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Aberrant: Dead Rising - The Grudge [Complete]


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June, 2nd

Jill racked the weight and grunted exhausted. She felt spent and was panting more than she usually did. The buff blonde took a towel and wiped her face, then she picked up her small moleskin booklet and flipped through the pages sighing. Ever since she started with serious weightlifting she made sure to protocol the sets she did each day and mark how good she was doing. There were good days, when she felt like she could run an extra mile on the treadmill or push out another rep or two and there were bad days when she barely managed to finish her routines.

The bad days were increasing at an alarming rate.

Jill stood up finishing her entry angrily and dropped the moleskin into her duffel bag, then she went to the full-sized mirror and struck a few poses – left biceps, right biceps both front and back, then double biceps. Her muscles swelled impressively roughly to the size of oranges. I look soft...

She lifted her shirt and tucked it under her sportsbra exposing her abs flexing them and turning sideways, too. Then she pushed one leg forward to check her quadriceps which bulged under her skin inflating to a massive chord of muscles – all in all she felt tired and looked like it – her muscles were still pumped but Jill wasn’t satisfied with the results.

„You look awesome.“, she heard Ashley who was busy carrying some laundry but had to put it down to look what Jill was doing. „I wish I had some muscles, like my cousin Kristin. Would make carrying these bags easier, eh?“

Kristin..., Jill gritted her teeth and tried to hide her frustration. She put on a smile for Ashley but it took a great deal of effort to sound polite and friendly, „Thank you, Ashley... you can start working out any day if you want. I can show you some basic excercises.“

„Oh... thanks, I got tons of stuff to do – maybe some other day?“, she apologized and picked up the bag disappearing through the door to get upstairs.

Kristin…, Jill tried to hide her anguish and fortunately Ashley was gone and didn’t see her throw her small booklet angrily away. I bet she has never lifted a single weight in her life and still… she looks more toned and defined than I do...

It was difficult for her to deal with this. Before the Z she was used to be one of the strongest and biggest around. She liked the feeling of superiority it gave her and of course like so many bodybuilder she was a narcissist and loved to show off. The Z changed that way of thinking. Suddenly she had to realize that the strength she had relied on wasn’t sufficient. Sure, she still was able to protect JoAnna and the others but even her skill with the sword didn’t match what a super could do. If James hadn’t saved them back then they would be dead now. That day her bravo attitude changed and she focused solely on survival.

3 weeks… it was the 3rd week now that Violet was helping out Kristin deal with her inner demons and each time she was done with her she came with an incredible hunger for sex to her. At first Jill enjoyed it, how couldn’t she? Violet knew things about the female orgasm she never thought possible and her power to ride that emotional wave was intoxicating… addictive even. The increased attention felt good but each time the high was shorter – each time the disappointment afterwards lasted longer. Violet took what she wanted, what she needed and she didn’t allow Jill to feel her own emotions. Everything was overridden by Violet’s selfish carnal lust.

All because of Kristin. Kristin was too young to have sex. The whole thing they were doing was barely legal but Jill could understand one aspect of it. Kristin didn’t look like a teenager – if you ignored her face and that was almost impossible since she was easily the prettiest girl Jill had ever seen, with the exception of Violet of course, you looked at a very well built and mature body of a woman, irresistable...

The body she possessed was amazing. Calling her a girl was highly inappropriate. Kristin was almost as dramatically curved as Violet. Well not as dramatic but one could say a similar type – minus the muscles, of course. Kristin’s lean physique was the cause for Jill’s envy. She hated that Kristin didn’t have to do anything to look the way she did while she was struggling to maintain her workouts and diet. She was running out of supplements. There were only about 10 shots left of her meds which meant that she’d last another 2 weeks.

It wouldn’t be so dramatic if her supply would’ve lasted till the end of the month, then her withdrawal wouldn’t coincide with her menstrual cycle which was thanks to the hormones and drugs she took barely happening but it still was a time where her body chemistry was higher on estrogen – and estrogen caused water retention and accumulation of fat. I’ll look bloated, even if I keep pumping iron the whole day….

