Status: Updated unfrequently, but trying for frequent.

Slow Spinning Redemption

Chapter 14: Turning Life Upside Down

Regret is a very heavy thing, my friends. It’s a burden to carry and this is the second time I’ve felt it and I don’t like it. Not one bit. How does one make it go away? How does one live with this heavy weight on their shoulders? If anyone knows the answer, please let me know, because at this point I feel like it’s impossible to breathe.

Friday, February 11, 2011
Manhattan, New York

Isolde tugged her suitcase up the steps of the New York brownstone. She knocked on the door in quick sharp knocks, knowing her friend was awake. Leaning her suitcase against the stone railing, Isolde tugged her hoodie closer around her body and raised her fist to knock again, only for the door to open before she could make contact.

“Jesus.” Josef groaned as he leaned against the doorway. “Can’t I have the house to myself for a fucking month without someone showing up?”

Isolde raised an eyebrow. “Excuse me?” She tugged her suitcase past Josef and pushed her way inside the house.

“Soya hasn’t even been gone a month, and now you’re here. How long are you staying for?”

“Nice to see you too,” Isolde laughed as she kissed Josef’s cheek. “And not for too long. I just finished a job for Ivan, and I thought I’d make my way here before heading for….somewhere,” she said vaguely, waving her hand in the air.

Josef snorted in amusement. “Mila says you haven’t been home in the last month or so.”

“Nope.” Isolde shrugged as she slid out of her sweater and threw it over the back of the couch. “Got anything to eat? I’m starving.”

Josef frowned at Isolde as he followed her into the kitchen. “Iz? Everything okay?”

“Yes. Why wouldn’t it be?”

“I don’t know,” Josef shrugged. “You seem a bit off.”

Isolde shrugged again as she scrounged around her friend’s fridge. “Because I just showed up?”

“No, I’m use to that,” Josef said slowly. “You just seem…frazzled. Much more so than usual.”

Isolde smiled over the refrigerator door. “I’m fine, just hungry and tired; long flight. How’s Soya?”

“She’s fine. Aida had the flu the other week and she’s afraid she’s caught it.” Josef smirked. “She’s trying to hide it from Ville.”

“Ah, they’re back together!”

“They were technically never broken up.” Josef dismissively waved a hand at Isolde’s puzzled expression. “Long, long story, and a huge misunderstanding.”

“But they’re fine now?” Isolde asked.

“Oh yeah!” Josef nodded. “They’re coming out to Vegas next week to see me dance.”

“You’re only going to be here a week?” Isolde asked. She closed the fridge, her hands free of food. She began to nervously wring her hands.

Josef nodded. “Starting a new tour, but you’re welcome to stay here, Iz.”

Isolde shook her head. “No, it’s fine. I’ll take the week. I missed you.”

Josef nodded, giving a huff of laughter. “I missed you too.” He reached out and rubbed her arm in comfort, having a feeling his friend needed it. “How about you take your stuff upstairs to Soya’s old room and I’ll fix us some breakfast? I have to go to rehearsals around eleven but I get out early. We’ll go grab dinner then.”

“I don’t feel comfortable using Soya’s old room,” said Isolde.

“You’ll end up sleeping on the couch anyway,” Josef said slowly, looking at his friend with a frown. “Seriously, Isolde, is everything all right?”

Isolde sighed and rubbed her hands roughly over her face in agitation. “Josef, if I could take a break from myself at this moment, I would.”

“Iz, if you want to talk-”

“Ugh!” Isolde roughly fell back onto the fridge doors with a groan. “I’m so tired of thinking about it. I don’t even want to start talking about.”

Josef nodded. “All right. Well, go upstairs; I’ll fix us something to eat.”

Isolde nodded and pushed off of the fridge. She started to walk past Josef but turned around and hugged him. Josef blinked in surprise before wrapping his arms tightly around his friend, kissing the top of her head. “Okay, now you’re starting to scare me.”

Isolde pulled back and patted her friend’s cheek. “You’re an amazing friend, Josef. I don’t think I tell you that enough.”

“You’ve never said it period, but I don’t need to be told something so obvious,” Josef teased.

“Tonight, we’ll talk.”

Josef nodded before kissing Isolde’s blonde head once more. He made note of the lack of colorful streaks that she usually kept dyed, which caused him to frown. “Looking forward to it, he said. He watched her grab her jacket and suitcase as she pulled them up the stairs before he turned and opened the fridge. Never once, Josef thought as he pulled a frying pan out, since Isolde had started streaking her hair, had she ever reverted back to her natural color. She’d bleached it or dyed it different variations of blonde, but had always avoided the strip of hair ever meshing with her natural hair color. Something was wrong, he thought with a frown. “Very, very wrong,” he muttered, cracking an egg into the pan.


Isolde sat heavily on the bed, a sigh escaping her lips before she rubbed her face again. The harsh words and regrets that she so very rarely felt circled around in her head. She groaned as she lay back on the bed, resisting the urge to curl up in the fetal position and just sleep. This wasn’t healthy, thought Isolde. She covered her eyes once more with her hands, squeezing them eyes closed to keep in the tears that threatened to escape.

