"What are your feelings about prom?" Keli asked, attempting to distract Elisedd from making his next move, the move that would undoubtedly capture her queen.
Elisedd smirked. “I know what you’re doing, Ms. Blessington. I won’t be distracted from my victory.” He paused for a moment to give dramatic effect as he captured her queen, before continuing, “I am not much of a dancer, but I enjoy your company. Plus, imagine all the pranks I could play.” Elisedd grinned, eyes twinkling mischievously.
Keli arched an eyebrow, pondering her next move both psychologically and on the chessboard. She looked up, boldly meeting Elisedd’s gaze. “You presume to think I was asking you to be my date?”
Elisedd frowned, truly thrown off. “Well, no. I mean…I…of course not.” He fumbled with the chess pieces as he fumbled over his words. And it cost him the game.
“Check and mate! You were so easy to throw,” Keli did a little victory dance, glancing slyly up at Elisedd from beneath lowered lashes. “By the way, your presumptions were correct.” She leaned up and kissed him on the cheek, watching his pale skin turn the same color as his wings.
Diarmuid slunk out to the park, no longer wanting to witness Elisedd’s bumbling attempts at flirtation. Sure, he was happy for his brother. His awkward mannerisms and odd-colored wings didn’t really afford him many chances at romance. But still, his own heart was heavy from his last interaction with Beverly. Little Beverly Fairfax, his blond haired, blue eyed, sweetheart best friend. Gone. Replaced by a purple-haired, angry, punked out pregnant girl who wouldn’t talk to him at all, let alone about the baby’s father. Was it his fault? Could he have done anything differently? Diarmuid sighed as he approached the Vault of Antiquity. Maybe it would give him some insight on how to proceed. Or at least he could distract himself with tales of his fairy heritage.
Diarmuid entered the old, stone building. It was dark; its walls lined with dusty tomes. Diarmuid spent a few hours in there, immersed in the supernatural lore. When he emerged, an hour left until curfew, he felt more like himself. He hadn’t read anything that truly stood out to him as words of wisdom, but somehow he knew that he had to put Beverly in the past. He’d always have a fondness for her, for the hours they spent together as children, but it was time to make new friends. Especially, if Elisedd was going to be preoccupied with Keli.
While her children were otherwise occupied, Shae decided it was time to approach her sister about something that had been lately on her mind. Shae found Illdrid in Aoife’s old room, thumbing through photographs of their children when they were young. Shae cleared her throat and Illdrid looked up, sliding the photo album back into its place, and walked toward her sister.
“Is everything alright?” Illdrid asked, her brow furrowed in concern.
Shae nodded, unsure of how to proceed. “Everything is alright. I just…I’ve been talking to Derek lately.”
“Derek, eh? Does this mean we get to giggle like girls about your romance? I thought we were too old for all that. But what about Drest?”
Shae scowled wringing her hands, “It’s not funny! We are too old. I’m too old for him. But for whatever reason, he just keeps coming back to me. And as for Drest, well he's off trying to become emperor of the Fae, and I'm pretty sure he just used me for his own purposes. He left me here to raise two kids without him. If he ever comes back, he can just deal with the disappointment. But what I’m really concerned about is, well, you. After everything that happened…”
Illdrid rolled her eyes. “Come now, really? Dagon is grown and has teenage children of his own. I think it’s time you and Derek stop punishing yourselves and just find the love you seek with each other. “
Shae hugged her sister tightly, trying to stop the tears from springing to her eyes.
A brief phone call later, and she was on her way to meet Derek. It was the tavern where they had their first date, where she conceived Aoife. The memories flooded back and she launched herself into his arms. It felt like a lifetime ago, but the second their skin touched, it was like no time had passed at all. She kissed him hungrily, drinking from his lips as he growled with passion. They paused only to pay for a room key, and then he lifted her into his arms and carried her into the room.
Their clothes were off in moments, stripped down to their undergarments. She was panting as he nipped at her neck. She couldn’t figure out what he saw in her, old and wrinkled as she was, but she was grateful. They sank beneath the covers and moved together as one.
When their lovemaking finished, Shae rolled out of bed. Derek shot to his feet, confused and alarmed. “What’s wrong? Did I hurt you?”
Shae smacked his arm and replied, “Of course not, you dolt. I just need to get something. Don’t go anywhere.”
Derek pulled her up off her knee and held her small hands in his. “I’m glad you recognize we are both flawed. And I would be honored to be your husband. But wasn’t it my job to ask?”
