Hey all, rainchild7 here! So this is he first chapter that's been updated and this is KY the beginning. Thanks to some awesome friends, we managed to tear this apart and build it from the ground up. It flows so much better, plot holes hopefully deleted, and for once I'm not ashamed to post some thing. Let me now what you think!
People say the best things happen when you least expect it, but I've never experienced it like that. Good things don't happen to me very often, and it's a rare and unexpected thing when they do. Don't get me wrong, I like when good things happen to me just as much as anyone else, but after these last few years—it's been hard to believe in good things. I just don't want to get my hopes up only to have them dashed, you know?
Anyway, this isn't about that. Well, it is, but also isn't. This is the story of the best thing that ever happened to me: how I finally found love. It came to me in the form of a tall, dark-haired man with glowing green eyes. Together we went through hell and came out the other side— alive if not smiling. I don't know where I would be without him, and I really don't want to consider it. Of course, I haven't even mentioned the best part yet. He's a dragon, with the scales and the wings and the whole fiery breath thing when it suits him, and, believe me, that small tidbit of information plays one hell of a role in this story.
RINGRING—RINGRING—the blaring noise cut through the silence of an otherwise pleasant morning as I fumbled to answer the phone. Who calls this early in the morning on a Saturday? Didn't they know that the world didn't exist until after nine on the weekend? A loud groaned tore out of my throat as I read the caller ID, desperate to find out who I would have to maim for waking me before eight.
"Erin. We've talked about this," I grunted into the speaker, "10 is the earliest that I am willing to answer the phone, barring an actual emergency, so someone had better be dying to justify this call. What is so important that this couldn't wait?" A yawn split my mouth so far that my last few words turned into garbled nonsense.
"I didn't understand half of what you said," The woman on the other line answered, her chipper voice grating on my nerves, "but the gals are meeting up this afternoon for coffee and tea if you care to join us."
"I don't have a choice do I?" I sighed, sitting up and rubbing the sleep from my eyes.
"Of course you don't," She said through a laugh, "Meet us at the usual place at say...1:15? Today's half-off muffin day!"
"Yay, muffins," I answered, trying to sound excited about anything at this ungodly hour instead of debating how much force it would take to knock myself out with my pillow.
"Don't hurt yourself trying to fake emotion, I know you're dead inside, just like the rest of us." She snorted. "Anyway, I thought I'd call you to get you up. Also, you should check the news. Theres something going on with the Council and it's starting to freak people out. Sounds like the sort of conspiracy theory stuff that you like to eat up."
"Noted. I'll see you later." I said, cutting her off her farewell. My head fell back onto my pillow and glanced around the room. Well, squinting at the blobs scattered around seemed more accurate, rather than finding my glasses. Not long after searching I decided enough was enough and haphazardly threw out an arm, hissing when it made contact with the sharp corner of the nightstand. Being slightly more careful, my hand once again sought them and a tiny grunt of approval escaped my mouth when I made contact with them. Putting them on gave me immediate relief from the headache that had begun to form; enough for me to get up and start my day.
Still, being half-asleep, I barely managed to get to the bathroom in one piece. As with every morning, I shuffled up to the mirror, beginning the daily battle of taming my hair. I paused, squinting at my reflection across from me. I never really thought about it, but it's sort of weird to look at yourself in the mirror—to really look and see things beyond the norm.
At first glance, it's just a generalization of what we already know about ourselves. We know what we look like, what we expect to see, but not what we look like, what others see us as. The longer we look, the more we see. People like myself can never look long, because we never like what we see. The flaws are the things we would rather hide because they are obvious, blaring warning signs with bells that pointed to the bits of ourselves we weren't satisfied with. The little things that made us who we are but we'd rather live without.
