Hadonin, Fall of Chaos

Long before there were heaven and hell, earth and space, there was a world like none other. Sand blast rings of summer, golden white and free, each tiny particle glittering brilliantly. Like rings of ice or diamond in the sun, but alive and breathing. They danced round the eternal star Eswyn, taking her light and shining it out into the darkness, seven of them in chorus, harmony, and discourse; for even paradise gets dizzy. Eswyn burned for tens of trillions of years, a beacon to her children caught in the abyss. She shone through them like sun through stained glass, flashing first one hue and then the next, in an endless night. Her children, a hundred stars of all shapes and sizes, bounced around the universe at a million miles an hour, dancing and twirling and singing together. Each was meant to be, and from deep within them came the rawest emotions of all kinds. They were still so small, while the universe around them was so large and void of all life. It stretched them thin, strung them out, for they were not like you or me. Bodies, planets, capsules for souls, they hadn’t been created yet. These things bumped and jostled each other, melting into each other and shifting apart. They had no boundaries, they had no need.

The smallest of the stars was named Hadonin. She was flighty and loud, and made of the deepest blue. She was her mothers Ironic Statement, for she was the only one with the ability to comprehend the truth in others, but she was the color of sadness and despair. Maybe Eswyn knew of this burden her daughter carried, the need to help and soothe and listen. Hadonin had such refined emotions that one day when the new stars came, steady and bright and gorgeous, she was allowed to stand with them. Her brothers and sisters were banished and tied, their chaotic wild nature a thing of the past. Eswyn bound them to six of the seven rings of chaos, each in the care of one of her most trusted spawn, the seven gods and goddesses. The last ring remained untouched and free to spin out belts and ribbons of color, belonging to Hadonin her self. In the end, when all else died, the light would bring her home. Until then, Hadonin would be the last of the chaos loose in the universe, a beacon of truth in the night sky above.

Now Hadonin bound herself in her own body, to look like those stars around her. Her endless reaching consciousness could no longer run rampant. The universe was no longer empty, and Eswyn had given her express orders to respect the lives around her. So Hadonin hung in the sky, higher than all the other stars, out in the distance where the others couldn’t go. She was too bright, too much to be near them, like a swan trying to sink to the bottom of the ocean. Some of the other stars hated her for it, for being out there where they couldn’t go, for her lack of boundaries or care for the ones around her. She didn’t understand them. She had never needed to care, because caring was like breathing, it just happened when it needed to. Now it was something they expected of you, if was a chain of iron against a ghost of her past.

Slowly the world below faded. It grew dirty and ignorant. The lush raw beauty was cut out and replaced with replica upon replica of wrong. She saw the stars beneath her quiver, falter. They began to fade, suffocate, in the pollution of the new world order. Hadonin dove down, pushing it away. Even the stars she couldn’t see or hear or feel were her friends. No matter their world or beliefs they deserved to be saved. She rushed through them, pulling them up towards the clean air where they could breath. They came with her, one by one, but they could only go so far. Billions loomed out below, and each one would need to be coaxed out of the ink, up towards the light of magical infinity. It would take a million lifetimes that she didn’t have. Suddenly another single star came into view, higher than the rest. She stood out from then by an impossible margin, far enough to almost be free. Hadonin fought back the chaos that threatened to break her body. This star was hope, the only other who could do what she did, but she still had so far she could rise. Hadonin could see the brilliance locked inside of her, chained away as hers was. She had found other stars like this, but they’d only been able to muster up strength for a short while, and then they fell back down.

Hadonin circled the star. They laughed and chatted and played. Slowly they rose up together, higher and higher. Hadonin told her the truth that under her skin was the last of the chaos. Then the other star stopped, hanging higher than any other. She didn’t want to leave the others behind; she didn’t want to go any higher. Hadonin flared with rage. Didn’t this star understand how much she wanted a partner? Didn’t she understand that they needed to show all these others just what magic and hope and truth looked like? Didn’t she understand that, through her own chaotic mess, Hadonin couldn’t even feel outside herself? This star claimed she loved her, but she felt no difference. They were no closer than they had ever been. Hadonin couldn’t feel her stars love when she was so far away, but if she came any closer the chaos of the ancients would burn her away. Hadonin turned that rage into hate, hate that she could use to rocket back into the abyss that still lingered on the outskirts. She told her star that she didn’t need her anymore. She told her that chaos couldn’t except things like friendship or love. Bitterly she cast off into the darkness, lighting the way with her distress.

She did it too fast, too soon. After so long of darting helplessly from star to star, she had run out of love, hope, and truth. She felt so empty, and there was nothing she could do. She realized that only her love and devotion to her star had kept her in the sky. Without her, there was nothing left to fight for. If she couldn’t bring the light to those so close already, simply because they didn’t want it or need it, what was the use to try at all. On the outskirts of night, Hadonin looked up into the abyss and realized she couldn’t find her light. Her way home had suddenly disappeared, and in the never ending trails of the universe, she would never be able to find it again. Hadonin closed her eyes as her light slowly faded, and black as night she began to fall. There was no reason to bring them up any longer, if even she could not keep away from the tendrils of normalcy.

A flash above her made her open her eyes. A shooting star blazed past her, one of the ones she had helped. Even after all these years, the star had continued to shine and work higher and higher. It gave her a glimmer of hope that even without her attention, her lessons and hope stayed with them. It opened her eyes to the possibility that others were out there, helping each other out of the ink, climbing through the stratosphere towards her, guided by nothing but herself, hanging so high in the sky. It was enough to spark a fire within her, and she blazed deep blue again. She zipped along with the shooting star until the star stopped higher than she’d ever expected. Hadonin raced away, with shouts backwards to her shooting star in thanks for all she’d done.

Hadonin raced here and there, searching for her shining star. She finally found her, lower than ever before. As she approached she faltered. Why did she still need her star? She didn’t depend on her any longer, her light had been rekindled by the world around her. This star had hurt her; she didn’t want her back. Deep in her something pushed back. This star was her best friend, and in times of despair, her only friend. Hadonin approached slowly, but her star turned away, hurt beyond anything Hadonin was capable of feeling. It broke her heart, to see what she had done. Slowly, not even falling, she drifted lower until she couldn’t even light her own way out of the icky sludge surrounding her. There she stayed, waiting for her star to forgive her. Above, the star healed and rose high into the sky. She never looked back for Hadonin, not once, and took her place as the highest of all the stars.

And with that, the last of the chaos faded from the sky.

Greater than I

There is an encroaching sense of dread that adjoins this pen and paper. The streets have been cleared of joy, and lay barren outside my window. I don’t know why I’m writing you. For the sake of an explanation that will break your heart, perhaps? I think that I am more selfish than that. That I am doing this only to tell you the story of our tragedy. I’m proud of it, of the one truly beautiful thing I have ever done in my life time. I still choke on it, day after day, writhing on the floor when presented with it’s cool dark purity. I can only hope that it kills me.

I came to your house, simply because it was where I needed to be. Some deaf old muse drew me to that place beside you on the old porch swing. You were equal parts relieved and furious. We sat out in the autumn chill, watching leaves fall while I waited for you to trust your voice again. The world was dull and flat like a photograph. I swung my legs back and forth beneath the swing.

"Stop"

"Why?"

"Please"

"Okay"

You wanted me to open up to you, to be what I needed. As we sat there you gave me chance after chance. You wanted, needed, to know what to do to make things better. “what now?” was like an offering. Anything for me, a silent plea of “this is what you wanted, this is what you asked for. When I can give you nothing else,please just take this.” Your desperation was a surprise, but only fleetingly. I suddenly had nothing to say. All the aching questions and unwholesome thoughts were gone.

