Wednesday, April 10, 2013

1.24 - A Time for Celebrations

 “Today is the day,” Illdrid said while embracing her sister. “James is waiting for me. I’ll just drop my things off and meet you at the chapel.”

 Shae nodded solemnly. It felt like she had swallowed a jar of bees. “Are we doing the right thing?” she asked, her voice barely a whisper.

 Illdrid chuckled. “Of course, we are. No regrets, dear sister. We have come full circle and are back with the men that we fell in love with. They might not have always been worthy of that love, but we are now older and wiser and prepared to fully enjoy the remainder of our lives. How are the children taking it?”

 Shae smiled. “Aoife is, of course, thrilled that I’m finally marrying her father. The twins seem more wrapped up in their own love lives. But they’ve expressed how happy they are that I’m happy. So I guess that’s all that matters."

When Shae arrived at the chapel, Derek was already inside, leaning against a wall. His arms were crossed over his chest. He smiled when he looked and saw her, but there was something solemn about the way he looked at her that made Shae bite her lower lip in worry. “Are you sure you want to be saddled with an old sack of bones like me?” she asked with a sad stab at humor, but she couldn’t hide the tremor in her voice that he might possibly walk away from their wedding.

Derek uncrossed his arms and pulled Shae into a tender embrace. After kissing her forehead, he replied. “The only thing I am uncertain about is whether or not I deserve you. I hope I’ve atoned for my past mistakes. But sometimes, I am not so sure.” With a smile, he brightened and touched his nose to Shae’s. “But today is not a day for dwelling. Today we finally celebrate our love.”

And what a celebration it was. To Shae, it was a blur of smiling faces and congratulations. She remembered seeing Evandrus sobbing at one point during the ceremony. She had never pegged him as a romantic, but it seems she had been wrong.

She remembered the brief uncertainty she felt as she took her place beside Derek at the altar. Was this really what he wanted? Could he have been lying to her. But she took a deep breath a trudged on, with Derek’s words about celebrating their love echoing in her mind.

She remembered seeing Aoife and her wife dabbing at tears, even as they smiled joyfully at each other.

She remembered the rice raining down on her as she walked back down the aisle, this time arm in arm with her new husband.

But most of all, she remembered the look in Derek’s eyes as they said their vows. They held the promise of forever, even as she felt the heaviness of her advanced age weighing down on her. They might not have much time left, but she was determined to spend every last moment basking in the happiness of his love.

Shae had decided she would be too tired for any sort of a reception or honeymoon, so when the wedding ended, she gathered her new husband and her two children and went home. When she opened the door, she noticed a few glaring differences. First, there was luggage lined up and stacked in a neat little pile beside the door. While she took in this new development, she heard the soft mewing of a cat and the enthusiastic panting of a dog. Her eyes widened as she was greeted by the small housepets. Before she could react, she saw from the corner of her eye, a large wedding cake atop a small wooden table in the kitchen. Shae gasped and felt tears stinging her eyes as she whirled to face her grinning husband. “How?” she stammered. “When?”

“Your sister dropped off the key this morning. I made the call to the moving men once I knew you were safely in the chapel. They brought everything over during the ceremony. I hope you don’t mind.” Derek replied, glancing down at his wife sheepishly.

“It’s lovely!” she exclaimed as she threw herself into his arms. When Derek released her from his embrace, she walked over to the cake and just stared at it. She couldn’t imagine destroying something so beautiful.

Diarmuid groaned and rolled his eyes. “Come on, mom. We don’t have all day. Prom is tonight. Let’s have some cake!”

