Log:How Much Does the Truth Hurt

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How Much Does the Truth Hurt
Characters  •   The Hunter  •  The Capitalist  •
Location  •  The Hunter's Room
Date  •  2018-08-07
Summary  •  After the Penitent convinces the Capitalist to tell the Maata the truth, will he be able to go through with it?

The Hunter has not left her room since waking with the Capitalist and the ties gone. In fact, she's positively moped around. All that effort, planning, and work for naught. So many small things persist! If they are taking notes: those remain. A book, remains. She could probably take on a small work-craft project and see it remain. But this? This dissipates. Something she actually genuinely wants... and it's taken from her.

So she's worked out her frustration by... well, working out. There's no gym, but she seems to have a decent knowledge of bodyweight exercises along with the general set: push-ups, sit-ups, and so on. Thus, dressed in a pair of yoga shorts and a sports bra, she's got one of those floor mats (that could be used for doing martial arts training just as well) dragged out and is currently in holding a plank pose. Something... marginally relaxing, but still engaging a series of muscle groups.

Oh no, the Capitalist didn't immediately go to the Hunter's room after his talks with the Penitent. That would be far too bold an action to do and even now, he's not sure whether he can go along with this or not. So instead, he spends some time, first, in the parlor, just staring at the countdown on their new television. Then, he returns to his room, resting in bed so that he can collect his thoughts. All of this passing time does not make his decision to go through with this any easier. So what does the Capitalist do when he's stressed? He reaches for his pack of cigarettes and lights one up. It's all that he can do to help him think, taking a few deep drags from the cig, before heavily exhaling all of that smoke out.

It was time.

Still dressed in a simple long-sleeved shirt and a pair of jeans, he pushes himself out of bed to leave his room and cross that hallway until he reaches the Hunter's door. That symbol engrained there. Was that supposed to represent her, just like his was supposed to represent him? No matter, there's a knock on the door, but rather than wait for a response, he pushes it open just as he puts his cigarette out before entering.

Surely the markings weren't random. Some made more sense than others, that much was clear. Unlike some of the denizens of this place, the Hunter had never been bothered by the engraving on her door. It was like finding out someone had likened you to Artemis, perhaps. Maybe it was part of why she seemed more at peace with things...

...at least at times.

In truth, her downward spiral was a slower one with bursts of tumultuous anger. Where others freaked out as soon as they woke, hers took more time. The Hunter was a woman who repressed her emotions to begin with, which only caused them to come out in explosive ways. It made her relationship with the Capitalist both good and bad. Good because she could open up around him. Process her emotions. Actually face them and feel them like she should. Bad because... if it was just based upon lies, then where would she be left in the end? And what if she came to rely only on him?

When the door opens, she jumps up. It's a fluid movement, but comes with the panting of breath that shows how long she's been at it. The woman is already covered in a sheen of sweat, already breathing heavily. 'Maata' turns, staring at 'Conrad.' Her brows tilt into a disappointed expression once she sees him. "The ties were gone, too," she says, glancing towards the bed. "As if we never set it up in the first place."

The Capitalist had wondered about that ever since he woke up in his own bed that morning. He knew /that/ much, but when told that even the ties were gone, all of it made no sense. "After all the effort we went through, it's as if we never made the effort at all?" He knows that he didn't just imagine being tied up to Maata that night, he knows it happened. Just the memory of it breaks some of his tension and as he moves to shut the door behind him, his back now leaning against the closed door, he murmurs, "At least the evening was an enjoyable one." There's lightness in his tone even if not smile forms on her lips despite the joke.

"We could try again. I just don't know how we can keep notes without them disappearing or read a book, but this? This takes far more effort than reading a damn book." Then as an afterthought, he adds in, "Speaking of impossibilities, there's now a large screen tv built into the parlor wall. There's nothing to watch, really, the only show on display is some kind of countdown in big numbers. Counting down to what? It looks like we're all going to find out in 3 days or so."

"I don't see the point in trying again," the Hunter admits, giving him a long look. It's defeat in her eyes. She turns towards her closet, passing through towards the bathroom. "A TV?" Her voice is raised so she can call back over her shoulder. When she reappears, it's with a towel. She's patting down at least her face and neck. "Three days... until-" There's a furrow to her brow. "Maybe until we're released? Or..." There's a lot of darker things there could be.