This time I tried to will myself to look beyond that; to take a moment longer to try and see me the way other people see me without the hyperfocus on my flaws. A part of me knows what I'm looking for, yet something's there I don't see. The details that other people can't help noticing are invisible to me. Green eyes that have bags under them, stare back at me, dull with sleep. A thin mouth sits on a jaw that hasn't decided if it wants to be oval or square. My hair, currently a reddish brown has been dyed so many times I don't remember what the original color was. The constant dyeing has given me frizzy hair, exacerbated by the natural curl that can't be brushed. I look at my face and see all the ways it doesn't fit together. If I'm being entirely honest, I consider myself ugly. My therapist says that's the depression talking, the same shit I've been dealing with all my life that never seems to change. She says that the reflection you see is skewed, not truly showing who you are and I need to focus on the positive to break out of the cycle. Part of me wants to dismiss the advice. Afterall, I know myself best, don't I? I don't want too—but what would it hurt to try?
Leaning over my sink while trying to get as close to the mirror as I can, I try to imagine what it would be like to see this face for the first time. The harder I look, the more there is to see and the more surprised I become. The eyes I thought were dull had depth to them, a clear dark jade looking warm despite the sleep still hiding in the corners. My mouth, while thin, has known years of smiles and laughter; nearly managing to overcome the frown that covers it now. That's a mouth ready to smile with strangers and laugh with friends. My hair is still a rats nest of epic proportions.
Seeing this face look beautiful or at least pretty, is kind of mindblowing. I wish I could see this face every time I looked at myself. I wish— My alarm went off, breaking the spell the mirror had over me and scattering those good thoughts until soon my old, boring face was the only thing left. I turned away, humming a thoughtless tune as I hurried to get ready.
One stubbed toe, a body slam into a wall, and a near fatality getting out of the shower, finally led me to safely sitting at my kitchen counter turning on the TV. Immediately the news came on with the latest story and boy, Erin was right, some stuff was going down in the Council. One of the councilmembers was embezzling funds for a secret sentient trafficking operation— you know what? No, not going into it. It's not really that important. Anyway, they had been expelled from the council and a new member was being elected to fill their position. I know, how strange is it to think that a witch would or could be capable of doing something like that? It's a good thing that he's been caught. I promise, not all witches are bad. I should know, I work with a few.
I suppose this doesn't help with the already tense atmosphere surrounding the supernatural. The great reveal did not go well, leaving many people bitter and resentful. It took a while, but several protests, a few minor revolutions, and three attempted assassinations later, things settled down. There were problems, but most of the crazies settled down when the world didn't end just because there were elves sharing the gym. Damn right the world didn't end just because the supernatural exists.
Elves are invaluable at the nursing home where I work as a CNA. They can accomplish things no one else can by creating an aura around themselves that relieves stress or exudes calmness. Erin, the girl who called me earlier, is a werewolf-a shapeshifter-who does not appreciate dog jokes, believe me. Werewolves make amazing drug searchers and often take up positions as detectives and private investigators, taking the missing person cases that everyone else has given up on. So what, magical beings caused a ruckus when they came out of hiding. If they hadn't, I would be a few friends short and the world would have more tragedies.
A quiet ping came from my cellphone, informing me that one of the romance stories I was reading online had updated. I will admit that romance stories of all sorts are my guilty pleasure; I can't help being a hopeless romantic. It's not like I'll ever get to experience anything like that myself.
"No use whining about it." I mumbled, my voice echoing through my empty apartment. "Ha, I really should stop talking to myself someday." I muttered, glancing at the clock hanging over the stove.
"Shoot," I grumbled when I realized how late it had gotten. If I didn't leave soon I would be late for lunch with my friends.a pit formed at the thought of being late to anything, giving me a boost of speed. I rushed around, throwing the dishes in the sink and grabbing my purse from the counter. I made it to the cafe, getting out of my car just as Amelia pulled into the parking lot. Waving, I entered the cafe and saw two of my friends, Erin Macland, the werewolf who had called me that morning, and Tanda Kordna, a fellow human, were already seated at a table.