Her emotions were running high and all she wanted to make it stop. But the words that had been said, the actions that had been done, it all circled in her head. Around and around until she could see the scene that had happened nearly a month ago so clearly behind her eyelids.

“So this is nice,” Isolde said, kissing Jussi’s spine.

He chuckled. “Nice of you to break into my hotel room and fuck me in to the mattress.”

“Oh, I’m all about being nice,” she said, nipping at his lower back.

“However, it probably wasn’t nice of us to kick Jyrki out of the room.”

“I’m all about being an exhibitionist.” Isolde laughed. “I just didn’t think Jyrki would want to watch; I think it’d mess with his ego.”

“How so?” Jussi asked with a smirk as he turned his head to look over at her.

“Well I mean, you’re so much better at sex than he is,” Isolde said matter-of-factly.

Jussi barked out a laugh. “And how do you know this? Have you slept with Jyrki?”

“Mmmm, don’t have to. I just know. No man has the stamina you do, VouriVuori,” she smiled. Isolde crawled back up the bed so she could lie next to Jussi, their noses brushing. She wrinkled her nose at him, causing him to chuckle and lean forward to kiss her softly.

“Would it freak you out if I said I missed you?” he asked.

Isolde stared at him before shrugging. “No, I’m very missable.”

“Isolde,” Jussi half sighed, half laughed.

She rolled her eyes. “As much as it almost kinda freaks me out to say, I missed you too.”

Jussi snorted a laugh and stroked her cheek. “I can tell it was painful to say.”


“Because you said it through gritted teeth,” Jussi stated.

Isolde sighed. “I just…”

Jussi shrugged. “I get it, Isolde. I know what I got into.”

Isolde leaned forward and kissed him. “This was your last show, wasn’t it?”

Jussi nodded. “For a couple months; we’re heading home in the morning.”

“You’re still going to be busy as fuck though, aren’t you?” she asked.

Jussi nodded. “I have the bar and the radio show, but I’m sure I can carve out time for you.”

Isolde laughed. “It’s cute that you think I’m going back with you.”

Jussi laughed. He rolled onto his back. “I think it proves that you very much did miss me if you flew out to Finland from the Czech Republic just to sleep with me.”

“Just means I missed the sex,” Isolde said.

“You missed me,” Jussi teased. He kissed her forehead before sitting up and throwing his legs over the side of the bed. He smiled when he felt Isolde press her chest against his back.

“You should know I tend to get very antsy when I don’t have sex for a while. I’m too lazy to find another partner, VouriVuori.”

Jussi tried not to be offended but felt the comment churn in his gut. He gave her a small smile, though he didn’t quite feel it. “Right.”

She ran her fingers through his scalp, careful of the tangles in his hair. “So…if I were to go back to your flat with you, how long would you be there?”

Jussi shrugged. “Couple months; mostly it’s my nights that are filled up.”

She rested her chin on his shoulder, her hands hugging him from behind and settling on his stomach. “So would you stay in the hotel with me?”

“How about you stay at my flat?” Jussi suggested with a laugh. “I want to be home, Isolde.” He turned and grinned at her. “I’ll even let you sleep on my couch.”

Isolde laughed lightly. “I’m fine with a hotel. I haven’t even decided yet.”

“Well, I’ll order food while you think about it. I’m starving.” He unwrapped her arms from around him, kissing her knuckles before standing and finding his underwear on the ground. “By the way, I managed to get tickets to Sex Fest this summer, if you want them.”

Isolde blinked as she watched him pick up the receiver to the phone. Her body tingled with something she hadn’t felt since lying on a hospital bed, with Richard standing over her, telling her he was ending their relationship; fear. Cold, dread filled her. Panic knotted in her stomach as she heard Jussi ordering food for them.

Isolde blinked as Jussi said something to her. “What?”

“Do you want water?”

“No,” she said sharply, causing Jussi to raise an eyebrow at her.

“All right,” he said slowly as he leaned down into the mini fridge and grabbed a bottle. “You okay?”

“Why would you get tickets?” asked Isolde.

Jussi blinked at her, unscrewing the cap of the water and taking a large swig of it before answering her. “The radio station gave them to me. So far the guys and I have the summer off, so I took them. I remembered you saying you’ve never been.”

“But you got them for us.”

Jussi shrugged, not sure what had her upset. “Sure, if you want to go.”

“That’s in June.”

“Yes...” he said slowly. “Mid-June.”

“In Finland.”

“This one is, yes.”

“You’re making plans for us in June.” Isolde stated a note of panic in her voice.

Jussi frowned. “Not really.”

“But you got tickets for us.”

“I didn’t even buy them Isolde; I was given the tickets. If you want to go, I can send you them. You don’t even have to decide right now. It was just something I remembered I have.” Jussi shrugged. “I remembered you said you’d always wanted to go, the tickets were offered; I took them. If you want to go, you can.”


Jussi raised his hand, cutting her off. “Stop, Isolde, just stop. I don’t know what the hell you’re getting upset about, but I can tell you’re ready to make a big deal about it.”

“And you’re jumping way too far in the future!” Isolde said as she jumped off of the bed and grabbed her leggings from the floor.

Jussi nodded. “Yep, I knew you were going to make a big deal out of something so stupid.”