The thought of getting soft was unbearable and checking herself out at the mirror she was convinced it had already started. Jill took a deep breath and picked up her booklet and the tape-measure. It was difficult but she had enough practice doing it herself and soon she had wrapped the tape around her upper arm and flexed. Her biceps swelled hard and she quickly adjusted the tape and read the mark. “15 inches…”, she said somewhat deflated. That’s a whole inch less….

Ashley had found her way back downstairs and looked a bit surprised at Jill who was struggling with tears. “Hey… what’s wrong?”

“Nothing.”, Jill lied laughing in an attempt to overplay her embarrassment. “I’ve just… it’s been a bit rough the last days.”

“Wanna talk?”, the teenager asked her openly and Jill slowly nodded at her.

“Actually I do – But I don’t really know where to start.”, she confessed.

“Why don’t you tell me why you’re crying?”

There was a long pause in which Jill had wiped away her tears and managed to breath away the urge to cry. “It’s only… Violet and Kristin… I love Violet, I really do but… but she sometimes leaves such an emptiness behind – it makes me feel very lonely. I try to work-out then, or go to the smithy and see what has to be done and most of the time I feel better afterwards but I can’t keep my mind straying back to her each time I don’t focus or concentrate. It’s starting to affect my daily routines and duties… in a negative way. I really don’t know what to do.”, it felt good opening up a little. Even if it was Kristin’s cousin Ashley. Jill didn’t want to hate Kristin but her envy was deeply rooted. Actually that was what she hated about it; that she wasn’t strong enough to stand above this, that she couldn’t look at her and simply admire her for she was truly a lovely young woman. Instead all the negative feelings she could muster were channeled into her envy. She looked down at herself and shook her head disappointed of herself.

While Ashley saw a very fit and well built bodybuilder Jill was not thinking so highly of herself. Her abs looked softer now that she sat down, less defined from her perspective. If I don’t stop imagining things I go mad…

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"If your workouts are suffering, I can't tell," Ashley said skeptically, brushing some chestnut hair from her face and stepping just inside the small exercise room. "You're huge."

Jill looked up sharply, but didn't see anything but frankness in Ashley's eyes. Paradise had taught her not to show too much sympathy, it just caused you to be called out for 'fun,' but she was still surprised such a large woman could sound so... despondent.

Half a foot taller than her cousin with long, coltish limbs, Ashley's figure was far more slender and girlish than Kristin's. Yet where Kristin had been broken by Paradise, Ashley had developed an inner core of strength and assurance, and a maturity belying her barely sixteen years of life.

"Maybe," Jill snorted. "But it's not enough for-"

"It should be!" Ashley countered, her brown eyes hardening, golden flecks brightening. Ashley stepped further in and leaned against a rack of weights, sighing, her lips forming a crooked grin. "Sure, I wouldn't mind to have a bit of the strength Kristy has, and I would love some, uh, more up top. Not a pair of double-D's like Kristy," Ashley quickly amended with a wry grin, "but a being able to fill a C-cup would be nice. But... I've seen what happened to Kristy because of it and what... It's not worth it, trust me."

Ashley's deep amber eyes glinted with painful memories, and Jill remembered that even though she may not have endured with Kristin did in Paradise, she had witnessed a great deal of it. And come out the stronger for it, in spirit, if not in body. And who was to say which of the two was more important.

Ashley moved over, sitting on the end of the workout bench, and stared down at her feet. "One of my other cousin's, Kristy's brother, he went out and got infected on purpose," Ashley revealed after a moment of taut silence. "He was jealous of what Kristy could do, and wanted the same. None of us had even heard of any of the supers before Kristy. It didn't work, then our parents made Kristin... end him. She blamed herself, of course, even though there was nothing she coulda done."

She looked up at Jill, mouth tight as she added firmly, "We won't talk about Paradise. Not now."

But then her hard expression softened with concern and she sighed again. "I think I know what you mean about Violet leaving you empty though. Kinda. You think Kristin seems all happy and well during the day after she... after she spends time with Violet. But at night, she still suffers nightmares - I hear her - she just doesn't remember them when she wakes up. Violet's... Bliss hides them from her. And when that Bliss or whatever wears off, Kristin is even worst than before, needing another hit. And she doesn't even realize the downward spiral she's in. She figures she can just go back for another round, and every time, it lasts less and less."