Your hands shook from the cold as I pulled you on top of me. The silence of the world swallowed us and spit us out. Your tears fell on my cheeks and your lips trembled with questions you didn’t have the strength to ask. With one hand on your waist and the other cupped around the back of your neck, I soothed you with a sense of calm I dredged up from the bottom of my soul. Your fingers dragged across my stomach as you relaxed into me. You smiled through your tears as I gasped against your lips. While you broke from the futility of being what I needed in the darkest hour, I held you tight and told you it was okay.

I woke next to you hours later. Darkness borrowed the air and cast shadows across your face. You shivered and pressed into me. I let a smile betray my thoughts. Carefully I extricated myself from your embrace and gathered my clothes. I watched you as I dressed, not sure of exactly what I would do if you woke up. As I escaped into the midnight walls I took my tiny knife and drove it between our souls. Slowly the knife slipped between them, tearing them apart. As I walked down my streets, as I will for all eternity, you cried in your sleep.

I felt nothing but empty.


Anthem of the Angels
by: Breaking Benjamin

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Sincerely, Wondering

I wonder, sometimes as I’m laying here on the window seat, listening to your heart monitor. Lately it’s rained, the coming of winter. I never thought my waking world would consist of nothing more than a hospital room. I wait here day upon day for you to open your eyes. While I wait I let my mind wander, and alas I wonder. I wonder about how the nurses  rush places by walking calmly down the hallway. I wonder how the artist, whose paintings hang on your wall, managed to create insect still lifes with live bugs as models. I wonder how many of the crystalline, gooey droplets on the  bay windows will collide before they reach the bottom, sucked back in by the earth as quickly as the clouds surrendered them. I wonder how many days I will stay here before you die

They frustrate me, coming in with their family and their success, flaunting what you will never have. They never visited before the accident, though you received their Christmas cards punctually every December. They regard me with disdain and shallow distrust. More often than not, they speak as though I do not exist. I wonder if you can hear them, like the doctor confirmed you could. Sometimes when it becomes unbearable, I wonder what you would say if you were well enough to come to my defense.

I spend the days here with you in comfortable one-sided conversation. I hope that you can hear me, that you recognize my voice. I read to you from all the classics and occasionally the mail when I have it. I’ve been skipping the parts you never liked, and instead reading the parts we would always discuss. Sitting here next to your hospital bed, I find myself wondering out loud. I wonder about the little things, decisions I’ve made, conversations that have taken place in the dark warm in-between place of fear and sleep. I am a coward for not asking you when you were awake, before the second heart attack. I wonder why this disease has chosen you, when you are so young and beautiful and completely uninterested in me. You do not deserve to lose everything.

I wonder if I ever had a chance, when we first met amid a childhood quickly running out of steam. I could have stepped in after one of your break-ups and asked for you myself, but you never would have said yes. Even then, with our boundaries clearly drawn, I often saw niches and crawl spaces between the meanings of our boundless words. I wanted so badly to believe that there was something left, that I think I made it so. I wonder, though, if it was real. Could I have overlooked your sincerity, and imagined my own imagination? Was I the reason it was lost forever, whatever we had. I wonder if this was entirely of my own doing, my own fault for not holding onto you tighter and letting nothing else matter.

The soft rhythm of this place has dulled me, but I cannot leave you. The nurses have stopped asking if I’m going home for the night. I wonder if they gossip about us, the patient with the pathetic friend who won’t leave her side. If I’m not careful we might end up as an epic love story in the poetry of our children. I wonder if I will ever see a child of mine hold a book, now that you are almost gone. There were so many things you wanted to do, so many plans you made. I wonder what will happen now that none of that can occur. I wonder what I’m going to do without you, living in a house that does nothing but remind me of you and all the things you used to do. It will be like living everyday with a phantom, yet somehow that’s oddly comforting. You’ll never have really left me, if I can see you everywhere I go.

I wonder if you wanted me to hold your hand, that day you and I were walking in the park. You forgot your gloves on the end table in the foyer. After complaining for several minutes you mentioned that my hand could easily cover yours. I considered it a passing comment and nothing more, until later when I’d returned home. I wonder what you would have done if I took your hand in mine, and held it as long as I could. Even without the love I have for you, I hope you would have smiled, and walked with me hand in hand until we arrived at our destination. I wonder if I will ever get to hold your hand now, each are so full of holes and bruises from your IV’s and life support systems. If I could only be reassured that it would be painless for you, I would do it in a heartbeat.

I wonder what it would have been like sharing the bedroom in the one room apartment. Now that we share a room all the time it seems silly that we were too at odds to just share when we lived there. I wonder if you ever wanted to make me stay, when I brought you your tea before bed. I wonder what it would be like to see you reaching out for me from beneath your covers, eyes pleading, lips whispering for me to stay with you. In the darkness of the night, I wonder if I ever could have scared your nightmares away. When I heard you cry out in the night, and stayed in my cot afraid to disturb you. I wonder what you would have done if I had slipped into bed with you and cradled you in my arms.

The nurses no longer visit. We have been here far too long. I wonder when you will wake up, if ever, at the same time as I wonder when you will die. I wonder what would have happened had I kissed your cheek during the Christmas dance in high school. Your dress had been absolutely perfect, your cheer and excitement encouraging. Maybe if I had you wouldn’t have gone off to dance with that boy that broke your heart. I wonder if I could have protected you, simply by allowing myself to love you. I wonder if that was how we ended up like this, single and lonely, together. I wonder if I stopped you from living your life like you would have liked, because for some reason, you wouldn’t leave me either.

I wonder if I had held you tighter, closer to me, if you would have felt how much I needed you. If I had just delayed you a second longer, maybe you wouldn’t have left. You wouldn’t go out on the icy roads, and you wouldn’t lose control on the avenue. If I had pleaded with you to stay, confessed that I still wanted you after all these years, maybe you wouldn’t have crashed nor had the heart attack on the way to the hospital. I wonder if you would still be here with me, happy and content in ways we never explored.

I wonder if I had loved you better, if I had cared for you more, would you have loved me? Could I have fit myself into that mold? I wonder if I could take back whatever I said that made you decide it couldn’t happen in the first place. I wonder how many years of happiness I might have had if I only told you what I saw in you. Your machine is beeping darling. Oh god, don’t leave me. Not just yet! I can’t think of what to say to you, the last thing I say to you has to be wonderful. I need to pick the most beautiful words. Please! Please hang in there! Look, the doctor is here to make it all better. It’s just your heart again, you’ll be fine. Darling? No! please, please please, no! I’d give anything, you don’t understand. I love you. I love you so, so much and I am so sorry I never told you that. Smile for the angels darling. Smile for me. Please, please just wake up.

Wake up.

Reblog this if you AREN’T homophobic.

archangel-ezekiel:

castiel-counts-deans-freckles:

sassygaysam:

ohblainerssss:

wildyoungsoul:

s0raiseyourglassifyouarewrong:

darrenandchrisgrindingboners:

loveintheformofmusic:

purrplekat1989:

tophats:

imageJust want to see how many of my followers actually reblog this.

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IT’S OKAY

TO BE GAY

I WON’T MIND

IF YOU LIKE YOUR KIND

IT’S OKAY

TO BE GAY

I’D STILL LOVE YOU

AND OTHERS WILL TOO

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people are fine by me.

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everyone should reblog this

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If you were gay, that’d be okay. I mean cuz hey—I like you anyway!