"Dani! How are you?" Erin shouted, causing a few heads to turn our way as I made my way to the table and sat down. I glared at her, something which made her smile widen. I shook my head in mock disgust. God, I have really loud friends.
"I'm fine, how are you?" I asked, pulling out a chair and setting my bag down.
"Same old, same old. Plotting world domination, murder, and simmering in the self-hatred I have for humanity and the world."Erin said, a wide grin revealing sharp teeth.
"Do you ever wonder why you don't have more human friends?" I asked, pursing my lips.
She raised an eyebrow and shrugged. "I need more? I have three already, after all." Her grin grew to a truly alarming size. I shook my head and turned to Tanda.
"I'm also good, though not quite as accomplished as some," the dark-haired woman answered, "I'm leaving the murder and domination plots for after finals. I did start a new piano piece for my education's class, though."
I smiled and giggled at my fellow music nerd. I jumped when a hand landed on my shoulder but sighed in relief when it was just our final member of our nerdle (group of nerds), Amelia Baron. She was the one who had pulled up shortly after I did. Now I have a really unique group of friends, who I'm pretty sure were all crime bosses or war-lords in a past life because they have a knack for planning things that would terrify anyone else. They wouldn't actually do anything illegal, at least I hope so. Regardless, it's amazing that we're friends at all.
First off, there's Erin. The tallest at almost 6'1, the skinniest, and most outspoken out of all of us. I hope I'm not the only one way I say that I envy her fast metabolism, allowing her to, frankly, eat whatever she wants without fear or worry of adding on the pounds. Her flaming red hair made her an outcast, or so she likes to say and is probably why she's so loud and outspoken. All that pent up angst had to lead somewhere. If she was going to stand out because of her looks, I guess she decided to give even more of a reason to stand out with her clothing choices: loud colors that screamed, 'here I am!' Being the only extrovert gives the ability to make most of the decisions, allowing the rest of us to hide and shy away from responsibility and possibly inconveniencing people.
Amelia, was in constant competition with Erin over who was actually taller. She was the only person I had ever met who was early to be early on nine occasions out of ten, was the late comer. She brushed the bangs of her asymmetrical bob to the side as she griped about the traffic that had made her late. She shrugged off her cardigan, the latest in a long line of clothes that only existed to be comfortable, hang the current style, and waved the server over, ordering chamomile tea with lemons before she turned to participate in the conversation.
Then there's Tanda, who was only slightly shorter than the other two. Coming in at 5'11, she was just as passionate, instead choosing to keep it well maintained behind carefully schooled expressions and a wall of disdain. Like Amelia an I humans, she wore her light brown hair past her shoulders, unless she was feeling fancy and instead, piled it on top of her head in a musicians bun. Unlike Erin, her dress usually consisted of darker colors, wearing anything from classic Victorian ballroom attire, to togas, to sweats, to cosplay, often giving Erin a run for her money in extravagance. What she lacks in being outgoing, she made up for in snark, sass, and the occasional dramatic piano solo in the middle of crowded cafes.
"I know you are wondering why I brought you here and the answer to that is on its way here." Erin said, practically vibrating in her smile visibly grew wider as we stared at her in confusion.
"It's not your time of the month is it?" I asked, raising an eyebrow in her general direction.
She glared at me as the others laughed. "If it was, you would be the first to go," she informed me, looking down her nose as she took a sip of her drink, "For your information, I met someone." The laughter died as we stared at her, jaws practically sitting on the table.
"What do you mean?" Tanda asked, voicing the question that sat in all of our hearts. There was only one reason that a Fae person would be so serious about meeting someone.
"Guys… I found my soulmate!" Her serious facade dropped as she squealed in excitement, nearly toppling her chair as she bounced in it. We all turned as the door opened and the bell sounded. Her head snapped towards the man who had just walked in. She shot up from her seat and rushed towards the man standing there, leaping into his arms.