Ashley took a deep breath, pulling her worries and concerns back inside and gave Jill a friendly grin. It wasn't fair that even though she was the younger one, barely a woman, she was the one that had to raise the spirits of a woman grown, a woman so pretty and powerful no less. But they were living in the same place, building others up helped you too and when those that should know better inevitably let you down, at least being able to say you tried gave you the strength to carry on alone.

"Tell you what, Jill... next time you're feeling lonely and distracted when you're trying to go through your routine, come find me," Ashley offered with apparent sincerity. "I could use a bit of a workout - it'll help with chores and organizing the salvage Kristy brings in - and maybe helping me will help you focus too, hmm?"

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Jill was still repeating what Ashley said about the Bliss Violet caused and what effect it had on Kristin in her head and only barely caught up on Ashley’s offer. „Of course... thank you.“, she quickly added, not wanting to appear impolite. Ashley could see the conflict in Jill’s eyes. The buff blonde was deep in thought about something Ashley just said.

It gets worse... she’s right about that. I feel very much the same. Why can’t Violet let me feel my own love for her? My own emotions are strong enough, I really do love her but ever since... Kristin... she doesn’t let me. As if she’s looking for something I can’t give her. I’m just a replacement for whatever sick fantasy she’s riding., Jill sighed heavily and blinked several times as all these revelations slowly dawned on her.

For a moment the adolescent thought she’d better left her alone but then Jill suddenly spoke up, eyes unfocused in a thousand miles-stare.

„I used to be stronger, mentally stronger. I had always been like that. Independent and full of self-confidence. It takes a lot of dedication and willpower to have this life-style. The sport is more than just lifting weights. Everything you do is part of your life-style and I loved it... I still do. When I met Violet it all changed. Actually everything changed with Z-day and if it wasn’t for James me and my sister would be surely dead now. I learned that day that my strength and skills with the sword were no match for a super. James held off hordes of Zeds while I could barely keep my sister out of harms way. I wanted to fight but... I gave James my sword. He was much more effective with it, although he had no idea how to wield it properly. His superhuman strength and toughness compensated more than enough for his lack of skill and experience. Years of training pales entirely in comparison to the Supers...“, Jill admitted surprised at her own assessment of the situation. She had carried this envy far too long around with her and worded her feelings about it for the first time since she met him.

Jill bent forward, elbows resting on her massive thighs as she continued to explain – the words just kept flowing out of her.

„Violet used to watch me when I worked out. I think it turned her on and I must confess I liked it. It feels good to be loved and also that someone respects what you do. It meant a lot to me. One day I was doing my heavy sets and going for a new benchpress record. Sometimes I feel like it and give it a shot but you should never do that without a spotter – someone who helps you re-rack the weight should you overestimate yourself or simply fail at pushing out the rep. Then you’ll need help or you can get seriously hurt.

I don’t know what rided me that day but I put 15 pounds more on my best lift – I was feeling strong and high by all the endorphines and Violet’s constant lusty looks. I asked her to spot and explained what she should do – the weight was set to 200 pounds.“, Jill rolled her eyes faking a smile. Obviously it had been a stupid idea or so Ashley thought.

„Anyway, I had my gloves, I steeled my will and grabbed the bar. I really thought I could do it but it was too heavy for me. I pushed hard concentrating and focusing as much as I could but I failed to do a clean rep and my arms started to buckle under the pressure. I asked Violet for help and she wasn’t really prepared, although I had told her to pay attention. The bar almost crushed me but then she suddenly grabbed it... with one arm... and curled it holding it steady in her hand. She was surprised and scared I could tell as much and I rolled off the bench staring at her. There she was standing with the 200 pound bar almost casually and not even breaking a sweat. I was unable to say anything. My best arm curls are 40 pounds, and I can do about 5 reps before I need a break. Violet was curling 5 times as much and she was far from being at her limit.“, Jill sighed again and stared at the floor.

„I mean it’s easier to accept that guys like James can lift cars and throw motorcycles like baseballs around. He looks powerful and has huge muscles, you’d expect someone like him to possess such strength... but Violet? Violet crushed my self confidence with one simple curl of that bar. I knew she was strong – I had experienced it when we were making love, I couldn’t overpower her and I knew she was letting me have the upper hand when she felt like it. It had been something I could ignore since making love to her is so...“, Jills suddenly stopped and looked at Ashley.

