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Rhythm of Enchantment
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Andolyn



Joined: 18 Apr 2011
Posts: 852
Location: sitting barefoot in a tree in the beautiful land of Ardara, writing my tales...

Posted: Thu Jan 07, 2016 9:09 pm    Post subject: Rhythm of Enchantment  

HEY LOOK! A New LINEAR!! Due to the nature of this story, it would be insanely difficult to post as an SG, but I'd still love to share it with everyone and gather thoughts. Let me know what you think!

~#*RoE*#~

Dance.

A Verb meaning to move rhythmically to music, typically following a sequence of steps.

I’ve always hated that definition. It’s dry. It holds no more feeling than the ink that sticks to the paper in the dictionary. It is a string of letters on a page offering precious little more passion than a metronome ticking out the time.

Dance is so much more than movement.

Dance is what happens when life and music stir a person on so deep a level that the compulsion to act bursts forth into beautiful visions of raw emotion. Rapture or crushing sorrow can never be more purely expressed than when a person is lost in the reckless abandon of dance.

At least that’s what dance is for me…


The smell of honeysuckle tickles my nose as I sit, studying, on the banks of the river Shannon. I love honeysuckle. It’s probably my favorite scent. It reminds me of spring even in the dead of winter.

I try to reign in my wandering mind. Study is not my strong suit. I know it’s necessary for my degree, but I’d much rather be practicing dance out here in the beautiful green grass than reading about it. The muscles in my whole body itch with just the thought…and if I wasn’t surrounded by people milling about the campus, I might just be tempted to enact that thought before class begins…

Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately for the test I’ve got coming up, there are people milling about. This is one of the times of day when the whole campus is on break, so several people are scattered about, studying under the trees behind me. A few students are taking the opportunity to jog or work out. Some of them are just standing around socializing.

Socializing…

That’s something I almost never do. I don’t have friends…unless you count the other girls who live in my apartment building…and Fran. She’s the spunky old lady who lives just below me.

I’ve never been the social butterfly, captivating the attention of anyone and everyone who happens to encounter me. I’m more the fly on the wall that observes quietly, letting everyone else do his or her showing off.

I don’t like to be seen.

Odd, for a dancer, one might say. My motives for dancing are purely selfish, though. I am not a performance artist. Now, I have always done the required recitals and shows, but my dancing is for me. I don’t enjoy being the center of attention. I dance because I must. It is my best and truest form of expression.

I dance because I love to dance.

R2-D2 begins chirping wildly from the cell phone that resides in the grass beside me. I reach to shush the hysterics. It would seem that I am about to be late for class. That wouldn’t do at all; Classical Dance is my favorite.

I gather my things and rush to one of the many auditoriums. No one turns a head when I walk in; I pride myself on my silence. Fly on the wall, remember?

Well, almost no one notices me. There’s a guy in the middle of the right hand section of the stadium-style room, Julian McPrincely (I’ve always found that last name hilariously appropriate for him.), who immediately raises his head and smiles at me. With a nervous smile in return, I offer a polite wave and quickly find my seat.

Per my norm, I arrange my books, laptop, and pen in their usual spots. I, then, sit down, pull my knees up to my chin, and cover them with my giant, oversized Juilliard hoodie until only the tips of my feet are showing. I’m certain I look something similar to a garden gnome as I position the dark grey hood over my freakishly red hair, but now I am ready for a class period of note taking and watching.

Class begins right on schedule. The teacher speaks for half of it on the type of dance that will be practiced today. I enjoy hearing the history of each type. Knowing about the place from which it came and the people who created it gives the act of dancing so much more depth than simply following the required steps.

The second half of the class, however, is the part that I truly love. Students are allowed to practice the various dances in front of everyone. Watching my graceful classmates twirl and move to the rhythm of the music is one of the particular highlights of my days here at the university. I delight in seeing their emotion and passion put on display. It speaks to me in a way that very few things do.

Public practice is not a requirement, so naturally, I always remain in my seat. I know what is about to happen, however. I can already feel my face heating up without even looking. Julian McPrincely, Mister Smiles from earlier, is about to rise ever so elegantly from his seat, stride up to me with those long, powerful steps, peer into my very soul with those ridiculously green eyes, run his long fingers through that thick black hair, and ever so sweetly ask me to dance.

I’ll turn him down, of course.

I don’t dance in front of my classmates unless I have to. It’s common knowledge, really, so I’m not entirely sure why he keeps trying, but this is what has occurred in every single class we’ve had for the last three weeks. He and his small entourage appeared on campus out of nowhere one day. They joined our classes, making us university students who have studied dance our entire lives look like a class of junior amateurs, and two weeks later, Julian began taking an abnormal interest in me.

I can’t say his interest is unwelcome. Let’s face it; he’s a flipping Adonis. I just find it strange that he’d choose me of all people. As I’ve mentioned, no one notices me. Then you have his persistence despite my constant refusal to dance with him. We have no other contact outside of this class, and the only conversation in which we’ve engaged has been a repeat of the same request and denial for the last fifteen class meetings. Any normal guy would have given up by now.

I can’t say that I’m not pleased by his persistence.

I also can’t help the smile that creeps onto my reddened face without my permission when I feel that familiar, gentle tap on my shoulder.

“Hello, Julian,” I mumble without looking up.

“Hello, Lady MacAuley,” his velvet voice sends a strange shiver up my spine.

The formality with which he addresses me has always been a point of amusement for me; it’s part of why his last name is so very appropriate. In fact, everything he does makes his name appropriate—the way he carries himself, the way he speaks, the way he looks, and even the way he’s stooped into a low bow beside me now with his hand out before him.

“May I beg the honor of a dance with you?”

I mean, seriously, who talks like that? No one I’ve ever met before talks like that.

The red hue of my face deepens slightly; all eyes are on the two of us. This exchange has become routine entertainment for our classmates. I’m sure some of them are taking bets on how long it will take me to give in. I’m wondering the same thing myself. I’m sure a day will come that my strength of will may fail…but today is not that day!

I giggle internally at my own stupid play on the line from Lord of the Rings.

“You already know the answer to that, McPrincely,” I say quietly, trying to shrink further into my hoodie. I hear mutters of disappointment from all across the room—the losers of today’s round of gambling.

“Indeed, I do,” Julian straightens, placing his hand over his heart. “But I’m clinging to the hope that one day the answer will change. Good day, Lady MacAuley.”

With a smile that could provide light for the entire room and not even a hint of defeat in his eyes, Julian turns and saunters back to his seat. All females present—and a few males as well—watch him with longing as he does so. His entourage awaits his return, Bane O’Dukey—hah! O’Dukey—and Brighid MacMarkson.

Bane is a tall, well-built fellow with long, sandy blonde hair that usually stays in a man-bun on top of his head. His eyes are icy blue, you could probably slice bread with his jawline, and the very visible muscles under his shirt leave almost all of the girls he meets drooling like St. Bernards.
Bane never really says much, and when he does speak it’s always directed at one of the other two members of the group. If it weren’t for his inhuman dancing abilities, I’m sure he’d be failing most all of his classes. The one time I witnessed a professor ask a question of him, he only stared at her with a blank, stony expression that might have frozen her soul if she’d gazed at it for too much longer than she did. He shakes his head with a knowing smirk as Julian approaches.

Brighid, on the other hand flips her dark-chocolate brown mane of curls over her shoulder with a scowl; one of her full lips pooches out slightly in a pout. She is the envy of every female here at the school with her perfect figure—lean, but full in all the right places—her beautiful, amber eyes, and her thick hair that make her look like some sort of ancient princess.

Brighid is quiet as well—not as quiet as Bane, though, and not for the same reasons, I think. She carries herself with an air of…betterness…I don’t think that’s actually a word, but fits anyway. Brighid keeps her nose in the air, and treats everyone as though they were peasants. Perhaps she thinks that because she looks like a princess, we should treat her as one.

I snort at the thought, causing the young man in front of me to turn in order to make sure I wasn’t attempting to gain his attention.

“Sorry,” I hiss out a whisper with an apologetic wave. The boy nods with a smile in return before continuing to watch our classmates practice.

I frown. With my thoughts back on dancing and class, a question enters my mind. I look back in Julian’s direction. He is sitting with his elegant fingers intertwined under and supporting his chin. His brows are furrowed as though he’s deep in thought. It has just occurred to me that when he receives my declination, he never asks another girl to dance in my place. He always returns to his seat and watches the others dance until class is dismissed.

Why does he never ask Brighid to dance?

I mean, they’re always together, the three of them. I have witnessed them all dancing solo, but never once have I seen them dance together.

How strange.

Speaking of Brighid, while my mind and eyes wander over to her space in the room, she looks up, and we have inadvertently locked gazes. She glares at me as though she’d like nothing better than to rip my face off. I feel my cheeks redden to roughly the color of my hair. With my eyes wide, I reflexively flash a nervous smile that’s cheesier than a block of Velveeta before lowering my head so far and fast that I end up slamming it into the table before me.

“Ouch,” I moan, following a sharp, hissing intake of breath. I’m certain I hear a laugh of disdain from Brighid’s direction.

The young man in the row in front of me turns again.

“Was that…your head?” he looks mildly concerned.

“Yes,” I rub the spot on my forehead that connected with the table, “Yes, it was.”

“Are you okay…?” He winces a bit, adjusting his glasses.

“Yeah, I’m good,” I respond quietly. He nods with a strange look on his face as though he’s deciding whether to laugh or be worried about me. Instead of acting on either option, he simply turns back toward the front of the auditorium.

Soon enough, class is dismissed, and I race out of the room before most of my classmates have even closed their books. I fly past Julian and the others, not looking up to see Brighid’s scornful look.

It’s my time, now.

I make my way up to a studio on the top floor. Looking around, I flip the lights on and slide in the door. As usual, no one is here. This hall is rarely used—mostly in times of overflow when the school is preparing for a performance, and everyone needs to spend every waking moment practicing.
In the corner, I shimmy my hoodie over my head and tie it around my waist. Wearing only my sports bra and the odd ensemble on my lower half, I begin to stretch. I’m feeling a bit of lyrical ballet this afternoon, so I reach into my duffle and find my pointe shoes. I tie them carefully, standing to check the fit.

Moving over to the wall of mirrors, I stretch some more on the bar before sliding a disk into the CD player by the wall. Bluesy music oozes from the speakers, and I begin bobbing my head. My hips begin to sway, and I allow my arms to turn and wave around me.

When the lyrics glide into the empty space, I whip my wayward body into first position, then immediately into fifth. I spin around in an unconventional move that takes me down, rolling from my knees, across my back, and then back up, spinning on my knees across the hard wood beneath me. From this position, I place my hands to the floor. Using solely my core and upper-body strength, I lift my entire body onto my hands and flip back onto my feet quickly in a strange cartwheel, landing en pointe. I continue my forward motion with a glissade, transitioning into a leaping grand jeté.

I can’t do anything the normal way, apparently.

I continue on in this way for the entirety of the four-minute song with many a fouetté and several of my own original moves decorating the routine. When the song finally ends, I fall to the floor, panting, sweating, and laughing with unrestrained enjoyment. There is nothing that settles my nerves, lifts my spirits, and makes me generally happier than losing myself in a dance.

Just as I think that, another song begins playing through the stereo speakers. It is a softer refrain, slow, and much more suited for traditional ballet. I’m not shocked. Apparently, the little machine enjoys this tune because no matter what track on my disk I select, the next one to play is always this song. It hasn’t failed for over two weeks. It’s almost as though some ghost picks it, wishing to dance with me. I can almost swear that I even feel the hints of ethereal touches on my arms and waist throughout various sections of the dance when a partner would join me.