He was tall, taller than Erin for sure, which as she often says, is the best kind of guy. Someone who doesn't make her feel awkward for being so tall. I suppose you could say he was handsome in a wild sort of way, even if he wasn't really my type. He stared down everyone at the table with wide, unblinking, gray eyes like two windows overlooking an overcast sky, while shoulder-length brown hair hung in thick waves in a loose ponytail over his left shoulder.. .. Slowly, his eyes moved back to his soulmate, softening as she smiled at him and he shyly smiled back. He stared Erin with an indescribable look in his eyes, full of want, and love, and everything I've ever wanted for myself. I tried not to hate myself for the jealously that crept into my heart.
The two sat down and Erin introduced the man who had yet to let her go. His name was Samson, and he was a werewolf, like her. They had met in the park last Thursday and it was love at first sight, as most soulmate bonds tend to be.
The thing about the soulmate bond is that no one is really sure how it works, just that it does. All supernatural creatures have one, or at least the potential to form one, but there's no way to tell how, when, or who it will happen to. Texts that date back centuries say that in the forming of the world all creatures had one soul, but something happened and they split into two. People were doomed to wander the world trying to find their other half, the one to complete their circle.
At least that's what I've heard, the stories aren't all that clear and some of them are downright contradictory. I'll admit that a part of me aches when I look at 't get me wrong, I love her to death and I'm so happy that she found the one person meant for her, but that's something that I want too. Forgive me if that sounds whiny or bitchy but, I've dreamt of falling in love since I was a little girl. I wouldn't go as far as to say that it's all I've ever wanted, but...To have that kind of bond with someone was something that I want with all my heart. I want someone who will love me for who I am and also because— you know what, it doesn't matter right now. I will be happy for her because she deserves it and I need to get over myself. What kind of friend am I if I can't be happy that my friend has found something I've always wanted?
Lunch turned into coffee turned into an early dinner as we got to know this new person invading our inner circle. He was funny, with a different joke or story to tell for every occasion and topic, and just as charming as he looked. It sounded like he really did love Erin, and may even be able to restrain some of her wilder habits, which made me glad. An extrovert in the company of introverts had no one to tell them no. Finally, after a passionate debate about which Arthur Conan adaption was best, t that it was time to leave.
"Sorry guys, but I have to get going, I have work tonight so I'm going to go and get some homework done and then take a nap. I'll see you in class on Monday." I said over shouts and pleas for just a little longer. A part of me wanted to stay, but a much larger part wanted to go home.
My friends both new and old said their goodbyes and I went to the counter to get a final drink before I left. Normally, I got tea when I went out because it was cheaper and I'm a poor college student, but today I decided to splurge and get a strong Americano,with a little relaxing powder thrown in. The best part of mythical creatures working places where food and drinks were available is the option to add tinctures and spells in your food. Having a bad day? Put a little bit of joy in your orange juice. Struggling with finals? There are at least ten different sigils used to improve focus that look great as latte art. You could get love baked into muffins for that extra bit of umpf that made the calories worth it, or serenity in a panini when you were stressed, or peace when you got into a fight with your parents. The choices were limited only by your imagination and the abilities of the one behind the counter.
The girl behind the counter smiled at me with sympathy as she handed me my cup. "I put a little bit of happiness in there for free since you looked like you needed it" she said, smiling softly up at me.
I smiled back and nodded in thanks. I could really do with a shot right about now, but happiness was hard to produce and even harder to keep fresh, so it was usually more expensive and produced on the barista was clearly a creature of some sort, but I couldn't tell what since she had her true form hidden. I decided to ask, a rare venture into talking to strangers.
"Oh, I'm a pixie! My name is Marion!" The barista—Marion—said, smile practically breaking her face in two. That explained how she knew I was feeling. Most of the fairy-like beings, were empaths, could sense emotion from most beings. Even some of the more intelligent animals, which I find rather interesting. What did dogs feel like? Or turtles, for that matter.
"Well, thank you Marion. Maybe I'll see you around." I said, trying to smile in an inviting way.