Shae ruffled his hair. “Go ahead, son. Help yourself.” She walked into Aoife’s old bedroom. The moving men had placed the pet beds and toys in there. She ran her fingertips across the dresser, stopping to hover over each picture, each memory. Aofie’s prom crown and formal photo with Kari were still there, and Shae struggled to hold back tears as she thought about her children all growing up. Soon the twins would graduate and leave the nest. And she’d be alone. She wiped furiously at her eyes and shook her head. No, not alone. She’d have Derek. She’d have the love of her life. She took a deep breath and repeated to herself the words he’d spoken earlier. Today was a day for celebration.
 Diarmuid had this idea in his mind about how perfect prom would be. The girls would arrive. He'd sweep LaShawn off her feet, help her into the waiting limo, and they would dance the night away to meaningful songs on the romantically lit, perfectly decorated gymnasium floor. Just like in all the Hollywood movies. But things never seem to go as planned.

The girls arrived at the same time, both wearing the same dresses they had worn to the wedding. Diarmuid didn't know if it was the soft, evening light or just the anticipation of the night ahead, but he found himself unable to form words. Gone was his usual self-assured charm, and LaShawn was just standing there, staring, waiting for the words to come.

Elisedd wasn't faring much better. He reached out and grasped Keli's hand, pumping it up and down like a car jack. His hands were sweaty and Keli was looking at him as if he'd just lost his mind.

The teens walked single file to the waiting limo. The girls climbed inside before either of the boys could rush around and hold open the door. Diarmuid groaned to himself. The dance hadn't even begun yet, and the night was already a disaster.

The gymnasium was brightly lit, and a DJ was playing watered down versions of the latest hits. The dance floor was deserted; all of the kids stood in small groups around the perimeter of the room. Diarmuid began walking toward a relatively secluded spot by the bleachers, but LaShawn grabbed him by the hand. "Where do you think you're going?" she accused, but her eyes were filled with laughter. "This is prom. We're here to dance. I couldn't give two craps what our idiotic classmates are doing. You. Me. We're dancing."

Diarmuid felt himself grinning as he sketched a mock bow, "Lead the way, my lady."

Elisedd looked in panic at Keli, but mustered the courage to ask, "Would you also like to dance?"

Keli giggled. "Come on, El. It's me. Let's go get some punch and watch from the bleachers. I'm sure D and LaShawn just started a trend, so we'll have plenty of silly dance moves to laugh at."

Elisedd smiled, finally feeling himself relax and stood near the bleachers. Keli stood to his left, taking small glances up at him. He caught her, and their eyes locked. Should he kiss her? Is it what she would want? Her eyelids were half lowered. The corners of her lips were quirked up flirtatiously. Elisedd felt himself leaning towards her, prepared to take that first step.

"Well, well, well. What do we have here?" a mocking voice jeered at them. Elisedd took his eyes off of Keli to see three jocks from Diarmuid's track team glaring at him with crossed arms. "Is this freak bothering you, Keli?"

Keli's brows furrowed with fury. "No, Rudy. You're the one who is bothering me. He is my date. Now run along, please."

"Yea? What's he got that I don't? Is it that pixie dust that gets you all tingly at night?" Rudy asked, moving closer. His buddies twittered with grunts of laughter. Elisedd felt himself rooted to the spot, trying to run through his mind for an appropriate spell to scare the jerks off. But before he could calculate the correct movements, he looked up and saw Diarmuid approaching. Mentally, he tried to will his brother to turn around, but all attempts to breach a connection were futile.

Diarmuid looped his arms around two of the jocks and plastered on his signature lopsided grin, but his eyes glittered with a cold, hard fury. “Seems like we’re all having a good time over here. I thought I’d join the party.” His right leg was crossed over his left, and to the untrained eye, he looked completely at ease.

Rudy spun around and narrowed his eyes at Diarmuid. “What do you want, D?” Rudy sneered as he puffed out his chest.

Diarmuid arched an eyebrow, his grin still firmly in place. He stepped away from his two team mates to clap Rudy on the back. “I just wanted to congratulate you on getting into Eltham State. I hear you were first pick for their track program. Got a scholarship and everything. Must have been some honor.”

Rudy cocked his head to the side, carefully regarding Diarmuid, unsure of his motives. “Yea, so?” he asked.

