Disclaimer: There’s naked people in this one. Strategically naked, so you don’t see anyone’s bits, but still pretty naked. NSFW-ish? The smut levels are relatively low, but it’s there. Oh, and some swearing. Just an all-round classy chapter. Apologies for the cringe in advance.
Cordelia’s mind was pleasantly blank and fuzzy when she woke up. It almost felt akin to a hangover, but no matter, she couldn’t remember the last time she’d slept this well. Not waking up to a sea of questions and what ifs for once was a welcome change. She kept her eyes closed, taking in the morning sun creeping in, gently kissing her skin.
The bed was strangely cold though, and the bedsheets seemed oddly stiff, as if they’d barely been used before. Peculiar, given she’d spent the last several weeks barely leaving her bed. She shuffled a bit, turning around to try to make herself comfortable.
It was only then when she remembered that those were not her bedsheets, and she was not in her bed at all. Why it was so cold.
Micah was looking at her. How long had he been watching her, she wondered? She knew he couldn’t really sleep as a vampire.
He wasn’t saying anything. She tried to decipher what he might be thinking, studying his face.
And then she realised there was a soft smoke rising from his cheek where the rising sun touched his face.
“Micah!” She covered his hand with her face to shield his skin from the light. But he just placed his hand on hers.
“The sun!” She tried to warn him frantically. It didn’t seem like her words registered at first. His ordinarily heightened senses didn’t seem to be kicking in. He was probably in a hungover-like haze of his own, it dawned on her.
“Micah!” She repeated his name, shaking him. He finally seemed to react, but was still slow. Maybe it was the sunlight.
Cordelia dragged him to the coffin by his arm. At least he didn’t protest.
She slammed the lid shut, breathing out a sigh of relief. That was close. If he died, she’d… she’d what, exactly?
Was this the love spell talking, or her genuine feelings for him, she wondered? She was struggling to work out how she felt. But she reminded herself she’d flung herself in front of him as a human shield before, with the spellcasters threatening him way back in the summer. Those feelings were not new.
But then, there was a vast spectrum of emotions between simply trying to prevent someone’s death and being in love with them.
She was not in love with Micah. She was in love with Morgyn.
Morgyn. Their request. Last night…
What on earth was she thinking? Why did she agree?
Cordelia rushed to her room, getting dressed in a hurry, trying to discard all reminders of last night. She needed to do something to keep her mind occupied.
She suddenly wished she hadn’t quit her job at the Hex Shop. Somehow, working for Darrel and with Grace, two of the people who came close to ending her last summer, seemed like it would be a brilliant distraction today.
She ventured outside into the snow.
Her eyes lingered on the old tree passaged for a moment. But there was no way she’d go to Sylvan Glade to visit Dandy – what would she even tell him?
She understood he was friendly enough with Micah, from what she could gather, but he wouldn’t understand what she did. Heck, she didn’t even understand.
She found herself in the shed. That would give her something to do.
Her fingers traced the dusty tools. There was wood under the workbench. She could make something meaningless and arbitrary. A sculpture, perhaps.
Cordelia hadn’t done any woodworking ever since Morgyn conjured the house. Didn’t seem like there would be a point. Tinkering and making things the old-fashioned way had lost all meaning.
What she held dear was replaced by the artificially conjured.
But if even love could be manufactured, what did that mean about her feelings for Morgyn? If a spell could make her fall in love with anyone, was love even real at all?
Cordelia forced herself to focus on the statue, carving the shapes. But annoyingly, she’d done this so many times that even though she hadn’t made anything for a year, the task required very little concentration.
I can’t think of anyone but you, Morgyn had said. Well, that was the part she heard. Her heart had conveniently discarded the beginning of that sentence, the part that actually mattered…
When it comes to who should be the mother, I can’t think of anyone but you.
The mother. Cordelia remembered very little of her own mother. Muddled bedtime stories of faeries. Her bright purple eyes. Not much else. She knew next to nothing about what being someone’s mother entailed.
