I'm so sorry about the lack of updates! I've been studying and trying to keep everything together for this semester of college, and I owe you guys so many updates. Ugh. I swear, I'll have a good few updates over Thanksgiving, and especially over Winter Break. You guys are awesome for constantly reading this and keeping an eye on updates, and thank you to those who have added me to your favorites or updates. All of that means so much to me!
A majority of my day was spend stacking shelves with new inventory and trying to keep people from bumping into the giant stack of books I had beside me.
I worked through lunch again, and it was becoming a bad habit to do that. I walked through the store, thanking the rest of my employees for all that they had done for the day, even though it was only four. I still had two hours of work, which I promptly filled with filling out inventory, calling publishers for release dates, or helping any customers find books.
My days were always busy, but I was happy when I was able to drive home, my neck sore and my wrists aching from writing out so many things. I finally got the bag of cat food and litter from my car for Aster, and it was a fun time trying to bring it up to the apartment by myself. I didn't want to call Bastion to help me, though, since he always did so much around the house.
However, I did have to tap my front door with the toe of my shoe in order to get Bastion to open it, which he immediately did and grabbed both bags of cat things from me. "Baby! You shouldn't have carried this by yourself. You look so worn out. Come here, and I'll make you something yummy to drink," Bastion offered, and his lanky body somehow managed to get the food and litter into a good place that was out of the way.
I exhaled and cracked my neck, wanting to take off my shoes and get out of my clothes. "Thank you for grabbing those for me. I didn't want you to have to come down and get them," I responded, now searching my house to make sure it was just me, my wizard, and our cat. Thankfully, Aster was the only one on the couch, and he was curled up into a little furry ball.
"You know I would have helped," Bastion laughed, getting two cups out from the pantry. Like always, the dishes were done, the cabinets were clean, and he figured out a good spot to put the cat bowls so that nobody tripped over them. He had a pitcher of light blue liquid and started pouring it into the glasses, and I gave him a weird look. "Talia made it and brought it over. It's a little strong, but I like it."
Accepting one of the drinks he gave me, I shrugged, finding no harm in her friendly gesture. "What's in it?" I asked, smelling it. It had a sweet scent, with something that reminded me of the smell of a pepper. "Did she add jalapeños in the this? What the hell?" I teased, making Bastion giggle.
"No! It's something that she added, like an herb from our realm, or something like that. She said it's really good, and it is. I'm addicted to it now." To prove his point, he drank half of his glass quickly, hiccupping when he set it down on the counter. "Try it and see if you like it. If not, I'll make you something good."
I did as he asked, and almost spit out the crystal colored drink. It tasted like hot water sweetened with aspartame and what I thought was avocado, and it made me a little sick. "Sweetie, how the hell can you drink this? "I asked, wiping my mouth and setting the cup next to his. "You can have the rest of that. I'll make myself some sweet tea."
Frowning, Bastion tipped his head. "Oh, fine. I thought you'd like it." He shrugged and went to the fridge to pull out our pitcher of sweet tea. He always made the best, no matter what. He dumped out my glass of Talia's weird drink and replaced it with the brown, thick drink, smiling at me now while he did. "It was sweet of her to make it, but that's not for everyone. The flavors remind me of home, definitely, which is why I like it so much."
Taking a long swig from my freshly poured glass, I nodded. "I'm glad it makes you happy, at least. I guess you'd have to have a reason to drink that gunk," I mumbled, then went forward to kiss him. I was stunned when he stepped back, and when I made a disgruntled face, Bastion shot me a very uncharacteristic look.
"Be nicer to her, Bryan," he urged, both of his eyebrows angling upwards. He sounded exasperated, and my eyes sunk to the floor. "You've been saying really mean things about her since you've met her. How come?"
Was I really being that rude, or was he just getting overly defensive for someone who practiced magic? "Bastion, I don't mean to say bad things about her. Some of the things she says or does are…odd to me. She dresses like a slut, she acts kind of loose, and….I don't know. I think I'm over thinking her being here." I took another drink, nervous.
"You are. You're really being kind of silly about her being here. She's been nothing but nice to both of us, and you do have to admit that. You haven't given her a chance, really." He was pleading now, and I knew it was because he didn't want to see me or Talia get hurt. Like always, he was looking out for everyone. "She isn't familiar with this world, so I'm trying to get her acclimated to it. We spent all day together, watching National Geographic and the Science Channel. She's learning so quickly!"
