1.70 Overdue

The dinner was every bit as awkward as Hawthorne had expected – Morgyn being their usual chirpy self, her mother throwing death glares at them, and her father trying to keep the peace while staying out of it… in other words, a disaster.

She wasn’t sure why her mother insisted on hosting these Winterfest dinners. It wasn’t exactly like they were a foodie family. Sitting around a table and staring at a turkey she had no interest in eating was such a non-event. And the atmosphere was worse and worse each time.

But the one year Hawthorne had suggested visiting Morgyn for Winterfest separately, perhaps the day after or the day before, her mother had completely lost it. And so here they were, each year. Shame. Hawthorne would have liked to know what the magic realm was like at Winterfest.

But it wasn’t all an awkward nightmare. Dandelion was there, after all. Not only did he not bring up their last encounter, he even helped diffuse the tension.

Hawthorne wasn’t sure if that was entirely intentional on the elf’s behalf or not – for whatever reason, Dandelion was not much of a fan of Morgyn’s – but he kept asking about Hawthorne’s time in Britechester, something that everyone at the table was keen on hearing. Obviously, Hawthorne thought.

“Hey Dandy, can I speak to you for a bit, in private?” She pulled the elf aside once they were finally done with dinner.

He seemed relieved when she said that, and with a nod, he followed her upstairs to her room.

“Thank fuck that’s over with,” she mouthed as soon as she shut the door behind them. “Nothing ever changes around here, does it?”

“You think?” Dandelion shrugged. “I’ve seen plenty of change, not always for the better…”

Was this a start to yet another ‘I’m so much older than you’ speech, Hawthorne wondered? Thankfully, he changed the subject. “Anyway, I’m glad you wanted to talk. But we’re ok, you know.”

“I know we are.” She smiled at him, plopping herself down on the bed. “Wasn’t really what I wanted to talk about.”  

“Oh.” Was he disappointed?

“Are you actually saying we’re not ok, Dandy?” Hawthorne frowned. She really hoped they could just ignore their awful goodbyes in the past and move on.

“We are. But maybe it’s better to talk these things out, so that we stay ok?” He sat down beside her.

Hawthorne wasn’t so sure she agreed. Weren’t they bound to just rehash the same exact conversation if they got into it again? The way she felt about him hasn’t changed, if anything, the boys in Britechester made her like him even more. And she wasn’t ready for him to tell her that his feelings hadn’t changed either. Rejection was the one thing Hawthorne didn’t know how to handle.

“Totally,” she told him. “But first, there’s something else, something important. Have your sprites been around any less lately?”

He gave her a funny look. “How did you know that?”

“They’ve been showing up in Britechester.” Hawthorne explained. “Which makes sense, they’re from there, right?”

“I guess that’s true. But why would they suddenly go back now?” From the expression on his face, Hawthorne could tell she got his attention, the topic of their fight successfully dodged.

“It’s to do with me. Or more specifically, with this key mum gave me.” She corrected herself. “The sprites… they led me to a door that this key actually fits in.”

“Really?” The elf tilted his head, curious. “What door? What does it go to?”

“I don’t know. Couldn’t open it.”

“But you said-“

“There’s one more key it needs.” Hawthorne took her time, looking into his eyes as she spoke.

He understood straight away. “The key Lulu has looks an awful lot like Cordie’s. So you think…”

“That it’s not just a coincidence?” She finished his sentence. “That’s exactly what I think.”

“That makes no sense though. They never knew each other, before Cordie came to Glimmerbrook.” Dandelion shook his head. “And I don’t think Lulu’s ever been to Britechester either.”

“Doesn’t change the fact my mum’s necklace and the key match hers, though.” Hawthorne pointed out. “There has to be some kind of an explanation… One I was hoping you could help me find.”

“Lulu never liked her. Your mum.” Dandelion admitted. Hawthorne didn’t get the impression there were many people L Faba did like, but she didn’t interrupt him. “She never told me why though. Just gave me excuses.”

