Title: The New Wolves Await
Story: The Gemini Occurrence
Flavor(s): Cinnamon Raisin #14: many a true word is spoken in jest; Strawberry Banana #13: in a foul mood
Word Count: 3,495
Summary: 2026. Genevieve is good at running, and Devyn has his parents for an example.
Notes: Genevieve Kessler-Downing/Devyn Lively. (Finally a piece with Genevieve and Devyn together in canon.)
Johanna gets them an unregistered vehicle and they leave in the dead of night, driving an inconspicuous gray 1999 Honda Accord.
They get as far as they can on a single tank of gas, and Devyn rents them a motel room as far out of town as they can find. Genevieve wears large sunglasses and ties her hair up in a scarf, just in case. In the car's rearview mirror, while she waits for Devyn to emerge from the office with their room key, Genevieve looks herself over. There's no going back, she thinks. She's already made her choice. The college professor is just coming along for the ride; it's her show.
"Hey." Devyn taps on the window, leaning down enough that she can see his face in the dim light of the parking lot. "I got us a room. Let's get some rest."
Genevieve blinks at him and takes a deep breath. She's made her choice, she reminds herself, and unlocks the car door. Devyn takes her hand as she climbs out and pulls her into him, protectively. "This isn't far enough," she whispers into his jacket collar, and he gently rubs his hand up her back.
"It'll do for tonight, okay? Don't worry. No one's looking for you."
"You don't know that," she tells him, even though she does believe him. They got out before things got too bad, and she's only hoping that everyone will forget about her in time. She wasn't the one everyone cared about in the first place; it was always Jude, and now Jude is gone, and she's hoping she'll just fade into the background again.
"I do," Devyn insists and gently nudges her the direction of the motel. "Now, come on, let's go to our room. We can't stand out here forever."
Their room is on the ground floor, the peeling floral wallpaper stained by years of leaking roofs and cigarette smoke. Genevieve peels a chunk off and throws it in the small trash can underneath their sad excuse for a table, while Devyn unloads their bags from the back of the car and sets them down in front of the rusted heater.
"This is nice, right?" he asks, smiling at her and trying to be funny, but she can't crack a smile back. "I'm sorry," he says immediately after, and takes his glasses off to rub a hand over his face. "I know you're scared. I'm just trying to lighten the mood."
"It won't work, Devyn," she tells him, using her tone to scold him, and grabs her makeup bag from his pile. She sets it on the end table and climbs onto the bed, sitting cross-legged and wrapping her arms around herself.
"You're pouting like a child," he says gently. She doesn't respond, so he climbs into bed beside her and wraps his arms around her tense shoulders.
She immediately shrugs him off and looks away when she catches a glimpse of his stung expression. "We need dinner."
"Right," Devyn says, quietly, and rubs his forehead with three fingers. "Pizza? Takeout? What?"
"Whatever you want," Genevieve replies. She places a hand over his, on top of the heavy comforter, and runs her thumb across his knuckles. "I don't have much of an appetite, but you should eat. We haven't stopped all day."
"If I get food, you're going to eat," Devyn says, and she nods. There's no use fighting him, not when he's only been trying to take care of her. "Do you want to come with, or will you be okay here?"
"I'll be okay." She picks up the TV remote from the end table and switches it on. "You have the key; only you can get in."
"That's right. I'll be right back."
Genevieve lazily channel-surfs while she watches Devyn check his pockets for his phone, wallet, and the motel room key. It's endearing, almost, the way he seems to lose things that are still on his person. He's not cool and collected like Jude always was, and she loves that he's so very human. "Can you get me something sweet?" she asks, and Devyn's head snaps up while he continues searching for the car keys.
"Oh, sure, yeah."
"Thank you." She does give him a smile, finally, and he smiles back.
"Alright, I'll be back soon. Call me if you need anything."
Genevieve nods, watching him go, feeling very much like a child about to be left home alone for the first time. They have what Johanna called 'burner phones,' just so they can contact each other without having the GPS on their actual phones tracked. She feels safer because of it, but she wishes she could scroll through Tumblr or check her Instagram or something. Anything to occupy herself.