Diarmuid took a step closer, their noses practically touching. His smile was gone. His face was a blank mask, stony and unmoving. He dropped his voice to a lethal whisper. “I’d hate for coach to find out about the stuff you keep in your locker. He’d be obligated to tell the university. Your scholarship would evaporate. It would be a damn shame for them to lose their star freshman.”

Rudy’s eyebrows shot up, almost imperceptibly. But then he smiled and shrugged his shoulders. He held Diarmuid’s gaze, never blinking. “Tell coach whatever you want. You’ve just given me enough time to get rid of my stash.”

With that, Diarmuid’s grin returned, still not reaching his eyes. He leaned closer, so Rudy could feel his hot breath against his ear and whispered, “I’m willing to bet there’s still some in your system. You willing to risk a drug test?”

“Whatever dude,” Rudyy exclaimed, throwing his arms up in exasperation. His two friends glanced at each other, unsure how to proceed. “Let’s go,” Rudy snarled as he stormed past them. They bumbled along behind him, never once looking back.

Diarmuid smirked at his brother, “No worries, El. I got your back.” He sauntered back to LaShawn, who was standing with her arms crossed on the other side of the room. She certainly didn’t look very happy. Maybe she missed his heroic actions and was upset about it?

“What did you do that for?” she demanded, her jaw set firmly and her arms wildly emphasizing each angry syllable.

Diarmuid was genuinely bewildered. “What do you mean? Elisedd was in trouble.”

LaShawn put her hands on her hips and shook her head. “You couldn’t let him fight his own battle? You certainly didn’t do him any favors. Now, he looks like a fool in front of Keli. And don’t think those idiot teammates of your are finished with him. The second you’re not around, they’re going to give him hell. Maybe if you had put aside your ego for one minute, you’d have realized this.” LaShawn bit her lip, contemplating her next move, before whirling around and stomping away.

Keli put her hand on Elisedd’s arm, but he could practically feel the pity seeping into his skin, so he shook it off. “I need some air,” he said, his voice low and sullen. Keli just nodded, her brows furrowed in concern. She wanted to tell him that none of this was his fault. That she had just wanted to have a good night and those jocks meant nothing to her. But none of the words felt right on her lips, so she just let him walk away.

In the hallway, he slumped against the lockers. He sank to the floor and bowed his head in his hands. He kept running through his mind the point where everything had gone wrong. Could have. Should have. Would have. If only he had Diarmuid’s smooth charm. If only he were a quick thinker. He could have used one of his fae spells that he had learned – like that time he’d made that woman sick so they could play darts. It had been an empowering feeling. But when he really needed to use the powers, he had failed. A quick burst of footsteps broke him out of his dejected thoughts, and he looked up to see his tormentors quickly approaching.

“Hey, freak!” Rudy shouted. “You better tell your brother to back off, or your little girlfriend will become my very special friend.” Rudy knelt, hovering above Elisedd as he held him against the locker. “Do you understand?” Rudy spat in Elisedd’s face as his friend laughed and jeered behind him. “I will destroy her. When I am finished with her, she will be in so much pain, she won’t be able to walk.”

Elisedd felt a cold, dark fury overtake him as he shot to his feet, pushing Rudy to sprawl on his back. With the flick of Elisedd’s wrist, Rudy’s friends began to levitate, flailing their arms and legs trying to return to solid ground. They whimpered in unison, crying out to be put down. Elisedd didn’t take his eyes off Rudy, who was back and on his feet and charging toward him. Elisedd felt the stronger teen’s body collide against his, bones rattling together, but he managed to stay on his feet. He pushed back with a strength he didn’t realize he possessed, and watched Rudy stumble backwards. Elisedd drew himself up, his feet leaving the ground, consumed with the raw power of his heritage.  With another flick of his wrist, Rudy’s face began to turn red. The skin began to burn, forming swollen, angry blisters. Rudy howled in pain as smoke began billowing from his ears. He tried to cover them, to stop the steam from pouring out, but the skin on his palms began to sweat and boil. His two friends got up, and ran screaming down the hall. Elisedd remained, hovering over his bully until his screams subsided. “These effects are temporary. You’ll eventually return to normal. But if you ever bother me again, if you ever go near Keli again, I will make sure that you are permanently disfigured. Do you understand?”