Perfect hook. Hawthorne could barely contain her excitement. “You deserve much more than excuses. There’s something she’s not telling you, and you deserve to know.”

“If she hasn’t told me in all these years, I doubt she’ll tell me now.” Dandelion sighed.

Not if you give up this easily, Hawthorne thought. But what he said worked to her advantage.

“I agree.” She nodded. “Which is why you need to take matters into your own hands. Just… get her to give you the key, and come visit me in Britechester. Then we can go see for ourselves.”

He hesitated. “I don’t know, Hawthorne.”

 “She’s hiding something from you, you know that.” Hawthorne continued prodding. “I’m not sure what’s behind the door, exactly, but you can bet your ass that it’s some answers. L Faba, mum, and the sprites… it’s all connected somehow, and we can actually find out how. Are you telling me you really don’t want to know?”

***

Cordelia cursed herself. These Winterfest dinners were harder to bear each year. But what was the alternative? Letting Morgyn steal Hawthorne for the holiday? Especially now, when she’d been away at university for so long? No, she needed her home. Even if that meant having to look at Morgyn’s stupid face.

As soon as the meal was finished, Hawthorne and Dandelion seemed to have slipped away somewhere. Fair enough, Cordelia thought. They were close friends, of course they’d missed each other. But where the hell did Micah disappear to? She found herself alone with the sage. Something that hadn’t happened in years.

“Well, what are you waiting for?” She looked at them impatiently.

“I still haven’t given Hawthorne her present.” The sage replied, infuriatingly calm.

“You can leave it. She can open it in the morning with the rest of them.” Cordelia willed them out of the door in her head, but Morgyn didn’t seem to be in a hurry.

They gave her a strange look, as if to examine her face. “You’re starting to get wrinkles. I could help, you know.”

The nerve. “You planning on sharing your moisturiser with me?” She retorted.

“You know what I mean, Cordelia. I could prolong your life. Like I have done mine. With one simple spell, performed once a year, you could live forever.”

“And why would you do that? So that you can feel like my saviour, pat yourself on the back for how gracious you are?” Cordelia spouted at the sage.

“What makes you think this is about me?” The sage asked.

Cordelia scoffed. “Please. Isn’t everything?”

“Not on this occasion.” Morgyn gave her one of their irritating smiles.

“I’m simply making you a friendly offer. You can only gain on your end. All it would take is seeing me once a year, which you already do. May as well perform the spells at these dinners. A Winterfest gift, from me to you. Or are you saying slowly dying year by year is somehow preferable?”

“I’m just fine the way I am, thank you very much.” She put an end to their pompous speech.

“You don’t look fine.” Morgyn said quietly.

How dare they? “What, because of a few wrinkles?”

“That’s not-“

“I’d much rather live a regular life on my own terms then be in your debt for eternity.” Cordelia interrupted them, standing up from the table. She had no interest in what lies the sage was trying to sell this time.

Still, she couldn’t resist final jab. “Besides, no one should live forever.” She told them. “Just look in the mirror.”

“I do so frequently.” Morgyn replied with a smirk. “And I see myself fresh-faced, just as I was 30 years ago. I fail to see how that’s somehow a bad thing in your eyes. Almost nobody can live forever, but given the choice, why in the world would anyone say no?”

“I don’t expect you to understand.” Cordelia managed to get a handle on her voice, her words were no quiet, but filled with disdain, to make sure Morgyn got the message. “You’re terrified of death.”

“Scared of death, me? Do I need to remind you I’ve been there?” Morgyn asked.

“You want to go there? Fine.” Cordelia’s eyes narrowed. Perhaps this time alone with Morgyn wasn’t so bad after all. Perhaps she could finally throw all these things that had been brewing on her mind into their wrinkle-free face. Perhaps this was long overdue.

“Of course I remember your death.” She continued. “How guilty I felt over it for the longest time. But I was a dumb child back then. You know what I think? I think you always intended to die in those ruins.”

