Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Chapter 83: A Matter of Pride

"Hey, what's up?" Coby asks, coming home to find Stina out on the balcony, watching the sun set.

"I got an internship," she says, not looking at him, "In Paris."

"What, Paris, France?" he asks.

"Well, not Paris, Texas," she laughs, her smile weak and wavering as she meets his eyes. "Coby, this is important, for my future, my career." She swallows those words hard, future and carer being two subjects she'd always swore she would never give a thought to. But she's finally figured out what she wants to do with her life, to be a fashion designer, and this internship is the first step to getting there.

"That's pretty far away," Coby says, wrapping himself around her as though he can hold her in place, "How long will you be gone?"

"The internship is for a year," she says, "After that...I might stay, or go to New York..."

"All right, I gotcha," Coby sighs, "You're saying goodbye."

"I don't want to," she says, her lips trembling, "You could come with me."

"You know that won't work," he says, "I have to be where the surf is. How long do we have?"

"I leave next month."

"All right, we have one month for us. Then, it's goodbye."

"Daddy!" Portia spins around when she hears her father enter the kitchen, "Where were you last night? I was so worried about you."

She puts down her cup to lean in and kiss Bill on the cheek, "You didn't answer my calls, all night. Where were you? And where's Rainier?" He put her to bed last night and promised to wait for Bill. While she slept, her father had come in, and Rainier apparently left, but it just isn't like him to leave her hanging like hat, without even a note.

"Rainier left," Bill says gruffly, wishing he could avoid this whole conversation.

"He just left? Did he say anything? And you still haven't told me where you were or why you didn't pick up your phone."

"I was with a friend," Bill answers, dodging the question about Rainier. Kicking him out was not, in retrospect, the best idea. "I fell asleep. I'm sorry, I really didn't mean to worry you."

"You were with a friend? What friend? And how did you just fall asleep? Where were you?"

"Portia..." Bill says, in that tone he uses when he's reprimanding her.

"Don't 'Portia' me!" she snaps. "I'm not a child, you can't just make up some lame story and expect me to swallow it. You were with a woman weren't you. I mean, Mom was running around on you, so it' no wonder you had your thing on the side!"

"Let me explain," Bill says, realizing as the words come out that there is no explanation, what Portia said was right on the money. She looks at him expectantly, waiting for the promised explanatiion, and he chokes.

She raises her hands and lets out an exasperated sigh, "I can't be here right now," she says, "In the houseof lies."

Rainier is just finished shaving when he hears a frantic knocking at his door. Portia must have had a talk with her father this morning, he thinks, as he rushes downstairs to answer the door.

"I'm sorry," Portia sobs, "I didn't know where else to go."

"Come inside," he says, pulling into the apartment, "Tell me what happened."

What happened is pretty much as he expected; Portia confronted her father and realized he'd been with a woman all night, and this new revelation about her father's secret life coming so suddenly after learning about her mother's is tearing her up inside.

"It's all right," he soothes her, holding her close to his chest, "I'll take the day off to stay with you."

Portia raises her head to look him in the eyes, "You've been taking too much time off work to be with me, since..." she drops the sentence before she has to speak the words, admitting out loud that her mother had died, "I can't ask you to take anymore."

"Shush," he says, touching her lips with his finger, "You're more important than my work. I always have time for you."

She smiles and her tears evaporate, "You're too good to me," she says, "Now it's my turn; I'm sending you to work. You know you can't take this much time off and not have it impact your company. I'll be fine, I promise."

"You're sure?" Rainier asks.

She nods, "If it's okay with you, I"ll hang out here until you get home. I'm not in the mood for classes, so I'll just stay here and work on my paper."

Rainier leans in to kiss her gently, just enough to taste her lips before he dresses for work, "I have a couple of friends coming over tonight. I can cancel, if you aren't up to company."

"Oh, don't cancel!" she enthuses, an excited gleam in her eye, "I want to entertain your friends."

Evening comes, and Coby and Stina arrive as expected.

It's not the kind of company Portia was raised to entertain, but she still shines as a hostess, riding on the high of being the lady of the house rather than the daughter.

"So, she's just going, just like that," Coby says when he gets a moment alone with Rainier. "I'm still in shock, it just doesn't seem real."

"I was surprised to see you handling it so well," Rainier says, "You were a mess before, when she..." Rainier just drops that one right there, not wanting to reopen old animosities. "I guess I should be surprised that you even talk to me," he laughs.