„I’m sorry... I didn’t mean to. What I was trying to say, until then it was something abstract to me but after that day when she simply curled more than I could bench on my best day it became very real. I was obsessed with it, I wanted to know, I needed to know just how strong she was but my set here doesn’t have enough weights. We had to stop at 600 pounds or the bar would’ve broken and she told me it wasn’t really a challenge for her. Later we found out that she could lift about a ton. Call me silly but I cried that night.“, she confessed feeling how tears were welling up in her eyes but she didn’t want to have an emotional break out. It felt good talking about it and the more she shared this the better she was able to gain perspective.

„The truth is, we can’t compete with the supers. I can’t and I certainly tried. Violet is in love with Kristin because she knows that Kristin is stronger than her. And no matter how hard I work-out and how hard I try, I’ll never be able to do that. It’s the physical aspect that turns her on. I know that I have a special place in her heart but I’m not sure if I can go on like this. I don’t want to be a derivate for something she craves more... maybe I should let her go but I don’t know if I can. When I see her...“, Ashley could tell what Jill was trying to explain. It seemed impossible to deny Violet once she was present. Her presence was overwhelming and she didn’t want to know what it would be like if she was the focus of her attention.

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Ashley's face paled slightly as she inhaled a shuddering breath. Violet was gorgeous there was no denying that, impossible measurements or no, but Ashley was greatly relieved she hadn't turned her sights on her. She wasn't sure if she would have been able to resist becoming addicted to her like it seemed Jill and Kristin were.

"If Violet manages to get... uh... the physicality she wants from Kristin..." Ashley sucked air through her teeth with a sharp whistle. "I think it'll go bad for both of them. Kristy was strong enough to have stopped any man before, she just let them do... what they did for my sake and because taking out one man, even two, wouldn't have been enough before they overwhelmed her. I think." Ashley glanced away, hiding moist eyes and a melancholy frown.

"Sex and the application or yearning for strength, I'm not sure who, but one of them will end up going to far - I know it will - and that would end up... bad, for everyone." Ashley shuddered, then turned back to Jill, giving her big hand an almost desperate squeeze. "You gotta help me from it getting that far. We can't tell them no, that'll just drive them closer together. We just gotta persuade them to slow down, keep it from getting... too intimate, y'know?"

Jill gave a despairing chuckle. "I know what you mean. I just don't know if we're too late or what we can do to stop it."

"We'll find a way, for both their sakes," Ashley said with a surprising cool confidence as she stood up. "I don't know what it's like for you, being... upstaged like you were. When Kristy got her muscles and stuff, we all thought she was something like Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One of her brothers was really jealous of her, but mostly, they were scared of her."

Her amber-brown eyes grew hard as ice. "Our families left her. Said they were just going to look for supplies, but they simply left Kristin behind, telling her to guard the camp until they got back. Didn't even tell her. They tried to get me to go too, but I stayed, for Kristin. But I couldn't tell her."

A hand went to her mouth as she choked back a sob, the biggest sign of what she and Kristin had gone through that Ashley had revealed so far. "I wish I had told her. Them maybe Paradise would never have happened. Excuse me... I need to, to take a walk, see how Kristin is doing and start - excuse me."

Ashley began to leave with a brisk pace, but stopped at the door, looking over a slender shoulder. Her expression was carefully composed, a stubborn set to her jaw that Jill had seen on Kristin before as well.

"And you're wrong Jill, we can compete with the Supers, just not in the same way. Sure, lots of them are super strong, and Violet is super sexy, but a person that keep a power-plant running is still more important. So is a doctor. Think on that."

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Jill nodded tiredly at Ashley putting on a weak smile, „Dan and Myf... she can heal by touch and he creates electricity... who’ll want a real doctor if Myf is there? Who’ll worry about maintanence if Dan can simply recharge batteries with his power, or run the facility all by himself?“, Ashley saw Jill slump her broad shoulders forward – a rare und unusual sight.

„It’s ok, I understand what you mean, Ashley.“, Jill added and started to stuff her bag and call it a day.