A moment later, with most of the sweat mopped up, she finally approaches the Capitalist, leaning up so she can kiss him. "I'd rather not waste effort on trying to tie ourselves together if we're just going to end up apart. I'd prefer to spend that time on the more enjoyable parts." There comes, finally, a small smile.

The Capitalist uses this time when the The Hunter retreats to the bathroom to determine whether he will go through what he intended to or not. His eyes are distant, staring out against the wall, looking through those shelves there rather than at them. Yet, he's perceptive enough to note her return and he has a small smile ready for her when she approaches.

He smells heavily of smoke, something which both the Capitalist and Conrad only did during times of high stress. But he's accepting of the kiss granted him, savoring this closeness to her and that salt that he can taste upon her lips mixed with nicotine. Even though she's soaked with sweat, he reaches to pull her closely against him, to rest his chin on her head as he seems to enjoy doing. This is also a ploy to keep her from seeing that insecurity in his eyes and the anxiousness on his features. He's once more simply staring out across at the wall, though he does respond finally, "I spoke to Madison earlier."

Maata never smoked. The Hunter does and fairly liberally at that. Like a bored soldier needing to pass the time. She only marginally resists being pulled in against the Capitalist, about to point out her current state. But her desire to be near him wins out soon enough and she sinks in against his frame. Turning her cheek to rest against his collarbone, she settles in and slides her arms about him in turn. "Oh?" This, after the admission that he spoke to his -- to Conrad's -- sister. There's some hesitation, fingers twisting into the fabric of his shirt.

"How did that go? Are things... are things all right?" She makes to lean back a bit, to try to look at him directly. "What will you do?"

"It went well." His sentences are short as he's thinking of other, more important matters. When he feels that slight pull as she withdraws slightly to look upon him, the Capitalist blinks himself out of his trance to turn his gaze towards her. "I understand her need to distance herself from Madison. Or I think I do. For now, if that's her way of protecting herself from how much of a total wreck Mads would be here, then I can't fault her too much."

He knows that there's no easy way to say what must be said and though it would be smart of him to look away, divert his attention elsewhere, he finds himself trapped staring into Maata's eyes. "You know that I love you." This comes out as more of a statement than a question when spoken, but it is only then that he finally pulls his gaze from hers, breaking her visual hold on him, as he once more stares out into the distance. It's never a good thing when someone starts off with those words and then hesitates to continue.

"I still think she's running away rather than facing it. I fear it might make things worse in the long run." But that's not for them to decide. The statements are offered simply, quietly. The Hunter just rests there lightly against the Capitalist, studying him in return. However, when his following words come and he looks away, she hesitates, to. Her grasp at his shirt slips and she straightens somewhat. Her expression becomes wary. She tries to find his gaze again, to bring him back to her.

When she speaks again, it's in a more distant voice. "But?" Because those words seem to always be followed by a 'but' and when she fills it in, there is a clear fear and worry in her voice. Something that's echoed in her features.

Usually people start by saying something along the lines of 'Don't be mad, but', the Capitalist, however, seems to be taking a more direct approach. He knows that there will be some anger and for that reason, he keeps his gaze focused on anything but the Hunter and her wall full of gear, weapons and things, is his preferred target. Should he be afraid to say what he's been working up to say, being surrounded by all of these things? That doesn't frighten him overly much, it's her response and how she takes his words that worries him most.

He can't keep his gaze away from her for long and he knows that he owes her that much, so eventually, his gaze seeks hers out as well. "Madison convinced me that I needed to get a few things off of my chest. Things that have been plaguing me with some form of guilt." There's a shift in that gaze once more, but this time it's brief, and then he's staring into her eyes again. "There was a reason why..." His throat feels dry right now. "I decided to pursue you. And that was to cover my own ass about...my involvement in the ruins tour."

Most of the Hunter's anger at others has come as a result of them yelling at or accusing her of things. Like begets like. Her anger just so happens to flare with the heat of a star going nova. Remain calm and she shall do the same. In all likelihood, he has nothing to be concerned about. And in point of fact, as the Capitalist begins to explain things... there is no anger. There comes first a look of disbelief. She lets go of him entirely and takes a step back.

