory

 

FIN

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Dragons in the Dark – Chapter 22 – Decisions

Brutal traffic on a Tuesday at mid-day! What the fuck!? Lucas was trying to get home in time to say goodbye to Tom before he left and it looked like that was not going to happen now.

He said, “Call Tom,” to his phone and he saw the familiar picture of his girlfriend’s dad come up on his monitor.

“Hi, Lucas,” Tom answered.

“Hi, Tom. Listen, I’m stuck in traffic and I won’t make it home before you have to leave. I just wanted to call and say goodbye,” Lucas said as he sat at a dead stand-still on the freeway.

“No problem, Lucas. Hopefully, we’ll see you and Glory up in Toronto in the near future,” Tom said, cheerfully.

“You can count on it, Tom. Look for us in the next couple of months,” Lucas said. “Have a good flight and say hi to everyone up there for me, will you?”

“Will do, Lucas. Thanks again for the hospitality. Maybe I’ll be able to return it someday.”

“It was my pleasure. Talk to you soon,” Lucas said with a smile. The pleasure had been his…and his garden’s…it had never looked so good!

“Bye, Lucas,” Tom said and the line went dead. Lucas took a deep breath. Now it would be just him and Glory in the house, with all of the issues that could lead to. He had to admit that things hadn’t been going very well there lately. But now they’d have time to work on that.

It was over an hour later that he pulled into his driveway. He walked into the front door and spent a few minutes being greeted by Cooper before going to find Glory.

Continue reading “Dragons in the Dark – Chapter 22 – Decisions”

Dragons in the Dark – Chapter 21 – Career Choices

The next few days saw Glory’s therapy increase back to twice a day with Marisa. This problem with Claire had been a major setback for Glory, and Lucas was irritated when Glory and Tom both told him that it was a bad idea for him to call Claire out.

“This is her issue, Lucas, and she’ll have to deal with it in her own time,” Glory said, after discussing it in some detail with Marisa. “The only thing that I can deal with is my shit. We can’t deal with her shit.”

Lucas looked rebellious, but he didn’t make the call, instead opting to spend the rest of the day with Glory and Tom at the Getty Centre. Glory had wanted to see the Rembrandt exhibit before it moved on. He was one of her favourite artists and she loved his use of colour even in the darkest paintings and she was thrilled to be in the presence of so many of his finest works!

Lucas was ecstatic to see her so happy after all that had been happening. They spent the entire afternoon at the Getty before wandering out to find a fine dinner of lasagna at one of Lucas’ favourite Italian trattorias. They got home late, so Glory had to sleep on all of the new ideas and images that she wanted to get onto canvas!

But in the morning, she ate breakfast at her easel as she drew basic sketches of what was in her head on several canvases before starting to mix up her paints.

“Art therapy again?” Lucas said, jokingly, as he came to join her in the music/art room with his coffee. “You’re going to put Marisa out of a job.”

“With my fucked up family, I don’t think that’s ever going to happen,” Glory said, concentrating on her canvas.

“Speaking of family, my mom wants to come out for a visit soon. Are you cool with that?” Lucas asked.

Glory turned to Lucas. They hadn’t talked about his family since she had had her breakdown. “Does she know what’s been going on?” she asked, concerned.

“Yeah. You know me. I tell my mom everything,” Lucas said, shyly. “That may be why she wants to come out. To make sure you’re okay. You do belong to her now, you know?”

Glory smiled at that. “I love your mom, too. It would be great to have her out,” she said before returning to her canvas.

Lucas stood in silence watching her for a few minutes. He knew that he was lucky to get this much out of her when she was lost in her art. He should probably start painting with her again, but she seemed to put walls up now when she painted and he felt that his presence would be an intrusion.

Continue reading “Dragons in the Dark – Chapter 21 – Career Choices”

Dragons in the Dark – Chapter 20 – Home Again

Marisa had not been far wrong when she had said that Glory would be in the hospital for a month. As the 4-week mark approached, Lucas could see that she was itching to be out of the hospital and to regain some of her normal life.