It felt good talking to Ashley, the young adolescent was wise beyond her years and they weren’t that much seperated by age, only 6 years actually. Still it felt strange to Jill to seek someone else’s help or even share as much of her private thoughts. She sensed that she was reaching a threshhold, that her reserves were almost depleted and her will to go on was waning. Now that she had talked to a stranger she had to get a second perspective from someone close to her – Jo and James.

James used to be a bodybuilder himself so he could relate better to her issues, he was also the only one who knew which supplements and food to pick specifically for her. Her next request would be a bit more complicated than that, though. She wasn’t looking for Protein-shakes or other food supplements, she needed real drugs. James would have to raid an hospital or a good sorted pharmacy.

Jill opened the large gatorade-fridge they had salvaged from a basketball court which served to keep most of her stuff that needed cooling fresh. Aside from drinks and meat she also had a small box which contained her little stash of Anabolics and Steroids. Working out professionally demanded a certain addition of hormones the female body simply didn’t produce or produced in too little amounts. Her dosages were carefully calculated and measured and she made a huge step around the stuff that caused serious side effects but gave the best results. That wasn’t her goal. Still she was dependent on these drugs to gain the size, mass and definition she wanted.

10. Only 10 shots left, that meant 2 weeks. After those two weeks she’d start stalling and then eventually fight against losing what she had gained. Aside from that she couldn’t prevent from gaining more fat and retain water from her menstrual cycle. That in return would make her appear softer – or give her the so called ´off-season´ look. The way most bodybuilders looked like in between competitions. I hope James can help me out

She took a quick shower and put on a black muscle shirt and matching sweat pants and made her way to tent city. Her body was still aching a bit from the workout but that was expected and actually welcomed. It made her feel alive and she knew there was no gain without pain. It seemed to be one of her luckier days since she only had to fend off two guys who thought that Jill walking around all by herself was easy prey but she unmistakably showed them that she wasn’t one of the women from the Red-Tent.

As she reached the tent she listened quietly for any sounds that may hint at an inconvenient moment to appear. She could hear voices amongst which she made out James‘ deep bariton. Bracing herself for the next possibly stressful encounter she entered the tent announcing herself politely, „Hey guys, it’s me Jill... can I come in?“

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Several voices said 'sure' and Jill walked into a room gearing up for war. Open phone books, maps, brochures, and lists littered the table. A map was pinned to a wall and a one white board held a list of locations combined with priorities, likely outcomes, and visit order.

Jill had come at a good time, and not just because JoAnna was there. James and his harem crew were clearly mapping out the next large scale scavenge raid and/or cache creation. Planning was a big deal. Send James out to pick up something vague and he'd come back with something vague. Give him a list of twelve specific things and careful planning was the difference between a few hours and a few days in execution. Transportation was a big deal and James' power didn't let him read street signs and stop.

Jill'd seen and participated in this before, she knew somewhere in this mess was James 'little black book', a pair of notebooks listing his caches. She also knew this was a great stage to add things to the 'honey-do' list, actually that was the point of the meeting.

James said, "Hey Jill. What's up?"

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Jill looked at the other women smiling politely at them until she found JoAnna’s eyes. A small spike of adrenaline made her blush and her eyes lingered a moment on her sister’s voluptous features. James could see the distant sadness in Jill’s eyes and she looked very tired and exhausted.

„Hey James...“, she tried to sound cheerful but it came out rather weak. „I... so I see you’re preparing for another raid? Good... would you?“, it was absolutely not like her to be so insecure. They went through hell together and even though they weren’t a couple anymore James still considered her family – or very close at least.

Before he could inquire what was wrong with her she looked up to him, obviously having regained some of her composure.

„Can we talk? Just you and I?“, he could see she must’ve been crying but was trying to hide it. There were shadows under her eyes, as if she had trouble sleeping. He never seen her like this before, maybe she was sick?

„Sure.“, he nodded at her and looked at his women who recognised the intention in his voice and started to do some of their daily chores granting them some privacy.

He guided her to his sleeping cove, an area of the tent they had seperated and tried to make as cozy and comfortable as possible. Jill was sighing as she entered the room staring at the tent wall presenting James her back. Her hair was tied in a pony-tail and it looked freshly washed – if things had been differently James briefly considered offering sex but telling from Jill’s body language that was probably not going to happen.