But she wouldn’t necessarily need to know. It didn’t sound like even Morgyn knew for certain if it was possible for vampires to have children. Besides, even if vampires could hypothetically reproduce the traditional way, what were really the chances? It was just one night.
Because there wouldn’t be any other times. Yes, she felt something for Micah, but it wasn’t real. She wasn’t sure what was real anymore at all. Morgyn…
Morgyn would have to find someone else to be the mother of their child. As far as she knew, they had plenty of former lovers the choose from.
She evaluated the sculpture she made. Not bad, for a piece of useless tat, crafted mindlessly.
But of course, it was still meaningless. Best use she could think of for it was for firewood. It was the middle of winter, after all. But with Morgyn’s magical fireplace, even that was pointless.
Cordelia felt anxious when the darkness descended. Sure enough, it didn’t take long for Micah to appear downstairs. Thankfully, fully dressed by now.
“Hi.” He said awkwardly, sitting down beside her.
It took a while for either of them to speak.
“Why on earth did you say yes to that?” Micah finally broke the silence. “Having a child for Morgyn?”
“What do you mean?” She looked at him, bewildered. “Didn’t you do the same?”
“I didn’t think you’d actually agree! Why the hell would you do that?”
Cordelia felt like her head was going to explode. “So you said yes because you assumed I would say no? That doesn’t make any sense!”
“I guess it doesn’t.” He sighed. “Doesn’t matter now.”
“It was only one night,” Cordelia reiterated her thoughts from earlier. “I don’t even know if it was the right… time.” She cringed inwardly.
“I doubt it’s possible for vampires to have children anyway,” Micah nodded. “Well, that kind of children. Definitely haven’t heard of any.”
“That’s good.” She struggled to look at him. Why did he have to be so… It wasn’t real, Cordelia repeated to herself. “Micah, I don’t think I can do this. A child…”
“Why didn’t you just say that last night, damn it?” He glared at her.
“That’s not fair.” Cordelia said quietly. “Why would it all be my fault?”
The look on his face was pure horror. “It isn’t. Of course it isn’t. I didn’t mean… I’m sorry. I’m a fucking idiot.”
As if by instinct, Micah’s hand shot to her face, caressing her cheek to comfort her. She melted at his touch.
“Damn it.” Micah uttered under his breath, drawing away. Cordelia didn’t want him to. But he was right. It wasn’t real.
“Will you tell Morgyn?” She looked into his eyes. “That I… that I can’t do it?”
“Of course.” Micah gave her a curt nod. He looked around the room uncertainly, as if to look for a cue. “Right. I should probably take off.”
Don’t, her heart said. But her heart was stupid, she knew that already. When in this last year did it do anything that didn’t bring her pain? When had it ever?
“Micah… this doesn’t mean anything, does it?” Cordelia asked. “I know I feel… it’s a lie, what I feel.” She corrected herself.
“I know.” The vampire agreed. “Doesn’t mean anything. It will probably go away.”
His eyes didn’t really match his words. But then, this was Micah. She remembered the countless times they’ve played cards, him trying to teach her how to bluff convincingly. Whatever was in his eyes wasn’t necessarily true. Micah had a better poker face than anyone, after all. He knew how to lie.
He’s never lied to you, her heart pointed out helpfully. But even that could be a lie. How would she even know?
Besides, everything in her life was a fabricated lie, wasn’t it? Down to the very house she lived in. “Probably.” She said. “Anyway… Don’t you need to feed?”
Whatever his feeding actually involved these days. Cordelia wasn’t sure. Maybe what he had once said about not needing blood anymore back at the beginning of the summer was all a lie too. More illusions. What was she even supposed to believe now? And did it really matter?
“You should go.” Cordelia added finally.
“Yeah.” He stood up, only turning around briefly. “Bye, Cordelia.”
It was not real.