🕷Was it Love or Nicotine?🕷
Eddie Munson x Reader, one shot.
Summary: Eddie brings you comfort when you’re sick-
You’re two seconds from bolting out to grab the baseball bat your mom kept in the upstairs closet.
But a familiar voice slithers on in. You catch onto snippets.
“Shit. Motherfucking,sonofa- betch.” Comes unsmothered curses from the underside of your window. There’s another hiss, shaking of a shrub, and a knock. A growl. A stab of a foot hooking onto wood.
That would be Eddie.
The one where you’re sick, and who should show up at your window, with a can of Campbell’s stuffed in his pocket? That’s right. Eddie Munson.
In case you wanted an Eddie MASTERLIST to peruse-
It starts out along the lines of this; Eddie does keep an eye out for you at school. Of course he does.
His cool chick with the choppy-flicky hair. Self proclaimed music snob with one hell of a sense of humour. His pencils. The one with the magic lips. With that taste of sugar-strawberry lip smacker skated on them.
He couldn’t get over it.
Mind flicked back to thoughts of you over and over. Faded film reel in his head bleached to sepia ghost tones the amount it played out. The way your hands tugged in his lapels for more. That flash white of your smile in the half dark that turned his knees to quivering water.
That gorgeous way you’d pressed an Alice Cooper tape in his hands and told him sternly what tracks to listen too. How hungrily you’d kissed him back like he was your new kind of air-
Remembering the soft press of your fruit sweet lips has all the blood in him racing south. Fuck.
And he can’t help it and he’s more than aware that it might be overstepping the mark. Him looking out.
Fuckin’ Christ. He feels like the Norman Bates character from that movie. Like some perverted creep combing crowds, just hoping to see you dotted among them.
He thinks about you, laying, chainsmoking in his bed with a cigarette wonky to his lips. He stubs it out and lights another. There’s no removing you. You’re like another rush of nicotine in him right now.
You are running bond deep and he can’t reach in and pull out your influence. He lets it stay cause it’s fucking magic. Better than weed and he doesn’t say that lightly-
He thinks about you on the drive to school. He stops to pick up Gareth and Jeff. They chat on the way about the new issue of Daredevil.
Eddie, hard as he tries, has one ear tuned to them, and the other to the stereo in his van. Teeth grit, bumping it with a clenched fist to get it to behave. Metal rings clacking on the dash.
Alice sneers his venomous vocals to a shredding guitar, it just tugs a smile out of him that threads back to you, entirely. Jeff comments on the new tape that wasn’t the same thrashing Metallica or thundering Motörhead.
Nice music man. This new?
His resulting grin is silky smooth.
Yeah. Just picked it up.
They arrive at school and collectively brace themselves, for classes and the picky snide words of their peers. Another day of not fitting in, shouldering the hassle of being an underdog, in Hellfire clad armour.
Instead of a chip on his shoulder, Eddie may aswell have a grating two tonne boulder on there, at this point.
They pile out of the van and split ways for their classes. They say goodbye and he only just finds his tongue to answer.
Simply because he’s half invested. He’s scanning the school parking lot a little more studiously than usual.
He knew you drove a capri. He knows it’s kinda a muddy-mustard colour with a few rust marks eating away at the passenger door.
He recalls that he saw you arrive yesterday with thunder faced Malibu Barbie in the next seat.
She checked her nails whilst you unloaded an armful of sketchbooks and heavy textbooks from the back seat. He wanted to hot foot it over to help you, but the crowds of people milling around made his courage shrink down.
He actually started to step to you- that’s how much he wanted to eat up that distance. But then his brain just hammered into his skull like a fist on a car roof, that he should stop.
Not yet. Not here. Too early. Too keen, you lunatic.
He vaguely recalls hearing Linda bitching at you about the fact you played Billy Idol all the way there on the drive. Makes his smile crawl across until teeth show. Sounds about right. Atta girl.