"No shit," Coby laughs, "But, you know, you're a better than you make yourself out to be."

"He's totally different with you," Stina remarks, "When he was with me...well, I just felt like a distraction to him, you know? But watching the two of you...I didn't think it was possible for Rainier to fall that hard for anyone. It's nice to see him so happy."

After a few more drinks and small talk, Coby and Stina make their goodbyes.

"You didn't tell me you were with Stina," Portia chides him gently once the guests are gone and they are alone in his room.

"I didn't think it was important," Rainier says, "It's long over. Did she say something to you?" Stina did have a habit of making inappropriate observations, and he's now a little concerned about what she might have said to Portia.

"Just that she was happy to see you really in love for a change," Portia answers.

"She could be a little dense sometimes, but she has this way of seeing right into the heart of things," Rainier says, turning Portia around to rest in his arms.

"It's only three days away," Portia says as they lay back on the bed, "We don't have to wait..."

"We do, chère," he whispers, "Not just for legal reasons. At this point, it's a matter of pride. I haven't been celibate for this long since I was your age. The fact that I've made it this far...well, I have the day marked on my calendar when it ends, and to break down before that day would feel like a failure."

Portia laughs, "Are you expecting to get an achievement for waiting?" she asks.

"I expect to be sainted, I think," he answers.

The pounding on his door comes early in the morning, much as he expected. Portia had turned off her phone early in the evening, knowing her father would try to call her. Rainier had try to convince it would be better to just answer it, but she was determined to give her father a taste of the worry she had felt waiting for him.

"Portia's car is parked in your driveway," Bill says, like he's accusing Rainier of something.

"That's because she spent the night here," Rainier answers flatly.

"I could have you arrested!" 

Rainier sighs. This is getting old. "You could, but the simplest medical exam would prove that nothing illegal happened here. I'm not some testosterone fueled frat boy who can't control himself. And you know, Bill, that that is exactly who your daughter would be with right now if it weren't for me. Knowing that, and knowing that Portia will never forgive you if you try to have me hauled off, do you really want to get the police involved?"

Bill continue to frown, but he doesn't have any real response, knowing how very right Rainier is. If he had caved, begged Bill for mercy, he would have lost respect for him, but, as much as he hates being confronted, Bill has to admit to himself that Rainier is the only guy Portia has ever dated that he felt was  even remotely worthy of her.

"You screwed up, BIll," Rainier continues when Bill gives no answer, "You can either be a man and own your mistake, or you can stick to it and let it take you down."

Waking to an empty bed, Portia comes down stairs to find her father at the door.

She makes a show of kissing Rainier affectionately on the cheek. "Good morning, sweetheart," she whispers.

Then she turns to her father, daring him to criticize her.

"Portia, I came apologize to you. And to Rainier," Bill says, taking Rainier's advice.


Thanks to Zhippidy for Portia and Bill's cheek kiss pose. =D


  1. Glad Bill is wising up. That is the only way for him to get anywhere with Portia now. I like that Rainer is holding strong. Three more days, it will be a birthday to remember.

    Aww poor Colby. I'm glad he handled it well and didn't try to make her feel bad for following her dreams. Poor guy can't catch a break with love it seems. :(

    1. Thanks, jaz! Rainier did a good job of pointing out to Bill that he was just going to lose his daughter if he didn't shape up.
      I'm so looking forward to the birthday, that should be coming up soon.
      Coby does have some bad luck in love department. But as much as loves her, he knows he wouldn't give up surfing for her, so he can't really expect her to give up her dreams for him.

  2. Nooooo. Stina and Colby were supposed to be together forever! They were happy and... And... Well way to go and break my heart! D :

    I truly enjoyed seeing Bill man up and apologize. Rainier, you are amazing.

    1. Coby and Stina are always OTP, lol.

      Rainier has rally grown into one of my favorite characters.

  3. HA! LOVED IT! Man! Rainier always knows the right things to say. I am so very jealous of Portia...plotting to have her fall off a cliff somewhere so I can steal Rainier once and for all. I keed! I keed! (Or do I?) But Rainier telling Bill exactly how it is was great and I'm very pleased to see him listen to the advice. Portia is really hurting right now and whether or not Bill can admit this to himself or not she lost MUCH more than he did. Mercedes and he had their things and had an escape of emotions and Portia just learned that and has to deal with not only the ugly truth but the death of her mother as well! The last thing she needs now is to be coddled like a kid and then made to worry over her father. Hopefully he can start to really help her heal! Rainier's patience is commendable and I applaud him for that!