The pixie practically vibrated once I finished speaking, like she was holding herself back from jumping over the counter to hug me. "Really?! You'd be my first real friend! Well, human friend. I do have friends, you see." She said in a rush, words falling over themselves in the race to escape her mouth. I nodded and my smile came more easily. I turned, ready to leave, but Marion called me back before I could go too far..
"I know it hurts, but your time is coming soon, don't worry." She said in such a serious tone that it was hard to believe that it was the same girl I had just been speaking to. She reached across the counter, her hand gripping my arm hard enough to bruise. It was only a couple of seconds, but it felt like years before she finally took her hand back and smiled like nothing happened. I wanted to ask her what she meant but she another customer came up to the till and I had to leave. I made a mental note to come back another time and left the cafe, headed back home. As I left, it felt like her words were hanging in the air around me, like a mist that I could just feel on my face. I wasn't sure what they meant, or if she had some gift of prophecy that gave her words power, but I know that something changed when she spoke. I don't know what, but suddenly I can't wait to find out.
Have you ever had a question that burns deep down inside you that just screamed to find an answer? It something simple like "Why did I decide to eat nachos when I don't like nachos," or some hard to ask, but easy to answer like my question of the day: Why do I have to be an adult? I'm not good at it and it's hard. Phone calls, going to appointments, and asking for help are hard, no one likes to do decisions get made because people are pressured making something of their lives and they have severe self-confidence issues that won't let them to tell them to back off. Well, that might just be me, actually.
I'm not a complete people pleaser, I just want everyone to come out of this shithole called life in one piece. I don't like responsibility when it has been thrust upon me and I have to magically know what to do with it. I can barely make a phone without have a near panic attack and people expect me to confront people on a daily basis? Right. Bitter Dani is very bitter. What's worse, is that I seem to ask myself this quite a bit, especially when I happen to be doing something important like being at work or in class. Like now for instance.
For the most part, I thought I'm pretty good about not spacing out in class, or at least do a well enough job not to get caught. A light tap on the desk in front of me brought my attention to Mr. Heder, one of the philosophy professors, stood almost seeming to loom over me.
"Please pay attention, Miss Sullivan," he turned away and walked back to the front of the room, "Class, before you leave today I need you to hand in the short essay that I assigned last week. Leave them on the podium on your way out and have a good day." The eyes of the room glanced over me one by one as the other students poured out of the classroom. I joined the procession to exit the room, avoiding the podium, where Mr. Heder, hands folded on the dark wood, stood, gazing at each of us individually.
12:00 pm, it's time for choir, the only elective that I was able to fit into my tight schedule. Thankfully , most of my friends would be able to join me. Well, except for Erin. While supernatural creatures may live among us, most attend schools designed specifically for them and their needs. Some do decide to go to human schools and colleges, but it's not that common. Werewolves and pixies and dragons need to acquire skillsets they just can't get in normal schools, like how to hide their true forms or how to use the magic unique to their species. The governments are working on that, though. Anyway, onto choir!
After choir I have a two-hour break, which I was currently using to do some last minute studying for the test in my final class. I did study last night, with flashcards and classical music and everything, and the information was now crammed inside my head, ready to be thrown onto paper. At least, I really hope that's the case. If not, I'm screwed. Dammit self, think positively—well I can't study anymore. I need a distraction before I start getting anxious. Thank god it's almost the weekend so I have something to look forward to after today's hell.
Ping, my phone rang. Yay, distraction!
"Hello?" I answered, grateful for anything that would take my mind off of my impending doom.
"Danielle, is that you? It's me, Marion," a shaking voice said. For a moment my mind blanked, trying to remember who Marion could be and why on earth I was stupid enough to give my number. A lightbulb went off in my head as I finally was the server from the cafe.
"Yeah, I remember I gave you my number. What's up?"I answered, pushing myself away from the table and slumping in my seat.