He couldn’t hang around. He couldn’t. But he wanted too. It’s a saw tooth edge all mean and scraping into his belly how much he wants too. But he can’t bring himself to act.
He wants to possess the bravery to scamper over there, push Linda out the way on her teetering heels, grab your goddamn face with ring clad hands and kiss you, hard.
Push you up against the side of your car to do it. Like he is the is the picture perfect, shiny haired golden boy in some sappy John Hughes movie.
Feel you squeak against the cup of his mouth in surprise. Kiss you with his tongue flicking at your teeth. Cupping the back of your head. Get the smell of your hair in his nose again. The juicy fruit taste of your lips.
Make out with you, devour you, right here with the whole damn school able to see, and every filthy as sin intention of letting his hands wander over all of you.
Wrap leather arms around you like vines and never, ever let go. Pull you into his chest like he wants you under his skin. He wants to pull a Judd Nelson and punch the fucking sky.
But he’d caught your eye. Just a flash. The sunny gold skate of your resulting smile when you saw it was him makes his insides warmer. Feels better than any pill.
You lock eyes, and it’s like someone has struck cupids red fucking arrow through the meat of his heart. Thud-thud-thudding like it’s climbed up the back of his mouth and clung to his tonsils.
He waves. You wave back. It’s that easy.
For now, just that smile and wave of acknowledgement was enough.
A gorgeous burst of you for just a second across the lot. That was yesterday.
He looks around today, as he jiggles his van keys in his hands. Keychains scraping together all jagged in his palm. Scanning for anything that resembled you or the Capri. Or, heaven forfend, the poofy cloud of blonde curls that belonged to your greek harpy of a friend.
He can’t see either.
He chews the inside of his lower lip. Eyes flick to the lot entrance. Nothing there still spilling in resembled you, either.
A grainy brown station wagon lumbers into park not far from him. Lurching clumsily onto a space. He watches a beefy letterman jock climb out and scrape his ridiculous golden Rob Lowe mullet back on his head.
The other side, the passenger door opens and a poodle bouffant of spilling blonde starts bouncing out.
He watches your friend get out. Join hands with her ape of a boyfriend, and flounce on into school. All legs and those maraschino-red heels, in another one of her short denim skirts. Hot pink jewellery hanging off her ears and wrists.
And you’re nowhere to be seen. That doesn’t square well on him. It sticks like something lumpy in his throat.
He hot foots it to class cause the last thing he needs is another tardy mark against his already pretty dashed reputation. But you cycle on loop through his head way more than any of his schoolwork probably should.
He’s never really been any good at staying still, or paying attention to much in his life. He is too erratic. Too lost to fantasy at times. Busy elsewhere.
He bounced his knees. He fiddled with his rings, doodled DND character concepts, or horned skulls on the margins of his schoolbooks, rather than actually turning his eyes to the board at any point. Some things really have to hook his flighty interest to warrant earning it full time.
He’s always had half his head stuck somewhere else. Even worse now you’d snatched up the rest of his already limited attention span.
It might be that you’ve hitched a ride to school. Car troubles? Maybe you overslept? Some shit like that. Some circumstance that had delayed you.
He drifts through his day. Decided to shake up his usual route after the bell rings for lunch. He doesn’t drift straight to the canteen, probably in time to hear a braindead slur aimed his way from Jason and his goons. Or he’d have to listen for the tenth time as Jeff argued with Sinclair about armour classes.
He swings by the clay scented halls of the school art department. A place - it had to be said - he never really had a lot of cause to go. It’s definitely new territory to embark on.
The walls are pinned with cork boards full of charcoal drawings and art history posters. Seurat, Poussin and Van Gogh’s twisting almond branches on midnight blue. Sad pot plants droop on a low table by a sun drenched window. The scent here is all stale paint and dried claggy clay.
He idles past a couple classrooms. Armies of easels in one where students are happily settled. Drawing a bowl of plump fruit on a goddamn podium. The room at the end is dusty and he’s guessing that’s where the potters wheels and reeking scent of clay is coming from.