Of course, I know that’s absolutely ridiculous, but the idea makes me smile nonetheless. Ghosts don’t exist, and if they did, I’d guarantee they’d have better things to do than come dance with me every time I break away to come here. I just have a very overactive imagination.

Julian would dance with you if you’d only let him.

I stop short in my movement. Where did that thought come from? I haven’t thought about Julian McPrincely at all since class earlier today. In fact, I never think about him outside of class. I mean, he’s an uber dreamy guy, physically and in the way he acts, but I’m not the kind of girl to be caught writing a dude’s name over and over in my notebook while I daydream about our future children.

A little weirded out with myself, I march over to the CD player and get my disk. I, then, sit and unlace my shoes and slide my sneakers on in their place. Wrestling my hoodie back over my sweaty body, I gather my things and head home.

When I arrive at my apartment, the sun is setting, and Fran is spraying weed killer in the little garden in front of our building. Fran is a stooped, wiry, little thing, but like the saying goes, dynamite comes in small packages.

“Hey, Franny!” I call cheerfully as I head up the concrete walkway.

Fran looks up and squints at me from behind her huge, coke-bottle glasses. They make her look like a cartoon character, and I can’t help but giggle every time I see them.

“What’re yeh doin’ comin’ in so late, lass?” Fran scolds me in her thick Irish accent.

“It’s not that late, Franny,” I sigh exasperatedly, but I can’t hide the grin on my face. “The sun’s still up!”

“Eh! Tha’ don’t mean not’n now a days,” she snorts loudly, and then spits.

I laugh out loud, causing Franny to swat my behind as I walk past her.

“I’ll remember that when yeh go missin’ one o’ these days, yeh little smarta—”

“Now, now, Franny!” I cut off her curse with feigned offense. “A sweet little lady like yourself shouldn’t be using such indecencies!”

“I’ll show yeh indecent!” Fran scoots toward me with her gardening spade as I race through the main doorway, laughing giddily all the way.

Fran is something of a grandmother to me. I don’t remember much about my biological grandparents; they passed away when I was very small, and before that, they lived in a different state. My parents both attended Juilliard, and that meant that we only saw the rest of my family in Florida and Pennsylvania at holiday gatherings.

I always imagined, though, that one of my grandmothers must have been a lot like Fran. If they weren’t, then I’m not sure how I ended up as snarky as I did. My parents were both very quiet, pacifistic people. I was their little firecracker.

That’s all in the past, though.

With a grin still plastered on my face, I unlock my apartment door and make my way inside. I hold my duffle bag out before me and then let it drop to the floor with a loud thud. It’s a good thing that Fran’s outside. She’d fuss at me for sure for being so noisy right over her flat.

I stand for a moment, thinking of what to do next. I don’t have to ponder for long, though, before I get a good whiff of myself that tells me a shower is definitely the best course of action. I step over my duffle and continue on.

Carefully, I turn on the water. Something is wrong in the building’s plumbing, so taking a shower is a bit like playing Russian roulette. You never quite know what temperature you’re going to get, and it’s always subject to change at any time. I strip down and feel the water again.

Perfect.

I open the curtain enough to jump into the warm water.

And then, I jump right back out.

Fooled again! One of these days, I’ll learn to feel the water as I’m getting in instead of just trusting that it will stay the same temperature between feeling from the outside and stepping over the threshold of the tub.

I adjust the temperature again and slowly get in. At least for now, it has regulated, and my tired muscles soak in the heat greedily.

After a few moments, I bathe myself quickly and step back out, not wanting to try my luck. I dry off, leaving the towel wrapped around my head, and gather up my clothes. I’m one of the lucky few, here, who has a functioning washer and dryer in the apartment instead of having to pay to use the public wash down the street. I typically do a load a day because I don’t like being without my Juilliard hoodie. I guess it’s sort of my adult version of a security blanket.

With my favorite article of clothing now spinning in a delicate wash, I make my way to the kitchen. I open the freezer and scan the contents. A smile works its way across my lips as I spot my favorite.
Pizza rolls aren’t exactly on the school’s list of recommended foods for dancers, but I don’t care. I’m a walking twig, anyway. I’ll just dance a little longer in tomorrow’s practice session to make up for it.

I heat the little pockets of deliciousness in the toaster oven before plopping down on my overly fluffy couch. Grabbing the remote, I switch on the television. I think there’s a Doctor Who marathon showing tonight…
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Seraphi



Joined: 25 Oct 2012
Posts: 503
Location: Penna, having a hot cup of tea

Posted: Fri Jan 08, 2016 8:09 am    Post subject:  

Brava, Andi, brava! I like this new story of yours very much.

As someone who danced for eight years of her life (which doesn't seem like very much now that I'm not 16 anymore and it doesn't have as much impact because I can't say half of my life haha) I really appreciate this story. I especially appreciate the part where our leading lady defines what dancing means to herself. Anyone who loves to dance will tell you that it is en pointe (pun very much intended and I am not sorry).

A few of my other thoughts...

In the beginning-ish when she says Socializing... I think it would be a neat idea to consider giving a text book definition of it and then continuing on with her own personal definition (which you do already have) much like you did with Dance. Not only is it a quick little tie in to earlier, but its a good indicator of her personality/character/how her mind works.

Hah! O'Dukey! *snorts in a very unladylike fashion*

A question...how is it that you keep creating older women that inspire and amuse me? I love Az, and now I love Franny. When will the sassy madness end?! (Just kidding, I love them, haha).

And finally, before she starts dancing and after she puts on her point shoes, maybe you want to describe the sound of the wood blocks that are in the toes as she walks around the room, or maybe the weight? I know when I did point that was one of my favorite parts, hearing that sound and feeling the weight at first but then when I danced its like they both disappeared/became a part of the song/an extension of myself? I don't know if I'm describing that in a way that makes sense, but there it is. Food for thought lol.

Can't wait for more!!! :D
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Andolyn



Joined: 18 Apr 2011
Posts: 852
Location: sitting barefoot in a tree in the beautiful land of Ardara, writing my tales...

Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 4:22 pm    Post subject: Chapter 2: Brighid  

Thanks for reading, Seraphi!! And thanks for the tips! As a non-dancer writing this, it will be helpful to have you along! Haha!

This next chapter is in a different perspective. I want to make that clear. Each chapter will be a new person speaking, and the chapter header will tell you the "who".

~#*RoE*#~

Chapter 2: Brighid

*CRACK*

Laughter escapes my lips as that idiot girl slams her head into the table in her haste to look away from me. Of course, she deserved it. One of her station has no right to make direct eye contact with someone in my position. I’m going to be the queen of the Faeries, after all.

I glance at my future husband. Julian looks somewhat pained as the human rocks back and forth holding her head. I’ll never understand his fascination with her. He won’t speak of her, and yet it’s obvious that she consumes his thoughts. I just don’t understand.

I mean, really. Look at her. She’s so thin; she’d never be able to bear children, and that hair of hers is just ridiculous. Add all of this to the fact that she’s a filthy human. She’s not even very good at being one of those! Her communication skills are lacking, at best. She’s a total klutz; at least some of these insects have a little bit of poise.

Rory MacAuley is nothing but a useless waste of space.

So why, then, is Prince Julian so obsessed with her?

It isn’t as though I care. He can chase frivolous amusements to his little heart’s content. I don’t want to marry Julian. I want to marry his power. Our union is strictly a business arrangement. He needs a bride in order to assume the throne, and his crown will be an excellent addition to my already powerful family. It is lucky that he’s good-looking because Julian’s personhood is something I will never love—and love itself is highly overrated, in my opinion. Julian’s head is far too high in the clouds for my taste, and he’s far too soft. Obviously, I’ll be doing the true ruling when we’re the heads of the kingdom. That sort of power is definitely not something I’ll mind.

I wish we could just get on with it.

I don’t know why Julian had to drag us into this insanity. Why couldn’t he just resign himself to our future and let everyone get back to normalcy? When he insisted on seeing the human world, I never imagined he’d actually go through with it. His rebellious spirit was somewhat cute in the beginning, but now, I’ve grown tired, and I’m ready to go home and start my life as queen. I’m not about to leave him here alone, though. He’s my ticket to the throne, and left to his own devices, he might just let himself die here.

I wonder what Bane thinks of all this.

I look over at the tall, blonde faery beside me. He’s staring at the human couple down on the main floor… I won’t say they’re dancing. That hideous display is nothing close to what could be considered real dancing.

It’s difficult to interpret the look on Bane’s face. He always wears the same one. The big lug is about as useful as a bump on a log—never speaking or contributing. He only stands there with that same, blank expression on his face. I don’t know why Julian insists on keeping him around either. The way the prince talks about Bane, you’d think the duke was one of the most important faeries on the planet. As a marchioness, it is true that my station is below his, but that will change soon enough. Maybe then I can convince Julian to distance him.

Class is dismissed. Julian stands immediately and bows as Rory MacAuley dashes past him and out the door. It’s a disgusting display, really, the prince of the faeries bowing to a lowly human. It is a minor irritation, though, and I shake it off as I stand and gather my books.

“I’m going to the forest to meditate,” I proclaim to the other two. “I need some time to cleanse from this filthy place.”

“I don’t know why you hate it so much,” Julian comments smoothly, pouting slightly as he packs things into his bag.

“Because I’d much rather be at home being pampered by servants in the palace than wasting time in this dung heap!” I snap back, shoving past him.

As I blow out the door in a huff, I hear Julian commenting to Bane.

“Because that idea really makes me want to hurry back.”

Bane grunts something in reply, but I’m too far away now to hear. It doesn’t matter, though. Julian is welcome to fight the future as long as he’d like. It is inevitable, though, and it will creep up on him long before he’s ready to accept it, I’m afraid.

Faeries can only survive among humans for so long before they have to return home. As I’ve said, the human world is filthy. It corrupts faeries, body and soul. Banished here for too long, a faerie will smother and die. The time it takes is far shorter for faeries of the royal bloodline to be affected than for those of lesser nobility. I guess I have that for which to be grateful. I will likely feel fine, just dirty, when Julian is no longer able to tolerate this plane of existence.

After walking several miles, I find myself in a wooded grove. It will be so nice when I can just fly again.

There is a small, natural fountain over to my right. This spot will do, I suppose. It’s going to have to. I don’t have many other options.

I settle myself down on a boulder next to the fountain and concentrate. It is difficult, at first, to block out all the noise even in this remote location. The human world is so noisy! Eventually, though, I’m able to successfully focus, and I lose myself in my meditation.



When I finally finish calming and cleansing my energies, the sun has begun to set. I suppose I should go find out what Bane and Julian are doing. With a groan, I stand to my feet. This body is so clunky. I’ll be happy to be in my real form again when we finally get to go home.

I slowly wind my way back to the dingy little shack where we’re currently residing. When compared to the home I left and the palace I’ll be living in when I return, this place is precious less than a roof and some walls. I don’t even want to sit on the sofa or lie on the bed for fear that the filth will overtake me. Julian swears that this is the best money can buy, but I beg to differ.

When I enter the little two-bedroom apartment, I hang my key on the hook by the door and place my bag carefully on the bench in the hallway. Still feeling run-down, I trudge further into the tiny place and round the corner into the living room.

I immediately wish I hadn’t.

“BANE! PUT SOME CLOTHES ON!!” I shriek, shielding my eyes, and darting to my bedroom.