    Coby and Stina...been a while since I've seen her and I'm amazed at the change in her attitude! She seems to know exactly what she wants now and is about to make a move to get it! Very happy for her. I hope Coby doesn't breakdown over this and can handle the time apart...though we know how Stina usually goes about it. Maybe she'll be faithful! Maybe this change in behavior is the start of a new Stina. Though it did sound like finality for the time being as far as their relationship is concerned. Either way I hope they can both walk away without too much pain.

    1. Thanks, DJ! Rainier is smooth and very very good at owning a conversation. And he did know exactly what to say to make Bill wise up and go in the right direction.
      Stina has grownup a bit while she's been off screen, and now she has new goals in life that will take her away from Coby.But, you know, if you love someone set them free, blah blah...

  4. Coby! Stina! O.O Difficult situation.

    Man, is it wrong of me to be jealous of Portia's hostess abilities? I can only interact with one person at a time. In a group of three or more, I find it hard to speak unless spoken to.

    1. I'd be pretty jealous of Portia's hosting abilities, too.

  5. Love the beer CC (unless somehow I missed the bottles looking like beer XD)
    I just adore your writing, all of your legacies are awesome :)

    1. Thanks, ebec!
      The beer bottle is from this collection of bottles:

  6. Damn, Stina's going away, I can't imagine Coby without her, oh her without him. But they both seem like strong people who know what they want. I'm happy neither of them wants to give up their dreams for the other. Sometimes you have to put your happiness before others'.

    Ten points to Rainier, he always knows what to do and what to say to both Portia and her father. I'm so excited for his big day with Portia. Fireworks, I tell you. Fireworks!

    Great chapter, Yang! Loved it!

    1. Thanks, Val!
      It is hard too imagine Stina and Coby on their own, away from each other. But maybe they'll get together again some time in the future.

      I am so looking forward to the big birthday chapter. It should be very explosive, lol. In a good way.

  7. As much as I don't really like Stina, I don't want her to leave Coby. They are good for each other. But I suppose not everything is meant to be forever. Perhaps she will grow and Coby will as well while she is away, and then, who knows?

    Portia is really the wronged one between what her parents did and what they didn't tell her. it is a good thing though they kept secrets, or she may not have grown to be such a strong and grounded person. I love her realism. And I love her Rainier. ^_^

    1. I agree, Coby and Stina really are good for each other, but they both have their different dreams to pursue which will separate them for a time at least.
      Portia did manage to grow up well while her parents carried on their secret lives.
      I think Rainier is the best thing to come out of this story, for me.

  8. Oh no, no more Stina and Colby=/. I understand her wanting to follow her heart but isnt her heart Colby? I'm a little confused at the moment, and a little sad.
    You would think that Rainier was the older other than Bill. He is handling things the way they should be handled. Bill on the other hand, I'm not sure what he's trying to prove sometimes. I realize Portia is his daughter and he worries for her but I don't really think Rainier is someone he needs to worry about. He is futzin up his relationship with his daughter in the worst way and if he don't get his ps and qs straight he may lose her all together....edenz~

    1. Thanks, edenz, I'm sad about Coby and Stina too.
      Rainier has definitely been the most mature one in this story arc, he's had to take care of both Portia and her father. And you are right, even though Bill should be concerned about his daughter, Rainier has proven he's not something Bill should be worried about, he should be happy Portia has him.

  9. I'm sad about Stina leaving for France, but I think it's best for her. She and Colby have something good but there's so much baggage from the past from both of them I think they both just need a clean break like this.

    Also, I totally agree with Unknown's comment: Rainier has matured ALOT while he was with Portia, which is really good for him. Bill could learn a lot from Rainier.

    1. Yeah, it made me sad to, but I really felt Coby and Stina should have some time to finih growingup. Together, they would just stay immature kids forever.

      Bill really could learn from Rainier, couldn't he?

  10. Greetings from northern Italy! I just got online again and noticed your comment in my blog. *Hugs*

    I loved this chapter, but I feel a bit bad for Coby. They finally got each other and now its bye-bye again?

    1. *Hugs!* I hope you are having a great time on your travels, misu! It's always so nice to hear from you.

      Yeah, poor Coby. But I think in the end it will be good for him.