"But you said..." Her brow furrows as she moves away and sits on the edge of the bed. "I asked you, Conrad." Maata's voice is faint. "You said from that first time we met." In the kitchens. Her hands fall into her lap, shaking. She curls them into fists, chin dropping down towards her chest. A slow breath is taken in, but it does little to steady her. "What involvement?"

Seeing how explosive the Hunter's anger had been in recent days, the Capitalist is almost surprised by what he sees now. Maybe he would have prefered that rage to seeing her like this, so lost? His own chin lowers now, eyes staring down at the floor just before his feet. The desire for a cigarette is strong now, but now that things have just gotten started, there was no use faltering any further. "Kline had approached me regarding this tour that he had planned out. Of course, I was interested. Wary, but interested. He convinced me to partner with him and so I offered whatever assistance I could." His gaze now lifts to view the Hunter from across the way. "I made sure that security wouldn't be a problem for them, but it seems like he had a guy of his own on the team."

Here, he adds in, "After the boar hunt, I confronted him and told him that I was out, but he brought up the point that if the jungle really were that dangerous, why not just shut the festival down and send everyone home. I was afraid that he might start spreading that information around, so I complied this second time. Later that day, the group set off for the ruins."

In response to something that she says, hearing that pleading in her voice, his words come out after a heavy sigh, "There was something about you. This attraction that I felt. That much was true."

There's a bitter sort of laugh as Conrad explains Kline's part in it all. "Of course it was him. Of fucking course. You know that motherfucker paid off someone in my own village for the information about the ruins?" The Hunter leans forward, burying her fingers in her hair. Is she crying? Or laughing still? Her shoulders are shaking, that much is obvious. "I met him the night he did. I hated him then, too. I remember that much."

Maata swallows past the lump in her throat. "I can't believe you trusted him over me. Fuck, Conrad." She sits up, a hand over her mouth. No tears have fallen, but they threaten to. "All this time I was... I thought I should have told you-" Her hand drops. "But you only slept with me because you didn't want me to know you were involved in things with the ruins?"

He absolutely hates seeing her this way and in hindsight, the Capitalist regrets having said anything at all. He knows that anything he says next could spell disaster for their relat-- if they even still had a relationship. In an idle fashion, he slips both of his hands into his jeans pocket as he continues to lean back against the closed door. "I'm sorry. When we had that discussion yesterday and you asked me about whether I had lied to you. It was difficult to continue to do so then and Madison reminded me that," He pauses here now, while he does not meet with Maata's gaze, his eyes rest upon her form seated on the bed, "or... she said that if I treated you like all the others, that you would just be one of the many. And I didn't want that." Her last question, though, draws his full attention, "No. I mean, I slept with you because I wanted to sleep with you. The flirations, some of that was real, but, I needed to have you with me in the case that Victor ever mentioned my involvement with that whole thing. I'm not proud about that."

The Hunter is quiet for some time. It goes from seconds into minutes. She ends up looking away, leaning forward with elbows resting upon thighs as she just slumps forward. It's a lot to process. She already hated Victor: that part was easy. And letting it spill into more hate for the man was easier still. But then some of it spilled over into a tangle of emotions with Conrad, too. When she does speak again, her voice has a tremor to it. She doesn't look up, either. She just speaks to some place on the floor between them.

"I slept with Victor," she says, finally. "Before the festival. I... remember only pieces of it. We were drunk. I... was driving him back to his hotel, but I think I was too drunk to keep driving." Maata lifts a hand to rub at the bridge of her nose. "I think that's part of why he treated it like some sort of game when I confronted him. And then I was... so scared he'd tell you about it. That he'd tell you and it would ruin any chance I had with you."

She lifts both hands to her face, making a sound of grumbling frustration into her palms. "God! How he must have felt he had power over us."