“Human clothes are itchy,” Bane mumbles from where he’s sprawled across the couch in nothing but boxer shorts.

“That’s no reason not to wear anything at all!” I scold him.

“Whatever,” he grunts, but I can hear him rustling around, gathering his garments.

“Where’s Julian?”

“Dunno,” he answers dully. “You can come back out now, if you want.”

I do, gliding my way to our sorry excuse for a kitchen and rummaging around for sustenance. Bane has added a t-shirt to his getup—I roll my eyes, but I’ll take it.

“He didn’t leave class with you?” I ask. I’m not letting him shrug me off so easily.

“No,” came the flat reply.

Ugh. It’s like trying to converse with a brick—a solid, dull, dumb—

“Hello, everyone!” Julian says as he bursts through the door.

A sickeningly joyous smile adorns his face as he practically floats into the room. Bane nods in greeting before flopping back down on the couch.

“Where have you been?” I demand grumpily. “It’s late.”

“Sorry, mum,” he retorts with that idiotic grin still in place.

“Not going to tell me, are you?” I stand with my hands on my hips, waiting.

“You don’t really need to know,” he answers. “Besides, you aren’t actually interested in what I do, are you? You’re just nosey.”

Bane snorts a laugh, but his stony expression never changes.

Julian is right, of course. The goings-on of his day hold little more interest to me than the status of the weather in Cairo, yet I still find the fact that he won’t tell me infuriating.

“You’ve been with that human girl, haven’t you?” I ask, knowingly. Where else would he be?

“Not exactly,” He says, suddenly sobering. “And she has a name. It’s Rory MacAuley.”

“Does it matter?” I snap. “She’s nothing but a pathetic human.”

“Lady MacAuley is beautiful, and graceful, and more alive than you could ever hope to be.”

Though I don’t show it, I’m startled by Julian’s forcefulness. His green eyes flash even as his voice drops lower.

“And the discussion of her ends there,” he says with the finality of the prince.

I know better than to push him further. Instead, I flip my hair and return to searching for food.

“Banagher, where are your clothes?” Julian asks, smacking Bane’s bare lower legs with a pillow.

Bane only shrugs in reply, but moves so that Julian can sit down beside him.

“Still think they’re itchy, huh?” Julian laughs.

His ability to communicate with inanimate objects is astounding.

Annoyed, I grab an apple and head to go sit in the wooden chair in the corner. As I pass the couch, though, Julian stands to offer me his seat—always the gentleman, even when I know he’d rather not be. His kind heart only works to further irritate me.

“I apologize for my forcefulness,” he says sincerely. “You are a lady, and more importantly, you are to be my…wife. I should not have spoken to you as I did.”

I stare at him for a moment. Is he serious?

He is. That’s what makes it so sad.

I laugh cruelly and push past him.

“You honestly think that little speech hurt me?” I perch gracefully on the wooden chair, twirling the apple in my fingers. “I don’t care what you think of me, Julian, son of Jailon. I don’t care if you want to be with me or not. You want to have a fling with that human wench? Go ahead, while you still can.”

Julian flinches. I continue.

“Do you think I love you? If so, you’re sadly mistaken. I have no desire to be your wife. I only want to be your queen. Being eternally bound to you is just an unfortunate side effect.”

Julian stands silently for a moment as though taking in everything I’ve said. Bane looks at the ground, but his fists are now clenched. Finally, Julian nods.

“I am glad that my words did not hurt you,” he says softly.

Then, Julian turns and walks out of the apartment. Bane looks at me with that blank stare of his and then shakes his head and retreats to the other bedroom.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt this small in all four hundred years of my life, and that makes me angry.

I really hate him…
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Seraphi



Joined: 25 Oct 2012
Posts: 503
Location: Penna, having a hot cup of tea

Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 6:03 pm    Post subject:  

Well Brighid SUCKS haha! But I am LOVING Bane! (May he forever walk around in his boxer briefs and make Brighid super uncomfortable lol)

I like the little bit of insight we get into these three - where they come from, who they are, why they're here - even if it is only through Brighid's (rather horrible) eyes at the moment. I am also glad that we got to learn our Lady MacAuley's first name (I like the name Rory very much). And Julian is a beautiful cinnamon roll too good for this world, too pure. I hope Brighid's sordid personality doesn't get to him.

Greatly enjoying this, Andi! Keep up the awesomeness! :D
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Novelest_Ninjagirl



Joined: 09 Dec 2007
Posts: 698
Location: The inn. Probably. Come check!

Posted: Mon Jan 11, 2016 6:39 pm    Post subject:  

Gotta say, it's nice to see these characters! They're refreshingly real for fae. Cant wait to see more! While her mannerisms are rather rough, I find myself hoping for a redemption arc. Bane isndefinitely holding a spot in my heart. Can't wait to see more!
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Andolyn



Joined: 18 Apr 2011
Posts: 852
Location: sitting barefoot in a tree in the beautiful land of Ardara, writing my tales...

Posted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 9:08 pm    Post subject: Chapter 3 and 4  

Rory's chapter that follows this one is very short, so I'm posting it as well. Enjoy!

~#*RoE*#~

Chapter 3: Julian

The night air feels cool on my face where I stand alone on the front porch of our apartment. This day has given me much to think about. Brighid’s words ring sharply in my mind as though she is saying them to me all over again.

“Do you think I love you? You’re sadly mistaken…”

No. I have never been foolish enough to think Brighid is capable of love, especially not for me. Brighid looks out for herself and her own best interest. Loving another is something she views as beneath her.

I pity her for that.

Perhaps that is why I cannot be cruel to her no matter what she does or says to me. She’d be furious if she heard me say that.

I laugh darkly to myself.

“You deserve better, you know,” I hear a low voice from above. It is Banagher. He is leaning out of the window over my head. “I don’t know why you take that sort of abuse from her.”

I press my lips into a line, unable to answer. Bane continues.

“You deserve a chance at real love.”

The words seem odd to me, coming from the ever-stoic Banagher. I smile in spite of my overall gloom.

“If only I had the luxury,” I reply darkly. “As the crown prince, it is my duty to take a suitable bride to continue the royal lineage.”

“Duty,” Bane snorts. “Who said anything about that? You’re going to be the king. Marry whoever you want!”

“It is not that easy,” I sigh. “There aren’t all that many suitable women in the courts. Brighid comes from a good family. She will produce strong heirs.”

“So,” Bane says in a tone that tells me the next words will be dripping with sarcasm, “you’re resigning yourself to a life of misery with Queen Self-serve…but at least you’ll have decent babes.”

I can’t help but laugh. When no one else can do it, I can count on Banagher to make me laugh.

“That sounds about right,” I chuckle.

“No,” Bane says coldly. “There’s nothing right about it. You deserve to be happy now. Future generations can fend for themselves.”

“If only I could afford to think like that,” I mumble.

“What?” Bane asks, leaning further out the window.

“Who do you think I should be with?” I keep my previous thought to myself. “Who would better make me happy right now?”

“Rory MacAuley,” Banagher states without hesitation.

I have to say, I’m caught quite off-guard by this answer. Reeling, images of the red-haired, human beauty fill my mind. I clearly see her slight form hunched over at her table. I see the gentle smile that adorns her face as she watches our classmates dance… I see the joyful abandon of her own dance.

“See,” Banagher continues in my silence, “you know I’m right.”

“Hmm,” I pause further, thinking. “You usually are, Banagher.”

“You heard Brighid,” Bane says with a sly tone, “you should chase her while you can.”

“That would be entirely selfish, I’m afraid,” I answer, my heart falling. “What with me being forced to leave and marry another soon.”

“Love usually is,” Bane says in a sagely manner. “To seek love is perhaps the most selfish act that can possibly be performed. That shouldn't stop you, though. On the other hand, to give love is perhaps the most selfless act. Give her your love, and let her be the one to decide whether or not you’re being selfish by wanting hers in return.”

Again, I’m unable to answer my friend. I simply stand and stare out at the river before me and the stars above.

“Think on it, will you?” Bane asks, but he doesn’t wait for a reply. “Goodnight, Julian.”

“Goodnight, Banagher,” I answer.

I will, indeed, think on the things I’ve been told tonight, both by Banagher and by Brighid. In order to do so, though, I cannot stay here. Even as that thought enters my mind, I find that my feet have already started down the path toward the river walk.

The sounds of the water dancing over the stones below comfort me on my way. I slip into quiet meditation, focusing on the rhythm of the river as it drums on endlessly to the sea.

Rhythm.

I smile softly, an image of Lady MacAuley suddenly coming to me. She is truly stunning. Until this moment, I’ve not let myself dwell on the fact that I’m drawn to her; I have simply acted on the impulse.

I first saw Rory the day I decided that we would join this school and see the culture here. I had blamed my fascination on the fact that I was trying so fervently to escape my inevitable future, even for a time, but now, I’m really not so sure.

I have heard many people comment on the fact that they have never seen her dance. There is a rare and blessed few who have been at this school long enough to have witnessed her in performance, but the majority of them think of her as the awkward, shy creature that dwells in the background of reality.

They could not be more wrong.

She carries herself through daily life, unknowingly, as though she’s the lead ballerina, and all eyes are on her. The subtle movements of her head, the way her fingers delicately caress the side of her face when she pushes her hair from her eyes, and even the grace in the steps she takes when she is simply walking to and from class—to see Lady MacAuley live is to watch her dance.

And that dance is breathtaking.

From the moment I laid eyes on Rory, I have longed for nothing more than to simply be near her. Basking in the light of life that she radiates, I cannot help but feel the worries of the future melt away. I am no longer the prince of the faeries. I no longer have a duty. I no longer matter at all.

There is only she.

Soon enough, I find myself standing on a bridge, overlooking the river below me. The moonlight glittering on the water’s surface is simply enchanting.

Enchanting.

There I go thinking about Lady MacAuley again. It seems that I cannot get her out of my mind. I am still torn, however. Despite what Banagher says, I am sworn to my duty as crown prince. This means I must take a bride, and for that reason, my marriage to Brighid has been arranged. To walk away from that now would be to walk away from my duty as the future king.

There is also the matter of Lady MacAuley, herself. Should she choose to be with me—and there is absolutely nothing saying that she would have me—it would be nothing resembling fair or right to pursue her knowing that I must one day leave her.

“Aurgh!” I cry out into the night, my frustrations having demanded to be released.

It is then that I sense it—a powerful, yet delicate presence off to my left. The splash of jittered nervousness and anxiety is familiar, as is the subtlety and grace.

“Lady MacAuley!” I say, turning in time to see her attempting to sneak away.

From her dress, she is out for an evening run. It seems that she did not see me until she was too close to make a retreat.

I laugh quietly at her attempt.

“Hey…McPrincely!” She says, waving and approaching awkwardly. “I was just out for a run. I didn’t see you until just now…and…I didn’t want to bother you.”

“You could never be a bother, Milady,” I say with all the sincerity I can muster.

“Okay,” she giggles.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard her giggle. It is adorable—almost as endearing as that American accent that touches her words.

Rory leans on the railing of the bridge beside me, biting her lip as though she has something to say.

“Milady,” I prod, “is there something on your mind?”

She hesitates.

“Not really,” she says finally. “It’s just…is everything okay?”

I’m taken aback. She’s concerned about me? She must notice my expression because she instantly begins to backtrack.