“It’s not stupid to me! I told you-”

“I know what you fucking told me, Isolde. But you also told me you’d never been. I was given the tickets, so I fucking accepted them. I did not go out of my way to buy them! If you don’t want to go, fine. If you don’t want to plan that far ahead, fine! It’s even fine if you don’t want to go with me, I’ll give you the damn things!! But you’re making this into a huge deal when it isn’t!”

“And you’re acting like we’re in this relationship, when we’re not. You are not my boyfriend,” Isolde cried in frustration. .

“Trust me, Isolde, I know,” said Jussi coldly.

“It doesn’t seem like it!” Isolde said as she grabbed her hoodie and tugged it on, not caring that she didn’t have a shirt or bra on underneath. “I told you that we were not going to be planning ahead! I don’t even know what I’ll be doing next week, let along six months from now!”

“And I’m telling you that I don’t care,” Jussi said, scrubbing his face with his hands. “You’re looking for something to get upset about. I can tell.”

“You don’t know shit about me,” Isolde hissed, gathering her things.

“I know that you’re pushing me away for something you know, deep down, is not as big as you’re making it out to be,” Jussi exclaimed with a note of irritation. “I know you’re getting angry but you’re actually scared.”

“I’m not scared!” Isolde yelled.

Jussi sighed. “Isolde, they are just tickets, not a marriage proposal. What is the big deal?”

“The big deal is that you accepted the tickets with this idea that we were going to plan this trip and go together,” Isolde shouted. “That I was just going to put this on my calendar and just work my schedule around it. And that’s just….selfish!”

Jussi blinked. “Holy shit, you’re crazy!”

“I’m not crazy,” Isolde said quietly.

“Isolde,” Jussi said slowly. “There was, and still is not, any ulterior motive to these tickets other than me thinking I was doing something nice.”

“Of course there is! There always is!” she said, slamming her feet into her flats as she stuffed the rest of her clothes into her bag.

“Look, I don’t know who fucked you over,” Jussi hissed. “But stop comparing me to him; I can see those fucking cogs in your head making the comparison. I’ve never even met any of your other fuck buddies and you always compare us to each other.”

“It was a mistake coming.” Isolde shook her head. “I should have never listened to Alex,” she muttered to herself.

“Alex?” Jussi asked in surprise. “What does Alex have anything to do with this?”

“Nothing. Everything!” Isolde shook her head. “This was a huge mistake. This is what I get for listening to other people instead of myself. This is what I get for thinking someone could do casual, but you sleep in their bed for one fucking night, and all of a sudden it’s a fucking commitment.”

“Whoa!” Jussi said, raising his hand in the air. “That is not it at all. Isolde, if you remember when we first started this, I said I wasn’t looking for a commitment. These tickets are not proof that I’m jumping the gun; its proof that you’ve got issues.”

“Again, you do not know anything about me,” said Isolde.

“Good fucking point! In the near four months that we have been doing this, I have learned nothing about you, Isolde.” His voice dripping in sarcasm “I have not learned that you fear commitment, not because of you losing your fiancé, but because you fear the loss of control. I have not learned that you hate when someone tries to impose their will on you. I have not learned that the reason you avoid calling Prague home is because you have yet to find a place to call home, which is why you travel so fucking much. So you’re right, Isolde; I haven’t learned anything about you.”

Isolde shook her head. “I don’t need this. I do not need this shit, and I don’t need you.”

“Good, never said you did.” Jussi snapped. “Leave Isolde, clear your head. I’ll see you in a couple of months when you need to be fucked again.”

Isolde glared at him. “You are not the only willing partner I’ve had or will have, Jussi. So no, you will not see me in a couple of months. I’m done,” she snapped. “I’m done with you.”

Jussi leaned against the dresser as he stared at her, his face blank. Isolde chewed the inside of her lip, hating that she’d made such an expressive face shut down. “Fine, Isolde. Do whatever the fuck you want. You’re the puppet master. Whenever you’re ready, I’ll be here. I will always be here,” he said, giving himself a self-deprecating laugh. “Because I’m the idiot that fell for a woman that has fucking commitment issues.”

“I knew it,” she whispered. “I knew you were going to fall for me.”

“Yes, Isolde,” he said bitterly. “Because everything revolves around you. I fell for you, and I came to terms that all I would ever be to you is a good lay. I came to terms that I would have to go with your speed and deal with your moods and your schedules. I never once thought to myself, ‘how do I trick Isolde into committing?’”

“But you wanted it!” yelled Isolde.

“Christ, Isolde, just leave!” Jussi hissed back. “Nothing I say will penetrate that thick skull of yours to convince you that I don’t give a shit about committing. And nothing you say will convince me that you give a shit about me. So just leave, Isolde. We’re done.”

Isolde gritted her teeth as she hauled her bag over her shoulder, hurt and anger raging through her body as she held the knob of the door. “You’re right, you know.”

“What could I possibly be right about?” Jussi asked with a bitter laugh.

“I don’t give a shit about you.”

She watched Jussi’s jaw clench as he nodded sharply. “Leave.”

She’d turned the knob and left, not looking back for fear that he’d be standing there, watching her and seeing the tears fall down her cheeks.


She looked up and found Josef standing at the doorway, his face showing concern. “Your eyes are leaking.”

