***author’s note: I accidentally listed the chapter title in my last post as ‘Guilty Conscious’ instead of ‘Guilty Conscience’ because English is dumb sometimes, and I tend to make these kind of silly mistakes, so this is just a little notice to let you know that I’ve amended that once I went back and re-read everything, lol. Also, incase it gets confusing, Kim’s last name is Scott so the Scott House we shall begin the chapter at is her home 🙂 Also, there is some mild language. Without further ado~ the super belated chapter! Thanks for waiting 😀 ***
7:41 p.m. | Scott House
Kim takes a seat on another piece of machinery in their indoor gym that she’s only ever used once before. After an hour on the elliptical and treadmill, she’d yet to tire as much as she was hoping she would in order to get a good night’s sleep, and was hoping this one would do the trick.
The mood boost she experienced during her day with Aislyn had worn off the second she returned home; of course, she had no intention of mentioning that to anyone, so in the meantime she was hoping making herself numb physically would, by extension, do the same for her emotionally.
“Hey.” A voice says. Kim raises her gaze and is surprised to see Gus walking in. “Your mom let me in on her way out to get groceries; you didn’t answer my texts.” He adds as he walks over to Kim, taking in her expression of surprise.
“You said: ‘hey’ ‘you busy?’ and then ‘need anything?’ I assumed my not answering would imply that I was busy and fine.” Kim says, recollecting herself after her initial shock.
She slides down the machine and begins using the leg curl, determined to stay focused. Any other time Gus would have been showing her this kind of attention would have sent her over the moon and make her heart leap with joy, but now, it was the last thing she wanted. Not when she was feeling so unlike herself. “That’s all I get?” Gus asks after she remains silent for a few moments. “Mmhmm, thanks for stopping by.” She says dismissively.
Gus crosses his arms but says nothing more. Kim can feel his gaze boring into her, but keeps her attention on her calves. After a few minutes of nearly unbearable silence, she decides to leave since it appeared that Gus had no intention to. “Well, I’m sure you know your way out. Bye.” She says as she turns for the door.
She’s nearly at the handle when she feels Gus’s hand enclose around her arm and pull back slightly. “Kimberly.” He says with a softness that nearly breaks her resolve to send him away and not see her like this. “Are you really not going to tell me what’s up with you? I thought these past few weeks we were–” “We were what, Gus?” Kim asks, cutting him off and keeping her back towards him; doing her best to sound unbothered, bored. “Can you look at me please?” Gus asks.
“I need to shower.”
“I’m not going to talk to your back.”
“Then don’t.” Kim says as she begins to reach for the door once more. Gus pulls her away from the handle and spins her around so she’s forced to look him in the eyes. “We’re going to talk whether you like it or not.” Gus says.
“What is there to talk about exactly?”
“I don’t know, you tell me.”
“How many times are you going to make me repeat myself?” Kim asks, giving Gus a small shove to make him release his grip on her. Gus doesn’t reply and instead stares at Kim with an intensity that makes her flush, “You’re so annoying.” She says, reaching out with both of her palms once more to push Gus again, only this time he reaches out with his own hands to catch hers and pulls her closer.
Their faces are inches apart from one another now, and Kim looks into Gus’s eyes and sees that he’s studying her face as if he’ll find the answers he’s searching for there. He presses his fingers in between hers and strokes her thumbs with his.
Despite her best efforts to push him away and maintain her façade, Kim’s heart begins to race and she feels her body warming up. The tenderness of his touch on her hands made her want to curse herself for not being able to enjoy the moment as she was too distraught and eager to make him leave.
“I said I’m fine, Gus. I get that you recently got dumped and all, or maybe you’re having issues with your mama, but I don’t have time to listen to your emotional problems right now.” She says, finding the strength to pull away, knowing she’s gone for a low blow. “Come back during normal visiting hours.”
Gus doesn’t say anything and doesn’t reach out to stop her this time as she walks away. Kim knew she was being a bitch, and hated herself for it; breaking her silence now after she’d tried so hard to numb herself to all the distress she was feeling would only break her; she wasn’t the type of girl to break, and wasn’t about to start now.
8:45 p.m. | Crimson Restaurant & Bar
Still reeling from her encounter with the man she was certain was one of her assailants mere moments prior, Aislyn notices the chill she felt and thought had nothing to with ghosts still remains, indicating there are ghosts present after all. She decides to investigate and excuses herself from the table. “I think I need to use the restroom really quick.” “Okay kiddo.” Her dad says, returning to the conversation he was having with Nicole.
Aislyn feels the chill begin to weaken and hastens her pace to not lose whomever is lurking nearby. Aislyn glances around like a paranoid person to make sure her potential kidnapper isn’t around even though she was sure he wasn’t foolish enough to blow his own cover and attempt something in the crowded restaurant, not when there wasn’t a single thing to tie him to the incident other than her conviction it was him.
