Chapter 70: Gal

Dr. Puck apparently did house calls. In his words: “Why should a famous actress have to come to me when I can come to you?” Famous, my fat ass–but it was kind of nice to not have to leave my new house.

Hopefully I looked okay. Not that I gave a shit.

It was kind of surreal, seeing him right outside my door. I was so used to going to his office, so many years ago.

“Guess you found the place,” I said.

“How did you afford this place, on your salary?”

I rolled my eyes. “My asshole dad has too much money.”

Is he an asshole, if he apparently cares for you enough to provide you with a home?” Dr. Puck’s voice was sharper than I remembered.

I snorted. “Yeah, he’d like to believe that money could buy him a woman’s affection. Maybe he’d still be married.” I led Dr. Puck into my new house. Was this the kind of place he pictured me living in?

“…Since when do you own alien-monkey hybrids?” said Dr. Puck, taking a detour into the kitchen. “Is–is that one sick?”

“Nah, Garbage is always that ugly. And careful, he’ll scratch the shit out of you if he doesn’t like you. My couch is over there.” Dr. Puck wasn’t usually so easily distracted. And I pictured him as more of an expert on cat breeds for some reason, especially ugly ones.

It was weird, sitting next to him. Usually he sat across from me.

“Do you enjoy being an actress, Galatea?”

Weird question to start off with. Usually he let me lead by asking what was on my mind and all that shit. I kept mentally saying usually, even though it’d been years. “I guess. I’m good at it–better than Rhys, anyway.”

He raised a brow. “Is that so? …And when was the last time you called your mother?”

Weird segue, but okay. “Like I talk to that frigid bitch if I have to.”

He flinched. “…Frigid bitch?” Had he forgotten all our old sessions? He’d always been on top of things. Or maybe he’d forgotten my potty-mouth.

“Well, yeah. She’s a shit mom–her kids might as well not even exist. Or maybe we’d have been better off without her.”

“Would–would you rather she be gone?” he whispered. “And your father as well?”

“Gone–as in dead?” When he didn’t answer, I added, “I just want them both to fuck off forever.” But part of me–a small part–felt bad about saying it.

“Do you recall, Galatea,” he began in a strangely quiet voice, “what a miserable little brat you could be? How you smashed priceless antiques and racked up enormous balances on your mother’s credit card? How you tore pictures of your uncle in front of her in hopes of making her cry?” He took a deep breath. “And yet who do you think tried so hard to get you help?”

He went on, this time quoting my mom and mimicking her almost perfectly despite the much deeper voice: “‘What should I do, Rhys? Does she want to live with her father? Am I not paying enough attention to her? What should I do?’ Does hearing that make you happy, Galatea?”

I’d never heard Dr. Puck get so worked up before, no matter how hard I’d tried to shock him or piss him off. “…No.”

He let out a deep sigh, then offered me a tentative (hopeful?) smile. “…I’ll see you again next week?”

I just nodded.

“Ah,” he said, stopping himself from standing at the last second. “One last question–you’re a young woman, aren’t you? How would you offer comfort to a grieving peer without intruding on her grief or making it about yourself and your own desires?”

“I wouldn’t,” I said immediately. I’d never seen him look that disappointed, but it wasn’t exactly professional to ask a patient for advice, especially if this was about another patient.

Still… “…Maybe just listen if she wants? Otherwise fuck off and leave her alone. But if she needs someone to talk to…just be there, I guess. Don’t abandon her when she needs you the most.”

It seemed to be what he wanted to hear, judging by his smile before he left. I felt good about myself, at least for a little while. The wonders of therapy, maybe.

I just sat there for a while, on my couch. Alone. Trash, Garbage, and Rubbish were off doing cat things, I guess. Now that I was in a much bigger place, I saw a lot less of them–except when the little fuckers were hungry.

The doorbell rang. Maybe Dr. Puck forgot something, or maybe my dad was sending me some stupid shit as a housewarming gift.

But when I looked through the window in my front door, it was the last person I expected to see on my doorstep.

I flung the door open and stepped outside. No way was I letting him in. “The fuck are you doing here? And how the hell did you find out where I live?”