She gave a sharp laugh before wiping her cheeks. “Yeah, they’ve been doing that lately.”

“I don’t think the talk can wait until tonight,” said Josef softly.

“I…” Isolde shook her head. “I can’t…Not now, just…Tonight, I really will.”

Josef nodded. “Fine. Breakfast is ready, so go clean your face and come downstairs.”

Isolde nodded, wiping at her face again and pushed off of the bed. She went to the bathroom to wash her face, trying to forget the churning in her stomach and her major fuck up.


Friday, February 11, 2011
Sipoo, Finland

“Hey! Thanks for coming!”

Jussi smiled as he stepped through the doorway to his friend’s temporary home. “You promised me free food.”

“We need to do some heavy lifting first,” Ville laughed, closing the door.

“I figured.” Jussi shrugged, shoving his hands in the pockets of his jeans as he looked around the still furnished foyer. “It doesn’t look like you’ve packed anything at all.”

“Blame Soya. She’s not in any hurry to put anything in storage, and every time I point it out, she just waves a hand and says we’ll get to it. We’ve been working on the basement for the last two weeks and she’s still avoiding her parent’s room.”

“Where is Soya?” Jussi asked.

“Pretending that she’s not throwing up.” Ville rolled his eyes and led Jussi towards the kitchen.

“She’s sick?”

Ville nodded, opening the fridge and pulling out two waters. He handed one to Jussi. “Aida came home with the flu last week, and I’m pretty sure Soya caught it. She’s just trying to pretend she’s still healthy. It’s cute, in an irritating way.”

Jussi snorted. “She won’t stay still, huh?”

“Not at all; too much to do apparently. She’s starting to stress about the wedding again.”

Jussi grinned. “I’m glad that’s still a go.”

Ville winced. “Yeah, thankfully that fuck up is behind us.”

“So you guys are doing okay?” Jussi asked, rolling the bottle between his palms.

Ville nodded, grinning himself. “We’re great. It helps when you admit you were an asshole.”

“Yes it does.” They both turned to see Soya walking into the kitchen with a weary smile, her hand on her stomach. “Why were you an asshole?”

Ville grinned, pulling her towards him and kissing the top of her head. “Just telling Jussi how great we are.”

Soya laughed. “You make it seem like we’re perfect.”

“I like to think we are.”

Soya rolled her eyes. “Jussi, we are not perfect.”

“Never thought you were,” Jussi laughed. “But I’m glad you’re both happy.”

“We very much are,” Soya nodded, before patting Ville’s arm. “Mind warming some water for tea?”

Ville nodded as Soya went around the counter to sit next to Jussi. She watched Ville as he filled the kettle, before bumping her arm against Jussi. “You okay?”

Jussi smiled at Soya and nodded slowly. “Sure, are you?”

“I’m not sick,” She said with a frown.

“So I’ve heard.” Jussi chuckled.

“I just…” Soya sighed. “You look sad.”

Jussi sighed. “What did Jyrki tell you?”

“Jyrki didn’t tell me anything,” Soya said quickly, though the amusement in her eyes told him different.

“Uh-huh. You, Jyrki, and Rose get together and you all become gossip mongers,” Jussi teased.

“Jyrki’s just worried.”

“He has no reason to be.” Jussi shrugged.

“I heard it was a bad fight,” Soya muttered, causing Jussi to sigh and look over at her.

“It was.”

“Want to talk about it?” Soya asked.

Jussi sighed, looking at his friend. He knew Soya asked because she cared, not because she was fishing for information to pass around their group of friends. She genuinely cared if he was upset or not. Soya only wanted the best for her friends, wanting them to be happy and healthy.

He blew out a breath and shrugged. “Just…she…” He groaned. “I really don’t even know, Soya. One minute things were fine and the next she’s yelling at me and we’re both saying things that…just aren’t easy things to take back.”

Soya chewed on her lip. “I’m sure if you guys just apologized to each other...?”

Jussi shook his head. “It’s a very nice thought, Soya. Apologize and boom! Things are fixed. But it doesn’t always work out that way.”

Soya chewed on her lip. “I wish it did.”

Jussi laughed, bumping her shoulder with his. “I do too. Isolde made it very clear that she doesn’t want any type of commitment, and in her eyes I fucked that up. She made it very clear that she has no need nor care for me.” Jussi shrugged. “So it’s done.”

Soya frowned. “I highly doubt she doesn’t care for you, Jussi.”

“Trust me, Soya; I was there when the words came out of her mouth.”


“Soya,” Ville warned, putting a mug of chamomile tea in front of her. “Let it go.”

Soya sighed and cupped her hands around the mug. “Isolde…She…She’s been through a tough time, Jussi.”

“Ah, we all have Soya,” Jussi scoffed. “It’s no excuse. We’ve all been fucked over in relationships.”

Soya shook her head. “I agree, Jussi. And while you may know some of the story, you don’t know it all.”

“I get it: she lost her fiancé in a car accident, and she got royally screwed over while in that relationship. She has a fear of commitment, but she also needs to learn to let that go.”

Soya bit her lip. “Like I said, Jussi, that’s not even half the story. Truthfully I’ve only heard some of it secondhand from Josef, and I’m pretty sure he’s the only person that knows the entire thing. Isolde got fucked over, Jussi.”