The TV only gets a few channels, and she ends up watching whatever sitcom is on because it’s better than watching the news, or something equally depressing. The sitcom isn’t funny, and the atmosphere of the show makes her more uncomfortable than she would have felt if the TV was off, but she leaves it on just for background noise.
Genevieve doesn’t miss her achingly empty mansion, and she doesn’t miss any of her pretty baubles. She misses her secret wine cabinet, and her soft blankets, and she misses Adelina most of all. She can’t contact her, just in case. Everything is just in case and it feels like instead of covering her bases, she’s gearing up for the worst.
No Adelina, no phone, no comfort. No safety, because she doubts Devyn could protect her if it came down to it. She likes his gentleness, the soft way he speaks to her and tries to take care of her. She likes that she can read emotions on his face and that he hasn’t been hardened by life. But if she’d met him while she was still with Jude, her circumstances wouldn’t have ended up any different. Devyn would never have been able to protect her from him, and that worries her.
He’s also not the kind of person she thought she’d end up with, the kind of person who would be her Soulmate, but she had never expected to end up with a man like Jude, either. In the back of her mind, since she’d first learned about Soulmates in childhood, she had always expected her Soulmate to be wealthy. After all, she was wealthy, and people of similar circumstances were supposed to stick together--except, of course, in the situation of her mother, where her father had so valiantly plucked her from poverty and turned her into the elegant woman she’d had in her youth.
Jude always acted like he was saving her from something, but she never did know what. She had money, she had a good family, and the more she looked at her situation, she thought the only thing he could offer her was a quiet life at home. She wouldn’t have to go to school and she wouldn’t have to work, she’d just have to keep house and maybe pop out a few kids. At the time, it hadn’t seemed all that bad. As time went on, though, Genevieve would have rather died than tie herself forever to Jude by having his children.
He hadn’t saved her from anything; instead, he had created something she needed saving from. And instead of Devyn being her knight in shining armor, the one and only person to make the heart on her wrist glow, she had Adelina, and Johanna, and she herself was her knight in shining armor. She was the one who had saved herself, with devastating consequences.
Genevieve thinks she’ll never get the sight of him out of her head.
By the time Devyn gets back, a bag of Chinese takeout in tow, Genevieve is burrowed inside the covers, quietly crying to herself. She doesn’t even peek out to make sure it’s him, because he’s humming the tune of one of the songs they had been listening to in the car earlier. He must already know she's hiding under the covers, because he doesn't call her name or ask where she is; all Genevieve wants to do is disappear.
"Hey," Devyn says, and the mattress sinks under his weight. He places a hand on her back. "Food's here."
"I'm not hungry," Genevieve protests and doesn't move from her spot under the covers.
"You need to eat," he replies, ever gentle, and tries to tug the covers from around her. "It's comfort food; it'll help."
She lets him pull the covers away and relishes in the pained look on his face when she turns over, dark strands of hair plastered to her face where the tears have wet her skin.
"Oh, Genevieve," he says and wipes under one of her eyes with his thumb. He doesn't look the nurturing type, but Genevieve realizes she doesn't actually know him. She doesn't know what type he is. "Please don't cry."
"It's a little late for that, isn't it?" she responds, and her voice is sharp. She doesn't mean to be, and she doesn't want to be harsh with him, but she can't control herself. "You don't know what I've been through. You don't know how I feel. You barely know me! So don't tell me how to act. Don't tell me how to react."
"I'm not, I'm just--" Devyn sighs heavily. "I just don't want you to feel so sad, okay? Just as a decent human being, I don't like seeing people so upset."
"How do you want me to feel?" she asks. "I just killed my husband! Do you want me to feel happy? Is that better somehow?" Her voice grows more and more shrill with every word, until she feels like she's doing little more than squeaking at him.
Devyn doesn't recoil, but he does look down at his wrist, and that makes Genevieve feel even worse. He's wondering what he did to be stuck with her. He's counting down the minutes until he can leave. Genevieve can see it in his face; he doesn't know how he could have ended up with her. He could never love her, and for that matter, neither could anyone.
She told herself it was a lie. Every time Jude told her how lucky she was to have him, how no one else could put up with her moods, her incompetence, she told herself he was just being an ass. Of course, she didn't always believe herself, because sometimes she felt the same way. She felt lucky to have him, because he wouldn't leave her, he wouldn't abandon her after everything she put him through. Devyn, though--he could leave.
