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12 July 2014 @ 06:19 pm
Leigh!fic | The Final Act (1/1) | Carter Clearwater-Vaisey/Paige Truscott  
Title: The Final Act (1/1)
Author: Leigh, aka leigh_adams
Characters: Carter Clearwater-Vaisey/Paige Truscott
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1,360
Summary: All the anti-aging creams and eye serums in the world couldn't stop the one, indisputable fact: she, Paige Georgiana Truscott, was old.
Author’s Notes: Written as a gift for mugglechump as part of my Summer 2014 Drabble Meme. She requested Carter Clearwater-Vaisey and Paige Truscott, two characters we write at our next-generation RPG, pink_lambs. Kate, I hope you enjoy this!

She didn't know how it'd happened. One day, she was a fresh faced, rising star actress of twenty-two; full of sultry good looks and a seductive smile. The kind of smile that promised very bad things in the dark, between cool sheets with skin on skin. And in the blink of the eye, she wasn't that girl anymore.

She was still beautiful. She'd worked very hard to maintain her good looks; potions, hair dyes, Muggle makeup, anything to fight the inevitable signs of aging that could proceed the death knell for a woman in her profession. But despite all her efforts, she could not stop time. Already at thirty-four (nearly thirty-four, the voice in her head corrected peevishly), she could see the signs of age showing.

Fine lines at the corners of her eyes. Tiny strands of gray in her raven hair. Her breasts were still perky, thank God, but how long before they started to go south (literally)? All the anti-aging creams and eye serums in the world couldn't stop the one, indisputable fact: she, Paige Georgiana Truscott, was old.

Worse than that? She was alone.

By strictest definition of the word, she wasn't really alone. She had friends and family, she attended fantastic parties and club openings many nights, and rarely a night went by when she was not accompanied by another person. She had a steady lover, but that was what he was. A lover.

Carter Clearwater-Vaisey had been her lover for well over a decade. An off again, off again affair had rekindled some ten years ago, and their occasional tryst had turned into a regular occurrence -- regular enough that she more often than not spent the night at his home.

But that was what it was. Lovers. They weren't dating. No declarations of feelings had been made, or even discussed. They were everything but, and after years of casual sex and dalliances, Paige was tired of it.

Part of it could simply be chalked up to sibling envy. She was the oldest child in her family, the oldest of all the Pritchard grandchildren. Yet her baby sister had married five years ago and subsequently given birth to not one, but two sets of twins. Even her dull, stodgy little brother had found a woman who could tolerate him, and he was also the father of twins. (Merlin, what was it about Weasleys and their tendency towards twins? Six bloody twins). Becca had somehow -- through no fault of her own; sweet girl -- managed to make it even worse and marry one of Paige's former lovers.

So here she was. Thirty-three, almost thirty-four years old. Single. Childless. Alone. And, she was quite certain, in love with a man who might never love her in return.

Paige had always fancied herself a modern woman. She didn't need a man for anything other than sex and his bank account. Someone to flatter her vanity and dote on her. And she'd swore she'd never be one of those nagging ninnies who pressured a man into saying he loved her.

But the nights were the hardest. When she and Carter were in bed, post coitus, their bodies still entangled as they lay on their sides and faced one another. There had been more than one time when she'd had to bite her tongue from saying those three little words that would change everything: I love you. It took one of those nights to make her realize something else: I can't do this anymore.

Pandora's Box was quiet when she entered. At eleven o'clock in the morning, the burlesque was still sleeping off the night before. The girls wouldn't arrive until mid afternoon, nor would the bartenders or bouncers. Her heels echoed in the cavernous space that somehow felt so much more intimate when the sun went down. Despite herself, her lips curled when she was her lover (soon-to-be former lover) seated at the gleaming grand piano on the side of the stage.

"I thought I might find you here," she said conversationally, the first one to acknowledge her presence. He knew she was there -- he wasn't stupid, nor was he deaf. But she liked to watch him when he was at least somewhat unawares.

Carter's lips twitched, and he swung his legs over the piano bench to face her. Even when he was dressed casually, Carter still looked ready for the pages of an haute couture magazine. He wore his clothes. It was never the other way around. "Cass tell you where I was?"

Paige's brow arched. "I think by now, I know you nearly as well as your twin." She'd never overly warmed to Carter's twin sister. They were extremely close, close enough that some whispered they were too close. It was rubbish to anyone who knew Carter or Cassandra, but that was another reason Paige was here: she would never be the most important woman in Carter's life.

"Touche." He ran his hands over his trousers. "What can I do for you, Paige?"