(Source: mikasserman)

How Bella Ruined Thanksgiving

Bella stepped into the house and immediately a strange sensation washed over her. It was a mix of awe and confusion. Tali had talked about her home, and her parents. She had talked about it with the embarrassment and disdain of someone who had grown up under horrible conditions. Bella had wondered briefly, after meeting Tali’s parents, how two nicely dressed human being with only mildly strange personalities fit into what Tali described. Now she saw that obviously it was because Tali had grown up filthy rich.

Beside her, Tali watched the other guests with uncertainty and a mild discomfort that bordered on childhood familiarity. Oh, Bella thought, it probably is childhood familiarity.

The house was nothing short of lavish. The guests were any where from twenty to a hundred years old, and they all seemed to get along famously. Bella looked to Tali to see if she found anything odd about the situation. Her girlfriend had gone completely white. An older women that she didn’t recognize approached them and held her arms out questioningly. Tali stood there for a second and then raised her own arms. The two women laughed together.

“I was surprised when your parents said they would host this year” The older woman said “Who’s this doll you’ve brought along?” Tali laughed nervously and cast Bella a sideways glance. Bella rolled her eyes. When Tali’s parents had come to visit they hadn’t been exactly informed of the relationship. Now here they were with someone who was obviously privileged enough to know, in a place where news would travel fast.

“This is a friend from college” Tali told her, reaching for Bella’s hand. The woman winked at Bella.

“Nice to meet you darling, I’m Sabelle Arkovi. Your friend used to work for me” Sabel said a little too innocently. One of the younger girls had started heading their way, and nearly dropped her drink she was laughing so hard. The new girl was tall and had long dark blond hair that swished down her back like an ever impressive cape. She had one of those long angular faces that gave her a sinister tinge, but that couldn’t hide her obvious good nature or sincerity. She loped up and hugged Sabelle, who laughed triumphantly at the wine she was holding.

“You didn’t last five seconds” she cried gleefully. The girl smiled and turned to Tali, winking and crooking her finger in a ‘come-hither’ sort of way. Tali took a step forward without letting go of Bella’s hand and hug her. The girl smiled at Bella over Tali’s  shoulder, and without taking her eyes off the sweet brunette, kissed the side of Tali’s head. Bella felt her cheeks go hot and squeezed Tali’s hand. Tali separated herself from the friend and stood back.

“Delilah” She said with a small smile.

“Princess” The Delilah thing responded. Tali laughed and excused them. They hadn’t even made it back to the kitchen with their bags yet. Tali ignored the rest of the attempts for her attention and led Bella back to the kitchen. On seeing her mother, Tali dropped Bella’s hand and took the bag she was holding. She took both bags and dropped them on the table. Her mother spun around from the table where she was preparing food. Bella looked around. Even the kitchen was fabulous. She wouldn’t be surprised if the house was built on sold gold foundation and beams made out of diamond.

“Honey!” Her mother squealed. Tali gave Bella a look that plainly said “help me.” Bella just stood back and watched the scene. She was still stuck on what had happened out in the foyer. That girl had acted rather friendly with her girl. Suddenly, Bella grinned evilly. She knew exactly what to do to get Tali back for the apparent ex-thing that had met them in the hall. Her girlfriend was none the wiser as she walked around the island in the middle of the room and started pulling food and things out of the bags they had brought. Tali separated herself from the awkward conversation her mother had tried to start.

“Come help me get the yams started, baby” Bella instructed innocently. For a minute the world seemed to stop. Tali stood halfway between her mother and Bella with a look on her face like she couldn’t quite decide what to do next. She covered it up by not acknowledging it in the slightest, and just continued on her way.

“Remember, you said you couldn’t make it because you had the party with your Society girls so I decided that since you said the party was hosted every year that we could host it this year. Have you seen all your friends yet?” Her mother rambled enthusiastically. Bella nearly died laughing at the annoyed look on Tali’s face.

“What’s the society?” Bella asked, genuinely curious now.

“The society for sweeter living!” The slightly crazy mother figure told her like it was the most obvious thing ever. Bella stopped and looked at Tali, who was blushing all the way to her ears. Sweeter Living. Oh. Bella grinned and continued to prepare the food. Tali worked away silently next to her. When no one picked up the conversation, the mother fled into whatever room seemed to have the most alcohol.

The situation got even funnier when they discovered an hour later, that even though the “Society for Sweeter Living” had been invited, the party remained family oriented. Bella watched in amusement as Tali’s uncle conversed the topic of south African politics with a girl who obviously danced for a living, and not fully clothed while she was doing it. Tali and Bella themselves were standing in a small social circle consisting of Tali’s aunt, Delilah, and two younger cousins who had come out of the woodwork to attend what they kept exclaiming was the party of the century. Each of them had a small wine glass of punch or various alcohol.

“So what are all you society girls doing at this party? Don’t you have your own families for thanksgiving?” the ruder of the two cousins asked. Delilah smiled at him endearingly.

“Sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t” She stated simply “But you should know, that as a society party, we’re going to be doing rituals after dinner. You should watch they’re terribly interesting” The other cousins eyes widened. He had obviously had the sense to notice what all the younger girls were wearing, if not a few of the older ones.

“I just love good traditions. Does someone lead them?” The Aunt asked politely. Tali had about two seconds to shoot a glare at Delilah and the dancer grinned again.

“Usually Tali and I lead them. We have a “Profound Bond” or something. I don’t know, that’s a Sabelle thing” She said with a laugh. Bella felt the jealousy in her gut twist into a tight little ball.

“Hey baby” She purred “Do you know when your mother said dinner would be out?” She could’ve sworn that Tali nearly dropped her glass. Delilah snickered and the aunt turned pink. The cousins just elbowed each other and made faces. Maybe they were twins.

“Ten or fifteen minutes I think” Tali muttered back, bright red for the second time that evening. Bella smiled at her accomplishment.

Later as they were eating, with Sabelle next to Bella and Delilah next to Tali (Bella and Tali in the middle, you see) Bella found a hand on her knee sometime during the main course. She smiled a little to herself, continuing like nothing happened. That was until the hand started to softly massage her thigh and then kept going higher and higher. She looked over at Tali who was turned away from her slightly but was definitely attached to the hand up her dress. She knew that it was probably her fault for teasing her all night, even if she didn’t like her punishment. When she finally couldn’t stand it anymore she thought about the options she’d left herself with.  The only successful way she knew to get Tali to knock it off was to make her so sexually frustrated that it was all or nothing. Which is why she leaned over and put her lips against her ear.

“Maybe you should do your tradition during desert, babe” She whispered softly. The nails on her thigh were digging in but she couldn’t have cared less. Tali turned slowly to look at her and then grabbed Delilah’s shoulder. They both rose from their chairs and walked over to a row of tables that no one had sat at. They were arranged in a T in the center of the party. Several of the other girls got up when they saw her pick up a mic. The waiters at the back of the room had just started bringing out pies and cake. Slowly the guests began to realize that something was up. Those from the society just started hollering. The family was utterly confused.

Sabelle tapped Bella on the shoulder and pointed to several of the girls in the corner, who were undoing safety pins in their dresses. Within seconds there was a line of girls on either side of the tables. They were a good four feet wide, plenty of space. Tali and Delilah stood at the front of the lines. Tali tapped her mic.

