Chapter Four: A Fractured Fairytale

1833 Words
...but f**k all of that noise. She wasn’t just a meek and mild blushing bride, and she damn well wouldn’t go home with her tail between her legs to beg for the fidelity of a stupid boy who she’d been nothing but devoted to.  Lingering feelings or not, she knew better than to try and revive a dead relationship.  Maybe she was in shock, because although she had spent a day and a night drunk off her ass, the heartache of losing Killian wasn’t as intense as she thought it should be. They had been children together, best friends even - although those were his words, not hers. He was her first crush, first kiss...first everything. There was a bitter sting at that thought, but not the throbbing ache she expected. Where was the crushing feeling that her whole world was ending? There was plenty of anger, but no despair. Was she just numb…? She didn’t feel numb. Maybe she’d read too many of her Uncle Ichigo’s romance novels, which she pretended to find gross and syrupy despite having read all of them. Repeatedly. Though their teenage years had led them in different directions - Killian to an apprenticeship aboard his grandfather’s ship, and Lydia to an adventurer’s preparatory school that her grandmother had a hand in establishing - when they met again as young adults it felt like destiny. Like this had always been the plan. Both of their parents were thrilled; they talked about their children finding each other again the same way that people talked about fairy tales.  It didn’t help that Killian was smoking hot now. Gone was the kinny, freckled dweeb who had a habit of tripping over his own boots. He’d been replaced by a broad shouldered, swarthy beast of a man whose skin was a little weathered from hours spent on deck, exposed to sun and salty air. The perpetual five o’clock shadow on his finely honed jaw was nothing to sneeze at either. She saw now that his looks were just a distraction from the jerkface underneath; she’d judged the book called Killian by the handsome face on the cover. Her mother had once warned her that a pretty face could be misleading - though she’d been talking about Echo at the time, joking about Lydia’s little crush on the drow while he was in hearing to get a rise out of him. She wasn’t wrong. Had Dia really been taken in by Killian’s glow up? By the nostalgia she felt for their childhood friendship? Or the fairy tale ending that every little girl was drilled into dreaming of from the time they could sit upright? Maybe that’s why Dia was feeling so blase about things. While Lydia had always loved a good aesthetic - hence her fascination with Echo when she was a little girl - she had always hated fairy tales. Oh, she believed in true love. She’d seen it in her parents' faces whenever they looked at each other.  But, having seen it in action her whole life, Lydia also knew that love had to be backed by dedication, or it would be fragile as thin ice - seemingly solid at first, but easy to crack and likely to melt at the first sign of heat. Killian was all heat, and nothing solid. Well, one thing she had learned early on was that some things were meant to stay on the other side of the veil. Her feelings for Killian were a shadow of what they had been and could haunt her from the other side all they wanted. Lydia was well practiced at ignoring ghosts. Speaking of ghosts, the necromancy was something she did need to consider, as her powers did occasionally get the better of her. But why did that have to make that the focus of her studies? She was more than the power she was born with, and she had a passion - a true passion - for artificing. And there was no better place to study artificing than the Academie Esoterique, which just happened to be located in the city she was presently hiding out in. Her mind latched onto something her Uncle Echo had mentioned in passing; that her own mother thought she might want to pursue artificing - not necromancy. Her parents knew what really made her tick, and now that she thought about it, they’d never told her she had to study necromancy, had they?  That might have been the obvious path for her, what with her natural inclinations, but even if that was the expectation it had never been written in stone. Did she really think her parents would be disappointed if she changed her mind - or would they just be happy that she was doing something that she loved? Lydia smiled to herself. She might not have had a plan, per say, when she hitched a ride with that circus airship. But, now she thought she understood what her father meant when he told her that the Goddess always had a plan. It might just be a way of rationalizing things when they fall into place, but it was comforting to believe that maybe her f**k ups were really just part of some grand scheme where things turned out how they were truly meant to. The tears slowed and eventually came to a stop as the gears of Lydia’s mind clicked smoothly back into place. She rolled out of the bed and headed into the adjoining bathroom for the bath that she so desperately needed. A fresh faced and grime free Lydia emerged from the bathroom a few hours later in a fluffy black robe. After emptying out the contents of her storage bangle just to make sure that she really didn’t have any spare clothes with her. Spoiler alert, she didn’t. What she did have was plenty of snacks. A girl had to have priorities, and a stash of Uncle Pita’s jam cookies was a good one to have in Lydia’s opinion.  