Chapter 67: Orlando

Work as an actor continued to be undemanding. Little was required of me; I had few, if any, lines to memorize (other than what humans decided passed for wildcat noises), and the work involved nothing more taxing than taking off my shirt and crouching, usually at an actress’s feet.

(The weasel’s–Lyanna’s–artwork was far more beautiful and was done by her own hand, whereas this scene relied on illusion and deception.)

It was tedious, yes, but I didn’t mind. Though I couldn’t understand why humans appeared to believe “chess” qualified as a game of wits; had they never encountered a fae?

One of the humans told me my sole purpose was to “crouch on the ground and look pretty for the camera, sweetheart,” and I had no difficulties doing so.

My only regret was that when filming was extensive and far from the city, I had little time alone with the weasel–Lyanna. To watch over her.

To…want her.

I was relieved to finally be home after another long week of shooting. Home. Strange, to think of this humble little rooftop abode as such a thing.

I could already think of a number of reasons to protect Lyanna throughout the week.

Protect her for whom? You don’t serve him any longer–only yourself.

“I thought it was you,” a familiar, husky voice said–hoarser than I remembered.

“…Isla? How–”

“That ridiculous Blood and Bishops. I saw you on it, and I knew.”

“You watch my show?”

My children’s show.” Her voice held a touch of softness I didn’t expect, not from her. “Nothing suits a fae more perfectly than acting, does it?”

“…Why are you here, Isla? Surely not to speak of your children–or acting.”

Her voice was sharp. “You know why I’m here.”

“Do I?”

Darius.” His name dropped between us like a lightning bolt. “You’ve seen him, haven’t you? In your dreams?” The sharpness in her voice gave way to a tremor, cracking on dreams.

Isla was different from how I remembered, different from the rest of the fae. At first, I would’ve said her time among humans had hardened her, but that wasn’t the proper word. Deadened, more like, as though her roots had shriveled from lack of water and her leaves cried out for more sunlight–sunlight that would never come, not for her.

But I was still entirely fae, and fae could be cruel. “Darius is dead.”

For all I knew, he was. Dreams could be only that.

The cigarette (why would a fae ever touch such a noxious substance?) slipped from her fingers as she reached for me. “He’s your friend. Your only true friend. If there’s any way to help him–he needs you, Orlando. You. I don’t know how I know, but I do–”

The wind, perhaps. The damnable wind that he spoke of so long ago. The wind that had left his corpse rotting beneath a tree, alone and forgotten.

“Alliances–and friendships–are fleeting among our kind, if you’ve forgotten,” I said coldly. “Has it not always been every fae for himself? We aren’t meant to have families either–you would’ve been more fortunate without a twin.”

“I never would’ve made it this far without him–”

“You never would’ve been banished without him either. You never would’ve suffered like this.” I would never understand why he had abducted a human child and brought it along with him into our realm. Then again, I knew well how persistent and pesky human larvae could be…

She reached for me with both hands. “Please, Orlando. Please. He needs you.”

I didn’t answer.

“He…he said you loved me once. If–if that’s what you want–” Her gaze skittered away from me.

I drew away as though stung by a deadly scorpion. “It isn’t.”

“But once…”

Yes, once. Once, I had wanted her. For a very long time. I had delighted in tormenting her, as she had tormented me–rejected me. But I’d still wanted her all the while.

But not now. She was no less beautiful or magnetic, even in a human guise, but…she didn’t possess the joyous smile that Lyanna did, the heart overflowing with kindness, the adoring nature.

Would Lyanna even want to go anywhere with a man who coldly let his only friend die–a friend she was meant for? She was an inherently good creature who cared deeply for the fates of others…

And her wolf pup littermate cared for Darius’s fate as well, I suspected. If it was truly Darius she saw in her dreams now–and yet I had rebuffed her because of my own possessiveness.

“…I’ll help your brother,” I said with the smallest of smiles. “Or try. You’re right; he was my friend once…”

Her sigh of relief was audible, as though the night sky had parted just enough to permit the smallest sliver of sunlight to reach her. “Thank you, Orlando. I knew he could trust you, even now.”

A fae, having faith in another fae…ridiculous. I got what little sleep I could, but it was a restless night. I knew what I would have to do when I woke the next morning.

More than once, Lyanna had invited me inside her home. More than once, I had refused. She tried to convince me it was a very dangerous place, but…I knew it was. For me. I couldn’t be alone with her in such close quarters, not for long…

And yet I soon found myself there regardless, savoring her mildly appealing human beauty.

“I’m so glad you finally came over,” she said. “I almost broke my neck opening the door.”

Clumsy, clumsy creature.

“…I only came to tell you goodbye.”

“Goodbye?” She turned away from me, and I instinctively reached for her hand. I could already see her lower lip trembling. “I don’t understand, Mr. Duke…”

I heaved a sigh. “I’m leaving. I’m not certain as to how long…but I won’t be able to see you for some time.”

I turned away so I wouldn’t have to see her crying face. I didn’t want to lose resolve, not now.

“No,” she whispered, her arms wrapping around my back and holding me tightly. “You can’t.”