“Hit it Craig” She muttered into it. The DJ in the corner nodded and flipped a switch. With the first beat of the song, Tali and Delilah were prancing up the make shift stage to Cobra Starship. Bella’s jaw dropped at the insane moves they were pulling off. It was almost like they were meant to partner. Without warning Delilah lifted Tali by the hips and Tali flipped clear over her head and started twisting hips with the girl behind her. Within seconds however, she was back to gyrating with the blonde it that Bella was starting to despise. It wasn’t until they started singing that things started getting a little out hand. No one had noticed that the original song had morphed into a strange instrumental mix.

“I don’t fake cause I’m pathetic”

“I fake to make you jealous” The two girls sang, no, there was no way that seductive sound was singing, they purred into the mic. Bella saw half the men in the audience visibly shift. The mantra was repeated by the other dancers, who had lined up on the other tables and were doing a dumbed down version of what the dancers in front were attempting. Sabelle tensed behind her and she leaned forward in anticipation. Suddenly Tali backed up. The dance changed, slowed slightly to more of a seductive fluid thing. They weren’t touching. Tali and Delilah danced like they were pressed closely together, arching in all the right places, fingering all the right buttons, but they didn’t even brush lightly together. The clothes started to come off. Fingers and arms forming shapes and motions that clearly described that in dancer la la land everyone was now perfectly nude. The dance got faster, but still at least an inch at all times was between the dancers. Bella sat entranced. It had long since ceased to be about the other woman.

They got faster and faster until they were twisting so fast, no one could even breath, and they were experts. When one went forward the other allowed a little room but also pressed forward, as if they were coming together when really they were ages away. Finally they spun away from each other. Tali collapsed dramatically to the table top. Delilah turned away from her and seemed to pass out on another dancer. In those final moments Bella felt as if she’d learned a little bit more about the girl she loved. Their table was at the very front of the stage, and Tali a mere few feet away. She raised her eyes to meet Bella’s and smiled slightly. Her cheeks were flushed and her chest heaved with the air she’d taken a break from during the exercise. Bella paused a moment only to realize what was about to happen might get her in trouble.

“Hot damn, baby” She breathed out, loudly enough so that the absolutely silent room could hear her.

And really, she hadn’t expected Tali to jump off the table and straddle her chair, but she wasn’t complaining much either.

((excuse me while I go make inhuman noises at the wall))

Apart, part 3/3

Bella woke from her somewhat blood induced sleep, with a perfectly horribly headache. She groaned and rolled over only to realize that she wasn’t in her own bed. She sat there blinking for a moment before remembering every sickening detail of the day before.  She remembered getting in the worst screaming match of her life. She remembered taking off to the music school and crying until she passed out next to her favorite piano. She remembered when Lis found her and helped her back to their dorm. She remembered thinking that she wanted to go to her own room, and not the trio’s but not being awake enough to care. She remembered waking up and seeing Tali in the most pitiful state she had ever seen. She’d turned away, not able to bear it when Tali had opened her eyes and become visibly terrified of what was to come.

She remembered waking to screams and finding Tali physically restrained as her friends tried to pry a fucking knife out of her hands. Bella reached up and ran her fingers through her hair. This week just really wasn’t their week. First Tali had been acting like a freaking drug addict, running around behind her back to see some Daniel guy and now they weren’t even speaking. Bella sighed and rolled over only to find herself staring across the room at Tali. She was sitting up on her bed, playing with what looked like a marines knife. Bella gaped as Tali switched the blade open, and ran a finger along the top edge. Her hands were bandaged and she used them slowly, suggesting they were still very much in pain. Her eyes flashed up to meet Bella’s and she grimaced. With a flick of her wrist the knife flew across the room and hit the target on the wall. Bella flinched as she heard it strike the wood.

Tali stood nonchalantly and walked over to the wall, pulling the knife out harshly and flipping it closed. She walked back to the bed and sat down.

“We’re locked in, incase you were wondering” She said. Bella sat up slowly, still not quite sure who had given the suicide watch a knife.

“Where did you get that?” She asked, nodding at the blade. Tali smiled and twirled it slowly.

“It’s mine” She stated simply. Bella nodded slowly, then straightened up. The sooner she fixed things the better.

“Look, about the fight, I’m sorry. Truly. I don’t know what went wrong.” She said quietly.

“It’s okay, it wasn’t your fault” Tali told her with a smile. Bella smiled back, not feeling at all comforted. Something was off about her.

“You would tell me if I did something right? If it was my fault” Bella asked her.

“Of course I would, what kind of friend would I be if I didn’t?” Tali scoffed. Bella smiled at that, and then realized what she had said.

“Friend….” She whispered.

“Of course. You honestly think we can go back to the way it was before?” Tali laughed. Bella recoiled. Of course, that’s what was different. Tali was entirely too giddy for her liking. She knew that the only way this was going to end was badly.

“I don’t understand, why wouldn’t we be able to work this out?” Bella asked, her voice cracking. Tali grinned and sat back on her bed, leaning against the wall.

“Think about it, all this time and you’ve never seen me get angry. I don’t mean like snappy, bitchy angry, I mean like really angry. Why do you think that is?” Tali asked, still grinning. Bella stood up and walked over to the window.

“I don’t know, sweetie, why?” She asked.

“Because you don’t need to know that I don’t deserve you” She told her. Bella turned around and looked at her.

“What makes you even remotely think that that is true?” She hissed. This was quickly becoming a complete remake of the other day, except this time, Tali was acting like she was the bad guy. Like she knew something that Bella didn’t.

“Are you kidding? Does little miss perfect not know how good she is?” Tali taunted her.

“Why are you doing this?” Bella shouted at her. Tali grinned again.

“Because I like to. I like to make people suffer, and I like to see them fear for me. It’s what makes the world go round” She said slowly. Bella stood there for a second thinking about the fight the other day.

“Why are you trying to get me to hate you?” Bella asked her, certain she had figured it out.

“Because it’s easier that way. If you hate me you can leave and never have to think about any of this again” Tali explained.

“What did I do?” Bella asked her “Why in the hell are you being such a bitch about everything?”

“Because you’re just going to leave me anyway aren’t you? That’s what you told Daniel” Tali spat.

“Because you were acting like an idiot. I didn’t mean it!” Bella cried.

“And you just get to say things like that all over the place? Wish you’d never met me? “It could never happen” right?” Tali asked her, her voice growing louder with each exclamation.

“It was one little remark. I’m sorry it bothered you so much” Bella said softly. Tali sniffed and dragged a hand over her eyes.

“It has almost nothing to do with what you said, it’s that fact that you actually said it” She choked out. Bella  took a step toward her, but Tali backed away.

“Then why?” She finally yelled, completely out of options.

“Because of what fucking day it was! Because you knew why I was so upset this week and you went and said it anyway. Normally I would have just had an issue with it for ten minutes! But you fucking knew! I told you!” Tali screamed, breaking under the pressure of not caring and being so pissed she didn’t know what to do with herself.

“It was the day she broke your heart…..” Bella realized. Tali just nodded and sat on her bed. Bella decided to ignore the knife Tali was still holding and climbed onto the bed next to her.

“ I’m sorry, really, I completely forgot” She said, reaching over to wipe tears off Tali’s cheeks. Tali just leaned over so her head was on Bella’s shoulder.

“I know I shouldn’t even care anymore, it was so long ago. And I have you now” She said, wrapping an arm around Bella’s waist. Bella sighed and stroked her hair.

“It’s okay. I don’t care” She told her.

“I started it. Please don’t blame yourself” Tali begged her.

“I won’t, I promise baby, I won’t” Bella cooed, kissing her forehead. Tali sniffed and giggled.