Jussi blinked at Soya’s cursing, which was a rarity for Soya. “That’s still no excuse.”

“And I’m not saying it is,” Soya said, raising her hands in defense. “But I think for Isolde, it’s hard of her to let go of that. She didn’t just lose her fiancé after the accident, Jussi. She also lost someone she was starting to care for and love very deeply. It affected her. Josef said she would rarely leave her apartment for months after the accident, and once she did, she went from zero to a hundred, going out nearly every night and sleeping around a lot. It’s not until recently that she’s found balance in her life, and I think…” Soya chewed on her lip. “I think you disrupted that, and she doesn’t know if it’s good or bad.”

“Soya, sweetheart, I know you think you’re helping, but you’re not,” Jussi teased.

Soya smiled weakly, taking a sip of her tea. “I know, I’m sorry. I’m sure she disrupted your life as well. I’m just saying…”

Jussi leaned forward and kissed her cheek before she could finish. “As I’ve said Soya, it’s not as simple as saying ‘I’m sorry.’ I have nothing to be sorry for, other than wanting Isolde to be happy. Whether that be with me or without me. I understand she’s been through a tough time, and if she wants to tell me about it, I am all ears. But until then, I think we’re done, and I’m ready to let it go. Okay?”

Soya nodded. “Okay.”

“Wonderful. Now I’m going to take my water and help your fiancé move some shit around in your basement, got a problem with that?”

Soya smiled and shook her head. “Not at all.”

“Great!” Jussi said, clapping his hands together before looking at Ville. “Ready?”

Ville nodded. “Ready.” He looked at Soya. “Stop pretending you’re not sick and get back in bed. I’ll go pick up Aida from her piano class and order food for dinner.”

Soya rolled her eyes. “I’m not going to bed, but,” she said, just as Ville opened his mouth to argue with her. “I’ll go lay on the couch.”

“That’s a good deal.” Ville nodded before heading out of the kitchen with Jussi following him. Ville lead them to the basement and flicked the light on, causing Jussi to groan as he looked at the boxes filling the large space.


“Yeah, Soya’s family were pack rats,” Ville said, running a hand through his hair. “Hey…” he said as Jussi went towards one tack of boxes. “Are you okay?”

Jussi sighed, looking at his friend. “Look, I really don’t want to talk about it anymore. I’m not okay, but I will eventually get there. It’s my own fuck up for falling for Isolde. I have to live with it and I am, but while I’m dealing with it, do you mind just….erasing her name from your vocabulary?”

Ville shrugged. “No idea who you’re talking about.”

Jussi smiled weakly. “Thanks.”

“Of course.” Ville sighed. “Now let’s open some boxes, huh?”


Monday, February 14, 2011
Manhattan, New York

“Hey! Do you have a hair dryer? I’ve been looking for one since I came and towel drying my hair has been a bitch,” Isolde called out to Josef.

Josef chuckled as he pulled on his white suit shirt. “There should be one under the sink in the master bedroom. I think Emmy left it there before they moved.”

“How are your wards anyway?” Isolde asked as she leaned up against the doorway, watching Josef button his shirt.

“Safe and sound in their Brooklyn apartment.” Josef smiled. “I think they’re both happy just taking community college classes and taking it easy. They’re both working at Soya’s studio, so it’s working out.”


Josef nodded, tucking in his shirt. He looked away from the mirror to look at his friend. “So are we going to talk tonight?”

Isolde sighed, pulling the robe closer around her body. “I’ve been wanting to.”

“Look, my fault the first night you were here. I came home much later then I thought I would, and I am sorry about that.”

Isolde nodded. “I know.”

“But every day after that, you’ve been keeping to the bedroom and have been actively avoiding me.”

Isolde sighed. “I know.”

“So, tonight? Yes?” Josef asked.

“I don’t want to ruin Valentine’s day,” said Isolde.

“Fuck that,” Josef said with a shake of his head. “Something is majorly wrong and I want to know what it is, for the sake of helping you. You’re my best friend and it hurts me to see you in pain.”

Isolde sucked in a sharp breath and nodded. “Fine, tonight. Let me just dry my hair and get changed. I know what I’m wearing.”


“Where’s your boy by the way?” asked Isolde. “Shouldn’t you be going on this date with him?”

Josef smiled lightly. “He’s out of town. We talked earlier.”

“You mean you had phone sex,” Isolde teased.

“No,” Josef said with a laugh while nodding his head in the affirmative.

Isolde laughed. “Twenty minutes.”


Isolde pushed away from the door and made her way to the master bathroom. Crouching down, she opened the cabinet under the sink and rummaged around. Pushing boxes of random bathroom products out of the way, she finally grasped the handle of the hairdryer that was lying in the back of the cabinet. She was about to stand back up, when a box caught her eye.

Biting her lip, she picked up the box of tampons and started the calculations that had been swirling around in her head for the last few weeks. She’d always been irregular, she reminded herself. At least, she had been since after her accident, and not even birth control pills ever really helped her cycle. She’d always had light bleeding as well. Her girlfriends would curse her for her luck. She cursed it, as what lacked in blood was usually redeemed in cramps that kept her curled up on her couch.

