Feeling very bleh today.
I’m off, for a myriad of reasons, a lot of them very personal, and some of them just weather/season related. I think I feel better, having gotten this scene off my chest, but I’m also a little unbalanced now. I feel kind of roller coastery tonight. But I got my word count back on par, so I guess that’s something.
Rain wanted to write. She’d been unsettled when Rook had informed her that her characters were really – and more importantly, had actually died-but the itch had been growing stronger, and this story was too strong to ignore. Besides, it wasn’t like not writing would keep them from dying. There was nothing she could do about that. So with a deep breath and only the slightest hesitation, Rain opened her laptop and began to type.
She had been so young. Now that it was all over, that was all she could think about. As she lay there, bleeding out, she realized how much life she would never live. She hadn’t expected it to take so long, had expected one more glorious release from the pain and pressure and then sliding off into nothing, oblivion. Instead she lay there, wondering if this was all a mistake. And knowing it was too late to take it back.
Rain recoiled from her desk, disturbed. She’d never written someone so young before. She’d always kind of wondered how she’d come up with the thoughts and fears of people so much older than herself, but now that she knew the reason behind her stories, she was suddenly very glad there hadn’t been many closer to her own age. It was just so sad, so tragic, so wasteful. Rain stood up abruptly and strode from her room, heading for the fridge to find something to wash the taste of bile from the back of her throat.
This scene is taking place later on Sunday night, probably Rain’s mom suggested that she needed to go to bed for school, or do her homework or something. She sits at the desk, or reads, or cleans her room or SOMETHING, and the itch keeps building. So it’s late night now that she’s coming down the stairs. Myles is in the kitchen. He’s been waiting. …or just comes in. something.
She was half-blind from the too bright light of the fridge in the dark kitchen when the door opened behind her. She yelped and then laughed, feeling stupid for feeling so nervous. The story had just been so unsettling… Putting aside their differences, Rain crossed the kitchen and went to Myles for a hug.
“Well hello,” he said mildly, changing the surprise in his voice to a question.
“I needed a hug,” she said, not caring to fill him in more than that. She pulled away and went back to the fridge, pulling out the milk before closing it. She set a pan on to heat then rummaged around the shelves for hot chocolate.
Rain jumped again, Myles’ voice coming from much closer behind her than she’d expected. He gave her a soft smile and put a hand on her shoulder, just a brief squeeze and then he backed off again. “I’m sorry if I startled you, coming in so late. Is everything ok?”
She knew the question was loaded- was her magic acting up, had something happened with those new friends of hers, was there something going on only he could help her with. The feeling of him invading her mind made her shiver and she pulled away both physically and mentally. Myles took a step back as well.
“I’m sorry. I’m afraid I’ve never done this before. I don’t think I’ve quite got the hang of this fatherly support thing.”
Rain hesitated, wanting to get a mug down for her cocoa, but not wanting to have to reach past Myles to get into the cupboard. He gave small half-smile and a sigh, stepping back further but turning to get down two mugs.
“Could I make this for you? That’s a typical parental comfort gesture, right?”
He seemed so earnest and out of place that it actually made Rain feel better about feeling so off, so she went around the island and sat herself down in a stool.
“Yeah, I think that’s a good start.”
She still didn’t quite know what to think of Myles, but it did seem like he was trying. Nothing he’d done so far was really all that threatening, just kind of awful, in a turn your life upside down kind of way. She really couldn’t hold that against him. He was trying, he just kind of sucked at it. Rain let him make her cocoa, figuring it didn’t cost her anything, and he seemed to really want to.
The silence stretched on between them, and Rain realized suddenly that he might be waiting for her to tell him what was wrong. She wondered for a moment if she cared if he knew, then realized if she told him about her stories, he might actually know something about it. Everyone else she’d asked so far had no idea what she was, but Myles had seen something in her that inspired him to look after, so maybe he would recognize her symptoms if she shared.
But something made her hold her tongue. She couldn’t say why, but she was just so reluctant to tell him anything about it. She wondered if it might be instincts, or maybe just typical teenage angst. She couldn’t tell. But if she wasn’t sure, she’d rather not say something she couldn’t take back, so she decided to go on the distractive tract instead.
“So you’re in awful late.”
Myles poured the steaming drink into the two mugs and passed one over to her. “Yeah. About that, actually, I have something for you.”
He set her mug down in front of her, then reached into his pocket to pull out a simple pendant necklace. It was a dark polished stone, suspended on a gold chain. Something about the stone seemed infinitely deep, and it was warm to the touch. Probably from being in his pocket, but still. It unnerved Rain to hold it, but she couldn’t tare her gaze from the inky depths.
“Don’t be surprised if you react strangely to it, the stone is spelled.”
Distantly, Rain was aware of Myles speaking, but his voice sounded a million miles away. She was falling deeper and deeper into the stone, and she knew it, but she didn’t care.
“It’s a more adult version of charms traditional given to witch children. It dampens your magic, keeps it from spiking too high, but doesn’t cut it off completely. It’ll give you a chance to practice, without having to worry about things spiraling out of control. I know I can’t stop you from experimenting, but I’d feel better if I knew you were using protection.” He stopped abruptly, making a disgusted sound low in his throat. Rain blinked and snapped back to the present, mentally catching up as Myles continued to speak.
“Listen to me- I sound like I’m setting the ground rules for your first boyfriend, not that that’s any of my business, I guess.”
Again, Rain got the impression that his words had meaning below the surface, that he was asking her to fill him on that boy she’d been hanging around with. Rain suddenly wished she were better at shielding, so she could keep him from projecting like this.
“Why don’t you just ask me what you want to directly?”
Her tone was flat, her expression neutral, but she held his gaze, making it clear she expected a straight answer.
Myles laughed and picked up his own drink. “I could ask you the same,” he said, tipping his mug in a small salute before drinking.
Puzzled, Rain’s eyebrows came together but she didn’t look away. She wouldn’t let him dodge like that.
He chuckled and leaned back against the counter. “You’re doing the same to me, Rain.”
Shocked, she blinked and sat back in her stool, caught completely off guard. She didn’t know which to address first, the accusation or his casual use of her new nickname.
“You’re pushing it at me honey, even right now. You’ll learn to shield it in time – especially if I keep pushing at you to remind you- but for now, everything you focus on in my direction comes through loud and clear. Including the fact that someone is helping you learn how to keep secrets from me.”
Rain’s mouth fell open and she stared in wide horror, not believing this was happening.
“Who is that boy, Rain? Why did you suddenly start hanging out with fey?” He spat the word like a curse, but the rest of his tone stayed neutral. “You know they can’t be trusted, don’t you sweetheart? They’re giving you a new name to have power over you, to make it so that you can’t be acted on by me. My spells can’t protect you if you think of yourself by another name. They’re dangerous honey. Their poison will trick you and they’ll lie to you with the truth because that’s just their nature. They can’t help themselves.”
Rain pushed from the counter and ran upstairs, even as he kept talking. She didn’t want to hear this, didn’t want to think about all this right now, while she was tired and still raw from the death of the young girl. She didn’t want to listen about how wrong the world was, how everything she’d ever thought to be true no longer applied and nothing anyone ever said could be taken at face value. She didn’t want to have to face all that tonight. She just wanted to sleep, and not dream.
She threw herself on the bed still in her close and cried into her pillow until she fell asleep.
The necklace was still clutched in her hand.