Beth and Tom had stayed close but neither Holly nor Diana had come down to visit. Beth discouraged them, not wanting to have to deal with both of her daughters and her niece in crisis! She had promised that Glory would come home to Toronto for a little while once she was out of the hospital and things had settled down. She didn’t tell them about Tom.

Glory was still having major issues with Beth’s secrecy. It’s what had caused her breakdown in the first place and she felt that it had no place in their lives. Everything had to be brought out into the open! But Beth didn’t feel that was Glory’s call to make and they butted heads often over this point.

For his part, Tom stayed out of it. He wanted the opportunity to get to know both Glory and Holly and he felt that his best path was through Beth. And there was the added incentive of Beth herself, who he was enjoying being around again. She had been the best part of his life and he wanted that back.

Lucas tried to remain a neutral party, seeing both sides of the story, and trying to keep Glory’s mind open, which led to more than a few arguments.

A few days before Glory was to be released, Lucas arrived in the morning just as Beth came storming out of Glory’s room.

“What’s wrong?” Lucas asked as Beth strode past him.

“I’ve raised a pig-headed daughter!” Beth shouted as she headed for the elevator.

Lucas peeked around the door to see a stormy look on Glory’s face. He raised an eyebrow at her and pulled up a chair to listen to another rant. This was getting to be a daily occurrence!

“She wants me to come home, but she doesn’t want me to tell Holly or Diana about any of this! She doesn’t want to even tell them about dad yet! How am I supposed to do that? I kept this all pent up for years and it almost killed me. How can she even ask this of me?” The storm clouds had turned to rain clouds as tears spilled down her cheeks.

“Then don’t go. Let your mom go home and tell them in her own time about Tom and about the abuse, then you can go,” Lucas suggested.

“But does that mean I can’t even talk to them?” she asked. “What if I let something slip? I hate this! I feel like I’ve come so far; too far to hide it all away.”

Lucas sat back in the armchair and opened his arms to her. She hated spending all of her time in bed, and it had become their ritual that he would hold her when she cried or needed comfort.

Once she had settled comfortably in his lap, he said. “I don’t want you to leave me to go to Toronto, anyway. Call me selfish, but I want you right here with me.”

Glory smiled. “It’s where I’d rather be, too. But if I’m ever going to have a family, I may need to spend some time there once everything comes out,” she said, softly.

“Hopefully, we can plan that around my schedule and I can come up with you,” Lucas said.

Glory settled her head against his shoulder and let his strong arms wrap her in his comfort and protection. Marisa had warned her that not all relationships survive a trauma like the one she had had. But she felt like their relationship was even stronger than it was before.

 

Finally, the day came when Marisa felt that Glory could handle life outside of the hospital. Beth had gone home a few days earlier. She saw that it was futile to try to get Glory to come to Toronto right away and she needed to get home to try to prepare Holly for the shock that these revelations would inevitably be.

Tom had stayed in LA. He had stayed with his parents in Toronto and he would go back there once things settled down, but for right now, he was staying with Lucas and he was glad to be able to get to know his daughter a little bit better.

So it was with her two men beside her that Glory walked out of the hospital, with a prescription and appointments and group therapy sessions booked into her schedule. Marisa had cautioned her that the work wasn’t finished yet.

At Lucas’ house, Cooper stayed close to Glory. Lucas felt like he had lost his dog! Glory was going to try to go drug-free now that she was home and Cooper often helped with that by anticipating her rough times and jumping up on her lap when she needed to be comforted.

Tom had always loved working with the earth, and being locked away from it for so long had been his own private hell. So Lucas let him loose in the garden and he was in his element! After a couple of days, Lucas put a hold on his regular landscapers and arranged for Tom to draw a salary. Neither of them thought that he’d stay long-term, but for right now, it was a great solution for both of them.