"I'm doing well, thank you for asking! I was actually calling to see if you wanted to meet for coffee at the Holiday Cafe." I could literally hear the smile in her voice when she replied, as if she didn't get asked that often. Poor thing. I looked at my watch. It was just turning noon. My test wasn't for another two hours. Sit here and panic or go talk to a friend… easiest decision I've ever made.
"Yeah that sounds fun! I'll see you in 15 minutes?" I answered, cheerfully slamming my textbook shut and packing away my notes.
"Totally, I'll see you there! Bye!" Marion said, barely waiting for me to return the words before she ended the call.
Well, I'd better go and meet up with her. We had run into each other a few times since the run-in at the cafe. She's pretty cool and I enjoy her peppiness, even though it can get annoying. Pixies are known to be bubbly and happy as a rule. I'd never heard of an unhappy one, even with my rather limited experience. As they're empaths, they could feel and manipulate the emotions of those around them, a talent which made them excellent therapists, doctors, and bartenders. It was also useful when creating potions and tonics, as few species could make liquid emotion.
I know I explained that already, but I just find it really cool. Marion was bubbly even for a pixie, and being near her made me less stressed, so forgive me if I drive a little bit faster to get there sooner. A part of me hoped that I helped her as much as she helped me. I pulled into Holiday Cafe parking lot in record time and groaned when I realized it was jammed full. Of course it was busy. How was I supposed to find a parking spot in this crowd, let alone a table?, Actually, you know what, I came here to relax and not stress about things. I'm not going to worry about it right now. Thankfully, evan as I was cursing the world for inventing rush hour, a spot on the far end of the lot opened up. It was right next to a mud puddle, but it was better than having to pay for parking down the street. I stepped out of my car, careful to avoid slipping in the muddy lot. As I finally maneuvered my way to the door a blur slammed into me, almost rendering my struggles useless.
"Danielle, it's so good to see you again!" The blur, who revealed itself as a highly excited Marion, said in a muffled voice, face buried in my stomach.
I nearly screamed from the sudden contact but I managed to hug back, albeit awkwardly."Same here," I said, trying to think of something else to add. "I like what you did with your hair. It was blue before wasn't it?" It had also been straight, falling neatly on her shoulders. Now, there were layers, with the ends nicely curled.
"Oh yeah," the pixie said, pulling back to show off her newly colored locks, "but that was weeks ago! The blue was cool, but I think this shade of violet is so much better. It makes me feel dangerous."
"Yeah, it's so much more...vibrant." I managed to say, resisting the urge to lean against the wall now that my innards were no longer being squeezed to mush.
"Ha-ha. I suppose. Anyway, what are you going to order?"Marion said as we walked into the cafe.
"Eh, I haven't decided yet. Besides the line is rather slow so I have time." I said with a shrug. From this far away, my eyesight could barely make out the small letters of the menu, even with my glasses on. It was our turn soon enough though, and by that point I was was able to both read the menu and decide what I wanted. The peppermint tea here was to die for. We got our orders and sat down, managing to find a small table near the back of the room. I looked around the room and marveled at the amount of people that were crammed into this small space. It wasn't this full the last time we were here.
"It's lunch break and most of them are supernatural beings." Marion said, her voice breaking my concentration. I tilted my head at her, opening my mouth to ask for clarification, but she beat me too it, nodding towards a nearby table. "For example, those guys are werewolves; they go to my school."
"Oh. I see it now," I said, eyes widening as I examined the foursome at the indicated table with new eyes Yeah that made sense. Erin wasn't really hairy. She had long red hair for sure, but she wasn't covered, unlike the ones sitting next to us. These guys were practically half-shifted. "They're a lot hairier than most I've seen."
"It's a life choice." Marion said, nodding as she sipped her mocha. She set the mug down, fiddling with the handle and biting her lip.
"I have a confession to make," She blurted out, eyes flickering between me and the table. "I didn't just invite you to hang out. I wanted to introduce you to a friend of mine. He's really cool and I thought you might get along well together."
"Why didn't you just tell me that?" I asked, furrowing my brow, "Why go to all this effort?"
