Micah watched the sprite floating in the air before him. In spite of what he knew about them, he found their presence strangely calming.
He sometimes wondered if Cordelia’s memory of her mother’s death was skewed somehow, if it really was the fae that killed her mother as she believed. She was only a child then, after all. And perhaps replaying a memory over and over in one’s mind made people misinterpret it somehow.
Then again, he knew his memory of Carys’s death rang true, as many times as he relived it in his head. He forced himself to shift his mind elsewhere.
Would he ever get used to this new reality of his? The fruit that gave him life in a similar way blood would. The strange relationship with Morgyn, with Cordelia tangled in. The Sylvan Glade sun that only gently stroked his skin instead of burning it to crisp… No, the sun he could never get used to.
“You’re really quiet today,” the elf on his side commented. “I mean, you’re always quiet, but even for you..”
“Sorry. I’m not exactly renown as the world’s best company, I know.” Micah chuckled to himself dryly.
“It’s ok.” Dandelion replied with a slight shrug. “Any company is good company.”
Micah studied the elf’s face for a moment. Was that why Dandelion so eagerly welcomed the sprites at every possible occasion, he mused? As a vampire, he was no stranger to loneliness, but he couldn’t recall anyone who seemed as lonely as Dandelion. It didn’t make a lot of sense.
“Cordelia is at this end of summer bonfire festival thing with Morgyn,” he explained to the elf. “I’m sure she’ll swing by soon, though.”
“I dunno, she’s not been here much lately.” Dandelion said. “She spends a lot of time with Morgyn, or, well, you. Only comes over when neither of you are around. I see you a lot more than her these days.”
Of course, Micah was in Sylvan Glade on most nights – he had to come for the fruit, and he often lingered for the sun. Spending time with Dandelion was a mere by-product of those things. He couldn’t help but feel a tinge of guilt.
“I’ll speak to Cordelia.” He said to ease his conscience.
Dandelion shook his head. “No. I mean, I want her to come over because she wants to, not because she thinks she has to. It’s not like I didn’t expect it, anyway.”
“Expect it?” Micah tilted his head, wondering what the elf meant by that.
“Nobody stays here. Lulu didn’t… so why would Cordie?”
“Why do you stay?” Micah asked.
Dandelion looked stumped for a moment. “It’s my home. I’ve lived here as long as I can remember. I like it here. Why leave?”
Perhaps he had a point, Micah thought. Not everybody was on a run from their past, after all. Besides, if the saturated beauty of Sylvan Glade was all Dandelion had ever known, how could the rest of the world compare?
“Fair enough.” Micah nodded, deciding to leave it at that that.
He made a mental note to spend more time with the elf deliberately. After all, he owed him everything, possibly even the fact he was still alive. Micah wasn’t sure if he would have found the strength to go on without the fruit. Nobody he knew had given him as much as Dandelion did, and yet, the elf asked for nothing in return.
And he hadn’t been the only one who benefitted from Dandelion’s generosity. Micah’s eyes landed on the sprites. He wasn’t sure Cordelia even realised what the elf was doing for her. Maybe he could change that, to repay Dandelion in some small way.
Cordelia’s mind was still on the festival. She was drunk on all the time she got to have the sage to herself. The summer had been… blissful.
Or as close to blissful as one could get when they had to share their lover with someone else. Still, on days like these, it was easy to pretend Morgyn was hers alone. Who would have thought this would be her life when she first came to Glimmerbrook a year ago?
Yes, there had been some minor hiccups at the festival, namely, seeing all the people she didn’t feel all that comfortable with seeing.
Darrel Charm, looking stupidly content with his wife. Apparently all three of the sages attended the Charm wedding, but neither Cordelia or Micah were particularly keen on being Morgyn’s date for that particular occasion.
Cordelia couldn’t even fathom going back to the Hex Shop after the events of that night when the mob of spellcasters showed up at their door. It wasn’t like she needed that job anymore, they had everything they could possibly need in the house, didn’t they?
But it wasn’t just her former employer – and his annoying bratty sister that kept shooting her death stares – who Cordelia had to face at the bonfire. What hurt even more was seeing her former co-worker, and former friend.
Grace kept looking towards her; a few times, Cordelia almost thought the spellcaster was going to approach her, but in all of the instances, either her awful friend Tomax interfered, or Cordelia managed to dodge her attempts – luckily, Morgyn was more than happy to whisk her away…
“Earth to Cordelia.” Micah’s voice brought her back to the present. “Your turn.”
She stared at the cards in her hand. Micah had been trying to teach her poker for a while. She was not particularly good at the game.
“Sorry, I was just thinking about… uh, nothing.” She stopped herself midway through the sentence.
“Nothing is a pretty distracting concept.” Micah teased her, nodding in a mock-serious way.
“I…” She searched her mind for an excuse, but couldn’t come up with anything. “I was just thinking about my date with Morgyn. Sorry. I didn’t mean to… I know you don’t want to hear about that… I’ll just… can I get a card?”
Cordelia glanced at the new card and groaned inwardly. She didn’t have the luck needed for this game.
Micah looked amused. At least he didn’t seem to care about her mention of her time with Morgyn. But of course he wouldn’t. Micah knew how to keep his cool, didn’t he?
“You really need to work on your poker face, Cordelia.” The vampire told her.