He probably wanted to leave.
"You can go," she mutters, grabbing the pillow from behind her and hugging it to her chest. Just like a child--she's infantile, weak, pathetic. Jude called her outbursts 'tantrums,' he called her immature and she is. "Just leave me here. Leave me the car and go. Go back to your life on the East Coast."
Devyn laughs and scoots so Genevieve has to look at him. "Hey, I'm not going anywhere. Did anyone tell you you can be a drama queen?" She doesn't answer him, and he ghosts his fingertips over her arm. "Tell me what's going on in your head."
"Are you a therapist?" she asks him, and isn't sure if it's meant to be a sarcastic comment or if it's a serious inquiry. He speaks to her with the same calming demeanor she's only heard from therapists and doctors, and she may have scoffed at his question if he wasn't being so damn nice to her.
"I'm not a therapist, I'm just a professor. But sometimes it's basically the same thing."
I know, Genevieve wants to say, but she just hugs the pillow tighter.
"If you tell me what you're thinking, I can answer the questions you've got running around in your head. Maybe you'll feel better if you know the answers," Devyn says, and to Genevieve, it makes sense. She wants to hear what he has to say, and even if it's all lies she wants him to tell her he's going to stay.
"I'm thinking that you want to leave. That you're going to leave," she tells him, and tries to ignore him shaking his head. "That you can't believe the disastrous little girl you were stuck with as your Soulmate and how you could never love me, that this has to have been a mistake and you can't believe what you've gotten yourself into."
"I'm not going to leave," Devyn assures her, gently unfolding her arms from around the pillow so he can take hold of her hands. "This is a pretty unbelievable situation, I admit, but I'm in it, okay? And I don't think you're a disastrous little girl. We've all been dealt some pretty bad cards and you're just...coping. It's fine. I'm not going to judge you."
"You're telling me what I want to hear," Genevieve insists, and Devyn laughs.
"My parents were drug addicts. My dad died when my sister was a kid, and my mom died when I was just starting to become a real adult, and I turned out pretty terribly. My sister and I are...pretty messed up. So believe me when I tell you, I understand using the few tools you have in your box." His eyes look tired and sad behind his smudged glasses, and he looks sincere.
Genevieve gives his hands a squeeze. "All I've ever wanted was to be loved. I haven't gotten that."
"It's not too late," Devyn replies with a shrug and a weak smile. "Can't give up yet, right?"
"I guess." She feels pretty stupid and immature, crying under blankets and turning everything into a drama, but everything seems to roll off Devyn like water.
"Will you please eat something?" he asks, turning away from her to start pulling containers out of the large paper bag. "I have noodles, and vegetables, and tofu because I figured that was safer than getting meat, and I even got you this--" Devyn pulls a small container out of the bag and spins around, presenting a pink cupcake, piled high with chocolate frosting and chopped strawberries, to Genevieve like an offering. "It looked like the kind of thing you'd eat."
"Thank you," Genevieve whispers, reverently accepting the cupcake and staring, wide-eyed, into the plastic container. "Where did you get this?"
"Some fancy grocery store. It cost a lot more than pretty much every cupcake I've ever seen, but I think you deserve it." Devyn's turned away from her again, setting the food containers on the table and gathering up the plastic utensils from the bottom of the bag.
"Thank you so much," she says again. More than ever, she wishes she had her phone so she could send a picture to Adelina. It's the sweetest thing he could have done for her in that moment, she thinks. "I love cupcakes. Did you get yourself something?"
"No, I didn't need to. I just wanted some dinner."
Genevieve crawls over to the edge of the bed and sets the cupcake down among the other food items. "Well, we can share, then."
Devyn laughs and shakes his head. "No, Genevieve, we don't--"
"It's only fair," she insists and grabs a container of lo mein. "Did you get chopsticks? It's no fun eating takeout with forks."
They settle for a Dateline marathon while they eat their dinner, and even though Genevieve doesn't like the idea of watching TV shows about murders, it's a better distraction than watching sitcoms. Devyn interrupts to make comments that Genevieve doesn't understand, about the science of what they're doing or how some kind of chemical affects the brain. She affectionately reminds him he's a nerd several times, but he doesn't seem to mind. By the time they're done with their food, Genevieve is almost feeling relaxed, lying against Devyn's chest with her head on his shoulder. Exhausted from the nonstop driving, he drifts off with his cheek pressed into her hair, and she briefly wonders if maybe that's what it feels like to feel safe in a relationship.
