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Signs of Life on Planet Spinelli
Part Three: Love Has No Uttermost

Part One
Part Two

The end.


This Makeshift Maxie is not who he desires. She leans close to him, flutters her eyelashes, and laughs shrilly and falsely at his murmurs of speech. Her hair is not quite the right shade of gold and her eyes are not quite the right blue, but he lets her lean drunkenly against him because not quite is better than not at all. The Jackal will not let it go any farther, but it’s nice to imagine for a while that the warmth against his side is her. He is, after all, just a man.

A man so terribly, terribly in love. His mind is fuzzed with drink and drugs and maddening want. Oh how the mighty Ace has fallen, he thinks, while the girl eventually slides away from him on a search for greener and more attentive pastures. Spinelli licks the rim of his glass and tries not to cry. He’d never seen the merit before, the use of the endeavors men went though to lose themselves. Until now.

The smoke in this bar takes the shape of her form, all soft curves and harsh lines. He hears her in the steady beat that thrums through the air. “Maxie,” he tells the bushy barkeep, eyes distant, “She’s the most beautiful girl in the world.”

“Spinelli?” a large hand clasped his shoulder, rousing him from his thoughts. Spinelli, heavy tongued and bleary minded, pulled off the magnificent and notable feat of turning his seat without falling to the floor. Of course, the pair of hands that held him steady as he dipped sideways may have had something to do with that.

“St-Stone Cold.” He slurred, pausing to hiccup. “What brings you to this den of-of…” Trailing off, he tried to think of the right word.

“Spinelli.” Jason sighed again. He pried the empty shot glass out of the drunk’s clumsy hands. “Coleman called me. Said you were down here depressing the other customers. What’s the matter with you?”

Peering up at his mentor through a messy fringe of hair, messy because that’s just how it was without her around to fix it, Spinelli wondered what wasn’t the matter with him. He was a compulsive geek with the social graces of a dog and a heart that yearned for things it couldn’t have. One Jones sister had loved him—he knew this and it bit at his heart, a viscous thing, a regret he would never let go . That he’d missed it, how stupid, and now this must be his punishment. It kills him to think maybe Georgie, Sweet and Loyal and Wise Georgie, had felt anything remotely like this, like he did, so lost and hopeless and pained and starving.

Jason talks to him like he’s some three year old, a stupid one, incompetent, while he leads him out of the bar. Spinelli doesn’t want to go, doesn’t want to leave this place of promised forgetfulness, but he tags along anyway.

He thinks maybe he could have handled it if she’d gone to Logan. The Crabby Commando, that unappreciative women-beater who didn’t deserve anything. Or maybe, through some weird twists he couldn’t even imagine in his current state of mind, if she’d ended up with Johnny even. Better the devil you know, after all. But that—that waste, that guy who’d come out of nowhere and spent his time draped in Maxie’s shadow, he infuriated Spinelli. He was nothing, nothing, and even though Spinelli knew it didn’t mean anything to Maxie, it still hurt that she’d rather warm her side with that thing than—than her faithful companion, the Jackal.

“This is about Maxie.” The enforcer said, leading him down the cold, cold, nighttime streets of Port Charles. It was an absolutely brilliant deduction.

“Everything.” Spinelli told him solemnly, stumbling over air. “Everything is about Maxie.”

The world as he knew it—not the world as he’d known it, which no longer existed—revolved around Maxie Jones. Around not having her and wanting her and watching her and wondering why he wasn’t quite good enough. Blaming himself for not being happy that she considered him a friend, blaming the whole universe that he wasn’t worth more. Damian Spinelli—cursed to long and lose.

The grim light from the streetlamp reminded him of something—a dark, foggy fantasy. Maxie against him on her own violation, even if it hadn’t really counted. Spinelli choked, throat suddenly tight, and yanked away from Jason. “I can’t.” he said thickly, grabbing the pole for support.

Jason just looked at him. Maybe, in another time, Spinelli would have been warmed and honored to see the shimmer of concern in his eyes. “Spinelli-what? What’s the matter?”

“Me.” Spinelli pressed his sleeves into his eyes. “She doesn’t love me.”

And what, what could his master, Stone Cold, the unbeatable force of wisdom and courage and all things good in a world of evil—what could he possibly do?

“It’ll get better, Spinelli.” Jason told him, flat and blunt and the only familiar thing left in this new world. “It’ll take a while, maybe a long time. But you’ll get over it.”

Spinelli thinks I cannot possibly love her any more than this. And yet with each passing second, he falls further.


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October 2009

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