“You are SUCH a fucking liar” She said with a small smile. Bella snorted and decided it was a good enough time to collapse under her newly reclaimed girlfriends weight.

“Shuddup” She said playfully.

Later, when Lis and Kat returned, they tried their hardest not to scream with delight when they saw the two curled up together. If it was anything they HATED living through, it was one of these fights.

Apart, Part 2/3

The next time Tali woke, she didn’t open her eyes. She didn’t want to see what was across from her, whether is was the wall or other wise. She heard voices in the kitchen and tried to pick up on what they were saying, but they were too muffled and quiet. Kat and Lis were probably being extra careful to tip toe around the star crossed lovers in their dire state. Finally she opened her eyes and inwardly broke into a million pieces. Across the room, Bella was laying in Kat’s bed, staring at her as tears rolled down her cheeks. Silently, Bella rolled over so she wouldn’t have to look at Tali. Tali choked on her own sobs as she tried to be quiet. She didn’t want the others to know she was awake just yet, and she certainly didn’t want Bella hearing her cry. Of course that did no good, Bella was just a few feet away, and she knew by the way she curled into a ball that she had indeed heard her.

This wasn’t fair, being so close to the thing she loved and not being able to just reach out and touch it. She was frozen on her bed, the urge to go to Bella fighting desperately with the fear of what her baby would do. The fear of finding what Bella might have already done was over powering them both. Why had she said it? What good had it done? Now she had caused probably the worst fight they would ever have. Tali looked over at Bella. From the way she had relaxed, she had to assume Bella had fallen back to sleep. Even now, the morning after, she still saw the most beautiful girl ever, asleep and broken. It almost hurt more knowing she’d caused this, that her inability to get the fuck over it had created one of the biggest disasters of her entire life. Without another thought she sat up and got out of bed. There was shuffling in the kitchen, they’d heard her.

She sprinted past them and into the bathroom, locking the door behind her. A surprised squawk followed her in. Tali paid it no mind and went straight to work clearing out the medicine cabinet. The old buildings had been built entirely out of brick, and the crappy little dorm room was no exception. The medicine cabinet had no back, and in the hundred years since the dorm had been built, one of the bricks had come loose. She tore it out of the wall and pulled out a second taped set of blades. She’d made them from plastic knives out of the cafeteria. Someone was knocking on the door.

“Tali, are you okay?” Kat called in to her. Tali didn’t reply, only started ripping the tape of the varying knives and blades. She had seven in a pack, from an inch long to four, depending on the circumstance. The knocking on the door became more insistent. She finally got the tape off and picked up the first blade. She gripped it in both hands tightly, and broke it in half. Blood welled from long cuts on her hands where she had held it. She heard the skeleton key in the lock and fumbled for the second, longer blade. The door opened and Kat stuck her head in, swearing loudly. She managed to get to the third blade and picked up two others as she was dragged from the bathroom. By the time Lis had shoved her into a kitchen chair and reached for the blades, the fourth was history. She tried desperately to break the fifth as Kat held her shoulders back and Lis tried to pry it from her fingers. At some point in the scuffle she had started screaming and screeching something awful, but she couldn’t even remember when. Finally Kat got her wrists pinned and Lis took the blade from her.

She sat there, ripples of crimson covering her hands and arms. Dozens of horizontal cuts covered her palms. The world shrank around her, shifting to only that room. Anything besides that space was unfathomable, distant and dead. She could feel her heart beat in her head like it was the only sound in the room. She looked up from her hands slowly. Kat was pressing a warm towel into her hands while Lis turned her face this way and that, checking to see if she was conscious. Their lips moved but she heard none of it, not a single sound. Bella stood in the doorway, watching as Tali slowly drifted farther and farther away. She opened her mouth to scream and realized she couldn’t. She was falling back into herself, after so much hard work. She felt tears on her cheeks and realized that her hands were throbbing like she’d never felt before. She saw Lis form familiar words with her lips, and tried to reach up and touch them. Kat yanked her hand back in to the towel and glared at her.

Lis disappeared from the small bubble of light that she could still see. In her absence Bella stepped forward and said something. Kat whirled around, startling both of them. Whatever she said made Bella back up. Then Lis was back with a small bottle that Tali instantly recognized. She leaned forward in anticipation. Lis smiled and uncapped the tube of cinnamon, waving it under her nose. Tali took a deep breath of the wonderful smell and the pounding in her head receded down to a dull ache. Slowly her sense of hearing came back to her.

“Stupid fucking whores, what is it with you and sharp objects, moron?” Kat was muttering. Lis was quiet for once. A softer sound caught her attention. It was the sound of someone breathing much too fast.

“Uh-Oh!” Tali exclaimed, just in time for Lis to jump to her feet and catch Bella as she fainted. Kat groaned and stalked off to find the medical supplies. Lis sighed and carried the girl back to her bed and laid her down. Tali sat quietly in the chair and thought about everything that had happened the day before. Kat came back and started bandaging her hands. They were silent for a moment and then Tali cleared her throat.

“She followed me when I went to see Daniel” She told her friend. Kat nodded.

“You have to admit letting her follow you was a little stupid.” She said as she wrapped Tali’s hands in gauze.

“I didn’t let her, I told her to go and she wouldn’t” Tali growled.

“Daniel’s an ass. What did you do anyway?” Kat asked as she started on her second hand.

“He asked me who she was and I said she was mine” Tali told her regretfully.

“Possessive much” Kat drawled.

“You know Daniel gets grabby. Anyway, she told him she was only keeping me around until she found someone better” Tali said softly.

“She what?” Kat growled, involuntarily squeezing her hand. Tali squeaked and Kat let go quickly.

“This is why you don’t take your girlfriends with you when you go see Daniel” She said with an exasperated sigh”

“It didn’t really help that I called her a whore either.” Tali added. Kat cursed and hit her over the back of the head.

“Why in all of the holy fucks would you do that?” She yelled. Tali shrugged her shoulders, and looked down at her hands. Kat sighed and stood up.

“What your life was before Bella is over. Get used to it” Kat told her softly.

“Even if she says exactly what Rileigh said when she broke with me, two years ago, yesterday?” Tali asked her. Kat shrugged right back at her.

“I can’t help you with that.” She told her, going into the other room to check on Lis and Bella.

Apart, part 1

This wasn’t the end. She had to keep reminding herself that this wasn’t the end. It didn’t matter what they’d said, words thrown like grenades on a battlefield of broken glass. This was just one day in a chain of days that generally sucked and she survived all of those so why wouldn’t she survive this one? Of course she knew the answer, it was the most obvious thing, it was always the same thing. God if her friends could see her now. Crying in the corner of the editing room in the dark, completely broken and dying from what felt like a massive heart attack. She clung to whatever dignity she had left like it was the last piece of debris in the deepest darkest sea imaginable. She had only dreamed of what it felt like to drown, yet here she was.

Laughter from down the hall made her shrink farther into her corner. An entire group of people she probably knew had stopped just outside the editing room. She was just meters away from her fellow students, and a heavy dose of monumental embarrassment.  She had never felt so exposed in her entire life. They were separated by a switch board and on of the thinnest walls on the planet. Her stomach clenched and she felt her heart begin to twist into something ugly. She was slowly suffocating from the inside out, pressed into the cold metal of the cabinet that was protecting her from the world. This was probably one of the worst days of her life, twice, and it would go down in history as the day she lost everything she had ever loved.