“I—I’m sorry,” she stammers. “It’s none of my business. I just heard you a minute ago, and you sounded frustrated. You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”

“No!” I say, finding my capacities once again. “I was just shocked that you would show concern for me.” She smiles softly, and I continue. “I mean this is the first time we’ve ever spoken outside of class…”

I trail off. I should answer her question. Why am I babbling like a fool?

“I’m alright, Lady MacAuley. I’m simply stuck in something of a difficult situation.”

“Oh?” she cocks her pixie-like head to the side.

I’m almost overcome with how irresistibly lovely she is at this moment with the moonlight playing on her scarlet hair and the stars shining in those beautiful emeralds she uses for sight.

“Ah…yes,” I finally manage to say. “You see I am…expected to do something…that I would rather not.”

Rory is the last person with whom I should be discussing this, but I can’t seem to stop myself. I just continue to ramble on.

“For the good of…a lot of people,” finding the words to tell her what’s happening without giving away anything important is difficult, “I must do something that my heart tells me is wrong. To follow my heart would be to forsake my duty.”

Rory frowns. The action doesn’t suit her. She continues to bite her lip.

“Duty, huh?” She says after a thoughtful moment. “Sound’s intense.”

I laugh in spite of myself.

“Indeed. Intense is a very good word for it.”

Rory nods. She, then, startles me by turning to look me directly in the eye. Her expression is completely serious.

“Follow your heart,” she says with the conviction of one who has spent a lifetime balancing the options.

“How can you be so sure?” I say, frowning at her.

“Always follow your heart, McPrincely,” she nods firmly.

I chuckle, and then sigh.

“What if following my heart has the potential to hurt someone else?” I ask cryptically.

“How?” she returns with a straight face.

“If I follow my heart,” I say slowly, “someone else’s heart will be affected…and will likely end up being broken.”

“Hmm…” Rory bites her lip again, looking out to the river. “So, if you go with your ‘duty’, those expecting it of you will be pleased, but you’ll live your life in misery. If you go with your gut, someone else’s heart could get caught in the crossfire. Does that about sum it up?”

“Quite concisely,” I say, somewhat impressed with how well she’s following my scattered information.

Rory nods, thinking a bit longer.

“Follow your heart, McPrincely,” she repeats firmly. “That’s all you can do. As for this other person, put your situation out there in front of them, and let them be the one to decide if they are willing to place their heart in the crossfire. It’s arrogant of you to think that part is your decision.”

She makes this last statement with a sly smile. Her boldness makes me chuckle again, but it is short lived, as another question enters my mind.

“And if she accepts me?” I voice my fears with reckless abandon. I almost don’t understand my willingness to be forthcoming before Rory.

The smile widens slightly.

“If she accepts you,” she says softly, “then you are no longer the one to blame if her heart is, in fact, broken in the end.”

“What if,” I continue, still uncertain, “I cannot tell her everything yet? Do I still offer her my love, knowing that it could hurt her?”

I can’t interpret the meaning behind the smile I’m looking at right now. It’s almost the type of expression that says, ‘I knew it,’ but it is obvious that Lady MacAuley still has no idea that she is the one to which I’m referring in my riddles.

“If that’s what your heart is telling you to do,” Rory says, “then that is all you can do. If she means this much to you, this girl will understand your secrecy when you’re finally able to tell her. I mean I certainly would.”

My heart leaps at her last sentence, but I only nod thoughtfully. If only she knew. I can’t help the smile that crosses my face. The mere act of standing next to this woman has lifted all the weight of the world from my burdened shoulders. Her words have set me free.

“Banagher was right,” I mutter under my breath.

“What?” Rory looks at me questioningly.

“Ah—it’s nothing,” I smile warmly at her.

She smiles too, and then nods.

“Well, McPrincely,” she says with a yawn. “It’s late, and I should be getting back home.”

“May I escort you?” I ask, avoiding the emptiness that I know will come when she is no longer by my side.

“That’s very sweet of you,” she smirks, “but I can make it. My apartment isn’t far from here.”

“Alright,” I say, masking my disappointment with another smile.

“Thank you, though,” she says softly.

Unexpectedly, she reaches out and squeezes my hand where it rests on the railing of the bridge. Even as she releases it and turns to go, I find myself staring at the spot where she touched me. Though it has been my deepest longing, I have never experienced the feeling of Lady MacAuley’s hand before this moment. I am overcome with sudden joy and delight.

“N—no! Thank you, Lady MacAuley!” I stammer, bowing deeply to her retreating form.

She turns, walking backward and calls back to me.

“Follow your heart, McPrincely!”

Then, Rory turns and jogs away from me.

“I will, Milady,” I promise softly, looking back to my hand. Her fleeting warmth still lingers there. “I have decided that I will.”

With every fiber of my being, I make that vow. I will give Rory MacAuley my love…and she can do with it as she pleases…


~#*RoE*#~

Chapter 4: Rory

I’m late! I’m so late! I’m never this late!

I overslept this morning. It was Fran that woke me, pounding on my door.

“Get up, ye sluggard!” she had yelled. “I know ye’ve got classes today!”

“Thanks, Franny!” I had called back, stumbling around my room to get dressed, still mostly asleep.

My morning routine went by in a fraction of the time it usually takes, and I was out the door. I am a hot mess. My hair is standing on end—good thing I have my hoodie! My makeup is probably all over my face; I barely stopped to look in the mirror as I slapped it on.

It’s been two days since I talked with Julian on the bridge. My heart beats a little faster just thinking about it.

I don’t completely understand what was bothering him, but it was strange to see him so distressed. Julian never shows weakness. He’s one of those people who always wear a smile, and he’s a master of making it look genuine. It usually is. I can tell, though, that sometimes he’s hiding his true feelings. Seeing him look so lonely and dejected on the bridge really bothered me. It’s kept me up the past two nights.

Why? I have no idea. It’s not like I have a reason to care so much. I just do, though.

I hope he takes my advice, and I hope that girl—whoever she is—is willing to take the risk for him. The look in his eyes that night was pure, unhindered love. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that much devotion compressed into one expression. It’s true that I don’t know what the risk is, but if a guy like Julian McPrincely had that look in his eyes when he talked about me, no price would be too high to pay in order to be with him.

I wonder if it’s Brighid.

“Nah,” I say to myself even as I continue running.

Julian is too good to be smitten by someone as snobby as she…isn’t he? That’s what I’m going to tell myself because if I told him he needed to be with her the other night, I’ll never forgive myself.

Maybe I’m just being judgmental. I’ve never talked to her. Who am I to say that she’s not a saint? I mean, I don’t exactly come across as the same person I am inside. Maybe the same goes for Brighid.

I laugh at myself. Why is this issue eating away at me so much? I should be more focused on getting to class right now.

I continue running. I’m coming up on some guys playing baseball. They wave to me as I go by; some of them live in the apartment complex next to mine, but I’m in too big of a hurry to do much besides throw up a hand in quick acknowledgment.

I see the bridge where Julian and I talked up ahead. My mind goes back to that night. I remember sneaking out after Franny went to bed. I love running at night, but I don’t like to worry her. Initially, I was mortified that Julian had spotted me, but in the end, it led to the most meaningful conversation we’ve had to date.

I’m actually pretty glad he stopped me…

“Look out!”

I hear the shouted words, and I turn to see the source. Before I can, though, I feel a shooting pain in the side of my head. A sensation of flying overcomes me, followed by a shocking chill, and the world around me fades into darkness…
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Novelest_Ninjagirl



Joined: 09 Dec 2007
Posts: 698
Location: The inn. Probably. Come check!

Posted: Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:02 pm    Post subject:  

Quote: the stars shining in those beautiful emeralds she uses for sight.

Eyes, Julian, those would be eyes. I'm fairly sure faeries have them too. XD That said, I love his overly flowery descriptions of everything, and it makes me excited to see how many other perspectives there are, and what they might seem like.

I'm sure I'm not alone in worrying for her! Can't wait to see what's next! (Even if I already know what's coming. ^^)
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Lilith



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 1597
Location: Happily curled up in a Daemon's lap

Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 1:09 am    Post subject:  

Oh this I like very much so m'dear. :) Poor Rory, got thunked in the side of the head. And Bane.... oh Bane... so wise yet so quiet that most think him stupid. <3!
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Andolyn



Joined: 18 Apr 2011
Posts: 852
Location: sitting barefoot in a tree in the beautiful land of Ardara, writing my tales...

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 4:17 pm    Post subject:  

Chapter 5: Julian

It’s a beautiful day.

Everything has been beautiful since that night I spoke with Rory on the bridge. I’m sitting near that very bridge on a blanket with Brighid and Banagher currently. Brighid insisted on breakfast outdoors before we got on with our days. I was the one who suggested this location.

“Will you wipe that goofy grin off your face, Julian?” Brighid snaps at me. My consistently bright spirits over the past couple of days seem to be irritating her. I couldn’t care less.

“Nope,” I reply, my dreamy expression still in place.

“You’ve been awfully happy since that night you left me standing there in the apartment,” Brighid pouts. “Did something happen while you were gone?”

“Nope,” I repeat.

I didn’t hide the situation out of shame or guilt. I simply refuse to let the precious moments I share with Lady MacAuley be tainted by Brighid’s insufferable negativity. She doesn’t deserve knowledge about Rory.

Speaking of Milady, I see her running this way. I involuntarily smile wider. She must be late. Even as frantic as she looks to be, though, she is beautiful. Her effortless charm shines even brighter in her haphazard appearance.

The young men playing sports haven’t failed to make the same observation as I. They yell and wave to her. Ever polite, she waves back, but she continues running, oblivious their obvious attraction.

That is very like her.

“Ugh, I think I’ve just lost my appetite,” Brighid says with disgust as she spots Rory.

My mood suddenly darkens.

“Good,” Banagher grabs Brighid’s muffin right out of her hand.

Good ole Banagher. Without him, I likely would have lost my temper. He knew that, though, and provided me a bit of comedy to offset Brighid’s rudeness.

“Bane!” She cries. “I can’t believe you’d do such a thing!”

“You can’t?” he says with his mouth full of her breakfast.

I would laugh, but my attention is elsewhere. The young men playing have hit the ball the wrong way, and it is heading straight for Rory. If she stays on her current course, it will hit her right in the back of the head.

“Look out!” one of the young men calls.

Rory turns, but it is too late. The hard ball connects with her temple. Her bag drops from her hand, and she stumbles, catching the ledge of the bridge just below her hips before sailing straight over the side and down out of view.

“I can’t believe I just saw that!” Brighid bursts into laughter. “That was hilarious!”

Banagher and I are both on our feet in an instant. My anger at Brighid is beaten out only by my penetrating fear for Rory’s life. A blow that hard could potentially have killed her on impact. My breath catches at the thought. I begin running harder. If it did not kill her, though, it most certainly knocked her unconscious. In which case, she is currently drowning in the river that runs below the bridge.

“I don’t see her. I’m going in!” one of the young men shouts as Banagher and I approach.

“You can’t! It’s too high! You’ll kill yourself!” another answers.

The words barely register in my mind as I burst through the crowd that has gathered and throw myself headlong off the bridge.

Hold on, Milady. I’m coming for you.

“He jumped!” I hear someone scream behind me.

I scan the surface of the water even as I fall. I do not see Rory. The wind whips my hair and clothes. It is slowing me down. I need to go faster.

Bracing myself, I break through the water, and I am immediately swept into the fast current. I cannot keep up with it; I have no control. A rock tears into my back as I am thrown against it.

This is not working. I have to stop this.