“Sorry,” Bas mumbled, looking away. Maybe he couldn’t stand to look at me. “My pops works for your pops, and, uh, I’m here for work…”

Of course he was. It wasn’t like he’d see me if he wasn’t getting paid for it. “What, then? Make it quick. I have important shit to do.” If cleaning three litter boxes counted as important shit.

“Got a client,” he said, finally meeting my eyes. “She–she sees a fae in her dreams. Sometimes while she’s awake, or so she says. You’re the only fae I could reach on short notice, and–”

“You think all fae know each other?” I scoffed.

“I knew it was a stretch,” he said sheepishly. “Says his name is, uh, Sunflower…or Darius.”

Darius. “…I might know a Darius.”

“…Yeah? Think you could, uh, contact me if you, uh…find out for sure?”

“Maybe. If I feel like it.”

“…Thanks, Gal. It’d mean a lot. …To my client.”

I waved awkwardly at him as he walked away. Stupid. I felt even stupider when he looked back over his shoulder and saw me.

And then he kept walking. God, I hated that guy.

…But not as much as I hated my only source of information on “Darius.” Why was I even considering helping him out? I wasn’t an expert on fae baby names–there could be a million Dariuses out there.

Besides, Bas was the private investigator–he should fucking investigate. He was the one getting paid, not me. I tried not to think about it when I went to bed that night…

…But woke up really early to stress-eat chips.

When was the last time you called your mother?

I hadn’t seen her since I moved out. Had I called to wish her a happy birthday, like Finn made me do with Dad? No, it wasn’t like Rhys had reminded me to, and her birthday was probably fake anyway.

…I was only doing this for Bas. I had to make up for feeling up his junk in a public place, that’s all–and then I’d never talk to him again.

Mom picked up on the second ring. “Galatea? Did something happen?” Her voice sounded way more alarmed than I’d ever heard it.

“…I just wanted to talk to you. Is that so weird?”

She went quiet. “I’m in Starlight Shores, if you’d like to visit me at my hotel.”

“Wait–you were in town and didn’t tell me?”

“…Would you have wanted to see me?”

I didn’t have a good response to that, so I just got her hotel info instead. It wasn’t too far, and it wasn’t like I had anything better to do (after I shoveled shit out of the litter boxes).

What should I even say to her? What if she asked me if I’d gained weight since the last time I saw her?

I felt like a little kid again, too afraid to knock on her mommy’s bedroom door when she knew who was behind it.

It was strange, seeing her up close again after so long. She hadn’t changed at all–still as beautiful and perfect and thin as ever.

“Galatea,” she murmured. “I’m so glad you came.” She smiled at me–a real smile, not one even a renowned stage actress could fake.

“What’re you even doing here?”

She turned her head toward the window. “Something told me I should be here. Let’s talk outside, shall we? It’s a lovely day.” That was weird too, but maybe she thought the Starlight Shores air was better than the congested San Myshuno. I followed her out to the balcony, where we sat at a little table together.

“Tell me about your show,” she said, almost immediately after my ass hit the chair. “Do you enjoy it? Are things going well?”

“The ratings are trash,” I said. “It’ll probably be cancelled, honestly–and I’m not sure they’ll even air the entire season.” I shrugged. “I guess a few people watch it, though. Sometimes when I’m trying to buy a damn taco at a food truck or tampons from the drugstore, someone’ll come up to me and tell me how their fat daughter thinks I’m ‘so inspiring’ or some shit.”

I steeled myself for criticism–my diet choices, maybe, or my language, or even my choice in projects.

“I like your character,” she said softly. “She’s very sassy. And it’s nice to see you working with your brothers.” No, she probably said brother, singular.

“…You watch Blood and fucking Bishops?”

She looked down at the table. “Is it such a surprise I might want to appreciate my children’s work?”

“I don’t know, I thought you’d tell me how fat I look on camera, or that my acting is shit next to Rhys’s, or…”

She sighed deeply, cradling her face in her hands. “I only wanted to spare you the pain of being a wingless insect in a butterfly garden…of having your every weakness identified and used against you. I wanted you to be happy, as I never was. But maybe fae aren’t meant for motherhood…”

Maybe she was right. I knew I wasn’t fit for motherhood either. “…Uncle Darius was an actor too, wasn’t he?”