He dodged a wall of students armed with wide flat sketchbooks and charcoal stained fingers. They frown at him in bewilderment like he doesn’t belong. A cat amongst the pigeons.
They’re not wrong-
He shoulders past them and ignores the way they turn to gawp at him. Wondering why he was in the Art Department, rather than his habitual canteen table soap box, or his weed stoop in the woods where people rarely dare to tread.
More rooms crammed with easels and painters and you’re not one of them. He weaves past even more classrooms. Collects more stares. He feels them land on his back as he walks past. Burning into his DIO patch like bleach.
He’s used to stares. Always been cool with not caring what other people’s problems are with him. And it always falls into the category of instant dislike. He’s sure they have a list at this point.
His hair is too crazy curls and straggly. He’s a super senior who lives in a trailer park. Out of fashion the way he dresses, in his Judas Priest pins and his beloved band tees and his ripped denim knees. He doesn’t listen to Abba, or give a shit about Madonna. So what?
He quickly came to realise during his misspent youth and at the height of his not so brilliant rollercoaster through puberty, that it was their issue. Not his.
He cut himself plenty of slack long ago. He won’t be crammed into stifling neat little moulds, expected to fit, like so many others just fall into. His denim and leather shield against the small small world of Hawkins remained spiky.
Because he doesn’t come from that well classed upbringing of stuffy family dinners, posed holiday photos, minivans, and mom and pop curfew.
He isn’t destined to go on and smile, and be a good shiny haired little athlete boy, off to make good grades, at an Ivy-smothered, brownstone college.
It’s dangerous for the kids to conform, you know? Toxic man.
Besides he’s on a more urgent mission here, than the craggy in’s-and-out’s of squalid pissy disapproval.
Every classroom in this building comes up empty. He sighs and proverbially kicks himself in the shin for being nosy and creepy.
Let’s that feeling eat away a while at his belly as he heads to join his usual crowd. Where he belonged. On a sticky plastic table as they squabbled about shit and kept to their geek corner.
He tucked tail. Chided himself all the way back to the canteen. Smacked his hand on the doorframe coming out the department. A harsh rap to his knuckles that flared with pain.
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid, Munson.
Sat down with a sour face at the head of his table, picked idly at his food. A bag of half eaten chips and a probably out of date Twinkie. Not even the tater tots on Dustin’s plate break him out his funk like they usually do. He’d normally snatch a few. Not today.
Dustin seems to be eyeing him like he would try and snaffle them up. He’s watching for the sudden dart and silver-flash of his ring clad hand. It doesn’t come.
Jeff chucks him a juice box. Like he’s a fucking stray pigeon in the park they’ve all grown used to feeding.
Eddie stares at it too much, as he punches the straw in and repeats the motion. Twiddling with the chilli red plastic as he kept to himself. Fiddling. Fidgeting.
Also something he rarely did. Keep to his own crazy scarecrow head.
Stab and lift. Stab and lift.
Lost his appetite anyhow. Somewhere along the line.
He was being a moron. Presumptuous. Wouldn’t be the first time and on all his metal gods, it certainly won’t be the last.
He feels fully pathetic. One morsel scrap of attention and off he goes like some lonely pervert. Trailing after you like a rabid dog. Frothing at the mouth for the crumb of affection he thought could turn into something more.
Something hopeful that started to unfurl, blooming open in his chest. A delicate rare flower he’d never have the brains to know the full name of.
He’s just dumped a load of choking weed killer over that frail bloom. Because when should a freak’s dreams ever come true
Maybe you didn’t want to be found. Not by him. Maybe you’d come to your senses-
Maybe you realised what he truly was; not some stud athlete on path to play football for a fraternity in the big leagues and make his parents proud.
He is a scrawny loser. A jagged little freak. And as this school reminds him on a daily basis; he’s a nonconforming creep who won’t amount to so much as a piss stain in his life. And now you know that.
That snake bite of a realisation stings way, way, more than he thought it would.