My need for more power activates something inside me. My desperation to find Rory fuels it. Closing my eyes, I stop fighting the current. I tap into the faerie magic that is my birthright, and allow it to fill me. The tribal lines of my people begin to glow faintly under my clothes, growing brighter with each passing second.

Finally, I snap my eyes open. The current is no longer an issue. I can see and swim as though I am in a still pool. My hair still blows wildly around me in the strong water, but I am unaffected.

There. I see Rory up ahead. Her foot has caught between two rocks, and she is unconscious, her hair looking like a flaming wreath around her head.

A pit forms in my stomach. She is not fighting. She is not doing anything.

I’m too late.

Unimaginable terror threatens to paralyze me, but I push it down, swimming forward with all the power I can summon. When I reach Rory, I immediately go for her feet, pushing on the rocks that have her trapped. Even in my current state, they are difficult to move. I feel one of them slicing into my hand, but I pay it no mind. Bubbles flow from my mouth as I scream, calling up the power for one more push.

The rocks fly to the sides, finally giving way under my strength. The glowing marks on my body fade instantly as I grab Rory and swim upward. Just when my lungs feel like they will burst, I break through the water’s surface and gasp greedily.

Banagher has run alongside the riverbank, following my progress. When I finally surface, he is already racing toward me.

“Julian!” he barks.

“I have her!” I yell back, coughing.

Bane grabs my arm, hauling me up.

“No, take Lady MacAuley,” I urge him, shoving her toward him.

Obeying me without hesitation, Bane scoops Rory up in his big arms and makes for the shoreline. By the time I reach them, Rory is laid out on her back. Banagher leans over her, shaking her slight shoulders and calling out her name.

“My Lord, she isn’t breathing,” Banagher’s panic further unsettles me. Banagher rarely shows emotion of any kind. We have been through many dangers, even battles, and fear is something I have never witnessed from him in the three hundred fifty-seven years we have been friends.

“Rory MacAuley, wake up!!” He growls again.

I kneel down, gently pushing him aside. Rory is deathly pale, and her lips have taken on a bluish hue. A bruise blackens the side of her face, and now that we are out of the water, blood is flowing at an alarming rate from her head. Several cuts cover her arms. My heart pounds as I feel her neck for a pulse. Even though deep inside I expect it, I am horrified when I find that there is not one.

“My Lord! Your back!” Banagher gasps.

“I’m alright,” I say absently. “Milady, please forgive my forwardness.”

Tenderly grasping Rory’s nose, I press my lips over her mouth, breathing for her. I repeat this action once before sitting up and placing my hands between her breasts, one on top of the other, with my fingers laced. My people have interacted with humans for centuries, and this technique is thankfully among the information we have garnered over the years.

“Banagher! Make sure help is on the way,” I order sternly as I compress Rory’s chest over and over.

After thirty counts, I begin breathing for her again. I repeat the cycle twice, and nothing changes. The crowd from the bridge is slowly making its way to our location. Several of the young women begin screaming and crying when they see us from a distance.

“Lady MacAuley!” I cry. “Please, Lady MacAuley!”

Please, don’t die.

“Banagher!” I call, and he is at my side in an instant. “I need you to shield me.”

I have no other choice. If I want to save Rory’s life, I have to call on my magic again. I leave my hands where they are as Bane kneels beside me, holding out his coat to hide the blue glow that is overtaking my body. With everything in me, I will Rory’s heart and lungs to respond to me.

Suddenly, Rory’s eyes fly open, and she begins coughing.

“Hah!” I breathe. The blue glow is immediately gone.

I grab Rory’s shoulders and pull her to me. With her back to my chest, she continues coughing, expelling the water from her lungs. She clings desperately to my wrist as though it is the only thing keeping her alive.

“You are alright,” I whisper to her, pushing a lock of hair out of her face. “I have got you, Milady.”

Without saying a word, Rory turns in my arms. Still attempting to catch her breath, she raises one trembling hand and touches my cheek. I place my hand atop hers, looking into her lovely face. The sight of her pink, flushed cheeks, and her gentle, tired smile make my heart sing, but it is the sparkle of life in her beautiful eyes that brings me to tears.

Rory sighs, and her hand slides to her chest, but this time, she is merely sleeping. Pulling her close to me, I shelter her and relish one simple fact…

She’s alive.

~#*RoE*#~

Chapter 6: Rory

The world is both loud and extremely quiet. My lungs are burning, but I can’t seem to drum up the strength to do anything about it. Am I dying? Is that why I see a light ahead of me? Is that Heaven?

No.

It’s a man. His form becomes clearer the closer he moves to me. He is completely enveloped in blue light. Is he an angel?

No.

There’s a face before me, now.

Julian?

No. This can’t be Julian. His eyes—the eyes are wrong. They are blue light, and glowing marks cover the man’s cheeks and his neck.

What is going on?

The world goes dark again. I hear a voice.

“Lady MacAuley!” it cries out. “Please, Lady MacAuley!”

My lungs are burning again. This time, though, it’s as if my body has been unlocked. I fight. I struggle, as I never have before, to overcome this darkness around me.

“I have got you, Milady,” the voice speaks again.

I turn. The most warm and gentle arms I’ve ever felt are cradling me. I see only a silhouette above me. The morning sun blocks out the face, allowing me to see only a halo of light around the head of the one holding me. I reach up, compelled to touch the hidden face.

There is comfort here.

I smile, and the darkness closes in again.


Pain.

My entire body aches, and I feel as though my head has split open. I hope my brain isn’t leaking. What a weird thought…

I open my eyes.

The blinding light around me does nothing to ease the pain in my head. Was that whole thing a dream?

“Uhn…” I groan.

“Oh! Yer awake!”

I know that voice…

“Oh, lass, I was afraid they’d killed ye!”

“Franny?” I squint toward the window.

“Of course, child!” she jumps up and runs over. “They called me when they brought ye in. Had me listed as yer next kin, ye did!”

I did list her as my emergency contact. I have a card with her information in my bag. Why did someone call her, though?

“What happened?” I ask slowly.

“Ye were headin’ for yer school, and ye passed some idjits playin’ ball. I’ve told those little sh—“

“Franny,” I interrupt her profanity.

“Well, I’ve told them before not to play so close to where people are tryin’ to walk,” she huffs.

“What happened, Franny?” I attempt to get her back on track.

“Ye got hit in the head with a ball, that’s what happened,” she spits angrily. “Sailed right over the bridge and into the river, ye did.”

“Really,” I mumble, looking down.

“Yes, really,” she nods before continuing solemnly. “Ye’d be dead if not for that boy.”

“Boy?” I frown and look back at her.

“Quite the looker, he is, a right handsome thing,” she looks at me with a strange expression. I don’t trust that expression… “They told me he jumped right off the bridge after ye. Got pretty banged up, himself, he did. It was all the professionals could do to get him to leave ye and have himself seen to, though. I reckon he’s taken a slight fancy to ye.”

With this last information, Franny gave me a sly wink. Someone cared enough to jump off the bridge for me? It’s been raining a lot lately, so the water’s been near white capping. Jumping off the bridge into that was just shy of suicide.

My mind flashes back to my “dream”. There was a man, bathed in light. His eyes had been wrong—all blue light.

“Julian,” I mumble.

“That’s right!” Fran exclaims. She, then, looks at me accusatorily. “Have ye been hiding a boyfriend from old Franny?”

“No, it can’t be…” I continue muttering to myself. That couldn’t have been Julian in the water. Why would he risk his life to save mine? And what about the lights? Surely that was just the lack of oxygen…

“Rory?” a look of concern swells in Fran’s aged eyes.

“I’m okay, Franny,” I say with a frown. “I was just thinking.”

Suddenly, the door to my small room opens. I’m shocked to see Bane O’Dukey’s—hah, O’Dukey—head pop into view. He stares at me coldly.

“Bane?” I question. “What are you doing here?”

Bane only stares at me. It’s as though he’s taking an inventory. Then, without saying a word, he withdraws, closing the door silently behind him. I stare at the entryway, thoroughly confused.

“Strange boy, that one,” Fran mutters, shaking her head. “Sure is pretty, though. He’s come by every fifteen minutes like clockwork since ye’ve been in here—always does the same thing. He peeks in, stares at ye for a minute, and leaves without a word.”

“That is strange,” I say, absently. “I wonder why he’s here…”

“That Julian boy is down the hall,” Fran informs me. “Butter’n biscuits, what I wouldn’t give to have a hunk o’man stare at me like that from time to—“

“Why is Julian here?” I interrupt Fran’s little fantasy.

“I told ye he got pretty banged up when he dragged ye outa the river,” Fran presses her lips into a thin line. “I dunno the details. Ye’ll have to ask the nurse. I should probably tell them yer awake.”
Fran stands to leave. When she’s gone, I get up, myself, ignoring the splitting pain in my head. If Julian was hurt trying to save me, I need to know that he’s all right.

Hurriedly, I slip a second hospital gown backwards over the first one, covering the gaping backside. I need to go before Fran gets back. She’d never let me leave. Gripping my IV poll for support, I make my way out into the hallway. There’s no one in the immediate area, so I start wandering.

After passing a few rooms, I come to one with the door open, and I hear voices from inside.

“Good, I am glad to hear it. Her continued lack of consciousness had me quite concerned.”
That velvety, masculine voice is the same as the one in my fuzzy memories of the accident. That voice belongs to Julian.

Every fiber of my body screams at me to get back into my bed, but I press on. I have to know that he’s okay. I have to see it for myself.

When I enter, it is a moment before my presence is noticed. Bane is standing just inside the doorway. Julian is next to the bed, fidgeting with the cuffs of a white, button-down shirt. His entire olive-skinned torso is covered in a large, wrap bandage, and there are smaller dressings on his head and neck. Whether from guilt or something else, I don’t know, but I feel my chest tighten at the thought that he’s wearing those because of me.

After a moment, Julian looks up and locks gazes with me. His bright, green eyes widen in shock, and he rushes forward, forgetting the rest of the buttons on his shirt.

“Lady MacAuley!” he breathes. He is across the room and standing in front of me in three strides of his long legs. “What are you doing out of bed? You should be resting!”

“My neighbor, Fran, told me what you did for me,” I reply, distracted. The room is suddenly spinning, and I grip my IV pole tighter. How annoying. “I wanted to know if you were okay…”

I trail off, putting a hand to my head in a vain attempt to stop the spinning. Nausea hits me like a tidal wave, and I feel as though I might be sick. Coming down here might not have been the best decision.

Before I realize what’s happened, I find myself being lifted off the ground. My face is against something hard.

“Milady!” Julian exclaims. “Let’s get you back to your bed. Banagher, please call one of the nurses.”

That hard surface I felt was apparently Julian’s shoulder. My face is now nuzzled into his neck. I would protest, but I can’t seem to summon the ability to move, and besides, this feels sort of nice.

I take a moment to marvel at Julian’s strength. I’m a rather small girl. I’m all of four feet, eleven inches tall, and I weigh roughly ninety-five pounds when soaking wet, but it’s still quite a feat in my mind that Julian, injured, is able to carry me on one arm as though I’m nothing. With his other hand, he navigates with my IV poll on our route back to my room.

“Rory?? What’re ye doin’, child??” I hear Fran’s frantic voice.

“My apologies, dear madam,” Julian answers smoothly. I like the feeling that his voice makes as it reverberates in his chest against my arm. “It seems that Lady MacAuley came to see about my condition. She has evidently reached her limit for physical exertion at the moment.”