The Capitalist wasn't expecting to hear what Maata just admitted to him. He blinks at first and though he doesn't voice it outloud, it's clear that he's thinking 'Victor?'. If you asked Conrad, Victor wasn't anything special. He was sleazy and a little creepy. Someone trapped in a different era as well. Which does mean that there's this look of disbelief on his face on first hearing about this. He's in no place to point fingers at anyone. It's not that he's never slept with someone that he completely regretted sleeping with.

"Victor...?" It took a while, but he finally utters that name. "I always figured you were hard on him because you could tell he was trouble from the start. And yet, I worked with him." It's only then that he finally steps away from the door, taking a slow pace forward to stand beside where she is seated. He doesn't reach out to her just yet, though one of his hands is freed from his pocket. There's this awkwardness after they both seemed to have spilled their souls to one another, but what now? "He probably did feel that way. That's his game. But," He clears his throat before continuing, "even though my intentions may not have been as true as either of us would have hoped for, by pursing you, I got to know you better. It wasn't just a physical attraction anymore and that what we had, we just worked well together. So despite my initial intentions, I found myself falling for you."

"We were drunk, just- just really fucking drunk. He'd been mugged. I was trying to give him a ride and..." The Hunter exhales slowly, hands falling again, limply against her lap. In here, she may just be a bundle of anger most of the time: panicking in her own way. But on the island? She really was a good person. Willing to sacrifice herself for everyone. And willing, yes, to give a ride to a man she hated from the outset. "Haven't you ever found yourself fucking someone you hate? There's... a certain thrill to it. Especially when you don't intend to ever see them again." But she did. And she had to deal with him. And he ruined everything.

Maata finally forces herself to look up at Conrad. She has begun to cry now. It's a silent thing; a few tears having fallen free, eyes gone red. "I just wish you'd told me. Or... or something." She bites at her lip, searching his features. "Is there anything else?" And in that query, there's a plantitive tone. A begging hope that there please be nothing else.

"Not someone that I hated." The Capitalist says in response of hate-fucking. "Unless it were someone that I had broken up with already. So there's that. One of them even rammed her car into mine once. While I was driving." He adds, "What followed, I guess, could be considered something similar. I'm pretty sure she was trying to kill me, but luckily for me, we only slept together after the fact and that she didn't try anything more." So he's had a few violent girlfriends, but if what Madison had said about her brother is true, there's probably good reason for some of them.

Seeing those tears does make him feel like the worst person in the world right now. And unfortunately for her, there is more... Though nothing that would be as impactful or hurtful as anything else he'd already said. Taking a seat beside her on the bed, he reaches over to brush a tenative knuckle against her cheek. He's careful, some people don't like any contact whatsoever when they are upset and he doesn't want to set her off any more than he already has. "The festival wasn't about infrastructure and creating something that would benefit the poor." Words he had convicingly said during their first meeting in the kitchen, "That was Madison's deal, not mine. I just wanted to throw the party to be remembered." Thinking further on other things that he's withheld from her, he finally decides to say, "And, apparently, I'm not a Wellson by blood. Madison mentioned this to me the last time I spoke with her... It explains a lot." Though at that last bit spoken, it does bring his mind back to this identity crisis now. He wasn't Conrad Wellson, he was just Conrad.

That actually gets a small laugh out of the Hunter. The idea of Conrad being hit by an angry ex-girlfriend in her car. It's a small laugh, but it's a laugh all the same. One that ends in a bit of a hiccup; the kind brought on by such an act. Laughing while crying. Even so, it may put him a bit at ease. The fact that she's able to show some mirth while in this state.

There's no violence or recoil when he reaches out to her. Ultimately, she turns towards him and slides her arms around him to hold fast. Her face goes to his shoulder. "I knew that about you," she says quietly. "When Madison and I spoke the other day... she told me. It... it actually makes things a bit easier for me. She didn't say who your father was, just that... she had to help you because of it. And that she thinks deep down, your father always knew and that's why he was so hard on you." Maata swallows, turning her head to press her cheek to his shoulder instead. "But it makes you less... less untouchable, somehow."

That sound of laughter sets the Capitalist into some sense of ease. The conversation before this point had been tense, but now that everything was out in the open, did he truly feel better? He's not quite certain and though that heavy burden was lifted from his shoulders, he still worried that the consequences that followed would make his entire endeavour not worth it.