She felt the urge to fidget, but she pushed it down in favor of a strong facade. She was an actress, and this was the final act in their play. carter and Paige. At least it'd have a happier ending than Romeo and Juliet. That was something. "You can say goodbye."

It was Carter's turn to raise a brow. "Pardon me?"

Here it was, her final number. She ignored the pang in her heart; the pain, she would deal with later. She had made up her mind, and she was going to do this. "I think our liasion has run its course, Carter. We've had a good run of it, and it would be a lie for me to say I'm not fond of you. Because I am -- I'm very fond of you." I love you. "But you and I are not the same people we were ten years ago. We've both changed, and in some ways, we changed together."

She glanced down at the toes of her Louboutins, then back up at her lover. Carter's face was unreadable; he was just as good as she was at making his face a mask. "I'm... I'm getting older, Carter." The words were like sand grit in her mouth as she forced them out. They were ugly words, but she wasn't a liar. They were the truth. "There are things I want. A man who loves me. A husband. And you might find the idea laughable, but I want children."

The truth was, even as short as three years ago, she would have laughed at the idea of being a mother. But she loved her nieces and nephews, even as they ran her ragged and mussed her clothes. Their presence made her feel the lack of her own children most keenly, and she wanted that maternal contentment her sister had found with Tristian Weasley.

Paige did laugh then, but it was a hollow laugh. "You know what, I'm not fond of you. I love you, Carter." The words were out there in the open. She felt like she was in the middle of the stage, stark naked -- and it wasn't a love scene. "I love you, Carter, but that isn't enough for me anymore. Maybe someday you'll love me, but I don't think I can wait that long."

Here, she had two choices. She could stand there and wait for him to jump off the stage and sweep her into his arms. To assure her that she was wrong, that he did love her, that she -- Paige Truscott -- was the only woman in the world for him. If she were a writer, it'd be the ending she'd write for their story.

Or she could fall her own sword and take the quiet route. That was the ending she chose.

Her lips twitched in a hint of a smile; a wistful smile, one that remembered all the good times they'd had, one that wished they would have more. "Goodbye, Carter." Before he could say anything, she turned and walked out of the club.

She never looked back. Heroines never looked back.
Kate: Prince Johnmugglechump on July 12th, 2014 11:43 pm (UTC)
You are evil. Not even giving me a hint of Carter's reaction. Not even a HINT! UGH.

Aside from my long suffering frustration with Carter's hidden feelings, or lack of feelings, or whatever he keeps inside, damn him, this was beautifully written, and very Paige. She would choose the more dramatic of the two endings, rather than wait and hope like a silly schoolgirl (though she'd secretly hope he'd jump down and stop her and ruin her dramatic moment).

Also, it hadn't struck me just how surrounded by twins Paige is. Her siblings' kids are mostly twins, her lover is a twin. Twins everywhere.

Thank you, dear! This was perfect, in that angsty, dramatic, frustrating way of the Carter and Paige show.
Leigh: HP!RPG: Carter Clearwater-Vaisey dual paleigh_adams on February 10th, 2015 02:05 am (UTC)
I'm sorry! I know I never seem to give Carter's POV, but it's tough to capture in words! He keeps things so freaking close to his chest.

I honestly can't say what Carter would do. If they were going on so long and still "together," I do think he would follow her. I don't know if he'd jump off the stage and pull her into his arms, but I think he would do something. Not as much fun to be told that as to read it, but there you go. :*

I'm glad you liked it! Carter and Paige are fun. :D
Elle Blessingwayelle_blessing on July 15th, 2014 06:55 am (UTC)
This was SO well written. I love, love, LOVED everything about it. Using the acting career as the thematic element to carry the fic was very well thought and clever. And the voice... You captured her haughtiness and vulnerability and longing perfectly.

I don't even know, man. This was just excellent. Right up there as one of my favorite Leigh!fics.

(It drove me crazy in a really good way that we didn't really get much about what Carter was thinking, even from Paige's observations. Ever the enigma ;D)

Seriously though. I love this. (And I love you!) Great job, friend person.
Leigh: i <3 youleigh_adams on February 10th, 2015 02:07 am (UTC)
Thank you, darling! I'm glad the thematic bit carried through -- I remember (when I wrote this, 5 years ago >.>) that that was something I hoped was evident in reading. Carter is very closed off, so there's always a degree of difficulty when writing him in emotional situations.

(He likes being an enigma. Typical Vaisey).

I'm glad you liked it! Thanks for reading, friend person. :D