Morgyn did not say anything. A rare silence from the sage. Had to mean she was right.

“You brought me with you because you knew I was so head over heels with you I would do everything in my power to bring you back to life, once you did… whatever you wanted to do while you were dead. You thought of everything. Brought a damn glimmerstone for me to get back. There was no need for that, if you thought you were coming back with me. Could have just teleported us out of there. But you knew it would just be me.”

The sage was still silent, but Cordelia had no intentions of stopping anyway. Not now.

“You never shoved me out of the way of that arrow for my benefit, it was for yours. It wasn’t to save me, it was to get what you came for. I was just the pawn to bring you back. You even slept with me the night before to make sure I was completely under your spell.”

“That is not true.” Morgyn finally spoke. “Not entirely true, anyway.”

“Don’t patronise me.” She folded her arms. “Not entirely true? Sounds like mostly true to me.”

“It’s not that simple.” For someone who loved the sound of their voice, Morgyn was suddenly uncharacteristically stingy with their words. Told her all she needed to know.

“I think it’s simple enough. That whole trip was always about you, about you getting more power in that temple, through dying, for whatever reason. It was never about the sprites.” Cordelia finished listing it all.

“Why does it always have to be a case of one or the other with you?” Morgyn asked.

“I may have had personal gain in what went down.” The sage admitted. “But that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to help you at the same time. I didn’t lie to you. I told you I didn’t know if the temple would hold answers for you, just that it may be worth a try. Besides, the sprites are no longer a concern for you, aren’t they?”

Typical, trying to spin things to distract from the truth.

“Not thanks to you. I’d still have them following me if it wasn’t for Dandelion.” Cordelia pointed out. “You’re claiming the trip wasn’t self-serving? You never tried anything else when the temple turned out to be a dead end.”

“I ran out of ideas.”

Cordelia was dumbfounded. The Morgyn she knew would never admit to anything like that… which meant it had to be a lie.

“I bet it hurt you to say that out loud. Or would that only be the case if you actually believed that?” She shook her head. “Don’t answer that. I don’t care.”

“A lot of accusations about a past long gone for someone who doesn’t care.”

The audacity. “Just get out of my house.”

“Very well.” Morgyn walked towards the door, only to turn back. “You were not just a pawn.”

Cordelia felt the urge to throw one of the empty plates leftover from dinner at the sage. “Am I meant to be grateful for that? That I was mostly a pawn, but not quite just that? Never good enough for the glorious Morgyn… But you know what happens when nobody’s good enough? You end up alone.”

The sage hesitated. “Micah is good enough.” They said finally. “Maybe you should listen to your own advice.”

The door closed behind them before Cordelia had a chance to respond. She suddenly regretted missing the opportunity to throw that plate at them while she had the chance.

23 thoughts on “1.70 Overdue

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  1. Woo! A non-festive festive chapter! I’m kidding. I love how everyone is dressed up for the holidays. Hawthorne’s outfit is umm… a bit revealing, no doubt on purpose as she was sitting opposite of Dandelion xD *facepalm* Rejecting being the only thing she doesn’t know how to handle fits her really well as a weakness. After all, she’s always gotten everything she wanted, either from Cordelia, from Micah or from Morgyn.

    Oooooh, her and Dandy are teaming up to open the doors? I’m so excited to see what kind of mystery or secret truth they’re about to find. Also Dandy’s freezer bunny sweater is so adorable ❤

    I’m glad that Morgyn actually asked for Cordelia’s opinion on the whole “living forever” deal. They’ve been dragging her into messes so much over the years (granted, she was a total doormat in terms of resistance for most of them back then) that I was afraid they’d just do it to her, without her input.