 Elisedd watched the teen’s head bob silently up and down with a grim sense of satisfaction. Never before had he inflicted such pain on another person. Never had he imagined it would feel so good, that he could feel so powerful. He shook his head, trying to return his pulse to normal, as he walked solemnly back to the gymnasium. Keli had joined LaShawn and Diarmuid, and they were all talking animatedly, completely oblivious to the battle Elisedd had just waged in the hallway. He pasted on a smile and approached them. With a newfound sense of confidence, he grasped Keli’s hand and asked if he could, please, have this dance. As he watched her face light up, he realized that this was his prom, that this was his life, and he had the power to control its outcome.

- - -- - -

Ugh, finally! This chapter killed me. I had it all written out and saved as a draft, and then Blogger ate it. After much freaking out, I managed to rewrite it, but it just...wasn't quite the same. Still, I think it turned out alright. I'm pretty happy with the pictures. another chapter or so, the second generation will be taking over. And boy do I have some plans for Diarmuid. :D

Thursday, February 7, 2013

1.23 - Awkward Flirtations

After a weeklong bout with the flu, Illdrid decided she was really too old to be taking her health for granted. She might have a decade left in her or just one day, but regardless, she wanted to make sure she visited with her grandchildren at least once before her time was up. She left the house late into the evening hours and showed up on Dagon’s doorstep.

“Uh, hi mom,” Dagon said, eyes bleary with sleep, as he invited his mother inside. “What brings you out here so close to midnight? Is everything alright?”

“Of course,” Illdrid responded, “Just thought it would be a nice time for a visit.” She smiled sheepishly, hoping her son wouldn’t hold her poor timing against her.

Dagon sighed. “Alright, well, money has been tight lately.  My paintings aren’t selling like I hoped they would, so I’ve been working at the festival part time. I’ve got a long day tomorrow, but I’m sure the kids would be happy to stay up late and spend some time with you.”

Percy wandered out of the bedroom as Dagon wandered back into it. He gave Illdrid a wink and a smile before heading back to his husband with a glass of water, leaving Illdrid alone with her practically grown up grandchildren.

Illdrid excitedly rushed over to her granddaughter. “Oh, Kylee, sweetheart! You’re so grown up; I feel like I’ve missed your whole childhood. Do you remember me?”

Kylee smiled patiently at the older woman, but kept glancing over her shoulder at the book she had been reading. “Sure, grandma. I remember you.”

Illdrid felt a little disappointed that her granddaughter didn’t want to talk to her, but kept it hidden from her voice. “I see you’ve got a book you’d like to finish. Reading is important. Keep it up and you’re sure to be very successful today. Don’t let me bother you. I’ll go fuss over your brother.”

Kylee traipsed over to the sofa and immediately picked up the adventure novel she had been reading, and Illdrid focused all of her energies on Jeffry. “Now you. You’re not much younger than your sister, and yet, Dagon hasn’t had time to bring you around. I’ve completely missed out on your life.”

Jeffry grinned, immediately enjoying the older woman’s company. She looked so much like his dad, how could he not? “None of that melancholy!” Jeffry exclaimed. “There’s plenty of time for family bonding. You can’t be a day over 50!” Illdrid’s eyes were shiny with a mixture of mirth and sadness. She kept the negative emotions to herself and gave Jeffry her biggest smile.

Jeffry launched into his life story, figuring Illdrid would be interested. He started at the beginning with his birth father’s violent temper and his mother’s drug habit. The volatile combination ended in a murder-suicide, not that Jeffry remembered; he was an infant at the time. He spent most of his childhood in an orphanage, before Percy and Dagon decided to adopt him. Kylee was the one who had picked him out. She said, “That one. That one will be my baby brother.” He wasn’t a baby at the time, but it didn’t matter, he became part of the family.