Her sudden exit out of the back door causes two women who were walking away to turn back, and when their eyes meet, Aislyn realizes they are the ones she sensed. Their dark eyes widen in surprise when they realize she is looking right at them.
“Hi.” Aislyn says as she walks towards them. “You can see us?” The blonde asks. Aislyn nods, “May I ask who you guys are?” The redhead, still wide-eyed, speaks, “I’m Penny and this is Tori; we were university students here in Oldmerrow until…” “Something happened?” Aislyn guesses when she trails off and her friend doesn’t pitch in to help her finish her thought. They both nod. “Did the man inside have anything to do with it?”
“Sure did.” Tori says. “Only he isn’t inside anymore, he’s just left.” She adds. Aislyn isn’t surprised to hear that is the case. “He and his brother did some unspeakable things to not only us, but others…” Penny chimes in. “It’s been months, and no one has a clue as to what’s happened to us. Some of our families still think we could be out there.”
“Are there more girls out there, like you, that have… suffered because of these men?” Aislyn asks, trying hard to refrain from saying the word ‘die’ and even harder to ignore that part of the reason this happened was because of her. She’d managed to keep her conscience at bay brainstorming how to catch the assailants; she didn’t even get a chance to think of those who’d perished at their hands, and had a feeling that when she did get around to thinking about it, the guilt would eat away at her.
The girls nod in unison once more. “Look, I’m Aislyn, and my friend and I almost… shared the same fate you girls did. Those guys are still out there and I don’t have a scrap of evidence on them. I want to help you guys get the justice you deserve, but I wont be able to do that without your help.” “Us? I doubt we can be useful much now.” Tori says with a sad smile. “That’s not true. Would you be willing to round up any of the others with similar circumstances and meet me at the Merrow Rose Hotel, suite 210? I have an idea.” “Seeing those assholes behind bars is all we want. We’ll be there.” Penny says.
8:58 p.m. | Scott House
Kim takes her time in the hot shower thinking about Gus. She wanted to beat herself over the head for straining their friendship over her own insecurities. With a sigh as she notices her skin pruning, she hops out to get ready for what will probably be another agonizing sleepless night.
For the second time that evening, Kim is shocked to see Gus. She figured he’d have left for sure. “What are you still doing here?” She asks, unable to hide her surprise.
“You’re in offense mode.” Gus says.
“Any time you’re upset about something you come off rather aggressively, so I’m not going to take whatever you said or plan on saying as you continue to try and shoo me away to heart.”
“I said, no matter what you say or do I’m not leaving until I hear what’s bothering you.”
“You are such a hypocrite.” Kim says accusingly. “How so?” Gus asks. “Any time you’ve had issues with your family that you never let me or Cailean or Mai or anyone else in on, I’ve asked you time and time again to open up to me, and you continued to insist you were fine and I let you be. It was only recently that you’ve bothered to use the shoulder I’ve been trying to offer you since we were kids, Gus. How come I can’t do the same, then?”
“The things that went down with my family were silly trivial things, but they took a toll on me and I was an idiot for not taking you up on your offer every time you’ve extended a hand. I’m not going to let you do the same, especially when I’m sure whatever is bothering you is more severe.”
When Kim doesn’t respond, Gus continues, “You’re always unbothered and confident, cool and collected, determined and independent. I of all people have just understood how much better relying on others can make you feel, let me do that for you for a change. Kim, please–”
“What do you want me to say, Gus?” Kim asks, interrupting him, her resolve already crumbling as she’s touched by Gus’s words. “That I’m just putting up a front? That I’m not okay after that whole thing with Aislyn? That I feel weird sleeping on an overly soft bed when we spent hours on a damp hardwood floor? That every time I close my eyes I feel like I’m suffocating, so I don’t, and that’s part of the reason why I can’t fall asleep at night?” The more Kim goes on, the more she begins to feel herself breakdown. “That despite managing to remain calm the entire time Aislyn was trying to save our lives… while I wasn’t nearly as helpful… I suddenly feel paranoid and jump… seeing my own reflection… in the window?” Kim’s voice was now getting caught in her throat as shaky breaths interrupt her spew of bottled feelings.
Unable to conjure up anymore sounds as her breaths turn into sobs, Kim drops her head into her hands. Gus rises from the couch immediately and begins walking over to her. “Stay back.” Kim says as he draws near. “If you look at me while I cry… I’m going to kill you… and if you tell anyone about this I will also kill you.” Kim says, pausing between words with sniffs. “I don’t doubt that.” Gus says, attempting to give a smile, but unable to hide the anguish on his face at seeing Kim in pain.