Something about the way he smiled caught me off guard. It was the way he smiled after he said he loved me or kissed me, that slightly coy smile that only he could do. Instantly, the green monster I had been hiding for so long made an appearance.
"Is that all you did today?" I asked, trying to hide any bitter feelings that were starting to leak through. There was no way he smiled like that and just watched television with Talia. She did something with him, and I was going to find out what.
Taken by surprise, Bastion nodded. "Yeah, that's all we did. How come?" God, I hope he wasn't playing dumb with me, and I clenched my teeth together, fighting back any spiteful words. "Bryan, you don't think Talia and I did anything, do you?" He looked like I had just slapped him, and emotionally, I very well may have. "You know I'm nothing but committed to you! I moved to your world for you and everything!" His eyes were brimming with tears, and I extended my hand out to him.
"Baby, I'm not accusing you of anything at all. I don't trust Talia with you. She looks at you like she wants to sleep with you, she has a different tone of voice with you, and she touches you a lot more than a new neighbor should." I felt a combination of anger and sadness fill inside of me, and I wanted to yell at him and hold him at the same time.
"We're friends! She's never been to your world, and I'm helping her out. Do you know what her chances were of finding another person from Donatier? Very slim! I happened to be there when she was looking for someone to show her the ropes, and I make her feel more comfortable." He swallowed hard, and I saw his throat bounce as he did. He was pressed against the opposite counter, his shoulders slumped and his hands gripped tightly around the ledge.
"Why is she even here? Did she want to take a vacation from your world? And why this town? There's plenty of other places she could have gone! For fuck's sake, there's Salem in New England that adores witches!" I demanded, and I silently reprimanded myself for being too dramatic.
"I don't know, Bryan! She said something about her family heritage being from this place. Why don't you go and ask her yourself?" The look of disbelief was obvious on his face, and his chest was heaving from anger. In fact, this was the maddest I had ever seen him.
Pinching the bridge of my nose and gritting my teeth, I shook my head. "I don't trust her, and she'd probably give me some bullshit excuse. If you're so famous in Donatier, she's probably a groupie of yours or some shit like that." Either way, she was causing way too many problems that I didn't like.
Sneering, which I didn't think was possible for him, Bastion looked down. "Well, if she is a groupie or whatever, maybe she wouldn't be as jealous as someone," he murmured, not trying to keep it a secret from me. Oh, he was furious, and so was I.
"Stop saying I'm jealous, Bastion. I'm not. You told me yourself that you wouldn't be attracted to her because she's a woman. I'm confident in our relationship." I said it with an attitude, sure, but I didn't care. I was getting my point across, and if I came across as seeming like a dick, then so be it.
Apparently, though, Bastion didn't like that at all. "Then what is your goddamn problem with her?" he seethed, his teeth gritted. His eyes were beginning to turn into a soft blue, and, typically, this would make me shut up, but I wasn't done with him. "If you're not jealous, then why the hell are you so worried about how she dresses and acts with me?" He stopped, probably from preventing himself from saying something else. Then, the worst possible thing he could have said happened: "You don't even love me, so why should you care if she acts friendly around me? It shouldn't bother you, Bryan, should it?"
I felt my expression collapse into something that could only be described as pitiful. For the first time in a while, I had absolutely nothing to say to him. That hurt more than I'd like to admit, like he took his magic and blasted me with it. My body went rigid and cold, and I wanted to crumple.
Glancing at the floor, Bastion let out a ragged exhale. After a few minutes of silence, me staring at him, him staring at the floor, he stood up straight, failing to meet my eye. "I'm going to stay at Talia's for the night. We both need time to cool off, and frankly, I need to vent. Take care of Aster." He sniffed once, then headed towards the door, not getting his shoes on, not taking his wallet or keys, and he turned the knob. "I would tell you that I love you, but I know I'll get only silence in return, so….You know how I feel about you."
When I blinked again, he was gone, and it was only me and the cat in the apartment. I gulped and felt my eyes and nose tingle, the threat of oncoming sobs beginning to form in my throat. It would be the first time in months that I had cried, but nothing seemed more suitable right then.
I fucked up, and it didn't even hit me how badly I did until I was sitting there, in the middle of my living room, staring at one of the dozens of pictures Bastion and I had with each other. I couldn't believe what I had done, and it felt like I let my world melt through my fingers.
I wasn't tired, but I curled up in a ball on the floor anyway, Aster soon joining me, and together, we mindlessly lied there in a trance, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind playing on the TV in the background.