The story was admittedly a bit of a downer, so before they even had time to dwell, Jeffry launched into a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. Kylee rolled her eyes at the whole ordeal. Sometimes Jeffry could be such a drama queen.

“I think it’s time to make some changes,” Illdrid said to Shae the following morning. “Derek will be moving in after the wedding, and you’ll finally get to start your life together. As much as I love being here with you, my kids are grown and gone, and I think it’s time I do some living of my own. James is back. I don’t know if he’ll still have me. But he did make a promise before he left.”

“So what you’re saying is…you want to move out?” Shae asked.

Illdrid shrugged. “Well, I think if James would have me, yes. It’s time I devote some of my life to me and not to raising children or witch curses or trying to get back to the Realm.”

Shae hugged her sister tightly. A chapter of their life was closing, and a new one was about to begin. She only hoped they had enough time to fully experience their new lives.

Keli came home with Elisedd after school, again. She made inane comments about the weather while Elisedd thought about what could possibly holding Diarmuid up at school. They were all supposed to have a group outing – not a date between him and Keli. Ever since their chess match/prom date fiasco, things had been awkward between them. Were they friends? Or something more? Elisedd didn’t have the guts to ask her, so he nodded mutely while she went on about cumulous clouds and the impending threat of Spring snow.

An awkward quiet settled between them. Elisedd cleared his throat. Keli looked at her shoes. Elisedd glanced at the door. Keli bit at her nails. “Chess!” Elisedd exclaimed, breaking the thick silence. “I challenge you to a rematch!”

Relieved, Keli agreed. Although she wasn’t sure that Elisedd even wanted her there anymore.

Keli was the distracted one, this time. She frowned as she mulled over each move, but she knew she was marching toward defeat. Her heart just wasn’t in it.

Elisedd grimaced as Keli made one juvenile mistake after another. Was she trying to appear stupid so he’d find her more attractive? How could he tell her to stop without coming across as presumptuous again? Elisedd felt they were at a crossroads, and he just didn’t know how to get on the right path.

Diarmuid came home to find Keli and Elisedd at the chess table. Again. He rolled his eyes before strolling over and clapping his hands. “Great job, guys, now let’s go. LaShawn will be here any minute now, and I want to be ready to go when she gets here.”

Keli slumped in her chair, clearly miserable and glanced up at Diarmuid. “I surrender. El, you win. You bested me.”

Diarmuid quirked his head to the side as he studied Keli. Elisedd was singing a victory song as he cleaned up the chess piece. But Keli looked dejected, even more than she should.

They moved their little party into the kitchen, where Elisedd immediately began rooting around in the fridge for a snack. Diarmuid approached Keli and put his mouth close to her ear and whispered, “Don’t freak out. I noticed  you and El seem to be stuck in neutral. Don’t worry, he likes you. He’s just an inexperienced idiot. Be patient with him.”

Keli began giggling and Elisedd spun around with a frown, eyebrows furrowed. “What are you two giggling about?” he sulked.

Diarmuid smirked. Jealousy. That should get things moving along nicely.

Within moments, LaShawn had arrived and Shae let her in. She found everyone in the kitchen. She quirked her lips into a wry smile as she sauntered toward Diarmuid. “Well, well, well. Inviting me here to watch you flirt with other girls? Be careful, Keli. This one has quite the reputation.”

Diarmuid crossed his arms over his chest as he turned to glare at his friend. “I don’t know what you could possibly mean,” Diarmuid said through gritted teeth.

LaShawn circled Diarmuid like a hawk circling prey. “Oh, I think you do. Kacey has been telling everyone about how you like to steal other guys’ pregnant girlfriends.”

Diarmuid groaned and threw up his arms in defeat. “Sure! That’s right. Obviously that’s why I invited you here. Pain in my ass.”