"I didn't know if you would want to meet him," she said, staring up at me earnestly, "He's sort of intimidating to most people, and I know that you're sorta shy and—" she cut herself off, taking a deep. "I just want my best friend and my new human friend to get to know each other so we can all be friends."
She sounded close to tears. Her voice shook worse with every word, hands clenching her mug close to her chest.
It occurred to me that she probably didn't have a lot of friends and wanted to keep the ones she had. I sighed, it seemed I had no choice. I would have to be social with a stranger. The idea didn't appeal to me, but I would try for Marion. Besides, what was the worst thing that could happen?
"Well, tell me about his friend of yours. I want to know a little about him before I meet him." I said with a sigh.
Marion's eyes lit up, I could tell I'd said the right thing."You seriously want to meet him?" She squealed, "You're not going to run away?"
"Why would I? He's not a murder is he?" I said, raising an eyebrow.
"No, but he can be pretty intense, since he's a dragon." She giggled into her drink.
I nearly spit out my drink."You're telling me he's a dragon?" I demanded surging forward and slamming my hands down on the table.
"Yeah. He goes to the same school as I do. For magical folk." She said, taken aback by my force.
"No. He's a dragon?" I asked again.
"He is, is that okay?" She answered, narrowing her eyes.
"Yes, it's awesome!" I squeaked, throwing myself back into my seat in my excitement, but can you really blame me? Dragons are the coolest. They fly, breathe fire, but I've never met one because they usually live in the bigger cities that accommodate their full size forms. My grandmother told me the stories she had heard when she was a kid, before the magical beings had revealed themselves. Her father had read her the myths of the ancient world, and she told them to me. I fell in love with all of it. The magic, the mystery, the almost limitless power that could be used to create and destroy. It's fantastic.
"Dani? Earth to Dani?" Marion's voice broke through my thoughts, bringing my focus back to what she was saying.
"Sorry. Wait, did you just call me Dani?" I asked, bewildered and focusing on the first thing that stuck out.
"I'm sorry. Am I not supposed to?" she asked, worrying her lip.
"No, you can," I laughed, "I actually prefer it. When someone says my full name my conditioned response is to find a hiding spot." My full name actually Danielle Briara Sullivan, but it was close enough. In any iteration, my full name made me nervous. "Also, you don't have to act like I'm going to start hating you when you open your mouth. You're my friend. You have entered into my inner council and I don't abandon friends, no matter what they say to me. If something you say bothers me, I'll let you know, I promise, and I hope that if I do something that bothers you, you do the same.
"I know and thank you," she said, relaxing completely for the first time in the time I'd known her. "Empaths, pixie's especially, are really set on making other people around them feel comfortable. When they're not, it's a reflection on us, on our abilities as pixies. We care about others, even strangers and very rarely do we get angry. It's just...who we are." She paused, pressing her lips together. "Can I ask you a personal question?"
"Are you single?"
That had not been what I was expecting to hear. "Painfully. Why do you ask?" I answered, slowly setting down the mug I had just picked up.
"What do you think about the soulmate principle?" she asked, staring at me with unblinking eyes. What's with the twenty questions?
I opened my mouth, prepared to give my usual canned answer about how it was an amazing part of the supernatural culture, and then shut it again. I didn't want to give Marion a half-truth, especially since I couldn't find the words to describe how cool I thought the whole thing was. Of how jealous I was at the thought that she knew there was someone out there for her. Someone who was real. I don't mean the fairytale romance. I mean a person who is willing to do anything to keep you around. Someone who will laugh with you, cry with you, pick you up when you fall down, challenge you to be better than what you think you're capable of. Someone who would be with her, no matter what happened. I… want that.
"You know; I think it's really neat." Did my voice just crack? Embarrassing. I tried to force down the lump that suddenly appeared in my throat.
"You're lying," Marion said, tilting her head as she continued staring into my soul, "Tell me the truth, please. I want to know."