“Julian, dear! You shouldn’t be lifting anything in your state!” I hear an unfamiliar female voice; she must be a nurse. “You’ll reopen the wound on your back!”

Reopen the wound? Was he hurt that badly trying to save me? A feeling of guilt washes over me once again.

I hear a beeping sound from my right. Evidently the nurse just hit me with a dose of pain medication through my IV…

…Yep, there it is… Even with my eyes closed my head is spinning.

“I assure you I am alright,” Julian answers her warmly. “It is an honor to be able to assist Milady. She could never be considered burdensome. However, I thank you. Your concern is appreciated.”

I feel Julian offer her a slight bow. He is obviously being very careful not to jostle me too much. I am drugged and in pain, but hearing him speak of me this way makes feel all warm and fuzzy…or maybe that’s the meds… I can’t tell. I fight off the urge to giggle.

Seriously, who talks like that?

…Julian can keep talking like that as much as he wants…

He continues, and that makes my giddy self veeerry happy!

“More so, I would greatly appreciate you taking a moment to be sure Lady MacAuley is alright. She has over estimated her current strength, I’m afraid.”

When we reach the side of the bed, Julian gently shifts to where I’m cradled in his arms like a child. He lays me on the pillows as the nurse pulls back my covers. Before completely removing the arm that supported my neck and shoulders, Julian allows his hand to pause on the side of my face.

I grin stupidly up at him.

Well, this isn’t embarrassing at all…

“Please employ your highest care for her,” he addresses the nurse before turning to me and speaking softly. “Rest yourself, Milady. You received far more damage than I. Either the ball or a rock managed to crack your skull. You need to remain in bed as much as possible until you have had time to properly heal.”

“It’s that thick head of hers that saved her,” Fran pipes up.

“Then we are all in eternal debt to her ‘thick head’,” Julian smiles and lets out a quiet laugh. “Please take care of yourself, Lady MacAuley. If I am not able to personally return later, I will send Banagher to look in on you.”

Julian removes his hand and turns to leave. It takes a moment for my addlepated thoughts to organize.

“T—Thank you!” I manage to stammer out just before he reaches the door.

“There is no need to thank me, Milady,” Julian smiles again before withdrawing from the room.

“Can I get one o’ those in ginger?” Fran says slyly, still looking at the door through which Julian just exited.

“I’ll take one in blonde,” the nurse comments, shaking her head and turning to check my bandages.

All I can do is stare after him blankly.

“The black hair is just fine with me.”

Did I just say that out loud…?
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Lilith



Joined: 10 Feb 2007
Posts: 1597
Location: Happily curled up in a Daemon's lap

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 5:25 pm    Post subject:  

*wolf-whistles at hot boys in wet shirts* And Rory is tiny and adorable. I love it. And Brighid, honey, I know you're bitter, but go suck a lemon. XD <3
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Novelest_Ninjagirl



Joined: 09 Dec 2007
Posts: 698
Location: The inn. Probably. Come check!

Posted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 9:56 pm    Post subject:  

Not every day I read a story where the main character is the same height as me. (Not the same size, I like me my sweets too much. XP)

Still enjoying the story! I definitely like that Fran is outright blatantly ogling the boys.

I can't wait to see what comes next!

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Seraphi



Joined: 25 Oct 2012
Posts: 503
Location: Penna, having a hot cup of tea

Posted: Wed Jan 20, 2016 11:01 am    Post subject:  

So this entire story gives me life, lol. Glad to see that Rory is okay, and Julian too (and that Fran is as awesome and cheeky as ever). I can't wait for more :3
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Andolyn



Joined: 18 Apr 2011
Posts: 852
Location: sitting barefoot in a tree in the beautiful land of Ardara, writing my tales...

Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 8:13 pm    Post subject:  

Chapter 7: Julian

I close the door to Rory’s room as gently as possible. Banagher is waiting for me in the hallway with my belongings laid across his arms.

“Alright, let us go,” I finish buttoning my shirt as we walk.

“Is it really alright to leave her here?” Bane has been uncomfortable in this hospital since we arrived.

“She is in good hands,” I nod. “That older woman will see to it that she gets her rest.”

“That isn’t what I mean,” Bane looks around as though waiting for something to jump out and attack us at any moment.

“She is safe here, Banagher,” I laugh. “They have taken exceptional care of both of us.”

Bane sighs in resignation as we exit through the sliding glass doors in the front of the building. I turn for a moment, looking up to where I guess Rory’s room to be.

“I do understand your reluctance to leave her, though,” I mutter.

“I will come back later to check on her for you,” Bane says in answer.

“For me?” I look at him with a raised eyebrow.

“There is something special about Rory MacAuley,” Bane states cryptically. “I can’t put my finger on it just yet, but I’m interested to see the influence she will have on all of us. I have already developed a strange fondness for her that I cannot fully explain, and I like what I have seen of her impact on you as well, My Lord. You’ve barely spoken to Rory MacAuley, but you are at your happiest when she is on your mind.”

“It seems that she’s always on my mind these days,” I laugh.

“I know,” Bane says flatly, “and you’re always happy these days.” He pauses for a moment as though unsure of whether or not he should continue.

“Banagher, what is it?” I prod.

He hesitates for a moment more.

“I was…afraid,” he finally says.

“When she fell?”

“Yes,” Banagher’s voice is quiet. “You should not have been so reckless, Highness. If you would have…”

Banagher trails off, unable to even finish the thought. I smile in spite of myself.

“I had to, Banagher,” I answer him softly. “I could not stand by and watch her…”

Now I am the one who cannot complete the sentence. Banagher does not force me. Instead, he continues on with his original thought.

“That is not the only reason I was fearful,” he says darkly. “I was afraid of what would happen if Rory MacAuley was taken from your life…from our lives. Though I have no idea what it might be, I really feel that Rory MacAuley has a significant role to play in our future. It was frightening to think of all of the possibilities that would be lost.”

Bane turns and looks at me.

“I thought I was watching your happiness be destroyed, My Lord, and there was very little I could do to stop it.”

I am touched by his words. Bane has been by my side for a long time. He is one of my oldest friends, and he has always been a pillar for me. Now that we are older, he guards my life as his duty, but it would seem that he is also guarding my heart in his own way. Bane knows how I feel about my responsibilities as Prince. He knows that marrying Brighid is the last thing that I want, and he has supported my futile efforts to put off that inevitable end despite how senseless he probably finds it all to be.

I count myself blessed to have such a dear friend as Banagher. I am loyal to our kingdom, but Bane is loyal to me. He was my friend before he was my underling. It seems that some things do not change.

“I was afraid too, Banagher,” I say after a pause. “I was afraid too.”

It is true. I have never been more terrified in my life than when I stared into Rory’s pale, lifeless face. My only thoughts had been consumed with desperation to bring her back. I shudder at the remembrance of how close I came to failing. The frailty of human life is something truly frightening.

Seeing her standing in my hospital room was the last thing I expected as a readied myself for departure. She was pale, and her head was wrapped in several thick bandages, but Lady MacAuley was still breathtaking. Her lovely smile as she gazed up at me from her bed had caused my heart to skip.

Rory MacAuley is without a doubt the most beautiful woman on which I’ve ever been privileged to lay my eyes. I count every second spent in her presence as a blessing from God, Himself.

“You’re thinking of Rory MacAuley again, aren’t you?” Banagher’s voice brings me back to reality.

“What?” I try in vain to divert him.

“That goofy grin on your face gives you away every time,” he states with a smirk.

“Heh. Does it, now?” I keep the same “goofy grin” as I speak.

“Would you like me to go back and check on her now?” Bane asks.

“We haven’t even made it back to the apartment, Banagher,” I laugh aloud. “I am sure her condition won’t have changed in such a short time.”

“Still…” Bane looks back over his shoulder at the hospital that can still be seen looming over the other buildings in the area.

“I am worried about her as well, Bane,” I say truthfully. “I gave the nurse my number and instructions to call with any reports. Something like that normally wouldn’t be allowed, but they made an exception with our…unique situation.”

“You charmed her, didn’t you?” Banagher states knowingly.

“Perhaps a bit,” I nod.

It seems that Banagher and I are considered somewhat attractive by human standards. Occasionally, it works in our favor, and when it comes to ensuring the safety of Lady MacAuley, I am certainly not above exploiting this quirk to my advantage.

“My Lord,” Banagher says questioningly.

“Yes?”

“Did I see Rory MacAuley’s hoodie among your belongings?” he asks in an odd tone.

“Ah, yes,” I smile again. “It was thoroughly destroyed by yesterday’s events. No human methods are going to be able to restore it for her, so I took it in order to repair it.”

“An excellent idea, sir,” Banagher nods. “Though, I am worried.”

“Why is that, Banagher?” I raise a questioning eyebrow.

“As you know, using faerie magic puts a terrible strain on our human forms,” Bane frowns deeply. “I know that you used quite a bit yesterday, with good reason. Is repairing a shirt really something worthy of using your power? It will only shorten the already limited time you are able to remain in the human world.”

I nod, solemnly, thinking on what my friend has said.

“It may seem a trivial thing, Banagher,” I say finally, “but I have yet to see Lady MacAuley in public without this article of clothing. It must mean a great deal to her. Returning such a treasure is well worth the sacrifice of a few days in this world.”

Seemingly satisfied with my answer, Banagher smiles at me.

“We should take her something with it when she is released from that place,” he says cheerfully. “A sweet or something…”

“That is an excellent idea, Banagher!” I exclaim happily. “Hmm…But what?”

Neither Banagher nor I have any idea what human customs are for this type of occasion. We trudge on for a while longer before passing a woman on her way out of a grocery store.
She is carrying several bags on her way to her vehicle and looks to be having a difficult time. Instinctively, Banagher and I each take one of her armfuls of loaded-down bags.

“Allow us to help you, Madam,” I say politely.

I throw on the most charming smile I can produce. At first, she looks rather stunned, but she gathers herself quickly and smiles in return.

“Thank you very much!” she laughs. “I was having quite a bit of trouble, there. My car’s right over here.”

We follow her and help her get her groceries securely placed in the metal carriage.

“Thank you, again!” the woman says, blushing.

“You are most welcome, madam,” I bow to her, turning to go on my way.

Thoughts of what I should take to Lady MacAuley when she returns home still plague me. Suddenly, an idea strikes.

“Umm, excuse me, Madam!” I turn and shout as she is getting in to her vehicle.

“Yes?” she leans out.

I jog over to her, Banagher following behind me silently.

“I could use a bit of advice from a woman, if you have a moment.”

I flash that smile again, and she blushes madly.

“I have a…” I hesitate, unsure of the correct term, “A significant lady…in my life. She will be returning home from the hospital within the next few days. Were you in such a state, what would be a suitable gift for me to bring to you?”

The woman only stares at me for a moment, and then, as though waking from a trance, she giggles.

“Just having you visit would be enough—” she cuts herself short. “I—I mean, just having a…significant man drop by…would be enough to cheer me up. If you really want to bring her something, though, you can’t go wrong with sweets. Take her favorite chocolate or something.”

“Ah! Chocolate,” I nod, looking to Banagher happily.

I have heard of this treat. It is quite popular and easily accessible. Yes, this will do nicely.

“Thank you, Madam,” I say with a bow. “You have, indeed, been most helpful.”

“Oh!” she says as though she has just remembered something important. “If you really want to help and impress her, do something for her around her place.”

“Do something for her?” I question.

“Yeah,” she replies with a grin. “You know, do a load of laundry for her. Do the dishes, or cook her something—just something little to help her out. If she’s been in the hospital, she’s not going to feel like keeping house. It will mean a lot to her to have your help.”