Continue reading “Dragons in the Dark – Chapter 20 – Home Again”

Dragons in the Dark – Chapter 19 – Work to Do

Lucas hadn’t been kidding when he’d said she’d have work to do. She had sessions with Marisa twice a day, and after the first few days, she also had a group session that she had to attend every day. The others in it had a variety of psychological issues, but the common thread was that they all needed to have a supportive and safe group in which to share their struggles.

Glory was the newcomer to the group, so she was allowed a bye the first day. She only had to give a brief statement of who she was and what had brought her to the hospital. She didn’t have to participate. She found it interesting on an intellectual level to listen to everyone else work through their daily challenges and felt that she’d get a lot out of the sessions once she felt comfortable contributing.

The restraints had come off after her second session with Marisa. They had talked about the self-destructive behaviour and Glory told her that she had done it to get the horrible thoughts out of her head; the thoughts that she couldn’t live with. She had thought, at the time, that if she could just get them out, she could live. They talked at length about how else Glory could take some control of the situation when those thoughts that she couldn’t yet face threatened to overwhelm her.

“As long as you’re not hurting yourself, the restraints can come off. If you are feeling overwhelmed, the nurses can give you a sedative to calm you down or put you out, depending on how desperate you’re feeling. Let them know what you need,” Marisa said.

Lucas had brought her pizza…and chocolate. He had brought a large stash of various chocolate bars, chocolate covered granola bars, and other chocolate goodies for her to keep in her drawer for when she needed something. He was her rock. Whatever she needed, he was there with it. When she wanted clothes, he had already stashed some in his car for her; when she needed to laugh, he became her personal comedian; when she needed to cry, he pulled her into his lap and held her together.

Marisa had worried at first that Glory was depending too much on him. It was a rare relationship that could survive this kind of psychological trauma unscathed. But after a week and a bit, Marisa started to realize the depth of Lucas’ feelings for Glory. When he had said he wasn’t going anywhere, he had meant it.

Glory’s days were pretty structured so Lucas and Beth were able to spend most of the day away from the hospital and they started going home at night as well. Glory seemed to sleep better when she was on her own. Lucas had invited Beth to stay in his guest room and she accepted. Cooper was pleased to have another person to guard and stuck close to Beth when she was around.

Beth contacted her office and arranged to work remotely. Lucas started to add things back into his schedule: photoshoots, interviews, auditions. Life seemed to be resuming some degree of normalcy for all of them. Continue reading “Dragons in the Dark – Chapter 19 – Work to Do”

Dragons In the Dark – Chapter 18 – Secrets & Lies

Glory was awake. She felt groggy like she shouldn’t be awake yet. When she tried to move, she couldn’t and looked down to see the restraints on her hands. Where the hell was she?

She tried to take herself back to the last thing she remembered clearly. Lucas; making love to Lucas after the party. Then…what? A jumble of images came rushing into her head, causing her to close her eyes against them and turn away. She tried to find one to grab onto that made sense. The man…her dad.

How could that be? He’d been out of her life for over 20 years. She had often daydreamed about a time when he would try to reconnect with her, but that was in her late teens and early 20s. She had pretty much given up hope that she’d ever see him again, thinking maybe he was dead and her mom didn’t know about it.

Then a darker image of him emerged; him with blood on his hands and face. Whose blood? If he was the second dragon who had rescued her, who was the first dragon? And why did she need rescuing?

She closed her eyes and moved cautiously towards that place in her mind. When she looked through that door, she pulled back in shame. All of the inappropriate touches, the insistence that she never tell, the fear and disgust she felt. She had no idea who the second dragon was, but she knew exactly why her dad had killed him now.

Her eyes were tightly shut and tears were leaking from underneath her lids as she pushed on the door in her mind to try and get it closed before the images and feelings there overwhelmed her.

“Glory?” She heard his gentle voice from far away. “Glory, are you awake?” Lucas asked, putting his hand on her arm.

She didn’t open her eyes and tried clenching her fists to help her keep her emotions from washing her away, but it was too much.

“You should have let me die!” she sobbed.