The sudden heart-wrenching guilt caught her off guard and she lost control. A messy sob escaped through the hand clamped over her mouth. It echoed around the tiny room and she froze, silent. Someone said something, followed by laughter. The hadn’t heard her, thank Cas. She took a deep, steadying breath, desperately grappling for control of her emotions. The tears had already caused enough damage. She doubted the red puffy rings around her eyes would be gone by the time she escaped the school and made it back to her dorm. She could imagine walking through the campus looking like some sort of bi-polar wreck. Everyone knew her, would recognize her. It was like if hell had finally come to earth and nothing would ever make it right again.

Her parents were going to ask questions. Not real ones of course, they would ask and move on without needing a real answer. It was asking out of political courtesy that pissed her off. It wouldn’t matter what she said; they would express condolences and go about their day. Her friends wouldn’t be so easy to convince, not since they had become the golden couple, the cute ones, the soulmates. Kat would probably lock her in the bedroom and not let her eat until she agreed to try and win Bella back. Lis would roll her eyes and call her now ex-girlfriend to make sure she was okay, and then would assist Kat in standing outside the bedroom window with baseball bats to make sure she didn’t escaped. Really, she loved her friends, but they could be a little less neurotic about her love life. It had been torture the first time, but the second? She didn’t even want to imagine the ways her friends would try to cheer her up.

The crowd outside moved away. The silence wasn’t forgiving though, in fact it was almost worse that the impending doom of them walking in. The doorknob turned and Tali pushed herself forcibly into the corner, praying (though she knew there was no hope) that whoever it was wouldn’t see her and move on. A shaft of light glinted off the leg of the table in front of her. She buried her head in her knees and forgot how to breathe. The soft sound of footsteps penetrated her haven, and she flinched with each and everyone. The intruder walked slowly towards her and stopped just before the edge of the table. Tali continued cowering in the corner until small hands gripped her shoulders and pulled her to her feet, forcefully though a tap bit unsteady.

Within moments Tali’s chin was dragged up by quick fingers, and she stared into Kat’s unwavering gaze. It was a bit haunting how well they knew each other. Kat pulled her out of the corner and checked her pockets quickly. Finding nothing, she took a pair of sunglasses and slipped them over Tali’s tear stained eyes. Tali stood there numbly, still not positive that Kat was even standing in front of her. She wasn’t even positive she was still crying. Raising a hand to her face, she was fascinated to find that she was. It certainly explained why Kat was so blurry.

Kat shifted to stand next to her and wrapped an arm around her waist. Tali felt herself being led out of the room, and into the stark light of the hallway. Even with the sunglasses she had to squint to see anything semi-properly. Kat led her out the front door of the campus building and towards their dorm on the other side of campus. From the way they were heading, they would take the long way. It saved them a trip through the courtyard, where people were bound to start gossiping about the raging fight the two women had had little less than an hour before. It had been loud and ferocious even if people hadn’t heard exactly what they were saying. There was bound to be condolences every time they turned a corner.

By the time they arrived at the dorms Tali was almost asleep. She’d spent the walk alternating between numbly watching the world around her and watching the ground as tears streamed down her face. In fact, she couldn’t even remember how they’d got to the third floor. She remembered seeing the building and thinking that it had taken longer than she had expected. Next thing she knew she was leaning against the wall outside the dorm she shared with Kat and Lis while Kat unlocked the door and held her steady so she wouldn’t fall over. The door swung open to reveal an empty room. She’d at least expected Lis to be there waiting for them, if not Theo standing by with a baseball bat he wasn’t prepared to use. Kat led her into the room and made her stand next to the single bed. Before she knew it her jacket had been stripped off and Kat was checking her wrists. She knew the next step of the process would be her hips, then ribs, then ankles (the last time this happened she had to get really creative) before she would be allowed to strip down and collapse in the bed behind her.

Kat finished quickly and pushed her back onto the bed. Her shoes were slipped off and pants unbuttoned for her, but then she was left alone. Kat disappeared back into the hallway with her cell phone, no doubt to call Lis and tell her that Tali was safely back in the dorm room, and not off trying to kill herself somewhere else. Tali tugged off her pants and somehow managed to roll under the blankets tossed on her bed. The last thing she saw before she close her eyes was the Polaroid of Bella standing under the cherry tree that had been stuck between her bed and the wall for months now. In the picture, Bella was smiling like a little kid on Christmas and in her hands was the book of music that Tali had given her for their six month. Tali’s present had been the camera itself, the old kind that she had had when she was little.

She woke some hours later to knocking on the door. Her eyes felt tired, and her head was sore. Not to mention that her nose was stuffed up and her body ached from the way she had treated it earlier. Kat got up from where she was sitting next to her and opened the door. Tali nearly bolted upright when she saw Lis come in with Bella asleep in her arms. It took Tali a moment to realize that it was the middle of the night. Lis brought Bella in and set her on the bottom bunk of the beds pushed against the other wall. Kat closed the door and came over to stand beside Lis as they stripped Bella of her jacket and shoes, effectively blocking Tali’s view of her. Confusingly enough, Kat picked up Bella’s jackets and went through the pockets like she had with Tali’s. When she reached into the breast pocket she stiffened and let out a little sigh. She pulled out a little taped up bundle of blades and put them on the table near the window. Tali watched in shock as Lis watched her pull them out and turned back around to check the usual spots. No, no no no no no, this couldn’t be happening, there’s no way Bella would have stolen her blades and actually used them. She stole them so that Tali wouldn’t. She’d taken them to keep her safe.

And then Tali had fucked up royally, said the wrong thing to the wrong guy on the wrong day. Bella had responded out of spite, and the biggest fight of the century ensued. They had both known exactly what to say to get the other one to break. It had only ended when the guy had tried to break it up and Tali had punched him in the face. Bella started screaming about bringing other people into their personal shit, and had taken off towards the music school. Tali herself had wandered aimlessly until she found herself back in the editing room with the lights off and everything to cry about. She couldn’t remember who had broken up with who first, and at this point it didn’t matter. In her muddled state she tried to get up from the bed. Kat was at her side instantly offering her medication for her head. Without thinking about it she took the pills, and then instantly regretted it. She was out within minutes.

When you first said yes

In the center of the university campus was a courtyard. The courtyard was always full during lunch, rain or shine, snow or hail, wind or frost. It was bordered by a variety of buildings that housed the majority of art based work hours. The only thing art students seemed to like more than their mediums was using them to portray life. So the courtyard was the collaborative center of all imagination. It was a square as long as you didn’t look at it very closely. The surrounding stone walls undulated in and out, creating a plethora of hidey-holes and alcoves under the cherry trees. Every where you turned you could see easels, cameras, music stands, dance mats, and boom mics. It was never quiet.

Every class had their own celebrities, with their celebrity titles. The artist boasted their Np’s. The photographers had a few Canons running around. Dancers were proud of the Twists. Models pronounced their elites as Queens. The Dramaticians belonged to the theater, and the Soulnotes to the school of music. The final super clique belonged to the film school, the Reelers. The Reelers were known for being a tight bunch, and respected for using all the other schools in their productions. The Reelers were led by a senior named Blaze, and their youngest member was a sophomore named Tali.

Tali was practically the princess of the Reelers. She was nice to everyone and everyone knew her. Tali had three very good friends: Theo, Kat and Lis. Kat was a year older and also a Reeler, while the other two were well on their way to elite status once they had the rest of their sophomore hours in. Still, they were often referred to as the Reeler four, and they did everything together. They four of them always ate lunch together on the same brick wall under their favorite cherry tree. It was rounded out to make a little garden border along the back of the theater hall.

Kat and Lis stood on either side of Tali as they walked, both giving her stern looks and talking very quickly. Theo followed behind them with his headphones in, completely immune to all the girl drama.