She raised her head, a wistful expression on her face. “You never would’ve known it from meeting him, but he was a gifted actor–far more talented than me. Sometimes I wonder what would’ve become of him, if he’d never left…”

I didn’t want to get her hopes up, especially not for whatever weird shit Bas had gotten into now. “Do you have any pictures of him?” Pictures I hadn’t shredded in front of her…

“Many. He modeled too, back in the old days… I can give you a couple before you leave, if you like.” She smiled at me, maybe for showing interest in my uncle for the first time in my life.

Bas would appreciate pictures, probably. Maybe he’d smile at me again. “Sure. …But I guess we can talk for a little while longer.”

But a little while stretched out into a whole lot longer than I expected…

But for once, I was in no rush to get away.

28 thoughts on “Chapter 70: Gal

  1. Yay for reconnection! And I’m proud of Gal for putting aside her own feelings towards her mother and actually going to help. And that was such a nice conversation they had on the balcony.

    Now let’s go save Darius!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It took a lot for Gal to stow that bitterness and resentment away for a day–but only she knows whether she did it just to help Bas or because she really does want her mom in her life (or both!).

      I love shooting conversations on balconies even if the game’s camera doesn’t want to cooperate. 😦


  2. Ahh, I knew this would be the perfect opportunity for Gal to talk to her mother. So glad she did!

    And glad she talked to her brother too, even if she didn’t realize it 😛 I wonder why she wasn’t more suspicious of “Dr. Puck” 😂 Poor Rhys could use a little more practice on improv acting 😛

    Chapters like this make me even more hopeful that #TeamStraudGroupHug will reign victorious in the end! 😛

    Liked by 2 people

    1. She probably wouldn’t have ever called her mom otherwise…! Then again, Dr. Rhys kind of helped too.

      Rhys’s improv ability is trash, rofl. But sometimes we see what we want to see, and maybe that was the case with Gal. And it’s not like she’d ever suspect her dork brother.

      There’s still hope for the Strauds yet…!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Yay! Dr. Puck knows his stuff! 😉

    Gal and Isla are talking like a real mother and daughter. Maybe it’s Darius’ saving that will bring them together for good.

    Poor Bas. He looked so sad and sheepish having to go to Gal for help. Here’s to them not being able to keep their hands off each other during the “rescue”. Ha!

    I loved Rhys’ part–trying to get advice on how to console O. Gal is perfectly oblivious to his fae glamour.

    I never realized how much Gal looked like her mother until now. Wow.

    This was a heartwarming chapter. Much needed after the last one! 😦

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Dr. Puck is an expert, you know. 😉

      Took Isla and Gal long enough to actually talk to each other, huh? Neither one of them has ever really excelled at opening up, but maybe that’ll change.

      Bas was happy for an excuse to see Gal, but Gal is Gal. Of course it wasn’t going to be easy, LOL.

      Rhys surprisingly really does value his sister’s advice! A shame he can’t ask for it outright… But he’s trying to be considerate of O.

      Glad the chapter was much more uplifting than the last. ❤ ❤ I wanted to give people some relief after that…! (Including myself.)


  4. But how can they have full family reconciliation if Rhys thinks that Garbage is ugly? 🤔

    Then again, it can be reconciliation with everyone if Gal can stand Isla for long enough to get some clues about Darius.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Eee! I loved this one so much ❤
    My cockles are so warm it feels like acid reflux!

    You really just need to be sneaky when you're therapizing Gal, rofl; trick her into taking off all that armour so you can poke at her soft underbelly!
    I also think it's super sweet that Rhys is on board for being her 'therapist', I mean, I guess it could be part morbid curiosity too, but I feel like he genuinely cares a for his family!

    And then Isla having a vulnerable moment! Sometimes the best way to parent is to show your kid you're just a normal, flawed person? I just want to squish them both in the biggest hug; I knew they had it in them to be real with one another (ish).

    This was a nice way to balance out the sadness of the Lysander death, a bit of hope for Galatea and her mom, and a fun awkward encounter with Bas ❤

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I always try to warm your cockles, bb. ❤ ❤

      Gal's smart, but you just have to be smarter, or at least so weird that she'll never expect wtf you're doing, a la Dr. Rhys. He really is enjoying his time getting to know her and asking for advice, even if it's as someone else. And he'd like to help her if he could, though helping her get a job didn't end so well…

      Isla's like Gal with her spiked armor, LOL. And yeah, Gal had to see her as an equal (and equally flawed person) rather than this ice queen who reigned over her kids. Isla's just trying to get by too.