Lucas was quiet for a moment, gently stroking her arm with his thumb. “I’m not ready to let you go,” he said, quietly.

“You’ll leave when you know anyway.” She had to force each word out between clenched teeth. “When you know what I am, you’ll go and I’ll be alone. I’d rather be dead.”

Lucas took a deep breath and blew it out through his pursed lips. “Glory, I know and I’m still here. I’m not going anywhere.”

Glory’s eyes flew open at this. “You know?” she sobbed, searching his face for the disgust that she knew should be there. She was dirty, she was filthy. He had known it. That’s why he had done those things to her. “No, no, no, no, no, no! I’m sorry, I’m sorry! Lucas, I’m so sorry!”

She was pulling at her restraints with her hands clawed. He could see how the scratches on her face had come about. He could feel tears running down his own face as he grabbed both of her hands and said, “Glory! Glory! I love you. I’m not going anywhere! You didn’t do anything wrong.”

But she was beyond hearing and continued to fight to get free. If she could only get her hands up to her face, she could pull the thoughts that were destroying her out of her head.

The nurse came in with a sedative and injected it into Glory’s IV. Lucas could almost see the drug flowing into her arm and through her body as she slowly started to relax.

“I’m sorry,” the nurse, whose nametag read Marlene, said. “She should have had this half an hour ago, but we’re shorthanded and I got tied up with another patient.”

Lucas was mopping up his face. “It’s okay,” he said. “It’s okay,” he repeated, trying to convince himself that it was.

“She’ll be asleep for the rest of the day if you want to go home. We can call you if there’s any change,” Marlene offered.

Lucas ran his hand over his face. Gods, he was tired! “No. I’ll stay. Her mother is coming in from Toronto. I should be here when she gets here.” Lucas looked at the armchair next to Glory’s bed and saw the possibility of sleep. “Is it okay if I sleep here?” he asked.

Marlene smiled, indulgently. “Sure. Let me get you a blanket.”

Continue reading “Dragons In the Dark – Chapter 18 – Secrets & Lies”

Dragons in the Dark – Chapter 17 – Revelations

Lucas knew how to throw one hell of a party! Margot came in and started cooking before noon; beer and liquor were delivered shortly after that and Lucas and Glory stocked the two fridges and some coolers ready for their guests.

By the time everyone started arriving at 3, Glory was dressed in a pretty, flared blue dress that brought out her eyes perfectly! Lucas stuck to jeans and a dress shirt with the sleeves rolled up.

It felt like everyone arrived all at once. One minute the house was empty; the next it was full of people! Lucas introduced Glory to so many people, they were all a blur! The only ones who stood out were Anna and Chris Pratt, who Glory ended up gravitating to whenever she was at loose ends, which wasn’t often. Lucas was a very attentive host and boyfriend and made sure she was rarely on her own.

When Robert Downie Jr. made an appearance, Glory was beside herself. She had been a big fan of his for many, many years, well before Iron Man hit screens! It took her a few minutes to get her courage up to go and talk to him. When she did, though, she found him to be very personable and sweet. He hadn’t planned on staying for more than a quick beer, so her visit with him was short but memorable.

She found Lucas after he left and shone her best fangirl smile at him.

“You used to reserve that smile for me,” Lucas said, sadly.

“You get much more than a fangirl smile from me now, love,” Glory said, and tiptoed to kiss him sweetly on the lips.

“True,” he said, putting an arm around her. “Are you having fun?”

“This is a blast!” she said, taking a sip of her beer. “Thank you so much. I was worried that I’d be so alone in LA; the only person I’d know would be you. Now I seem to have lots of friends.”

“No problem, babe.” He pointed to where Anna was talking to another woman. “Anna is waving you over,” he said.

So Glory went to see what Anna wanted and the rest of the evening flew by. The few people that were left by midnight were clustered around the fire-pit on the patio overlooking the ocean. It was a little chilly, so sweaters and blankets were in use and the conversation was quiet as they all wound down for the night.