Day two. Hour 48. Eddie still finds himself looking.
Maybe he’s a sadomasochist after all. The harder the hit, the sweeter the pain. And it burns so good he can’t tear away from it.
He waits by his trusty van. Others drift off for class. Frowning at the time when they realise how ridiculously fucking early he’d picked them up this morning.
Also something else Eddie doesn’t gel with; punctuality.
Gareth shook his watch hand and lifted it to his ear to check it was still ticking. Henderson seemed to be looking at him the whole ride here, waiting for some rational sort of explanation to announce itself out the metalhead’s mouth, with his usual dramatic fanfare.
It definitely wasn’t anything to do with schoolwork. No final, or test paper could intimidate or worry him. Maybe it was a deal he was anxious to speed too.
Eddie, was your bed on fire this morning or what?
You owe someone money or something-
Are you tripping out on me, Henderson? Seriously man. Making zero sense here, y’know.
Eddie didn’t miss the way Dustin slumped back into his seat, tugged at his science baseball cap and muttered something like “Well, that makes two of us.”
Shut the hell up, and let me so graciously drive you to school, you little shrimp.
He says it with thinning patience. But the thing is, Eddie doesn’t really get ever mad or mean with his insults. Never nasty. He doesn’t have a nasty bone in him.
The only thing that works him into being revved up, is the thought of postponing Hellfire. Heaven forfend.
When he parks up, he’s still keeping his mysterious reasons clutched close to his denim chest. He tells them to scram. Beat it.
Get lost, you losers, as he ruffles Dustin’s hair.
His bemused flock wanders away from the parking lot, and wonder how they’re gonna kill some extra time.
He leans against the side of his van, and lights up a cigarette. And there he stays. His skin itches with paranoia. Pushing needles under his veins. Bouncing back from if this is a good idea, or still just him being a creep. Back and forth.
Really he talks himself in and out of it. He jumps out of negative thoughts. Banishes them. And then dives right back in not five minutes later.
He sees Barbie arrive at school in her clunky dream car. (Not pink, shocker) On her own this time. No meathead to speak off. But she is wearing his letterman jacket. It hangs off her.
Today’s heels are sapphire blue. Lilac eyeshadow packed heavy on her lids. She stops and chit-chats to a couple of cheerleaders, all three with standard issue bouncy scrunchie ponytails, that he’s sure is a requirement to get in the squad. Linda lugs a very thin looking binder into class with her.
He hates that he’s taking notice of her footwear. Of all fucking things in this place to notice. But she’s garbed in so much neon brightness, in the full sunshine, she’s a hard one to miss.
He skims his eyes across crowds and pulls on his cigarette. One hand in his pocket. His sneaker toes tap on the loose gravel.
She sashays off to class with the cheerleaders. He’s taking note of an awfully you shaped absence at her side. The negative space unfilled where you should be. Garbed in your paint flecked jeans, with that look of cynical boredom on your face when Linda says something bitchy.
It’s preying on him all the more. The bell goes and he must tear himself away, yet again. Drudging through more classes til lunch comes rolling around, way too slowly.
It’s a nice day - buttery sunshine spliced with a cold stab of spring. Hellfire club convenes outside. They run through character sheets in readiness for Friday night’s campaign. Eddie in his usual spot as king of the heap. Sat table top. As per.
Hands folded from his elbows resting on his knees. Eyes speared across the crowds. Little frown kinking his dark brows in the middle. He looks more intense than usual.
Going this long without glimpsing even one sight of you? Something’s gotta to be up.
He really doesn’t want to look, and he’s not really. It’s quite a repulsive sight happening across the way.
Blondie and her golden haired ape are stood making out, leaning against the brick wall opposite. All wandering hands and tonguing each other’s tonsils. Swapping spit and lusty grins. Not giving a shit.
He’s waiting for his moment. For the opportunity to strike out, like a ready coiled viper.