    Ooouch. That was a harsh conversation on both sides. I’m not entirely sure who to root for here. Cordelia is right – Morgyn absolutely played her and they deserve those scathing words. But Morgyn is right at the end, too. Cordy has shut herself off to love completely and is wasting away. She’ll be an empty shell before too long if this continues, especially if her relationship with Hawthorne goes south. Which. Of course it won’t, because everything there is rainbows and sunshine. xD Oof, what a mess. I’m just going to hang on to Dandelion as the glittering unicorn floatie that’ll keep us from sinking into the mire of festering hatred and regret. =D

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Of course Hawthorne dressed that way on purpose. And you’ve hit the nail on the head there, yes, of course she can’t handle rejection, she’s always gotten everything she wanted and has been spoiled rotten, so when that’s not the case she loses it.

      Let’s hope Dandy manages to get that key. Or not, depending on what’s on the other side, haha.

      I’m sure Morgyn would argue they’ve always asked for Cordelia’s opinion in the past too, but of course they did always do so in a way that manipulated her answers or didn’t give her the full truth. Not that they’d admit to that.

      I’m not sure who I’d root for in this argument either. They’re both right, and they’re both wrong. Happy Winterfest, lol.

      “I’m just going to hang on to Dandelion as the glittering unicorn floatie that’ll keep us from sinking into the mire of festering hatred and regret.” Festering? I’m sure you meant to say festive there 😁😇

      Liked by 1 person

  2. What struck me most in this chapter was that Cordelia finally spoke out. She is like an inflamed abscess that has grown bigger and bigger over the years.
    I wish for her that it finally gives her an opportunity to heal and grow and that she has taken in a single or two of the truths that Morgyn served for her. She is lonely and bitter. Her anger has so far only led to self-destruction.

    Maybe I’ll comment on Hawthorne and Dandy later….
    If not, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
    Thank you for making my year a great experience ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would agree, well put. She’s held on to those grudges for far too long, so it’s a good thing it all came out eventually. Hard to say what she’ll do about what Morgyn told her, depends on how she interpreted it, and on how much of the inflamation is left in the now open wound, I suppose.

      Thank you, Mona ❤️ You too, I hope you have a lovely Christmas in spite of everything!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Dandelion! My sweet wholesome boi!
    Aaaaaaand…. Morgyn, that rat bastard.
    Where’d Micah rush off to? Hiding from this disaster? I don’t blame him. It’s sad seeing how bitter Cordelia got, life really hasn’t been kind to her. Is it too late to wish her happiness? She’s done some stupid things but she sure didn’t deserve this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha those are some strong responses 😄 Micah actually left because he knew Morgyn was going to talk to Cordelia about the immortality business. Whether that was a good decision or not is up to you, lol.

      Well, never say never, it’s not over till it’s over, and so forth. Though all things considered, most of Cordelia’s misery at the moment is self-inflicted. So what she does or doesn’t deserve is entirely up to her.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Very true! But it’s hard to stay positive after so many curveballs are thrown your way. Kinda hard to cut away the people giving you misery, too, when they are the people most important to you. And I gotta admit, girl can hold a grudge, and I admire that. Even though it’s not a good thing… xD

        Liked by 1 person

  4. “Sitting around a table and staring at a turkey she had no interest in eating was such a non-event.” I never thought I’d agree with Hawthorne on anything, but yep, I hear you honey. And now, just as I thought we could be friends, you’re toying with Dandelion, trapping him with his own words. Hm, pass. Not that she cares. I wonder if his own curiosity is enough to make him comply and if he does, how the heck he’ll manage to get L Faba’s key from her.

    Where has Micah disappeared to? It’s almost like he knows that Morgyn is about to have a super-awkward conversation and he wants to pretend he had no part in organising it. I mean, wow. This is all a huge steaming mess isn’t it. Yes, tell her how wrinkly she is, that’s a great way to make someone warm to you, right up there with calling them fat and telling them that they stink. Throw a plate? After that exchange? I’d have thrown the fridge. 😒

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, who would have thought you’d bond with Hawthorne over dietary preferences. oh yes, she’s definitely not beyond a bit of manipulation. Though apparently she’s not good at it enough, considering she still hasn’t managed to seduce Dandy. We’ll see what he decides to do soon. That is, whenever I get off my bum to write the next chapter, lol.