“Light spotting last month,” Isolde muttered putting the box back under the sink and standing up. She wouldn’t worry, though the churning in her gut that had been following her since she left Jussi in the hotel room was starting to take another shape.

“Don’t panic,” Isolde muttered to herself as she made her way to Soya’s bedroom. “Give it a couple more weeks and then you can panic,” she said with a decisive nod before plugging in the hair dryer and starting to fix her hair in front of the antique mirror. She pushed the worry and panic that was starting to rise into a box in her mind and shoved it back with the rest of her issues.

She finished getting her hair and makeup ready and pulled on a red lace dress. It fell off of one shoulder, leaving one arm bare while the other was encased in a lace sleeve. The dress fit tightly, hugging her figure, and fell just above her knees. She sat on the bed and pushed her feet into a pair of black suede strappy platform booties, zipping them up at her ankle before standing and testing her balance.

“Iz?! You ready?!” Josef called from the living room downstairs.

“Yep!” she yelled back, pulling on her black pea coat and grabbing her black clutch from the dresser before meeting a suit clad Josef downstairs.

“Well don’t you make a pretty picture?” Josef teased.

“You should see me without the coat,” Isolde teased as he held the door open for her. She watched as Josef locked the door and led her towards the waiting cab.

“I’m glad we’re doing this, Iz. We don’t see each other nearly enough,” Josef said after telling the cab driver the name of the sushi restaurant they were planning on having dinner at.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better date for Valentine’s Day,” said Isolde. “I mean, you are pulling out all the stops! Dinner at Masa? That’s a 3 Michelin star restaurant, pretty fancy for dinner with your bestie.”

Josef snorted. “Not even a certain drummer?” Isolde tensed, not meeting her friend’s eyes, which caused Josef to look at her. “Ah, I see I’ve pinpointed the source of your problems.”


“Nope, let’s get to the restaurant and then we’ll talk. I have a feeling this is going to be a conversation worth a bottle of wine.”

“More like 5,” she muttered.

“Christ,” Josef sighed, looking at his friend. “What did you do?”

Isolde swallowed, “A lot.”

Josef nodded, grasping at his friends hand and squeezing it. “We’ll fix it, he said reassuringly.

“Trust me, probably not worth fixing.”

Josef looked at her curiously but let the subject dropped, knowing she didn’t want to have the conversation in the cab. Twenty minutes later they found themselves in front of the maître d’ at Masa. Josef gave his last name and they were shown to their table. Isolde shrugged out of her coat and Josef gave her a low wolf whistle as he saw her dress. He held out her chair for her and took a seat himself.

Josef picked up and browsed the wine menu before finding one he liked and ordering a glass while Isolde pursued the drink menu, biting her lip. “Uh…just water.”

Josef raised an eyebrow at her as the waitress left with their drink orders. “I thought this was a five bottles of wine conversation?”

Isolde nodded. “It is, but it’s probably best if I talk about it while I’m sober instead of becoming the messy drunk we both know I am.”

Josef nodded as the waitress came back with their drinks. Josef took Isolde’s menu, not letting her peruse it before ordering two bowls of miso soup, along with a variety of sushi rolls, knowing that he and Isolde would share and take home the rest if they couldn’t finish.

“Been here before?” Isolde asked.

“Sushi is sushi,” Josef shrugged. “This is just….better.”

Isolde huffed a laugh. “Right,” she muttered taking a sip of her water.

“So, should we start at the beginning?”

Isolde bit her lip, tucking a curl behind her ear before tugging at it. “So I saw Alex. I was in Old Town, doing some work and in he walks with his girlfriend.”

Josef blinked. “You don’t sound bitter at all,” he said in surprise. There was no bitterness or resentment in Isolde’s tone, just honest amusement.

“I’m not. She’s a pretty thing and obviously perfect for him. Anyway, “she said, waving her hand to move the conversation along, “We talk, and he lectures me and tells me that I should just try things with Jussi. So I take this advice, call Jyrki, find out where they are, and find out they’re in Finland; last show.”

“All right…” said Josef slowly.

“Yes, exactly! I thought everything was all right! I break into his hotel room, he sees me, and we lock Jyrki out and fuck our way into the early morning. It was better than all right.” Isolde bit her lip, letting go of the curl that was wound tightly around her finger with a sigh. “I can admit that I was taking baby steps. I admitted to him that I missed him and figured that if I stayed maybe a month in Finland with him, I could see how we did together for more than 24 hours. See if, you know we wouldn’t kill each other.”

Josef nodded. “A huge step for you.”

“I know!” Isolde said, resisting the urge to rub her face, the agitation of that night returning to her. “Then he goes and fucks it up!”

“How so?”

“He got tickets to Sex Fest!”

The waitress had chosen to return that moment with their miso, causing the tray she held to wobble as she turned beat red at Isolde’s words. “Uh…sushi should be right out,” she murmured. “Enjoy.”

“Thanks,” Josef said, containing his laugher and watching the poor girl go before turning back to a very frustrated Isolde. “Okay, so he got tickets to a festival that you have been dying to go to since you found out about its existence. What is wrong with that?”

“The tickets are more than 6 months in advance!” Isolde exclaimed.