She can't sit still for long, though, and when Devyn finally rouses, sniffling and rubbing his nose with the back of his hand, Genevieve climbs off the bed and begins pulling things out of her travel bag.
"It's dusty in here," Devyn complains, stretching across the bed to grab his water bottle. "I'm getting stuffed up."
"Open a window?" Genevieve suggests, cradling her makeup bag in her arms, and turns around to see Devyn popping out a couple of pills into his hand. She eyes the blister pack suspiciously, and he's quick to hold them up for her to see.
"Allergy pills," he explains, but Genevieve shakes her head.
"Are those going to make you drowsy?"
"Are they--what?" Devyn frowns. "I don't understand."
"I just--" she starts, and then huffs. "I don't think I'll be able to sleep. And I don't want to be alone."
"Oh," he replies, carefully curling his fingers around the pills. "You have to get some sleep, though, Genevieve. You're safe here. Nothing is going to happen to you."
"It doesn't matter," she whines. "I don't think anything is going to happen, but I'm still scared, and I'm stressed out, and you're going to fall asleep and I'll be stuck here, alone, in the dark."
"Allergy pills aren't going to knock me out," he says, rolling his eyes. "Believe me. If you need something, though, I have some pills you can take. You need to sleep, Genevieve."
"I don't get you," she replies. "I thought college professors were supposed to be...I don't know, uptight."
"Oh, I'm plenty uptight," Devyn laughs. "I'm just also incredibly flawed."
She takes a moment to consider his words, the pills in his hands and the ones she's seen in his bag, and nods. "We all are, aren't we?" She holds up her makeup bag and tells him, "I'm going to need the bathroom for a while, okay?"
"Sure," he says as he reclines back on the bed. "I'll be out here if you need me."
In the bathroom, Genevieve begins unloading all of her products onto the bathroom counter. She has bleach packets, developer, latex gloves, and aluminum foil. In her big bag, she has a few boxes of toner, just to get the blonde looking less brassy and fake once her hair's been stripped. The sink has to be stopped up so she can use it as a mixing bowl, and she has to open the bathroom window so the fumes don't kill her, but she makes quick business of mixing up the bleach and slathering her hair in it.
Through the door, she can hear the TV's still on, but she can't hear any other noise from Devyn. If he falls asleep while she's in the bathroom, that's okay, she thinks. She doesn't need his company at the moment, and she doesn't want him to question why she's spending so much time in the bathroom. Dyeing her hair is a rash decision, she knows, and she hasn't told him what she's doing.
Still, she'd feel better if she changed her appearance a little, and blonde hair is just about the most drastic thing she could do. No one would recognize her unless they looked closely enough, and she wants to come out of it a different woman than she'd been. She's not Genevieve Kessler-Downing anymore--at least not the one she was before.
It takes hours to completely strip her hair of all the color, and by the time she emerges from the bathroom, white-blonde, Devyn's woken up from a nap and is watching late-night infomercials like a zombie. He doesn't seem to notice when she climbs into bed beside him, so she gently taps his cheek to get him to look at her.
"How do I look?"
Devyn squints at her and then raises his eyebrows. "God, Genevieve, you've been bleaching your hair for hours!"
"It takes that long," she informs him, smiling self-consciously. "Do I look good? Do I look different?"
"You look..." he starts, struggling for words. "You're beautiful, but you were always beautiful. Did you really want to do this?"
"I needed to," she says, and Devyn nods.
"Do you have any left? I mean, should I bleach my hair, too? Should I get a wig or something?"
"Shut up." It's sweet, though, and when Devyn grins at her, she laughs. "It's late. I think we should go to sleep now."
"Alright," Devyn agrees, and he only sounds too eager. "Do you want to take something? I have some sleeping pills and they work really well."
Genevieve rummages around in her purse and pulls out her own orange prescription medication container. "Believe it or not, I have my own. Incredibly flawed, right?"
"I'll drink to that," he replies and passes her a water bottle.