“Look all we’re saying is that you’ve been single for almost a year no” Kat was saying

“And we know you guys dated for a long time and the break-up was really messy but you don’t  even go out to the clubs anymore” Lis butted in.

“I don’t go to my favorite club any more because I don’t want to see my ex-girlfriend dancing on tables.” Tali shot back.

“What about all the other clubs?” Kat whined.

“Which one? The one where her sister works, or the one where her brother works, or the one where her mother works, or the one where her cousin works or the one where her dad is the manager or the one-“ Tali rattled off.

“Okay okay we get it” Lis shushed her.

“It really is a family business” Theo sighed from behind them, in lieu of a gap in his music.

The four of them walked into the courtyard from the north side and headed down the steps. The great open space was absolutely filled with art, all types. It was almost overwhelming. It was the first sunny warm day since the beginning of winter almost five months previous.

“We just think that you need to find someone else, and not stay in this weird sort of limbo that you’ve been in since the year started” Kat told her honestly.

“Well you don’t need to worry about it. Seriously I’m fine” She drawled as she peered toward their spot on the wall. A girl that looked about her age was sitting in her spot. Tali stared at her as they walked closer. She was peering around the courtyard in a bored fashion, and munching on an apple. Her long chocolate hair was twisted and slung over one shoulder. The way she had herself propped up on the wall drew Tali in. Her shirt was reminiscent of the 70’s and her jeans were a mess of patches and sown on pockets. As they approached the girl looked up. Tali caught her eye and smiled, throwing in a wink just for good measure. The girl smiled and nodded back at her.

Kat and Lis both stopped dead when they saw her on their wall. Everyone knew not to sit on their wall.

“Um excuse me?” Kat said, getting her attention “You’re sitting in our spot”

“It doesn’t have your name on it.” The brunette said slowly, looking up at them.

“We sit here everyday” Lis told her, almost like she wasn’t smart enough to figure that out.

“Yep” She said nodding. The three of them stood there, mildly stunned at the strangers boldness. Tali stood there for a moment and then walked over to the wall and jumped up on the wall next to her.

“Come on guys, it’s not like she’s poisonous” She said to her friends. She reached into her bag and pulled out her workbook. As she doodled she realized that slowly she was drawing a profile of the girl next to her. Lis and Kat took up their spots at the end of the wall and Theo sat in the middle with Kat on one side and the strange girl on the other side. They sat so that they faced in, as if around a table. After seeing the others all turn in, the new girl did as well, brushing her arm against Tali’s. Tali looked up from her sketch and found the girl watching her hand as it danced across the paper.

“So we have to go over the project from Editing 102 tonight. It’s due in a week and there’s no way Lis and I can finish the editing without the help from our resident computer genius” Kat said, tearing a bit of bread of a loaf she had brought with her.

“I still don’t understand why you skipped editing class last year and took light manip instead” Theo voiced, staring at her bread. Kat shrugged and threw a hunk of it at him.

“It just makes things easier in the long run” She said looking back down at her lunch.

“I don’t know, I think making us edit together a music video is kinda weird. I mean, I know it’s for matching up a track to the singers actual movements and stuff, I just wish we didn’t have to” Lis said, hitting Kat repeatedly until she gave her some bread. The three friends looked over at Tali.

Tali and the girl were sitting shoulder to shoulder. The girls head was on her shoulder and their hands were clasped together on the left side of the workbook to keep it steady. They were both looking intently at the page and paying nothing else any mind.

“Talia!” Kat yelled at her. Tali looked up as if caught with a dirty secret. Kat tossed a piece of bread her way. Tali leaned forward and caught it between her teeth. She turned back to the new girl. Lis and Kat nearly dropped their jaws as they watched the new girl leaned forward and use her own mouth to tear off a piece of bread. The two silent young ladies turned back to Tali’s sketch.

“Okay, wait. Who are you?” Kat asked completely dumbfounded.

“She’s my girlfriend” Tali said without looking up. The confounded friends looked down at their joined hands and how close they were sitting together.

“Hot damn” Lis said.

“What’s your name?” Theo asked.

“Bella. My nose is longer than that” She said matter-of-factly. Tali sighed and erased a little.

“Wait, we just spent half an hour trying to figure out how to get you a girlfriend and you already have one?” Kat exploded. There was silence for a moment as the two girls stared at each other.

“It seems like that might have been what happened…” Tali said slowly.

“It seems odd though. I talk about you to my friends all the time” Bella told her.

“That’s weird, don’t do that. We’ve only been dating how long?” Tali asked her incredulously. Bella checked her watch.

“Four minutes and twenty two seconds” She informed her.

“You haven’t had time to talk about me” Tali told her smugly. Bella laughed and whipped out her phone. Tali looked over her shoulder and gasped.

“Oh my Cas, I knew I loved you for a reason” She told her, kissing the side of her head.

The thing about the courtyard was that people LOVED it. It was their place within the school that you could never explain to someone outside. Every college was basically the same, sure they had different buildings and special places, but that courtyard was LIFE bare and simple. The things that happened inside its walls were miraculous and strange and all together insane sometimes. Which was why they had installed a flat screen on the back of the film building, over looking the spot where the Reelers sat every day. It was wired so that any of the students could text a message onto the screen, or share a video.

The friends watched dumbfounded as a new text appeared on the screen, “Reeler Princess & Soulnote Dove together forever.” A ridiculous number of the students stopped what they were doing and turned around to stare at the two girls. Tali had collapsed in a fit of giggles, using Bella to sustain her semi-vertical sitting position. Bella just smiled and waved at their new admirers.

“How did this even, what is, I can’t!” Lis exclaimed falling into Kat, who was just staring at the two girls with a mix of shock and horror.

“But does that mean they’re really dating, or is it just a fix? Wait, is this just a game?” Kat asked. Bella looked up at Tali.

“Do your friends not like me or something?” She asked her innocently.

“Well they better like you. Otherwise they’d have to go hang out somewhere else and that might not be very good for our friendships.” Tali said to her.

“I can’t believe you Talia” Jacob said with a chuckle “Picking up girls at the drop of a hat.” Tali blushed at that and scooted a little bit away from Bella. Sensing that she was losing some new integral part of her life, Bella got onto her knees and shifted her weight so that she fell directly into Tali’s lap. Tali squealed and wrapped her arms around Bella to keep her balance. Theo and Kat couldn’t really help that one, they both just about died laughing.

“The more I get to know you, the less pissed I am that you pulled this massive prank” Kat said bitterly. Bella raised an eyebrow at that.

“When ever she’s pissed at me she’s allowed to make an angry vid about it” Tali explained to her. “And just in case you were going to, don’t EVER make a bet with Lis”

“Bets about what?” Bella asked, leaning back into Tali.

“Anything, if she says ‘wanna bet’ anywhere near you, just run” Tali told her, rubbing their cheeks together. Bella smiled and rubbed back. Kat huffed.

“Just like a bunch of fucking cats. These two are going to grow old and adopt a bunch of fucking cats” She snorted. Theo glanced down at his watch and scrambled up.

“Class in five guys, run for it” He shouted as he dashed away. The others stood and began to pack up their belongings.

“Will just get out of the way, so you two can sort out all this weird shit” Lis mumbled, wrapping her arm around Kat and dragging her away. The courtyard was clearing out, as all the students rushed back to their classes. Tali and Bella stood next to each other, not quite touching, and watched as all their friends wandered off.

“You sat in our spot” Tali commented. Bella shook her head.