LaShawn cackled and punched his arm. “You know I’m just playing with you.”

Elisedd and Keli exchanged bewildered looks and launched into a discussion about a new mathematical chess theory.

Diarmuid and LaShawn ignored their more studious counterparts in favor of their own conversation. “So where are we going, anyway?” LaShawn huffed.

“Always so impatient,” Diarmuid responded, shaking his head. “We’re going to the arcade. And I guess we can go now that you’ve finally arrived. If we can drag El and Keli away from their nerd conversation.”

Diarmuid managed to convince Keli and Elisedd that it was perfectly possible for them to be able to carry on a conversation while they walked to the arcade. When they arrived, all eyes went to the already occupied dart board. Elisedd pushed back his shoulders. “No worries, guys. I got this.”

He approached the sole woman who was haphazardly throwing darts at the board. She scowled and grunted, “The hell do you want.”

Elisedd gulped and crossed his fingers. “I just thought I’d let you know that somehow you managed to get a dart stuck in the ceiling.”

“No way, you stupid, ass-faced kid. Get out of my face,” the surly woman responded, but despite her protestations, she looked up.

Elisedd smirked and began muttering the spell under his breath. With a swift flick of fairy dust, the woman started to pale and clutched at her stomach. Elisedd scrunched his nose at the foul smell she emitted from her mouth. “What did you do to me?” she shrieked, and ran out of the building.

“And that takes care of that,” Elisedd gloated  and picked up the dropped dart. “You guys playing?”

“Heck yea!” Diarmuid exclaimed before turning to Keli and whispering, “Now, you want to play hard to get. Go play with the arcade machine.”

“But I don’t like it,” Keli whined with a pleading look. Diarmuid shrugged, as if to say she was doomed to failure, and Keli went sulking off to the machines in the corner.

The teens took turns throwing the darts. And despite the athletic inclinations of Diarmuid and LaShawn, Elisedd easily came away with the victory. “Rematch?” he asked, feigning nonchalance as he examined his finger nails.

Diarmuid rolled his eyes and grumbled, “What, so I can lose again? No thanks!”

“Fine!” Elisedd retorted. “I’ve got homework to do anyway.” He plunked down on the ground and pulled out his book. Diarmuid sighed and turned his attention to LaShawn.

“What kind of name is LaShawn anyway,” Diarmuid asked with a teasing grin.

LaShawn swatted at him and replied, “Daddy wanted a boy, but he got stuck with me. Thus the stupidly masculine name. At least track record has managed to make him proud,” she glanced at the floor, momentarily shaken. “But don’t even start with the “who is weirder than who” game. Your brother is a fairy. Like for real.”

Diarmuid chuckled as he grabbed at her wrists and pulled her closer, “Alright, you got me there.”

“Okay, D. Knock it off. I know you’re just a flirt,” LaShawn said, her voice tense, as she took a step backward.

But Diarmuid persisted. “I know that might be my reputation, but it’s not true. Come to prom with me. Let me show you off as my girlfriend.”

LaShawn’s eyes widened. She looked away, pondering her decision, before whispering, “Yes.”

Diarmuid’s heart flipped in his chest. He could hardly contain his excitement. So he leaned forward, ready for that first, magical kiss.

LaShawn pushed him away, once again full of lighthearted giggles. “Whoa there buddy. I don’t know what sort of a girl you think I am, but I’m not one of your pregnant floozies!” LaShawn squealed as Diarmuid lunged for her. She ducked left and playfully kicked at his knees. He chased her around the arcade until they were both breathless. Curfew was fast approaching, and as much as Diarmuid wished he could spend just a few more minutes with his new girlfriend, he knew it was time to go home.
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Really, game? LaShawn? Sigh. At least she's pretty. Generation 2 is right on the brink of taking over. FINALLY. I guess that's what I get for using the last born child of a five child household become heir.
Next chapter, Shae gets married to Derek and the twins go to prom! Sorry for all the filler.