“Yeah, and from what I’ve heard, those suckers sell out fast. You have to get them six months in advance. Tickets to Sex Fest are just as hard to come by as Comic Con tickets.”

“That’s not the point,” said Isolde.

“What is the point then?” Josef asked.

“He got them for us.”

Josef blinked. “And?”

“He’s planning six months in advance!”

Josef shook his head in confusion. “I’m not seeing the problem. The man actually listened to you. When you said you wanted to go to a sex festival, he got tickets, and you condemn him because the tickets are six months out?”

“I was ready to spend a month with him in Finland, not plan a weekend trip six months in advance.”

Josef sighed, watching as Isolde stirred her miso. “I have a feeling you did not tell Jussi anything that went on in your head and instead yelled at him.”

“He was being…”

“No.” Jussi said, putting his hand up and glaring at his friend. “I’m so tired of this shit. He wasn’t being anything but kind, Isolde. You jumped to conclusions, like you usually do. You yelled at him, said shit you probably didn’t even mean, but was meant to hurt and ran. Again, like you usually do. It’s tiring, Isolde.”

“Then I’ll just keep my mouth shut from now on,” Isolde said, her jaw tight as she continued to swirl her spoon in her soup bowl. Josef grabbed her hand to stop her, taking the spoon and setting it on the table.

“I’m not saying this to keep you from telling me things, I’m telling you this because you always do this to guys you like. You did this the first time Alex wanted to take you out on a date instead of jumping right into the sex portion of the night, remember?”

Isolde nodded sharply. She had bitten Alex’s head off. When they’d first started their casual encounters, she’d mentioned a play she was thinking of going to. Alex had gotten the tickets nearly a month in advance, and she’d yelled at him before leaving him in the hotel room, confused over her reaction. Until Josef had mediated the fight and had made Isolde explain to Alex why she hadn’t appreciated his actions, that is.

After that, Alex hadn’t planned anything but dinner dates and adult sleepovers. It wasn’t until later into their arrangement that he’d started getting bolder and planning a bit in advance, letting her know he had tickets and wanted her to go with him somewhere if she was in town. She’d allowed it because she’d learned that Alex had never done it with the intention to ‘trap’ her into plans.

She had known the minute she walked out of the hotel room that she had screwed things up with Jussi; that she was doing to him what she’d originally done with Alex. She knew that had she just turned around, apologized and explained to him what was running through her head, things could and would have been fixed. Instead she walked away, and had ruined everything. And now it wouldn’t stop running through her head.

“You’re an idiot.” Josef said with a shake of his head as the waitress came back, setting their four plates of sushi rolls on the table, along with two small bowls of rice.

“I’ll get you another glass of wine,” the waitress said with a smile, taking Josef’s empty glass.

Josef stopped her. “Just bring the bottle,” he said, taking the glass back. “And bring another glass. I think we’re going to need it.”

“No,” Isolde said, “No second glass.” The waitress nodded before leaving to get the bottle.

“You’re not drinking?”

“I’d….just rather not tonight,” Isolde said with a groan.

Josef raised an eyebrow. “Why?”

“I just…I have things circling my head and I need to work them out, Josef. I need a clear head. I can’t keep carrying this around with me.”

“Look, apologize to the man. Thank him for buying the tickets and-”

“He didn’t buy the tickets.” Isolde said, tugging on a curl.

“What?” Josef asked, thanking the waitress as she refilled his glass and left the bottle.

Isolde groaned. “He didn’t buy the tickets. The radio station gave them to him.”

Josef laughed, rubbing his face in agitation. “You have got to be fucking kidding me.”

“I’m such a bitch,” Isolde said with a shake of her head. “I don’t know why I keep doing this.”

Josef raised his hand. “I know! I know! Pick me!”

“Asshole,” she muttered.

“Isolde, you are scared. You actually like this guy and instead of letting go of your issues, you lash out on this poor man.” Josef picked up a roll, dipping it in the soy sauce before popping it in his mouth. “Oh fuck, that’s good, try it.”

Isolde’s stomach rolled and waved her hand feeling the bile rise in her throat. “Excuse me.” She said, before rushing out of her chair towards the bathrooms.

Josef looked at Isolde’s receding figure with a frown. He wiped his fingers and set his napkin down on the table before going after her. He peeked into the lady’s room, checking to see that it was empty, before walking towards the stall where he could hear Isolde retching. He pushed the door open, lucky that Isolde hadn’t locked it, before pulling her hair back.

“I must really love you if I’m actually willing to hold your hair while you throw up,” said Josef.

“I’m honored,” Isolde groaned before feeling herself heave again. Josef rubbed her back before she sat down on the floor, accepting the pieces of toilet paper he held out for her as she flushed the toilet.

“So…how long has this been going on?” Josef asked in a sing-song voice, trying to break the tension.

Isolde rested her head back instead the stall wall, staring at the ceiling. “Couple weeks,” she whispered.

Josef nodded slowly. “Would this be the reason you have yet to call Jussi to apologize? Because I highly doubt me yelling at you just now about how you handled the situation is the first time you came to the realization that you screwed up.”

Isolde sighed. “I’m so fucked.”

“Well obviously,” Josef snorted. “Have you taken a test?”

Isolde shook her head. “I can’t bring myself to buy one.”