“I sat in your spot” She corrected. Tali gave her a sideways glance.

“Room 23 in the Hollywood dorm, third floor” She told her. Bella matched her glance and smiled.

“My last class is out at six” She commented.

“We’ll expect you at seven” Tali told her. Bella shook her head.

“I have homework” She said sadly. Tali shrugged.

“So do we. It can be a work party” She said enthusiastically. Bella laughed. They finally turned to look at each other, and quite suddenly they weren’t so much looking as they were kissing, and then they weren’t so much kissing as they were walking away.

Seven was a very good number.

Perfect

Tali watched out the window as a few tired cars limped through the thickening snow. The lights of the kitchen showed her reflection in the glass. She was mildly surprised at the person smiling back at her. She was wearing her stripy of the shoulder shirt, and a pair of nice jeans (Hell, she hadn’t even had time to change when she got home from work). In one hand she held a wine glass halfway full. In the other she massaged a circle into a small woolen hat. That’s right, she’d been picking up and she’d gotten distracted. She glanced quickly around where she was standing. A few things still lay out and about, but nothing that couldn’t be retrieved later. She looked back in the window one more time. Her long bright hair was braided crooked to the left, and there were terrible bags under her eyes. They’d grown amber she realized, as she had gotten older. She wasn’t that old really. Just twenty six going on thirty, and that was if she was being nice.

She turned away from the window and wandered aimlessly through the house. The lights were dim, just like they were supposed to be. The doctor had said they needed to mute everything. It seemed like even the refrigerator was muffled by towels or rugs or something.  The lights had to be tape to mid bright, the habit of turning the dial all the way much to ingrained in their minds. As she passed the fireplace she glanced down at the pile of cats and blankets. Harley and Micah had grown into fine adults. On occasion they even dressed up for conventions or followed their mothers to work. The two slept peacefully together, and between them lay the newest addition to any fine family. The little black kitten had been quickly accepted by its older siblings. She had silky long black fur and big blue eyes. Bella had said they would name her Ophelia, and Tali was too busy admiring their other new addition to notice.

Which reminded her where else she needed to be.

The nursery was dark. A strip of animal wallpaper ran around the middle of the wall, bordered on either side by purple and blue paint. The window was covered by soft white curtains with umbrellas embroidered along the bottom edge. A changing table stood next to a good sized closet filled with tiny clothes and little hats. On the other side was a natural wood crib with dark blue bedding and a mobile with stars and musical notes. Next to that was an antic rocking chair, re-done with soft down pillows and a huge midnight purple blanket. Bella was curled up in the chair rocking back and forth slowly, a tiny baby fast asleep against her chest. Her eyes were closed but she was still singing softly. Tali smiled and leaned against the door frame to watch them. Bella had tied her silky chocolate hair up in a bun, presumably so the baby wouldn’t grab at it. She’d already changed into shorts and a tank top for bed, with a fluffy yellow robe on top for warmth. In the dark Tali couldn’t see her face very well but she knew the soft pale skin would be void of make-up. The bags under her eyes were most likely mirrored on the eyes of her wife. She couldn’t think of anything more perfect.

They had adopted their baby after a year and a half of waiting. It had been difficult; the mother had been completely irresponsible. Tali remembered the night they had gotten the call. There’d been a car accident; someone’s drunk boyfriend or something. The poor thing had gone into labor early. Almost two months early.

The doctor said that their daughter was perfectly fine, just a little under developed. They kept her at the hospital for two weeks before she could be brought home. Bella had gone every day to hold her little hand, and often enough Tali was there with her. The new way to deal with premies was to emulate the womb as much as possible. Quite noises, every thing muffled, a constant rhythm. Tali had refused to be the surrogate heartbeat. Bella was better at sitting still when she needed to, and she was the obvious choice when it came to how much they’d wanted this baby. To Tali, the family life was nothing if Bella wasn’t there. So Bella learned to hold little Vesper Lyra VanHallan against her heart where the baby could fall asleep to her heart beat. Theo had built a little baby monitor type thing and recorded the cadence of her heart for them to play when they weren’t there. It had been the best baby gift.

She was pale and so small that they had been afraid they’d break her at first. As she’d grown to full term, black peach fuzz had appeared. Her eyes had stayed grey, with the doctor’s persistence that they could change any day. They had taken their time memorizing everything about her, from her freckles to the tiny mole under her ear. Even though she wasn’t waking up much yet, every once and a while she would wiggle her nose and make her pale pink face scrunch up, her thin lips mouthing nonsense words to the world. Bella was absolutely sure that the tiny peach fuzz was going to grow into gorgeous light curls, and Tali just laughed and agreed with her.

Tali watched as her two girls rocked back and forth in time with the lullaby. With a start, she realized she recognized the words.

“Down in the moor town, with lights so bright, lives a young raven fair, not black but bone white. His song carries over the hills to the kingdom, and they listen to all of his melodious wisdom. Down in the kingdom, with cobbles so white, lives a young doveling, not white but midnight. She listens to all of the ravens fair songs, and uses the wisdom to right all the wrongs.” Bella sang so softly that Tali almost couldn’t hear her. Vesper was used to quiet noises, so she didn’t complain. She knew all the words by heart anyway.

“Now one day she listened, but no song came by air, she asked all the others, what became of the heir? For we all knew the raven, bone white ‘gainst the sun, was also our kings only lost son. And she flew from kingdom as fast as a dragon, to ask all the moorsmen after what happened. For the raven was dying and no one knew why. The doveling just knew that she’d rather die. Halli o sero Halli o may, answer my calls, raven please say, I’ve loved you from long ago here on the hill, and when ever you call me I’ll answer you still.” Tali opened her eyes at the end of the song and found Bella staring at her with a small smile on her lips. Tali stepped forward to take the baby from her, and put the sleeping Vesper into her crib. Bella eased herself out of the rocking chair. Tali held her arm out and Bella came over to snuggle into her side.

They stood like that for what seemed like ages. Bella with her head in the crook of Tali’s neck and arms around her waist, and Tali with her arms in a similar position and her cheek resting on top of Bella’s head. There was no rush to go anywhere, no job that needed finishing, or cleaning that needed to be done. In that moment nothing was more important than just watching their daughter. Tali turned so that she was facing Bella and leaned their foreheads together. It had been their special “I love you” ever since Tali’s relapse in college. Their friends didn’t understand why they still did it, even after they could touch each other as much as they wanted again. They didn’t understand that this tradition between them meant more than they could imagine. It was an “I love you so much it hurts” and an “I’m just so content I don’t even know what to do with myself” all wrapped up into one.

“You can’t even imagine how in love with you I am right now” Tali whispered to her.

“Oh trust me I think I have an idea” Bella whispered back, shifting her arms up so she could play with Tali’s hair, effectively pressing the length of their bodies together.

“So this is really it then. We really have a beautiful little daughter.” Tali whispered in awe.

“It would seem so.” Bella giggled softly.

“We can call her Vespa for short” Tali said with a smirk.

“Don’t tease me about names” Bella whispered, smirking back. Tali took the moment to lean the rest of the way forward and kiss her, making an effort to force all her happiness and excitement and love through that one link between them. Bella responded by wrapping her arms around Tali’s neck and pulling her even closer. It was like they were suffocating in their own bodies, overflowing into each other until even that started to be difficult. Finally Bella broke the kiss and laid her head on Tali’s chest. Tali wrapped her arms more tightly around her small body and kissed the side of her head. Everything they’d worked for and now they had finally made it. They could finally say they were starting something together, something big.