      Yep, Micah is totally hiding. What, you mean that isn’t a great opener? Telling her she stinks would have also worked a treat, you’re right. “Cordelia, you smell. Fancy loving forever?” Almost wish I went with that 😆

      Damn, remind me never to piss you off 😅

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Okay I don’t know why I expected a happier chapter when I saw those sweaters and christmas lights and tree. You got me fooled, Plumbob! xD

    Dandy getting the key from LFaba. I think it’s possible. She took him to meet the vampys after all against her better judgement.

    What is that mural behind Cordy when she’s glaring at Morgyn? It looks really magical! Ooh it’s a painting. Very pretty! I thought it was a doorway at first. 😀 Micah’s painting?

    Morgyn’s opening line lol.. They’re usually very charismatic, but I’m thinking regardless of how they initiate the conversation it’s going to go bad anyway, hence they went the straightforward route lol. Morgyn referencing 30 years ago. How old is Morgyn? I think you’ve clarified this before but I’ve forgotten. 60-70?

    Gah! That was all really painful to read. Cordy is so bitter, not surprising. Morgyn is definitely less pompous than they once were. Their line ““Micah is good enough. Maybe you should listen to your own advice”” can be seen as taking the final jab, though I’m more inclined to see it as Morgyn speaking it for Cordy’s benefit because really, the revelation would benefit her more than it would them. Which is a huge change to how they once were. I’m still wondering what brought about the change. Aging? Wisdom? Hawthorne? Their relationship with Micah? When was the turning point for them to go from all-about-me to thinking about others? It’s great that Morgyn can feel remorse and guilt even through their denial. But gah everything is happening a tad bit late. Better late than never I suppose.

    Where is Micah lol. He must know this would happen if he left those two alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry Foamy, no amount of Christmas decorations can turn this lot into less of a disaster. You really should have known me better from how I tricked you guys with Sylvan Glade and pancakes in the first place 😆

      You’re right, if anyone can convince L Faba to do something she doesn’t want to, it would be Dandy. We shall see.

      Yes, the painting is one of Micah’s. For story purposes anyway. It’s one of the Takissis paintings off the gallery, pretty much like all of “Micah’s” paintings.

      I think you might be on to something about Morgyn’s opening, haha. Actually I don’t think it said anywhere how old Morgyn is yet, beyond the obvious that they’re older than they look. So I’ll not answer that one just yet.

      Yes, that final line could definitely be interpreted on two ways. I’ll leave it up to you to decide which it is 😊

      Is Morgyn really less pompous? They still went on about how much they love to look at themselves in the mirror and how amazing they look. Maybe you just got used to them 😝 They have probably changed to some degree. I don’t know if changes always necessarily need to be brought upon by one defining turning point. It can happen, but I think gradual change over time that’s influenced by several things is more common. Any and all of the things you listed could be potential factors in that, yes. Or perhaps Morgyn hasn’t really changed all that much. Who knows.

      Micah definitely knew they were going to discuss the living forever business. Not sure if he thought the conversation would escalate this much, haha. Also not sure of it would have tone better or worse with him there 😆

      Like

  6. Aw man, it doesn’t seem like Hawthorne and Cordelia aren’t very close. It’s usually sad for me when this happens, lol.

    I think L. Faba and Cordelia are somehow family-related which is why they might have the keys even if not on good terms. Maybe the reason with why L. Faba doesn’t like Cordelia has to be with Annaliese who Dandy or Hawthorne never met… Hmm.

    At least Cordelia finally saw sense but a touch too late. I doubt she and Morgyn will ever reconcile but they have Hawthorne to be a good role model to. I think it would be better if she isn’t one plate less, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Based on this chapter and in general I suppose? 😅 What Hawthorne seems to be saying about her mother seems like she implies Cordelia’s kind of grumpy, haha, since she usually glares at Morgyn a lot but I think Cordelia likes her daughter regardless of her personality (doesn’t everybody? Lol). 🙂

        Haha, no wonder Hawthorne acts this way! xD

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Dannnnngggggggggg.