So when he feels her arms slide around his waist, that's the first time that he felt that he could truly breathe. The arm closest to her extends so that he can pull her in further against him. Though he is surprised to now hear that she already knew his final secret, though for Maata, the big reveal was something that set her own mind at ease. For Conrad, however, it was just something else that he had to deal with and come to terms with. "When she first informed me about it, I felt lost. I already felt lost once we woke up here, but now to realize that I'm not even a Wellson. It's still something that I struggle with now. Even though we're off the island and the world probably thinks that we're dead. It was my identity and despite being treated like trash from my father, I worked hard to try to make him proud of me. Because I was a Wellson." The next thing he says comes out rather dismissive. "My mother's pilates instructor, Alejandro. That's what hurt even more."

"You're still a Wellson," Maata says quietly, after a long moment. Maybe, in her mind, it brings him down a level or so, but the admission he gives makes her realize how important it is to him. So what is a small thing to her... Well. Much as she can foist a lot of the rest onto Victor -- she has enough hatred there as it is -- she can let go of this, too. "You haven't been disowned. You haven't had your name or anything stripped from you. Yes, you had to work harder to prove yourself, but you did it anyway." The Hunter sits up a bit more, looking at him and studying him.

"Would you say an adopted child isn't deserving of their family? Or doesn't belong? Your father raised you, Conrad. Not this... pilates instructor. He raised you. Saw to your education. Whatever else came of it, you're a Wellson. Stop fussing over it."

This reassurance from Maata takes the Capitalist by surprise. He expected her to tell him that he didn't need the Wellson name or even state the fact that none of that mattered anymore. But no, instead, she helps to reinforce his own claim to that last name, if just in his mind and this is something he appreciates. There's some mirth to his tone, when he murmurs in response to something said, "Yet. I wasn't disowned yet. Though I'm sure it was coming if we had survived," his words slow when he speaks that one word: survived. He then continues on, "And returned home."

Turning to meet her gaze once again, he has come to a decision. "Madison was right about telling you my secrets. I wasn't sure if I would live to regret it all, but... I just feel that it was the right thing to do. Finally." Leaning in close, he places a kiss on her forehead, before trailing a few down her cheek, the taste of her tears on his lips. "Want to spend the rest of the day watching the countdown before we turn in?" He asks wryly, though he keeps so very close to her.

Sometimes you let things go. You make compromises. This part of his identity is important to him, but it isn't to her. So it's something that Maata can be supportive in and provide that reassurance. Because his parentage does not matter to her. The Hunter does smile, faintly. "And we'd have run off together. I could have found us somewhere to live in the jungle on another island. Or we could find some small town in the States and lived out a quirky life like one of your sitcoms." Like the accent she bears now.

Her eyes close at the trail of his lips; a more serene smile settling across her features. "I'm still not... happy you lied, Conrad. But I'm glad you came clean. I know how Victor could get under your skin. How he dug in deep. And I... I want to believe you that it wasn't just the lies." She opens her eyes at the last, studying him intently. "Because I love you." She lifts her hands to curl fingers against his jaw and cheeks, studying him briefly before drawing him into a slow kiss. "Yes, let's go watch the thrilling countdown. It's better than nothing."

With everything that he's lied about and the fact that he continued to hide his lies behind more lies when asked, it's a wonder if the Hunter could ever really trust the Capitalist again. He has opened up to her completely, as far as she knows, so that is a start.

Now, however, as he considers everything said, he remarks, "All of these lies, everything, was part of this ongoing chain of deception that I had created just to keep the festival going, failing that, to preserve my own name. The Wellson name." A pause, before he mutters, "The things that I used to do to impress my father. While we're here, that pressure is gone. I mean, until we get out of here and back to our own lives again. But I don't feel a need to lie when I'm here. Not to you, at least."

Her admission of love, which has come so easily to her in recent days, brings a smile to his face before his lips are met with slow, comforting kiss. Any thoughts of the countdown would easily be forgotten, prefering to spend the rest of the day (that countdown is counting the hours before they fall asleep as well..) here with her. But as the newly installed television is yet another thing that they need to figure out, he does jokingly state, "I can think of other... better things to do."