Shae shrugged and said with a grin, “I’m not exactly a stickler for tradition, you know. Three kids out of wedlock and a sister who was literally a prostitute. If I decide I want to be the one to propose, then I’m going to do it.”
Derek laughed and leaned down to kiss his bride to be.
It might have been a little out of the ordinary for an old woman to be marrying a physically young and handsome werewolf, but Shae wanted her wedding to be as normal as possible, so a week before the big day, she invited to grown kids over for a bridal shower. Dagon and Percy were both working, but Aoife, Kari and Evandrus were all able to make it.
Shae sat in her rocking chair and watched the way Aoife still doted on her wife. She must have inherited the charm from her father. Shae was really hoping for some grandchildren, but perhaps, Aoife and Kari weren’t the parenting types.
Illdrid flung herself into the preparations, cooking lunch and cleaning the house. It was about time her sister experienced some happiness. Other than their beautiful children, their lives had been filled with one trial after another. True happiness had been elusive, and love even more so. Now, Shae could spend her remaining days in the arms of the one man she her heart belonged to. Even if he was at one time, a source of the family’s heartache. Illdrid chuckled to herself. Nothing could ever be simple.
“Mom! How have you been?” Evandrus asked, immediately after walking into his childhood home. The only thing that had changed was the deeper wrinkles around his mother’s eyes. But her smile was just as bright as she walked away from the oven to hug her son.
“I’m hanging in there. How are you?” she responded, trying not to dwell on the ever looming passage of time. With a nod of her head, she guided Evandrus toward the couch. Her old bones ached the longer she stood on her feet.
A dark cloud passed over Evandrus’ eyes as he sat beside his mother on the couch. “I have some news, mom,” he began, taking a deep breath. “Dad is back. The war is over. The rebellion…was squashed.”
Illdrid looked at her son, bewildered. James was back. “When did he get back?” Illdrid asked, trying to appear nonchalant. “What about Drest?”
Evandrus rolled his eyes. “A few days ago. Don’t worry. He’ll be in touch.” Evandrus paused, trying to gather his thoughts. “Drest didn’t make it. And what’s worse…dad says there will be some ramifications for our world. Something about a plague. He didn’t know many details, but take any illnesses you see very seriously.”
Illdrid had a hard time compartmentalizing all of her emotions. Drest’s loss was a shock, but she had never really been close to him, so it was hard to feel much more than pity. Still, it was sad knowing Diarmuid and Elisedd would never meet their father. But at least Shae wouldn’t have to explain her upcoming nuptials to an angry fairy. And the news of a plague. That was the most disturbing part of all. Illdrid sighed. Today was not the time to dwell on wars, rebellions, or the past. She pasted on a smile. Today was a day to celebrate a wedding.
Diarmuid arrived home with his friend, Kacey, to see that his house was full of family members. She took a look at everyone gathered and raised her eyebrows. “What’s going on, D?”
Diarmuid shrugged. “My mom’s finally getting married. Who cares? She’s probably throwing some party for herself.”
“What do you mean ‘Who cares?’” It’s adorable that your mom finally found love! I should go congratulate her!”
Diarmuid scoffed as he steered Kacey toward his bedroom. “Believe me, she didn’t “finally” find love. She has three kids. My aunt has two. All different daddies. Well, obviously me and Elisedd have the same dad. Point is…I think they’ve had plenty of loving to go around.”
Kacey slapped Diarmuid on the shoulder. “Gosh, D. You’re such a prude!”
Diarmuid grabbed a pillow off the bed and smacked Kacey with it. “Those are fighting words, missy!”
She tried to duck his next attack and maneuvered around him to grab a pillow for herself. It was a long and exhausting battle, but somehow Diarmuid emerged victorious.
“So, about me being a prude?” he asked, flirtatiously stepping closer to her. His eyes roamed over her body appreciatively. But nothing could have prepared him for the rage in her eyes as she took a step back.
“Whoa, buddy. I don’t know what you’ve heard about me, but I’m a one man kind of woman. For chrissakes, I’m pregnant with my second kid. And before you even start running your smart ass mouth, my babies have the same daddy. You know what, I think I’m done here. I’m sure Ali, my boyfriend, is home waiting for me,” Kacey glared at him before stomping out the room. Diarmuid sank onto the lower bunk of the bed he shared with Elisedd and hung his head in his hands. What was with him and pregnant chicks?