    So, not that Cordelia was wrong, per se, but man this bitterness thing really has hollowed her out. I think I might actually agree with Morgyn, I don’t think more time is gonna help. It’s been decades and yet, she’s still angry about it like it was yesterday. And she’s so busy being angry about it and put out, that she can’t even enjoy the holiday. I mean, why torture herself when she could just have a lovely holiday with Hawthorne and Micah? I’ll tell you why: because then Morgyn would “win.” Man, I wanted her to have all of these realizations but I wanted her to grow stronger from them and use them to propel herself into a fulfilling life.

    And I am so ready for Hawthorne and Dandy to go on an adventure. Who gave him permission to be rolling through this chapter looking like a snack?!?!?!?!

    I think Hawthorne is onto something though, I did always wonder why L. Faba hated Cordelia on site! I want to get to the bottom of this.

    Another thing I noticed: even though Hawthorne is pushy, I don’t feel like she is manipulating Dandy. Unlike Cordelia, I think Hawthorne sees Dandy as more than a convenient means to an end.

    AND I SHIP THEM OF COURSE.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know Cordelia’s not in a great place when even Morgyn is more level-headed, haha. Yes, she’s been hanging on to that resentment for so long she can’t seem to let go of it anymore and it’s not doing her any good. You’re spot on about why she doesn’t want to have a separate Winterfest, even though it would be better for all involved.

      Who would have thought Dandelion would be hot, while wearing a freezer bunny jumper no less 😆

      We’re getting closer and closer!

      That’s a really good comparison you bring up. It is interesting, Cordelia often ended up using Dandelion in a sense, even though it wasn’t necessarily intentional on her part. Hawthorne on the other hand clearly has an agenda lf her own, but at the same time she cares about his interests in a way Cordelia never did.

      I’m sure Hawthorne approves of you shipping them, hehe.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. So ironic how Cordelia used to be head over heels for Morgyn and now she just hates their guts. It’s quite the 180. Can’t say I blame her though, Morgyn not taking anything seriously and being so damn cheery all the time is infuriating when there are elephants in the room they’re just refusing to discuss. I think Cordelia is just mad that Morgyn never took responsibility for anything that happened. They just continue to live their life while Cordelia is miserable. Not entirely Morgyn’s fault but I can see why Cordelia is upset.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cordelia is a very all or nothing person. In a way it was easier for her to switch to full on hating them than to just tone things down. I’ve definitely seen that pattern with ex-couples IRL.

      Yes, having to see Morgyn be so blasé about everything has got to be infuriating. On the other hand, not moving on and focusing on every way in which others have harmed you is not ideal either. I completely get why she responds the way she does, though it’s not hugely doing her any favours.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I see Hawthorne learned manipulation too, but in this case I’m with her 😁 We need to know what’s up with those sprites, finally hehe

    Cordelia 😭 She finally pulled up enough anger to confront Morgyn, but sadly it won’t change a thing. Not for her, and Morgyn won’t suddenly turn into the good guy, besides they never can make it up again. But hopefully she got at least a bit of relief.
    I’m not surprised that she didn’t take the offer to live forever. Not only because it came from Morgyn (and with such a charming opener 😏) but she doesn’t exactly have much to live for.
    On a bright note, she looks beautiful in that long, green dress!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol! Ok, so manipulation is acceptable if it’s in the readers’ interest, got it 🤣

      You’re right, it’s unlikely this exchange will greatly impact Morgyn, though it might be good for Cordie to get it off her chest – better late than never. Let’s see if that helps her move on…

      And true, she doesn’t really have much motivation to want to live forever. Ha, I like that you found something positive to say 😆 I have never used that particular swatch of this dress before, but I agree, it really suits her!

      Liked by 1 person

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