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Old 12-18-2013, 07:38 PM   #1
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The Long Road Home (closed)

Sarah had never known a world where she didn't rule. At home in Ireland, she planned the days of her niece Annie down to the very last details. The little girl had a world of structure and love, given to her carefully by her aunt. In Wick she was the lady of the manor, the supreme ruler of the forces that had turned so cowardly in the end. Now...she was nothing.

A cold shower began as she rode through the highlands, heading in a direction that was unfamiliar. Pulling her cloak over her long hair, she let out a sigh, glancing down at the reigns in her hands. Her steed was weary and she knew that she needed to stop soon to allow it to rest. Stopping would mean one thing though...she would have to talk to the man that was following a few paces behind.

She wasn't ready to talk to him. She had nothing to really say to the man that she'd once thought about loving. He had his own little life back in Ireland. He could live very happily with any woman that he chose, but he dutifully followed her when she'd told him to stop. She wanted to see France, to bask in the warmth of the southern vineyards and not have a care in the world. It would be a sight to see after the dreary cold of Scotland.

"I told you to stop following me." She said over her shoulder, glancing for a moment at the man that was only a step behind. "Go home before it gets too late."
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Old 12-18-2013, 11:12 PM   #2
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Ian sighed inaudibly to himself and spoke up to answer her, "I'm sorry, Miss Sarah, but there ain' no way I'm leavin' you on your own when y'don't know what you're doin'. Wouldn' be proper." He knew full well that Sarah had never fended for herself.
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Old 12-18-2013, 11:19 PM   #3
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Sarah jerked the reigns until her horse stopped. The moment the steed complied, she jerked it around until she was facing Ian, a look of pure rage upon her beautiful features. She wanted to yell at him, to scream until he finally listened and walked away, but she could only manage the quiet tone that soon came out.

"I want you to leave. Go away, Ian. Go back home. I want to be alone." She insisted, glaring at him with all of the emotion that she had inside of her.
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Old 12-19-2013, 09:18 AM   #4
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Ian came forward to take hold of her horse's bridle to steady it, and he met her eyes. Quite simply, he answered, "No." He kept hold of the horse's bridle and led it onward toward a nearby forest. "We need to get into shelter before you or the horses get sick."
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Old 12-20-2013, 12:03 AM   #5
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Sarah sulked on her horse as Ian took the steed's reigns and pulled her along behind him towards the thick stand of trees. She made plans to sneak away in the night, leaving Ian behind so that she could finally start her new life. She didn't need him following, leaving a long shadow of regret on her doorstep.
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Old 12-20-2013, 01:36 PM   #6
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When they reached the forest, Ian set up a small campfire for them and a tent for Sarah, working silently and leaving her be. He only wanted to help, he didn't intend to stay once she was set up in a proper home. He pulled together a meal for them and fed the horses and soon they were sitting on opposite sides of the fire, eating in silence.
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Old 12-21-2013, 10:28 PM   #7
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Sarah was eating the food that Ian had offered her, staring across the fire to the man that stuck to her like a barnacle. She just wanted him to go away. She reminded him of that often, but it seemed that he was bound to her by some strange sense of duty.

"You know I'll just run away in the night, right?" She asked him, her tone almost pleading with him to just leave her be.
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Old 12-21-2013, 11:14 PM   #8
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"I do... but I wish ya wouldn't. I only want t'help you get settled. Then I'll leave ya 'lone if y'like." Ian sighed as he stared into the flames. It seemed he'd long ago given up any notion of love, especially having her as his love. He was broken in a similar way to her, perhaps not on the same level, but she could see in his shadowed, sunken eyes and grim expression that'd he hadn't really been living for the past years, only surviving.
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Old 12-21-2013, 11:22 PM   #9
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Sarah watched him for a long moment, seeing that same hurt and ache burning in his eyes. She would have never thought that after all that time, he would still be haunted by the love that might have been. She had been so mean to him, pushing him away to get the ache from her own heart. How had this man held on to that in all those years?

"How did he talk you into this?" She asked him softly, allowing a simple moment of conversation to pass between them.
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Old 12-22-2013, 12:08 AM   #10
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"Brogan...? Oh, 'e didn't..." Ian shook his head. "No, no one asked me. I sent word askin' yer Da to keep Brogan'r Julia from sendin' you away before I got there. I wanted a chance t'help you start new. More fer my own peace o' mind I admit..."
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Old 12-23-2013, 12:42 AM   #11
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"Your own piece of mind? Why should you even still care, Ian?" Sarah asked him, her eyes narrowing suspiciously at him as he talked about why he was following her. "What we had ended a long time ago."
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Old 12-23-2013, 12:50 AM   #12
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"Just 'cause we don't 'ave anything left doesn't mean I don' care," he grunted. "I never stopped carin', because I only ever wanted th'best for you from the beginnin'... even if I couldn't 'ave you." He shook his head and rose to tend the horses. His heart was a long-dormant, mangled mess. That much was clear.
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Old 12-23-2013, 12:55 AM   #13
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Sarah was disturbed by what she saw in Ian. He was just like her, a shell that had been sucked free of all it's life a long time ago. Had she done that to him, she wondered. She remembered breaking his heart all those years ago, throwing it back in his face that he would never be good enough for her. It had been the truth, she thought. All she'd ever wanted was Brogan and even that was now well out of the picture. She had no family. No money. No claims to anything in the world. It was a lonely existence, but one that she brought upon herself.