As Chris and Anna were leaving, Chris said, “You guys are cute together. About time you had someone to warm your bed, Wolfe. I was starting to wonder about you…”

“Wonder what? If I might be gay? You were hoping, ya big fifi,” Lucas said, jokingly, pinching his friend’s ass.

“Nah, we thought maybe you’d given up,” Anna put in.

“Never,” Lucas said, pulling his friend into a hug.

By 2 am, it was just Lucas and Glory around the fire. They sat for a little bit, talking over the party; who she had met, who she had missed meeting, who might be around next time.

She sat next to him quietly for a moment. “It is a very exciting life you lead, my boy,” she said, finally.

“Not really. They’re just people; nothing special, once you get past the fangirl stage,” Lucas said. He was tired and more than a little bit drunk.

“Like you? Nothing special?” Glory stopped for a moment to think about that. “I beg to differ.” Glory was a little bit drunk, too.

“Come on, let’s crash. We can take care of this in the morning.” He indicated the beer bottles and glasses strewn around the patio.

Their bed felt mighty fine. Neither of them even bothered to get undressed.

 

But it wasn’t all party time. Glory started back to work on Monday and Lucas had lots to do as well. Over the next few months, they settled into a comfortable routine. Lucas was usually able to stay in town, but when he had to travel, Glory would try to arrange to go with him and work remotely. As long as she had advance notice, she could usually swing it.

The first time Lucas couldn’t take her with him, she stayed alone in the house with Cooper, which worked out better than she had hoped. Cooper was attentive and rarely left her in a room on her own. Lucas was only away for two nights and his return home was very welcome, but Glory knew that she’d feel much more comfortable now if he had to leave her alone.

Then Film Festival Season started, and many nights, after working all day, she’d come home to get dressed up to accompany Lucas to a premiere or a party or an event. There was also a lot of travelling to other city’s festivals…Sundance, TIFF (where she was able to have an extended weekend with her family), Cannes (she’d never been to France before, so this one was a thrill!). No matter where Lucas went publicly now, she was on his arm. No more hiding in the shadows!

She spent some time with Ilaria setting up her wardrobe so that her outfits would complement Lucas’. She had never been into fashion too much, which was fine with Ilaria! That meant she could try different ideas out on her, using up-and-coming designers who hadn’t made a name for themselves yet.

The months passed quickly and soon they were looking at Hallowe’en party invitations! Turns out, actors love to dress up for Hallowe’en, so almost every invitation was for a costume party. Glory was excited! She loved Hallowe’en more than any other holiday!

She and Lucas decided to go as Greasers to the parties. They were simple costumes, but fun to act the parts. Lucas, who still smoked occasionally, even had a cigarette pack to roll up in his t-shirt sleeve!

Their first costume party was hosted by Anna and Chris at a bar. It was a magical night! She and Lucas even lip-synched to ‘Better Shape Up.’ from Grease to much laughter and applause!

At the end of the night, as they were leaving, there was a small crowd of fans outside waiting for them. The location of the party and some of the attendees had leaked onto the internet. As they walked towards their waiting car, there were shouts of “Lucas! Lucas!” prompting him to smile and wave as several flashes went off around them.

Just before they got into the car, though, one call caught Glory’s attention. There was a man at the edge of the crowd and he called her name. She stopped for a moment and looked in his direction before Lucas pushed her into the car. He wasn’t in the mood for fans after partying all night.

Glory was looking out the back window as they pulled away, trying to catch a glimpse of the man who had called her name when Lucas asked, “Who was that guy?” He was also twisted around in his seat to try to pick the man out of the crowd.

Glory tore her eyes away from the back window with difficulty. “I have no idea,” she said, but something about his face tugged at her memory.

“Your hands are freezing, babe,” Lucas said, taking both of her hands into his to warm them up. He glanced out the back window again, but they had turned the corner so there was nothing to see.

Continue reading “Dragons in the Dark – Chapter 17 – Revelations”