      Every chapter needs a fun awkward encounter with Bas imo. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Okay…Dr. Puck, no Rhys wins the prize. alien-monkey hybrids Lol….

    Rhys wants to know what makes his sister tick. He was so protective of his mother. But he did make her feel good about herself at the end. I think he did more for her than the real Dr. Puck ever did. He will try to be there for Ophelia, but I hope he does a better job of expressing his feelings than Leo does with Daisy!

    Bas….I wanted to hug him. He looked so sad like he really wanted to say more.

    I am sooo glad she is went to her mother to help Bas. It turned out to be so good. I was worried it might not, but her mother’s defenses are gone and she finally let Gal see the real her.

    Now….let’s find Darius please!!! Before it’s too late.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Just like Finn is protective of Graham, Rhys is probably even more protective of Isla. And surprisingly, he did help Gal look back on her own behavior and maybe try to take at least some responsibility for her poor relationship with their mom. LOL, I don’t think anyone could be worse than Leo at expressing their feelings…

      Bas definitely wanted to say more. But what more could he say to a hostile audience? 😦

      I don’t blame you for expecting the worst from Isla and Gal together…the latter doesn’t have the greatest track record, LOL. And Isla made an effort too…

      Liked by 1 person

    1. What’s a little trickery between fae? 😉 Seeing Dr. Puck as a kid probably did help Gal–it gave her a place she felt comfortable talking about her problems–but she’s finally come to a point where she’s not being forced to go to therapy by her parents. She recognizes that she needs some help as an adult, which is probably helpful all on its own.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, I thought that Brother Puck’s honesty with her was refreshing and air-clearing! 🙂 Also, she got to help him out, and that’s a great way to feel confident!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Few people have the courage to tell it to her straight! And her brother had a lot of access to information that she didn’t, so that was helpful too. Feeling helpful is also very therapeutic too, you’re right. ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Emotional WitcHazard: Good good Gal is helping my snookims Bas is somewhat back in my good graces cause I know he’s helping but he’s also using my darlings distress to get his Gal fix it’s not appreciated!
    On the other hand good job Gal for talking to your mother it’s not going to make all the pain go away but it might help you start something new like you know actually showing up for holidays and stuff like that!

    Dark WitcHazard: Noo Gal Don’t break your brother isn’t even that good of a therapist so to let him fix things on a flook is unforgivable! All my hurt characters our starting to heal I’m losing my touch!

    Lover WitcHazard: Yeah Gal Don’t let Bas in the house cause we both know you’d head straight to the bedroom!😝

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ROFL. Lover might be right about that…maaaybe. She might have to let him in next time, though…

      And aww, Bas does have ulterior motives, but at least he’s helping…? And Rhys is helping Gal despite being a very questionable therapist (and terrible improv actor)…!

      Only good will come of Gal mending fences with Isla. (Sorry, Dark. 😉 )


  8. I’m really surprised that Gal actually enjoyed spending time with her mother. Losing track of time usually translates to enjoyment. I’m happy for both of them. I hope that it continues. I think they both need that mother/daughter connection.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha, Gal was pretty surprised too–if she’d even admit she enjoyed it. 😉 But it was definitely good for both of them, and probably something they both need. Better late than never…!


  9. I love this chapter, because it’s showing growth for Gal-bae! I’m glad she’s willing to help Bas out, I think it’s obvious she wants him to forgive her. And Isla! She’s so beautiful, and seeing her like this was really tender and a beautiful contrast from how depressed and lost she was before!

    Gal’s going to have to eventually figure out that her Puck isn’t -her- Puck xD But maybe Rhys’ acting will be just enough to keep pulling this off, looool

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gal’s growing up…! (Well into adulthood, LOL.) She totally does want him to forgive her–I mean, look at those puppy-dog eyes of his! How could she not?

      Isla’s showing a vulnerable side too. ❤ I guess it takes two, in this case.

      RHYS IS THE BEST ACTOR EVER, OKAY. He has awards. (Some of them may or may not be the equivalent of like, Kids’ Choice Awards.)

      Liked by 1 person

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