Josef nodded, grabbing his friend’s hand. “I’m here, Isolde. You need someone, I’m right here.”

Isolde bit her lip, tears forming. “Will you stay with me the entire time?”

“I’ll even be with you when you pee on the stick if you’re into that type of thing.”

Isolde gave a sharp laugh and covered her eyes with her free hand. “Oh, god.”

“Come on,” Josef said, standing up and tugging her with him. “Let’s get the food to go; we’ll stop by the pharmacy and get a test.”

Isolde nodded, wiping her eyes. “I’m such a fucking mess.”

“You’re my mess, though,” Josef said, kissing her temple. “Come on.”

Isolde followed him out. Josef tightly held her hand, as if he was afraid she’d bolt the minute he let go, which, truthfully, Isolde thought as he asked the waitress to wrap up their dinner and bring them the check, she probably would. She let the thoughts swirl in her head. She was in a haze as they accepted the bags with their food, left the restaurant and walked to the pharmacy.

When she blinked, she found herself standing in an aisle in front of the pregnancy tests. The boxes blurred in front of her, overwhelmed her, before Josef tucked her under his arm and grabbed three different ones for her. He led her over to the wall of freezers and grabbed two pints of ice cream before heading to the register to pay.

Before she had a chance to think, they were in a cab heading back to the house.

“Do you want to take them tonight?” Josef asked. “Or in the morning?”

Isolde bit her lip. “Like a band-aid, right?”

“Right,” Josef nodded. “We’ll get to the house, you’ll put on your pajamas, drink a couple liters of Sunny D…”

“Oh god, I’m not Juno!” Isolde groaned.

“…Pee on some sticks and boom!”

“Boom, not pregnant,” said Isolde.


“Or not pregnant,” Isolde said again with force, causing Josef to bite his tongue, though not for long.

“But what if-”

“I’m not pregnant? Then it’ll be exactly what we thought and we’ll be peachy.”

Josef gave a short nod as the cab pulled up in front of the house. The two climbed out and Josef paid the cab before grabbing their bags and running up the stairs to unlock the front door, letting Isolde in first.

“Here,” he said, handing her the bag from the pharmacy. “Go get comfortable, pee - preferably on the sticks- and I’ll bring the timer. I’m just going to put the food away.”

Isolde nodded. Josef watched as she walked up the steps until she disappeared from view, the pharmacy bag hanging low in her hand, nearly thunking on the steps. Blowing out a breath, he chucked his jacket over the couch before walking into the kitchen. He stuffed the bag of sushi into the empty fridge and rubbed his face.

“Oh, this is so many levels of fucked up,” he muttered, giving in and sliding onto the kitchen floor in defeat. He allowed himself five minutes of agonizing pain for his friend, hoping to every god that they were in Isolde’s favor and the pregnancy tests came out negative. Though, in his heart he knew they wouldn’t be.

Swallowing back his own tears, Josef picked himself back up and grabbed the timer from the stove before heading up the stairs. He knocked lightly on the door of the bathroom, hearing Isolde’s quiet ‘come in’.

“Did you do it?” he asked.

Isolde nodded from her spot on the floor, hugging her knees tight to her chest. “Three minutes.”

Josef nodded. He set the timer before sitting down on the closed toilet seat, eyeing the three tests that sat on the sink. “If you are…when…?”

“Christmas,” she said with a nod before laughing bitterly. “He fucking warned me, too. Glow in the dark condoms; fun but not the best idea.”

Josef nodded, knowing that Isolde’s mind was going back and forth from knowing she was pregnant to hoping she wasn’t. The fact that she’d kept from drinking at dinner told him that a part of her had accepted she was pregnant.

“Are you going to tell him?” Josef asked.

“About the scare?” Isolde shrugged. “Why? He’s not going to talk to me.”


“It’s just a scare,” Isolde said forcibly.

Josef shook his head. “Iz.”

She hugged her knees tighter, closing her eyes and resting her forehead on her knees as the timer rung. “Please…” she whispered. “Please, please, please, please.”

Josef turned off the timer. He picked up the first test, knowing Isolde wouldn’t get up. He took a breath before looking down. Two lines. Postive.

“Please, please, please,” Isolde whispered.

He picked up the second and the third, already knowing the results. Sure enough, two lines and a happy face. Postive, positive.

“Please, please, please.”

Josef dropped the tests and crouched down next to her. “Iz.”

She shook her head. “I can’t…”

“Izzy,” he whispered, falling to the ground and gathering her up in his arms to cradle her. “I’m so sorry.”

“I can’t do it, Josef, I can’t”

“Yes, you can,” he said softly.

She shook her head. He felt her tears drop on his shirt as she allowed herself to cry. “Not again, I can’t. Not again.”
♠ ♠ ♠
Isolde’s Valentine’s Day outfit

Sorry this update took a lot longer to post!! Thank you all for reading and commenting again! I'm going to try and be better about being a chapter ahead!! This chapter marks the spot where the story forks away from 'Scream' and you see Jussi and Isolde's relationship evolve! It's chapters that i'm very excited about sharing and i hope you guys are excited about reading!!

Next chapter will be up soonish! Comment are life!! I love love love hearing what you all think!!