"You know...I, um...I'm sorry...for the way that we left things." She said softly, unsure as to why she was actually apologizing to him for breaking his heart.
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Old 12-23-2013, 01:21 AM   #14
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Ian glanced at her over his shoulder, honestly surprised to hear her apology. But he quickly reminded himself that it wouldn't change a thing between them in the end, and he looked back to the horses. "Don't apologize for things y'believe in... Y'said I wasn't good enough fer you... And it was true. I didn't think a man in th'world was good enough fer the lass I thought was Queen o' Ireland by 'er beauty alone. Nothin' was too good fer ya, y'deserved all the love in th'world. I let go, b'cause I was sure I couldn't match up t'that standard."
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Old 12-27-2013, 07:10 PM   #15
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"No, it's not that you weren't good enough..." Sarah tried to explain, cut off as he continued on with the thought that she was the Queen of Ireland for her beauty alone. "No one was good enough. I wanted the man that stole my heart...and broke it into a million pieces."

She let out a long sigh as all that sorrow came rushing back to her again. "I had no heart to give you, Ian. I wouldn't have made you happy."
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Old 12-27-2013, 09:52 PM   #16
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"You didn't have to give me your heart, Sarah..." He spoke in a small voice. "All I wanted was your company, maybe the odd smile or two. My greatest wish was just for one kiss back then. I was hurt when you became distant, but... I tried so hard not to dwell on it because I knew I was thinking too small anyway, and I was just a lowly farmer and stableman. You were a Lady of House Monaghan, cousin of the Royal Family of Ireland. I never had a chance anyway, even if you had taken a liking to me."
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:08 PM   #17
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Sarah was quiet for a long moment with Ian's confession and she sucked in a deep breath as she let him know one of her own. "I did...like...you, Ian."

"Even when I knew things wouldn't work with Brogan...I didn't think anyone in Ireland would want me. Cassie spread all those awful rumors about me..." Sarah felt such a pain in her heart that she swore she very well might die. "And then I made them come true..."
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:17 PM   #18
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"Cassie was angry... an'... so was I, for a while. At Brogan. I wanted to destroy th'man, not for stealin' your heart, but for breakin' it. But I always wanted you, at least as a friend if nothin' more." Ian then rose and came around the fire to sit beside her. "I should've said somethin'... stopped you, told you there was still someone tha' wanted you."
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:21 PM   #19
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Sarah was quiet for a long moment as Ian came and sat at her side. She was afraid of speaking and letting someone else know the emotions that she had kept inside for so long. He was a man that she could very well lose herself with and she saw that as a danger.

"I wish someone had stopped me." She said softly, actually leaning her head against his shoulder. "I lost something so special on a dirty mattress at the tavern to a man that kept calling me another woman's name."
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:33 PM   #20
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"Well, I'm stoppin' you now," Ian told her boldly, "I know I'm late, but you're not goin' off to make yourself miserable and alone. I want t'help you, at th' very least until y'get settled with a proper income. I don't want t'see you in such a dark place again." He took her hand with the support of a friend, but also the welcoming of an admirer.
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:36 PM   #21
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Sarah lifted her head off his shoulder, looking down at his hand as he clasped hers so tightly. She was stunned to say the least. He was a man that wanted her. He wanted her friendship and wouldn't let anything stand in his way. He was also so incredibly determined. She'd never known that the little farmer that she'd once known had turned into the strong willed man that was now sitting beside her.

"Only until I'm settled. Then I want you to go back to Ireland." She said softly, that stubbornness creeping back into her voice.
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:50 PM   #22
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"We'll see," he nodded slightly. "But I thought a good place for ya'd be Normandy," he commented. "I think you'd like it... 'specially the vineyards. They're beautiful in th' summer."

Ian looked over at her, "An' I remember how y'liked that Norman wine."
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Old 12-27-2013, 10:52 PM   #23
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"I think Normandy would work fine." She said softly, looking at Ian as he suggested that she set up on a vineyard. "I've never really liked the cold all that much anyway."
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Old 12-27-2013, 11:05 PM   #24
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"Then we'll 'ead south in the mornin'... that is if ya don't run away on me before then," he gave her a small smile. He'd once teased her gently like that all the time, a sweet and endearing young farmhand with a heart of gold. He was still the same, just emptier and older.
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Old 12-27-2013, 11:09 PM   #25
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"If I run, I know you'll chase me." She answered back, knowing where his heart was after all those years. "In fact, I'll count on it."
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