„I don’t know where to start – I just spoke with Ashley, Kristin’s cousin. And I...“, she stopped midsentence and shook her head. She reached into her sweat pants pocket and retrieved an empty ampulla from her secret cache. It was labelled with the type of Steroid she needed but she was too ashamed all of a sudden to make this request. Maybe she should just let it be and stop lifting weights altogether, it would be a nice change to eat whatever she wanted instead of checking her list of 15-foods of her diet.

„You’ve been into bodybuilding before you became, right? I know you told us once about it. I...“, she was slowly turning around to face him, the ampulla tightly clutched in her hand making it impossible for him to see what she was holding.

„I need your help... and I don’t know if I’m making the right decisions anymore. I can’t...“, she was struggling with tears but didn’t allow herself to cry. Don’t show any weakness!

Unable to word her request she opened her hand and showed him the empty ampulla. If he knew just a bit about bodybuilding he would recognise the compound. He would also know it was very rare and really expensive back then, before Z-Day.

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Stalling for time, James said, "Yeah. When I became I got myself at my peak. Can't you just picture me standing in front of a crowd wearing a thong?"

James mentally translated what was going on. Jill and Violet had a fight? Were headed for a fight? 'Talking to Ashley, Kristin’s cousin' had one obvious meaning. James had suspected for a while Kristin was being groomed as Dan's replacement.

James glanced at the ampulla and he whistled. James said neutrally, "This is the real deal. Unpronounceable name and all. Liquid muscle."

Jill has been looking a lot more buff recently. She didn't get this from me. How... oh. Right. It's hers. Jill had time to pack on Z-day, unlike Jo and me, she started from her home. No way she had a stash big enough to last this many months... no. She hasn't been using it full time. This is a 'peak' drug, for right before the show.

James guessed, "Jill... you're fighting with Violet? Maybe about Kristin? What's going on?"

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Jill stared at him, her blue eyes probably trying to carve through his skull. A fight? How could I fight her?, she shook her head and he saw that something inside her had broken.

„Violet is... She’s infatuted with that girl“, she almost spat that word, „At first I thought it was ok but each time V was done with her she came to me and we had... sex.“, Jill smiled weakly.

It’s not like she didn’t enjoy the attention but Violet’s motives were becoming very clear now. „She fucked me thinking of Kristin, imagining I was her. I... just know.“, the hatred she felt for Kristin was palpable, „She didn’t allow me to have my own feelings, she just overwhelmed me with all her power – it was... exhilirating.“, Jill still shivered from the memory of it and James could see the immediate response that memory had as her nipples started to poke through her shirt.

„But each time she came like a Tsunami over me, she took something from me... and I can feel how less and less of that something is left of me. I... I can’t explain how I feel. I love her... and I hate her. I... I... I want to have my own emotions, I want to love her on my conditions because I truly feel something for her but... but I don’t know if I can go on like this. James... she’s draining me and I can’t... resist her. I just can’t... If she’d walked in here right now I’d do everything she wanted.“, her breathing got agitated while her facial expression looked even more exhausted and desperate now.

Her voice was faint now, just above a whisper, „ I can’t resist her ", Jill reached out for James and pulled herself closer to him resting her head on his broad chest, then she started sobbing quietly.

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James awkwardly hugged his ex-lover and struggled to suppress his anger. Jill was family and Violet was raping her. The reasonable and appropriate reaction was to cut someone's head off.

James thought to himself, Calm down 'Ares'. You're not serious about killing V. And no killing people because you're pissed. You don't do that.

Don't be silly. Of course I do.

No, you don't. Coming right up to the line isn't stepping over it.

Stranding someone so he can starve to death on a rooftop of a zombie infested building counts.

I left him a gun.

With six bullets.

He was threatening Jo. Someone needed to stop him so I stopped him.

And the Nillist?

A crazy super human running around killing people because the world 'needs to be destroyed' also needs to be stopped. He died because I decided he needed to be dead, not because I was pissed about that whole 'he made me kiss a man' thing.

Bottom line is you're not killing Violet... and... is what she's doing really rape?