“What can I say, I’m just not that good at lying. Surely that’s a good thing.” She pouted at him.
“Not always. You know, like when playing poker.” He chuckled softly. “I mean, most people have a tell, but you’re not even trying to bluff. Maybe we need to simplify, have a go without the cards.”
Cordelia was confused. “Without the cards? What do you mean?”
“Poker’s not really about the cards anyway.” Micah told her. “How about this, tell me one thing that’s true, and one lie, and I’ll guess which is which.”
She didn’t see that coming. “I… I don’t know.”
Micah watched her as if she was incredibly entertaining. “You can’t come up with a lie, can you?”
She couldn’t, really. But equally, what truth could she tell him that he didn’t know already? He’d had a look inside her mind back when he fed on her, surely he knew all of her secrets already… not that she had any.
“No,” she cleared her throat. “It’s the truth part that’s harder.”
The vampire let out a laugh. “Oh come on, that’s clearly the lie. You couldn’t even lie about daydreaming about Morgyn just now.”
She felt the blood rushing in her face – good thing Micah’s found a way to control that thirst of his somehow these days, she thought.
“I am sorry about that… I didn’t mean to gloat. I know that even the thought…” Not any better, Cordelia, she scolded herself. “Um, maybe you should go first, and I’ll do the guessing?”
“Ok.” Micah agreed. “One truth, one lie.”
She looked at him expectantly.
“It doesn’t bother me when you spend time with Morgyn.” Micah volunteered the first statement.
He looked completely at ease and sounded so sincere she had to believe him. Apart from that niggling part in her heart that knew how taxing the situation was for her. So how could it be so easy for him? Could he be lying? Cordelia wasn’t sure. Until he offered the second fact, that was.
“And your friend Dandelion is completely smitten with you.”
“What?” She snorted out. “It’s not really a game if you don’t make them both believable! It’s obvious which one of those is the lie!”
“Got me, I guess.” He smirked. “But speaking of Dandelion, when was the last time you’ve seen him?”
Cordelia hesitated. She actually couldn’t recall. “Uh… can’t have been that long ago.”
Micah gave her a funny look. “I think we’ve already established you’re a terrible liar. He misses you, you know. And that’s the truth, in case you were wondering.” He added.
“I didn’t mean to avoid him. I just sort of… got distracted. I didn’t realise how long it’s been.”
Micah shook his head. “You don’t need to justify it, not to me, at least. Just talk to him. Maybe he won’t have proclamations of undying love for you, but there might just be a thing or two you’ve been missing.”
She felt terrible. “I’ve been a pretty crappy friend, haven’t I?” She sighed. “Truth, that one.”
“I’m not judging.” The vampire said. “Can’t exactly say I have friends myself.”
Cordelia hadn’t really thought about that. Micah was the handsome vampire, the one who would always make her look inadequate in Morgyn’s eyes, because he was so damn perfect. He always knew what to say, and was always so impossibly kind to her. Even when both of them were at their lowest, in their pursuit of reviving Morgyn, he had been there for her…
“That one’s a lie.” She told him. “You do have friends. Because we’re friends… aren’t we?”
For once he actually seemed stumped for words. For a brief moment, he just stared at her before finally managing to speak.
“I guess we are.”
Cordelia couldn’t quite recall the last time she’d been to Sylvan Glade. It couldn’t have been that long, could it? She’d been so busy…
Although perhaps buys was not quite the right term, she had to admit. She no longer had a job to worry about, so technically, she should have had plenty of her mind, but her mind had been elsewhere. Which is perfectly normal in a new relationship, she affirmed with herself.
She didn’t see Dandelion anywhere, but she could hear the sound of the violin from the waterfront.
There he was, playing his music, surrounded by sprites. Was this another one of those times when he had them over to distract them?
She knew he’d done that a handful of times, but of course, he would have no idea what it was like to be with them almost constantly, like… Cordelia racked her brain to think of the last time the sprites had paid her a visit. The night after her and Micah revived Morgyn, when the angry spellcasters showed up at the door, she remembered.
After that, they barely made an appearance all summer. And before that…
“Cordie!” Dandelion noticed her, abruptly putting the violin away. “Is everything ok?”
“Of course it is, why wouldn’t it be?” She asked. At the back of her head, Cordelia knew the answer, but she didn’t really want to.
“I just figured… oh, wait, I’ll get rid of the sprites!” Dandelion exclaimed, interrupting his own train of thought.
“Oh no, it’s fine.” She said quickly, feeling guiltier by the minute. “Have you been distracting them again?”
“Maybe…” He smiled sheepishly, as if she caught him in the middle of something he wasn’t supposed to do.
“Dandy… do you do that often?”
“It’s no big deal.” He shrugged the question off. “I don’t mind them, really, you know that.”
“I know, but… you don’t have to do that.” Cordelia told him. “I… I have realised I’ve not been a very good friend lately.”
Ok, perhaps it was Micah that made her realise, and perhaps ‘not a very good friend’ was putting it mildly, she cringed inwardly. But one step at a time.
“Oh, don’t worry. You’re busy, I understand.” The elf replied brightly.
The same excuse she’d just given herself coming into the glade. The same excuse she knew was just that, an excuse.
“I’m not that busy.” She admitted. “I know I mess up sometimes. But I’ll do better, I promise.”
And this time, she would… wouldn’t she?