It was a struggle, to maintain an impassive expression. To keep the pain from claiming my words. “I have no choice.”

“I can come with you–”

“No,” I said coldly. “You can’t.” The realm of the fae held dangers even I couldn’t protect her from.

I could feel her eyes on me as I left, could count every one of her tears without looking back.

You’ll thank me, I thought as I walked away from the one place I longed to stay forever. When you meet the only man worthy of you.

Whether that man was Darius or myself had yet to be determined.

But first, I had to find him.

19 thoughts on “Chapter 67: Orlando

  1. Okay, Orlando has earned back a few points for this one 😉 (Though that goodbye… dude.., not even a *peck* on the lips? Hell, the cheek? *sigh*)

    It was great to see Isla again (she’s more beautiful than ever), and to see her finally talk some sense into Orlando! So sad to see her try and offer herself to him as like, “payment”… she’s so desperate. It’s sad.

    Hopefully he can figure out what to do for Darius before it’s too late! 🦋 🧚‍♂️ 🌻

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ha, Orlando was in the doghouse with a lot of people I think. 😉 And no goodbye kiss for Lyanna is a shame. 😦

      Isla definitely came at the right time. She’s proud, so for her to offer herself like that…yeah, she’s desperate. Then again, she doesn’t value sex very much or have human hangups about it–hey, she did it with Graham at least three times…!

      Orlando needs to haul ass and go after Darius, yes. LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Orlando didn’t disappoint. Go get Darius!

    He’s finally accepted that something is wrong and his best bro needs him.

    Boy, Gal looks her mother! I didn’t realize it until I saw Isla again.

    Oaky, so go release Darius, come back for Lyanna. Kiss Lyanna. Make babies. Simple.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. For all that Orlando says Darius doesn’t even matter much to him…somewhere inside, he knows he does.

      Gal totally inherited her mom’s jaw! Among other things, but that stands out the most. I was glad to bring Isla back, it’s been so long since we’ve seen her. ❤

      What, you think Orlando and Lyanna should lay eggs together? 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Ahh, Lyanna! How cute you are playing up your own clumsiness to entice Orlando ❤️
    I love their weird little games! 😭
    And now he’s going to go find Darius, and it’s the right thing to do, but dammit, why am I not happier about that?
    You just stay put and make sure Lyanna doesn’t kill herself! Dru and her hairy sidekick got the Darius thing sorted, kk!

    Isla looked so beautiful! Aww, I miss her… and her pain over Darius is still so heartbreaking, even after all this time!
    Maybe Orlando will hook up with team Dru-Bas… there’s a fun thought, lol

    Liked by 2 people

    1. What, she really is that clumsy, ok…! She needs his weasel to protect her.

      And you’d probably be happier if he let her play with that weasel as a goodbye present. 😉 LOL, “Dru and her hairy sidekick.”

      Aww, I knew seeing Isla again would be bittersweet for you. ❤ I wonder how differently things would've turned out for everyone if Darius had returned years ago…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Ohhh Isla, poor tragic Isla. She looked beautiful and I’m very happy she got to Orlando. But damn, no goodbye kiss much less a little goodbye lovin…but he will find Darius and then Darius and Dru can rule the Fae kingdom together and then Orlando can have his weasel or maybe the weasel will finally have his weasel! 😂😂😂 Hmmmm… HGR may soon be seeking another backup virgin.


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Isla has had a really hard time of it. 😦 But maybe not for much longer…?

      ROFL, goodbye lovin’ would’ve made everything better for Orlando and Lyanna, huh? Maybe there’ll be Saved the King Lovin’ in the future instead. 😉 Weasels for everyone! …And especially Lyanna.

      Poor HGR, losing all his backup virgins. 😦

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh dear Isla… That description of her was painfully beautiful; “Deadened, more like, as though her roots had shriveled from lack of water and her leaves cried out for more sunlight–sunlight that would never come, not for her.” Poetic and heartbreaking, ❤

    I'm glad Orlando is agreeing to help with Darius now, though poor Lyanna! Hopefully he's not gone for too long!

    I really love seeing Orlando's point of view, his fae perspective! In the first story I wasn't very fond of him, but this time he's really grown on me~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Orlando can’t hide his fae-ness–he uses a lot of nature-inspired descriptions! He can see how much her time among humans has really damaged her though. 😦

      If Orlando doesn’t come back soon, Lyanna might have to find a new weasel…!

      And awww, I absolutely love hearing when a character grows on someone over time, especially if dislike or even hatred was the starting point. LOL–I think some people have even warmed up to Graham after wanting to punch him in the face all of last gen…!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh I LOVE Graham, but I honestly didn’t start to like him until the end of the last gen, with he and Isla! That’s probably what made me start liking Isla more, too~

        I don’t think Lyanna is going to find a weasel she likes enough to replace Orlando’s (;

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Orlando’s got the cutest weasel. 😦

        And that’s so interesting that Graham and Isla’s romance made you like Isla more too! Does that mean you liked her less after their split? 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      3. A little bit, I’ll admit! I like her now, though, simply for her emotion. It’s so raw and just broken… It’s easy to see why Rhys chose to stay with her.

        Liked by 1 person

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