She's using her powers to create consent, not giving Jill a choice. How is that different from a gun to the head?

Says the guy with four women. Would they all be with you if the alternative didn't involve poverty and maybe being eaten by zombies?

It's not rape if a 90 year old guy has a 25 year old wife. My sister Janet did that. Janella's mom did too. That's before instincts saying 'mate with the strong', and the entire zombie thing wasn't my doing.

And you have that whole seduction thing too.

Which is... probably pheromones. Normal people have pheromones too, they just can't control them. Smelling when a woman is likely to say 'yes' might be unfair, but it's not rape either. The girls can say no. Hell, Jill and Violet did.

...and V?

...Jill is upset because V's not letting her say 'Yes', not because she wants to say 'No'. She's also upset over Kristin.

That's... a lover's quarrel.

James relaxed, held Jill and wordlessly let her cry.

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He could feel that she didn’t want to cry but the walls she had built, the defenses she was relying on most of her life couldn’t hold against this overwhelming desperation she felt. She was hurt on so many levels and didn’t understand the world anymore. It was close to the time when she thought she’d been bitten back then when she met James. Somehow this felt even worse.

„I’m sorry...“, she apologized in between sobs looking up at him. Her embarrassment was obvious and she shook her head trying to calm herself down. „I’m mad and furious but also incredibly sad at the same time. Violet makes me lose trust in my own feelings. I... I don’t know what is right or wrong – I don’t this here.“, she wiped away her tears but also pointed at herself.

„I don’t know if this is even real or just another level of control over my feelings. Maybe she is sad and I just... feel the same?“, James could see the insecurity in her eyes which was nothing like her. Jill used to be rather stubborn and straightforward and almost never compromised. But this behaviour of hers was very odd and alarming.

„James, I want to be with her and I tried to be a better lover for her. I know what she likes and I try to please her tastes but it is getting increasingly difficult and also... very frustrating.“, she stared at the wall past him. Her steel blue eyes suddenly very focused and determined. That’s the Jill he knew and recognised but then she said something he’d never expected to hear from her.

„Maybe I should stop trying being strong? Maybe I should just quit this and don’t worry about it? I can’t save her if Zombies attack, she’ll save me – it’s futile to even try. Why should I put myself through all this just to see how I slowly but steadily will lose size and definition because without the `right stuff´ I can’t reach ´the look´. It’s a waste of time.“

But you couldn’t just stop being an athlete from one day to the other. The sport transcended every aspect of ones live so quitting meant quitting a part of something that defines your everyday routine and living. It would be tough just stopping aside from the effects it would have on her body. She would blow up like a cake made of yeast dough. Jill knew she couldn’t just stop. It would have to be a gradual reduction of her daily routines until she reached a point which she felt comfortable with and which just required a minimum of attention. She’d still be fit and athletic but nothing like the buff amazon she was now.

„I don’t want to give up, James. Maybe I have to...“, she couldn’t word it but James could feel it. Maybe she’d have to leave Violet... if that was even possible. Even after his break up with her Jill knew that Violet was everpresent. She changed him permanently and the same was happening to her now.

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Unsure of where to start James said hesitantly, "Jill..." it hurt to see her like this.

James paused and started again. He said gently, "Jill. You're thinking way too little of yourself, and far too much of V. I've seen you kill zombies, I've never seen her do so. She has the physical strength, but not the training and she's not tough or strong above the neck. V survives by convincing other people to fight for her. Put you both in an arena with swords and smart money says you'd kill her."

James wasn't lying or exaggerating, that was his honest evaluation. While Jill was digesting that he added, "If you destroy yourself you won't be the woman Violet fell in love with."

James had a lot more to say but he waited to see how Jill took this.

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She had calmed down enough and was slowly releasing the embrace although she still remained close to him. Her hands had slid down to his elbows briefly gracing over his engorged biceps. She had a half smile in her face somewhere caught between admiration and contempt.

„James... you know how desperately Jo is trying to become without getting bitten by a Zed. I must confess I entertained that idea too, but it’s suicide and crazy. I hoped it would work because she wants it so much...“, she shook her head again.