“Alright,” I nod happily. This has given me many ideas. “Thank you ever so much for your assistance. It is greatly appreciated.”

I finish with a flourishing bow. The woman giggles again and withdraws back in to her vehicle. Before she closes the door, she thanks us again for helping with her groceries, and then she is gone.

I turn and nod to Banagher.

“Alright. Chocolate. We can find that in this market, I believe,” I say positively, heading for the grocery store.


My confidence is short lived, however, as I soon find myself standing in the vast “candy aisle”. There are literally hundreds of various sweets, at least half of which are chocolate. There are about seven different strengths of “dark chocolate”, white chocolate, milk chocolate, chocolate with almonds, chocolate covered peanuts, chocolate with peanut butter, chocolate with caramel, and chocolate with coconut—just to name a few.

“I forgot to ask what kind of chocolate,” I say, utterly defeated. “I have absolutely no idea what Lady MacAuley’s favorite type might be.”

Banagher shrugs, seemingly undeterred, and steps toward the shelves of candy with his arm outstretched. 
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Seraphi



Joined: 25 Oct 2012
Posts: 503
Location: Penna, having a hot cup of tea

Posted: Sat Jan 23, 2016 4:50 am    Post subject:  

I predict that Julian +Bane + limited understanding of chocolate + candy aisle = a good sale day for that store XD

Also Bane is a sweet, adorable, perceptive coconut and I love him.

I'm excited for Rory's homecoming from the hospital. And, for some reason, I'm also looking forward to Brighid's thoughts on all this (just so I can dislike her more, probably, lol).

I'm really enjoying this story, Andi, and I eagerly await more :3
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Novelest_Ninjagirl



Joined: 09 Dec 2007
Posts: 698
Location: The inn. Probably. Come check!

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 12:36 pm    Post subject:  

I second the motion of "That store is gonna have an awesome day". I'm quite jealous, in fact. Like Phi, I'm looking forward to the reactions of our favorite lady to despise.
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Andolyn



Joined: 18 Apr 2011
Posts: 852
Location: sitting barefoot in a tree in the beautiful land of Ardara, writing my tales...

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:19 pm    Post subject:  

Chapter 8: Brighid

A week has passed since Julian so idiotically risked his life for that human filth.

In the last seven days, life has returned almost to normalcy. After allowing Julian a day to recuperate, we returned to our classes. After the onslaught of humans praising his heroism the first day back, things have been somewhat quiet. Banagher is always stoic, but Julian, too, has been silent. He seems almost to be depressed without the human girl around to entertain him.

If I were he, I would have counted my blessings that there were less of the disgusting things ruining the planet instead of throwing myself off a bridge to save it. The life of any faerie is not worth risking for a human, least of all the life of the prince.

Julian had been…less than pleased with my stance on the subject, though, and has barely spoken to me since the events of that day. His strange infatuation with the human is likely to blame. When he has spoken to me, it has been as proper and respectful as always.

It irritates me to no end.

He chooses to avoid conversation with me instead of saying anything he feels would upset me. There is nothing he could say that would do such, but being denied the opportunity to retort and belittle his little love interest has been infuriating. I wish that, for once, he would drop his chivalrous attitude and be angry like a normal person. It would be most enjoyable to shoot him down if he tried to fight with me.

That is asking far too much, however. Julian has been programmed his entire life to treat women with respect. What is more, he has a heart that is far too big for his own good. He does not love me, yet he can never hurt me—a fact that I have exploited in order to abuse him on more than one occasion. Some would say I’m cruel, but would I not be more so if I was not honest with him about my intentions?

I hate that man. I hate him and everything that he is. I need him, though, so I tolerate his existence. My one shining light is my ability to make him just as miserable as I.

As I am thinking this, Julian and Bane come down from their second floor bedrooms and head for the door. Julian looks rather worse-for-wear.

I cannot help but smile a little.

Julian used a considerable amount of magic to help that human girl. He used even more, it would seem, to do something trivial for her. His shoulders droop ever so slightly, and the light in his eyes is but a dull echo of its usual grating shine. Dark circles linger, barely perceptible at a passing glance, beneath those eyes.

If he keeps up at this rate without taking time to rest, it will be no time at all before Julian’s body can no longer tolerate this world, and he is forced to return home. Though I find his actions idiotic, they please me. The sooner we return home, the sooner I can become queen, and all of this will be but an irksome memory…speaking of irksome…

“What are you doing?”

The two morons loading up their arms with bags distract me.

“We are going out,” Julian answers me shortly.

“I can see that,” I say, rolling my eyes.

“I do not know when we shall return, so there is no need for you to wait up,” Julian grabs another bag and heads out the door.

“Wasn’t planning on it,” I sigh.

He is not going to share with me their errand, so there is no use in pressing the matter. Likely, it has something to do with the human girl.

“Give that human wench my most humble regards,” I say venomously.

Julian does not respond, but instead, he nudges the door open with his foot and makes his way out into the foyer with Bane on his heels.

Finally alone, I smirk, grab a book, and head off to my meditation spot. 

~#*RoE*#~

Chapter 9: Rory

I am dying.

I have been stuck on this couch for a solid week…

And I’m dying.

My apartment is a wreck because if I stand for longer than a few minutes at a time, I get insane vertigo until I lay back down. That’s driving me crazy.

I’m fine. I really am. My head doesn’t really hurt anymore besides the occasional ache, and Tylenol fixes that fairly easily. They tell me I’m stuck in the house for another two weeks, though. After that, I’ll have another scan, and if everything looks kosher, I can return to school.

I can’t wait.

I’ve been keeping up with my assignments because one of the girls in the apartment beside Fran also goes to my university, and my teachers have been sending work through her. I’ve also been exercising my legs in limited sessions while lying down. It’s killing me, though. Reading about dance in a book doesn’t hold a candle to actually seeing it…or doing it.

I want to dance.

I want to feel the air circulate over my skin as I spin and jump through it. I want to get my heart pounding. They tell me that would cause me to stroke out at this point. Hopefully that won’t be the case in a few more weeks.

I shiver.

It’s chilly in this apartment, and my favorite hoodie disappeared during the accident. Fran said it was probably destroyed. I have cuts and scrapes all over my body, so it was probably shredded and bloody. Franny said they probably had to cut it off of me when I got to the hospital too.

I sigh.

It’s just a stupid sweatshirt. It’s only cloth. I can’t help the sting of the tears in my eyes when I think about it, though.

I shake my head—slowly to avoid a headache.

I should just be thankful I’m alive. More than one person told me I should have died that day. I was lucky the ball didn’t hit just an inch further forward. It would have hit one of the cranial sutures, the spaces between skull bones, and that would have killed me on contact. As it stands, I only have a small, surface fracture.

Then there’s the water—the spring rains have it rushing like a flood. I went white water rafting once when I still lived in the States, and it looked something similar to what’s rushing below that bridge right now. Even if I had been conscious, there’s no way I should have come out of it alive.

I wouldn’t have if it weren’t for…him.

Julian.

He’s been on my mind quite a bit this week. I’ve not seen him since he was discharged from the hospital. Bane stopped back in—he didn’t speak. He just came in and stood silently for a minute, and then he left. I don’t think he likes me much. One of the nurses told me he stood outside my door like some sort of guard for several hours until they finally convinced him to go home, though.

When I asked about Julian, Bane’s facial expression fell ever so slightly, and that made me worry. I say a quick prayer that Julian’s okay. He was hurt saving me. It’s a thousand wonders that either of us survived. He almost died…for me.

My heart aches at the thought.

Aside from our repeated daily conversation, which I find myself missing more and more each day, we have only spoken two other times, and one of those times I was heavily doped. Why on earth would he risk his life for me when he’s only really had one meaningful conversation with me? I have to say, that was one of my favorite conversations I’ve had with anyone in my entire life.

My heart aches again. This time, though, it is for a different reason.

I miss him.

I miss Julian McPrincely. I miss his voice and the dorky way he talks. I miss his eyes, his face, and his smile. I miss the playful light in his eyes when he asks me to dance… I find myself missing the way he held me so gently…

This is ridiculous.

I readily admit that. It’s completely absurd that I miss him. Maybe it’s just because he saved me.

No. I’d love to believe that, but if I’m going to be completely honest with myself, I have to admit that I began missing him after that night on the bridge. Something about seeing Julian be himself in front of me was unbelievably attractive. I saw him for who he is. Julian is perhaps the most genuine man I’ve ever met, and even as I retreated back to my apartment after we spoke, it took all of my willpower not to turn and run back to him.

I shouldn’t let myself think like this, though. Julian told me himself that he’s in love with someone…and it’s not me. How could it be? I’ve already established that we’ve only had one meaningful conversation. Just because I’m drooling like a giddy schoolgirl doesn’t mean I’m suddenly living a faerie tale. He’s not about to show up at my door with flowers and chocol—

Now who is that?

The knocking on my door startles me, and I sit up a little too suddenly—my head starts spinning.

“Rory, child? Are ye awake?” I hear Franny’s muffled voice through the door.

How stupid… I actually let myself believe it might be him.

“Yes, Franny,” I sigh, standing shakily to go to the door. “I’m coming.”

“Ye’ve got some visitors, dear,” she says with a wink when I open the door.

“Visitors…?” I mumble.

My eyes go wide.

Two men slide into view behind Franny: Bane O’Dukey—hah!—and Julian McPrincely. For a moment, all I can do is stand there, dumbfounded.

“Aren’t ye going to invite them in, dear?” Fran giggles after a moment. “I mean, if you’re not, they’re welcome to come visit with old Franny for a while…”

“No—ah, yes! Please, come in!” I stammer, stepping back so they can enter.

Bane enters first, looking around suspiciously, and Julian follows. Both of them have their arms full of bags, and Julian smiles at me like he’s just seen an angel. Fran makes her way in as well.

“Is there anythin’ ye be needin’ old Franny to be gettin’ ye, dearie?” Fran asks, but her eyes are on the two young men now standing awkwardly in my living room.

“N—no, Franny,” I chuckle nervously. I still haven’t fully processed what’s happening right now. “I’m alright. If I do need something, though, you’ll be the first person I call.”

I usher her toward the door hurriedly, anxious to find out why Julian and Bane are here. With some minor protests, I’m able to shut her out. I turn, placing my back against the door. I need a moment to let my head stop spinning before I can return to the couch.

“Milady, are you alright?” Julian rushes to my side, concern clouding his beautiful face.

I take the arm he offers me for support and make my way back to the sofa.

“I promise I’m not trying to be rude…but why are you here?” I ask Julian as he assists me back to a sitting position. My face is beet red, I’m sure of it. “You’re the last person I expected to turn up here.”

Julian smiles warmly.

“I—we,” he motions to Bane, “wanted to see how you were fairing. Madam Francis has been keeping me updated on your status, but I needed to see for myself.”

I feel my face heat up even more, if that’s possible. He’s been keeping tabs on me.

“Also,” he lifts the bags in his arms, “we brought you gifts.”

The smile on his face is absolutely angelic. I can’t help but smile with him as I look into one of the bags he’s offering me.

“You really didn’t have to—oh!”

There is chocolate in this bag… There is SO MUCH chocolate in this bag.

“Are all of these bags…?” I ask, stunned.

“We weren’t sure what kind of chocolate you liked, so we brought you…all…of them…” Julian’s voice fades away as his mouth turns up into an impish grin.