Ladies and gentlemen...I tried, I really did. I tried to hold what I really felt in, but I couldn't. I told her what I thought, but it didn't stop there. The words poured out of my mouth, the last six years of my life laid out at her feet in a mad rush of words. Everything I wanted, my insecurities, my hopes and dreams. How I really felt about the whole soulmate thing. I don't know why, but it really felt like I could trust Marion, and that I needed to tell her these things.
"I had a feeling you were a hopeless romantic." She said when I finally finished, clapping her hands cheeks reddened.
I'm not ashamed of the way I feel, but I am aware that most people would find it sort of awkward. I want romance, but I don't know the first thing about love. Hell, I don't even know what I'd do if the man of my dreams walked through the door right now and begged me to marry him. Romance just isn't something I've got any experience with, despite how much I want it. This too slipped through my lips, confided to Marion in a low voice over the dregs of our drinks..
"Yeah, I'm the same way," she answered, surprising me. I had always thought that supernatural beings had this sort of thing all figured out. I mean, the universe has literally picked the perfect person out for them.
"You haven't found your soulmate yet?" I asked, eyebrows in danger of disappearing into my hairline.
She shook her head, playing with a loose curl."I know it's silly, but I'm waiting for him to find me. I'm not the best at taking the initiative and... I don't know. I don't want to wait forever, but actually finding him—I'm not sure I'm ready yet." I raised my cup to my lips. leaving a moment for silence
"You know that humans have soulmates too, right?". Marion said, breaking the silence that had fallen over our table and my concentration in one blow.
"Really?" I said, jaw dropping. That certainly wasn't something on the soulmate theory messaging boards.
Marion nodded."Yeah, the bond isn't as strong as between two magical creatures, but you do have it. It's harder for humans to tell, because it's easily confused for strong emotions at that point, but if they bonded with one of us, then they would know right away. It's not unheard of, just uncommon.."
"Ok, what does that mean? From what I've read, soulmates are a magical thing and the last time I looked, I'm not very magical so how does happen? I have literally never heard of that ever happening before."
"Oh, it's possible, although rare. The last one was a couple decades ago, I think. Besides, your kind have been living beside us for so long, magic was bound to have rubbed off at some point."
"How come I've never heard of this?" My mind refused to process the data. First, I had no idea why she was telling me this. I had never heard of a human/supernatural being pairing, ever, and I had dug through the darkest pits of the online forums on soulmates.
"Well to be honest, you're very breakable. It's not impossible, but it can be difficult to kill us but for you, a flick of a wrist or wand and goodbye human. No offense."
"Thanks." I deadpanned but still clearly hanging onto every word.
"Anyway," she continued, "if a member of the People is bound to a human, they usually do their best to hide them away out of fear for their safety. Mates and soulmates especially, are a sure fire way to get under our skin. It's really not the best idea to threaten or harm them for they will get pissed and you will die."
"Huh. Can I ask you something?"
"Why are we talking about this?" She shrugged and glanced outside.
"Future reference." She was staring at something and I wanted to turn to see since we were next to the window but apparently my stubbornness decided to kick in and I was resolute to staring into the bottom of my now empty tea cup. All of a sudden I started to get this tingly sensation and my stomach started to do flips. I looked in horror at my cup. Was I drugged?
A shadow passed by the window and we both turned our heads to see the newcomer that had entered the rather packed cafe. He was tall. Like really tall. Well, taller than me but according to my friend Erin, everybody was taller than me and I'm above average height at 5'9."He had lightly tanned skin and simple clothing that consisted of jeans, a solid green shirt that...fit him rather well and totally out of my league. His hair was a shade of brown that I can't name but I couldn't see his eyes since he was scanning the room but boy did I notice when our eyes met. Everybody noticed however when he let out a fierce growl that drowned out every other noise in the room and made his way over to us. It was in that moment I knew my life had changed. It was also in that moment that I realized that Marion probably set this up...the devil. Bless her soul.