„I’m not thinking too little of myself. I think my assessment is pretty accurate. Even with my skill and knowledge, and even combat experience Violet could overpower me. I can’t picture it myself, though.“, she chuckled briefly at the image of Violet trying to actually fight her.

"I’d agree if you told me I’d kill any male who was physically tougher and stronger but had no experience but you supers. Well... you are super. I have more combat experience than you and I would have absolutely zero chance to take you out. Thank you for trying to built up my confidence but I’m passed that point.“, she was getting increasingly sober and bitter.

„Can you get me this stuff? Or something with the same content. I won’t take the stuff that turns me into a guy but this is the best thing I can get to remain a semblance of competition. God how I hate that girl...“

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James gave a half embarrassed 'you-caught-me' shrug when his ex-lover ran her hands over his muscled arm. He had to concede her point. The muscles were akin to winning the lottery. At her comment about Jo, he muttered, "Me too." He'd love to empower Jo. It'd make her happy, remove a source of friction and add power to his family. James raised an eyebrow at the 'more experienced' comment. He'd been killing zombies pretty much constantly since z-day.

Originally Posted By: Jillian Johnson
"Can you get me this stuff? Or something with the same content. I won’t take the stuff that turns me into a guy but this is the best thing I can get to remain a semblance of competition. God how I hate that girl...“
James hesitated and bought some time by quibbling, "You could take Violet. Perhaps Priest and/or his brainy engineer whatever her name is. Bond would be hard. Fox and Myf throw bolts at a range."

Admitting the bad news, James continued, "No chance against me. Or Dan. Or Kristin." There. He's said her name.

James added softly, "Kristin hates me by the way. Not me-as-in-me, me-as-in-the-symbol-of-men. Fears me too." James obviously didn't fear or hate her, Kristin was a child/woman and walking wounded.

James sighed and made up his mind. Buying time by quibbling hadn't made his decision any easier. Ultimately he had to go with free will.

James said, "To answer your question, yes, no, and maybe. Yes, I will help you. No, this many months without refrigeration means this stuff is gone. Maybe I can find some pills or something in addition to the powder." The nutritional supplement he'd expected and cached store earlier. Steroids were several steps above that. He'd been on the circuit long enough to respect them without fearing them, but he had doubts this was a good idea.

James added slowly, "But Jill... some extra muscle mass isn't going to fix your relationship issues with V. She makes assumptions and mistakes. Talk to her and have it out. Or if it's a real problem, you could leave for a while. I could help with that too."

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"Leave?", her question sounded as if he asked the impossible from her.

"Leave her?", she repeated it. "I can't... James. Don't you understand, I can't go... doing this here right now hurts. I mean talking so bad about her and what she did although all she does is love me... but... but", she knew he was right.

The rational part of her mind had finally caught up and pierced the veil but emotionally she felt unable to overcome Violet's influence. He could see that she was struggling but also making some progress. It was in her eyes, as if she had made a decision and was slowly formulating a plan.

She still sounded defeated though when she spoke, "The softer I get the less she'll come to me and share our bed, that's a fact. She loves me but she also loves my look and that will eventually be my downfall. If I can't captivate her why should she stay with me? She can have everyone she wants and she chose me because... because I was unique. But now I'm not and my competition is a super. I can't win this... impossible. You know that."

Jill had watery eyes but she didn't cry anymore, she had it under control now. With much bitterness she added, "I'm running out of time, James. Thank you for helping me - it really means a lot.", she got on her toes and gave him a gentle kiss.

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James kissed her lightly back but also patted her ass as though to remind her of encounters past. He stated, "You're more than a pretty face. You need to believe that."

Not really believing she would change her mind, he added, "It's a standing offer."

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She nodded at him managing to put an honest smile on her face. He wouldn't break his promise she knew that - they've been through too much since Z-day and he truly had become family.

Jill slowly released her embrace squeezing his hands before she let go.

"You look good, James. Must be awesome being a super.", he could tell she had come to terms with that part but it was difficult to tell what her next decision actually was.

She slowly went to the exit glancing one more time back to him, "I trust you to find something to help me out. I can't just stop after reaching this condition, I hope I can maintain some of it just for my own good, not for hers. I can't go back being... skinny. I'll be at the smithy.", she left the tent and made plans for the future. A future without Violet.


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