Dia pulled the robe a bit tighter around her before venturing into the hallway to look for her Aunt Cadence. The robe was small on her - well, it was long enough, maybe too long even, but not made for someone with her curves. Drow weren’t exactly known for curves, so she wasn’t terribly surprised. What was surprising was the brick wall she ran into as soon as she stepped outside her borrowed bedroom door. Harmon grunted, stumbling back a step as Dia smacked face first into his chest. He’d had a fist upraised, as if he was about to knock, which he now used to steady Lydia at the shoulder. “Good gravy!” Lydia squeaked, as her little hands splayed across Harmon’s chest, pushing him back. She couldn’t help but notice that under the loose black layers were hard muscles that flexed as he moved away from her. “W-what, uhm, what are you doing?” “Hmm?” Harmon was not looking at Lydia’s face, and apparently couldn’t hear over the sound of her cleavage, which was practically spilling from the robe. Even though he was staring, his face was a mask of indifference. If his eyes didn’t have that obvious spark of lust, Lydia might have thought he just got distracted by a stray thought. Growling, Lydia tugged the robe tight again, “Buck up, buttercup. My eyes are up here.” “Oh, my apologies.” Harmon cleared his throat, his mild expression shifting only slightly as the corners of his lips turned up despite the embarrassment coloring his cheeks at having been caught staring. “Mother suggested that I loan you some of my clothes until we can acquire something in your size. I see she was right about your need for something a bit bigger than what she has in her closet.” Now she could see that he had a pair of soft looking drawstring pants and a black sweater, not unlike the one he was currently wearing, draped over one arm. He offered his arm out to her, and she decided to ignore his implication about her size. Echo had a habit of being rude on purpose, just to get a rise out of people. It was a habit which his son had clearly picked up on. If she didn’t give Harmon the reaction he wanted, he’d get bored of messing with her.  ...And if not, well, she would show him the sharp side of her tongue until she broke him. And oh, he would break. Everyone did. She kind of hoped he kept pushing, just so she could see it happen. She had a feeling it would be hilarious. “ keys?” Lydia said, holding her hand out. When he hesitated, she snapped her fingers, and although that earned her an irritated look, he did reach into his pants pocket to fish out the keys to the beast. “I was hoping maybe you would allow me to take a closer look at your Beast…” Harmon said in a soft, even tone. Either he was completely unaware of the flirtatious double entendre, or he was being subtle with his intonation so as not to freak her out. She had a feeling it was the former. Harmon struck her as not being particularly good with women, which was surprising given who his father was. “More like you were hoping I’d forget you had the keys so you could take her for a spin while I was distracted.” Lydia called him out, chuckling a little. “Easier to ask forgiveness than permission, eh?” “I expect you are speaking from experience.” Harmon chuckled a little, and brought a hand up to rub at the back of his neck. “Nothing gets by you, does it?” Lydia laughed heartily at that, a full bellied laugh. “That’s a good one. Yeah, bud. Nothing gets by the girl who almost married a cheating bastard, lemme tell ya.” Lydia said, wiping the little tears that had formed at the corners of her eyes away. “I was only best friends with the jerkface for most of my life, you’d think I would know him by now…” When she saw the pity on Harmon’s face, Lydia froze. No one likes being pitied, but Dia absolutely detested it. She bit down on her bottom lip to keep herself from saying something she couldn’t take back, and instead backed into her room. “Lydia…” Harmon began, his voice unnaturally high.  “Don’t. Do not start apologizing. If you try to feed me some saccharine bullshit about how I’m going to meet someone so much better, I will absolutely scream.” Dia rasped, bile rising in her throat along with all the rage she’d been pushing down over the last few days. “You don’t know me, and if you did you would probably wish otherwise.”
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