Kim wasn’t much of a crier, and seeing her like this made Gus at a loss for what to do. He wanted to make her feel better but didn’t know how. Saying ‘it’ll be alright’ felt like a gross underestimation of the trauma she was experiencing from her ordeal and remaining silent didn’t seem to be a better option either. As Kim continues to cry, Gus takes a few strides towards her, despite her initial protests at his closeness, and wraps his arms around her. He tilts her head down so it rests on his chest and rubs small circles on her back. “Do you want to talk about it some more?” He asks. Kim shakes her head, continuing to sob. “Do you still want me to go?” Kim shakes her head again, and Gus gives a small smile.
After a few minutes of standing in silence with the exception of Kim’s quiet cries, Gus pulls back and takes in Kimberly’s expression; it appeared she wasn’t close to letting out what was weighing her down.
He leads her over to her bed by the hand and takes a seat. Gus then pats his shoulder and opens his arms as Kim remains standing in hesitation. Her tears had slowed and she raises an eyebrow. When he mirrors her gesture, she cracks a small smile and joins him.
Gus continues to run his hand along her back in a repetitive motion, hoping that it’ll calm and not irk her as that was all he felt he could do in the moment to make her feel better. After some time passes, he feels Kim’s breathing begin to slow, and tears cease altogether. From the way her tense body goes limp on him, he can tell that she’s fallen asleep.
Kim had never been one to need protecting; when they were younger she had no issues fending herself off from the many guys who’d come onto her in high school. Seeing this side of her made Gus feel protective and angry that he couldn’t hurt the ones who put her in this state. Kim had mentioned herself that she’d been suffering sleepless nights, and so Gus does his best to not wake her as he rises to leave, having heard Kim’s mother return downstairs.
As he gently lowers her head, he takes a moment to notice just how many freckles are spotted on her face and the beauty mark on her left cheek. He also notices that she looked different, was she paler? Or had she gotten smaller in the past few days? As his eyes rest on her face Gus reaches out to lightly rub her shoulder, knowing that in her sleep she’d be unable to feel the gesture, but does so anyway.
His hands on her bare skin makes his body react in a way he hadn’t expected. Kim was beautiful, and she’s always been beautiful; Gus wasn’t an idiot and was aware of that, so why was he feeling something now? They’d touched, and hugged, and sat beside one another before. What had changed? He decides to shove those thoughts from his mind, given that the timing was inappropriate to say the least. A heat of embarrassment spreads across his face and he’s glad Kimberly is not awake to notice it. Gus slowly draws his hand back, and makes his way towards the door after draping a blanket over Kim.
Thanks for reading! ‘Where is the police photo?’ ‘Why does this say part one?’ ‘How come not much occurred?’ You may wonder… All excellent questions~ I mentioned in the comments last chapter that this one wouldn’t be as bad as the last length-wise, but that ended up being a lie because I had some issues with pacing and the fact that this kidnapping storyline has gone on longer than I originally intended, so I ended up bumping some of chapter 28 back onto here to make me feel better about the content of next chapter, but then the wordiness was just a bit too much. So I decided to split the chapter into two parts. The other part will be up on Sunday~ woo-hoo.
I didn’t want to make a two-parter this early in the second part of Sight, but you got to do what you’ve got to do sometimes, and like I said, I really want this storyline to be over and done with so that we can get on with Aislyn’s journey. Whom I realize was hardly here, lol. Also, part of the excessive Gus x Kim-ness is because once Aislyn heads to Bayville, you wont get to see much of their developing (potential) relationship and now felt as ideal a time as any to show that forming :3
In other news, next chapter (28) shall be the Christmas party I teased way back when in my birthday bonus. Those photos have really been chilling around for ages; much longer than the content of this chapter, which I took a few weeks ago, and a part of me wants to re-take some of the party shots, but I don’t want to kill that extra time I could use to instead be working ahead, so I’ll just deal with my slight discontent and post the photos from about three months ago as they are when the time comes, which for now is 6/30.
Speaking of working ahead, I’m like two chapters off of my ‘outline’ which I want to stick to so Sight is 50 chapters, and I’m realizing I tend to show every little moment, like going to and from certain places, having conversations, etc… which is great for letting you guys get a feel for the characters the way I know them, but it’s also kind of unnecessary considering it’s been thirty chapters with mostly the same people. And I don’t want to split every overly long chapter into two parts… So what I’m trying to say in a nutshell, is that after chapter 30, which I’m working on now, there’ll be a time skip and/or skips depending on how things go. Whoops this ending note got pretty long even though I’ve tried to keep the chapter short, and yet both of them ended up lengthy lmao~ Well, that is all from me. Feel free to let me know what you thought.