I continue to stand in stunned silence. As ridiculous as I felt for thinking it earlier, Julian McPrincely really did just show up at my door with chocolate…SIX GROCERY BAGS of chocolate. I don’t even want to know how much money he spent getting all of this.

“Does it not please you?” I look up to find that his grin has turned into a look of panic.

“No! It’s not that at all!” I hurriedly try to calm him. “I just—this is very sweet of you. I’ve never met a chocolate I didn’t like, so it’s perfect. Thank you so much! Both of you!”

I lean around to smile at Bane with my last comment. He doesn’t speak, but his cheeks do flush an adorable shade of red at my words.

“Not at all, Milady,” a look of utmost delight has returned to Julian’s face. “Now, we must get busy!”

“Busy…?” I don’t like the sound of that.

Bane silently slips around the corner into my bedroom. What in the world…?

“Don’t you worry one bit, Lady MacAuley,” Julian beams, gently pushing me down onto the sofa. “Banagher and I will take care of everything!”

He leaves me, confused, lying on the couch. I hear the kitchen sink start running and the sounds of an aerosol can in the direction of the bathroom. I sit up a little too quickly again.

“What are you doing?” I question.

It’s actually quite clear what Julian is doing as I watch him roll up his sleeves and begin loading dishes into the soapy water that’s now filling my sink. Connecting the dots in my mind, I realize that Bane must be cleaning the bathroom. Now, it’s my turn to be panicked.

“You don’t have to do that!” I almost shout.

“I am aware, Milady,” Julian laughs quietly. “Correct me if I am wrong, but I would imagine that you do not feel much like cleaning your home at this time. Please, lie back down, and allow us to do this much for you.”

“But—“ It’s useless, and I know it.

Julian begins humming happily, and there’s no way I’d be able to forcibly stop him. I might as well enjoy the pampering, I suppose.

I do as he says and lay down. There is only a small island between my tiny living room and my microscopic kitchen, so we are still able to talk freely from this distance. My selfishness kicks in.

I know that Julian already loves someone, but with him here, doing my menial chores, I can’t help but let my mind wander. I know that this is a special occasion. Julian is only here because I don’t feel well, but there is a big part of me that wants this to be my life. There is a daydreamer in me that wants him to “fit” here in my home, treating me like his princess. I want him to come home every day and do the dishes while he tells me about his day. I would do the dishes by his side…

I need to stop this. I am being selfish, and that is just a pipe dream. Even though I know this, however, I can’t bring myself to stop wanting it. For now, though, I’ll settle for just hearing him speak.

“Hey, McPrincely?” I start.

“Yes, Milady?” he returns quietly.

“Why are you doing this?” I ask. “I mean, I really appreciate it, but you’ve already saved my life. If anything, I should be cleaning your house.”

I am caught off guard by the seriousness of his answer.

“Lady MacAuley, your hands will never be forced to do something as lowly as cleaning my home. They are far too lovely to be used in such a manner.”

A shiver runs down my spine at his words. Julian continues.

“As for me saving your life, do not consider that a debt. It was my honor to be able to assist you. For that, you owe me nothing. I am here today because I wish to further aid your recovery. You need rest, and housework is the least I can do to ensure that you get it. I have also been told that happiness speeds healing, so I brought you the chocolate in hopes of pleasing you. I want to help you, and I wish for your happiness. That is why I am here.”

“Th—thank you,” I manage to reply.

Never in my life have I been treated this way. Simply being with Julian makes me feel as though I’m something worthy of loving and protecting—something precious. My selfishness kicks in again, and I find myself being jealous of that girl he loves. If he is this way with me, a random girl he barely knows, I can’t begin to imagine how he treats her.

I mentally kick myself as I hear the water draining in the kitchen.

Julian appears in the living room, wiping his hands on a towel. He perches gracefully on the wooden barstool that resides in the corner of the room. He looks at me very seriously, but a warm smile tugs at the corners of his lips.

“How are you feeling?” he says, barely louder than a whisper.

“I’m alright,” I smile back at him. “I stay dizzy, and I get headaches from time to time, but I’m mending. I’ll be back to class in no time, and we can go back to me refusing to dance with you every day. I sort of miss that.”

I cannot believe I just said that. I CAN’T. BELIEVE. I just said that.

Julian reacts very differently than I expect, though, and when I look up at him, red faced, he is absolutely beaming.

“I miss it too, Milady,” he says softly. “I am still holding out for the day when you accept my offer.”

“I would love to.” What the heck? The honesty floodgates have been opened. I’m just going to go with it. “I just…I don’t dance in front of people. Ever.”

“I shall simply have to continue attempting to change your mind,” Julian returns playfully.

I smile in spite of myself.

Stop it. Julian isn’t in love with me. He just wants a dance. Don’t look into that too deeply. It simply means that he recognizes my potential as a dance partner.

Just then, Bane reappears where we are.

“Is that…?” Atop his head, looking quite out of place, is my floral patterned shower cap. I stare at him for a moment, unsure how to react. Finally, I sigh. It isn’t worth it. “Never mind.”

“Banagher!” Julian says happily. “You’ve finished with the bathroom?”

Bane only nods.

“Alright, then,” Julian continues. “Would you mind giving us a moment? I’ll be out soon, and we’ll return home.”

Bane nods again and heads for the door, still wearing my shower cap.

“Are you—? Okay,” I flatten my lips into a line as my front door closes firmly. “I’ll just get another one…”

“Sorry about that,” Julian chuckles sheepishly.

“No worries,” I say, still staring at the door. “He just scrubbed my nasty bathroom. A shower cap is the least I can give to repay him.”

“Banagher is what you might call…an odd personality,” Julian laughs.

“Really? I hadn’t noticed,” I say flatly.

Julian laughs louder.

“I don’t think he likes me much,” I continue quietly.

“What?” Julian sobers suddenly. “Of course he likes you. He refrains from speaking because he isn’t sure what to say to you. Please do not take it as an insult. Bane is really quite fond of you.”

I hope Julian’s right. I have a strange feeling I’m going to be seeing more of him from now on.

“So,” Julian’s voice brings me back to the room. “There’s one more thing I’d like to give you.”

“Oh?” I turn around on the couch to face him again.

“Yes, ah—” Julian reaches and grabs a small, wrapped package.

“Julian,” I say, taking the package and slowly unwrapping it.

“I hope you’ll forgive me for taking it,” Julian’s voice is almost nervous. “I wanted to fix it for you, though…”

My heart pounds as I tear away the last bit of paper. Tears spring to my eyes when I see what it held.

“My hoodie…” my voice trails off. I am just short of sobbing as I take the precious fabric out of the box and examine it.

It is perfect.

It looks exactly as it did the day I fell into the river down to the mustard stain on the chest. This is most certainly my hoodie. After coming to terms with the fact that I would never see it again, sitting here holding it in my hands is an absolute miracle.

“How did you…?” I whisper through my tears.

“Have I upset you…?” Julian moves to sit by me on the couch.

“No, Julian,” I shake my head, “No, it’s perfect.”

“I knew that it was special to you in some way, so I could not stand to see it destroyed. I took it in order to repair it. I hope you will forgive my forwardness.”

“Forgive—?” I say, astounded. “Julian, I can never thank you enough for this. I don’t know how you did it, but you brought something back for me that I was sure I’d lost forever.”

“May I ask you its significance?” Julian presses slightly.

“It belonged to my dad,” I say easily. Julian’s eyes widen slightly. “This mustard stain was from a chili dog he was eating the last time we went to Coney Island together. He and my mother met at Juilliard. They dreamed that I would one day follow them there. It was my dream too… That’s ancient history, though.”

I shake away my tears.

“I hope that one day you will tell me the rest of that story,” Julian says earnestly.

“Maybe,” I nod. “Anyway…thank you.”

I look up at Julian’s face. He is staring straight into my eyes. My head begins spinning again, and I can’t tell if it’s vertigo or the fact that I’m so close to what I’m pretty sure is the man of my dreams.

Good lord, he’s gorgeous.

He looks at me hesitantly as though he’s contemplating something important, and I can’t interpret his expression. I sort of wish he’d kiss me right now. That would be awesome. I resist the urge to lean closer to him.

Finally, he seems to have made a decision, and he begins leaning closer to me of his own accord.
Is this really happening?



NOPE.

The next thing I know, my head is between my knees, and I’m covering my pants and the floor in a nasty, processed version of my dinner. Apparently what I was feeling earlier was, in fact, vertigo.

Worst. Day. Ever.

Way to ruin the most romantic moment you’ve had in your entire life, Rory. Good job.

“Lady MacAuley!” Julian’s hands are on my shoulders. “Are you alright? Banagher!!”

I hear the door to my apartment fly open as Bane comes lumbering in.

“Something is wrong!” Julian tells him quickly. “She is ill.”

“I’m okay,” I assure him, patting his knee. “I just got nauseous.”

Bane hands Julian a damp rag, and he begins wiping my face with it before holding it to the back of my neck.

“You are deathly pale, Milady,” Julian won’t be calmed. “I apologize. I fear I have caused this.”

“No, no,” I tell him. “I’m just sorry you had to see that.”

“Please, do not apologize, Lady MacAuley,” he sounds as miserable as I feel.

“Is everythin’ okay?” I hear Franny’s voice from the open front door. “I heard shoutin’.”

“Madam Francis,” Julian stands but keeps his hand holding the rag on my neck. “I fear we have caused too much excitement for Milady this afternoon, and she has fallen ill. Will you kindly assist her to bed while I see to the mess?”

Bane is already in the kitchen looking for cleaning supplies.

“Of course, dearie,” Fran hauls me gently to my feet. She is slightly taller than I, so I’m able to lean on her as we go.

“Julian,” I stop in the doorway to my room, clinging to my hoodie.

“Yes, Milady?” He stops scrubbing the floor to look at me.

“Thank you,” I say with a weak smile, “for coming. Will you please come back?”

Julian sighs with what seems to be some sort of relief. He smiles beautifully.

“If my lady wishes for me to return, how can I possibly refuse?”

I nod and smile back. Fran helps me get my trashed jeans off and puts me in pajamas before tucking me in to bed.

“Rory, honey,” she says gently as she pulls the covers up under my chin.

“Yes, Franny?”

“Was that boy wearin’ yer shower cap?”

I bite my lip.

“Yup.”
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Seraphi



Joined: 25 Oct 2012
Posts: 503
Location: Penna, having a hot cup of tea

Posted: Fri Jan 29, 2016 3:21 pm    Post subject:  

Madam Francis! *snorts* No wonder Franny is smitten XD

Also…BANE BLUSHING! I REPEAT, BANE BLUSHING! ASDFGHJKL!!! And him just continuing to wear the shower cap. Imma have heart palpitations, he’s too much, too adorable. I AM SLAIN! Ugh!

And I knew it was coming, but still, Julian fixed her hoodie. Bless him.

AND how dare you make them almost smooch and give me sick all over the floor instead. Shame on you! XD

Another wonderful chapter, Andi. I am greatly enjoying this and I can't wait for more :3
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Novelest_Ninjagirl



Joined: 09 Dec 2007
Posts: 698
Location: The inn. Probably. Come check!

Posted: Sat Jan 30, 2016 6:01 pm    Post subject:  

Still loving this! Still holding out hope for some sort of redemption for Lady Mcbitch, but I suppose that's a bit much to ask.

Also, I see you're still very good at destroying romantic moments. One day I hope to have such a power. *wipes away a tear*

I must say, I do love the way that Julian talks. His very vocabulary hints at something regal.
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