His knee jiggles and it bounces the bench seat. He barely notices. Too preoccupied. His bracelet jingles on his wrist. Blondie breaks away and the ape goes off in another direction. She walks into the shade of the hallway.
His moment sails right on into his hands. He snatches it.
He bolts up and bounded off the table like it had gone up in flames. Eyes dead ahead. Feet stomping the table top and then down to the bench with precise heavy steps.
The guys around him were fairly used to his outbursting displays of movement. It seemed all Eddie ever did was burst out of control and be unpredictable. Scamper around with that odd sort of scurrying way he moves. Other people walked: Eddie frolicked.
“Hey, where you goin?” Wheeler asks.
“To do battle with a fire breathing dragon.” He calls over his shoulder with a wry little grin.
That typical Munson wild-boy look he gives that’s all big bourbon eyes the size of dinner plates; grin dipped in craziness. Usually the expression that proceeded a whole shit tonne of poor decisions.
As he scurried off the lot after tweedle-dumb, he did feel like he should have armed himself. A sword maybe. A heavy duty shield. Something to bat the curling tongues of flames away when they rise- and oh, they will rise.
He scampers away. Leaves his friends stunned as to what the hell he means. They all share crumpled and vacant looks behind his back as he leaves them crashing about in his rushed wake.
W-was that weird guys?
When is he ever not weird?
Eddie rounds the corner and catches her alone. In a partially empty hallway. Lockers sit gleaming either side. Fierce metal red in the lowlight as sun slanted its angry gold across the dull lino. The grey breeze block walls that he really really hates, lining the dour hallways of this freedom crushing institute, of conformity and misery.
He catches up with Linda as she’s slamming stuff in her locker without care, and pouting, to touch up her waxy pink lipstick in a little mirror on her door. Wiping ape drool off her chin and checking her permed hair still bounced and shone. Scrunching the back of it with those pink talons she calls nails.
Claws. Eddie noted. They were definitely claws.
She pushes her locker door closed. Actually recoils back when she sees him walking towards her.
She grimaces like some flea ridden stray has bounded up to her. Covered in mange, and with matted fur. Eddie grits his teeth. Steels his resolve.
“You gotta sec, Blondie?” He asks all casual. Actually tried to keep his voice in neutral territory.
“I have a boyfriend.” She sneers out.
“Yeah. Well. He’s really not my type. You’re safe.”
“Too much product in his hair for my liking.” He adds with a sickly grin that he hopes turns her stomach.
Off the bat with his fists raised for this. Poised. Ready to block side swipes and hurl back a few of his own.
He stands there with his hands on his pockets a safe distance away. He doesn’t risk getting too close.
She’s likely to spray pepper in his face. Or screech and shout that the school freak was harassing her. Eddie keeps distance because he knows full well what people like her, think and say about him.
And if it goes sideways he’s the first one knee deep in the shit.
No matter who throws the first punch, it always sticks to Eddie. That’s where the trouble lands. Cause why fucking not- easy target. He may aswell pin a bullseye on his back. He can’t decry innocence. No one would believe him.
Her frown shifts into something fully venomous. Those baby blues of hers turn Nordic-chilly with icy rage. Gaze packed with frost. Hatred and annoyance blasted his way. What’s new.
“Why are you even talking to me, freak?” She asks. Voice unimpressed, and very much revealing her lack of patience. Scrunched her nose up she was stood near a foul smell. Like he hasn’t showered this morning, or put on deodorant.
That little word he detests stabs into him. Pin pricks on a wiry bed of exposed nerves. He clenched his teeth so as not to open his jaw and retaliate.
Oh, but its right there on the tip of his tongue. It was tempting. He swallows it down.
“Pure desperate dumbassery on my part. But I did wanna ask you something...” Eddie explains.
“Nice.” She spits out at his dig. Making a face that encouraged him to get the hell on with it.
She stands and kinks out a hip. Raps her nails in a slow rap-tap-tap on her locker door. Bag slung off her other shoulder. She looked bored of him already. Had her laser eyes set to bitch-
“I uh, noticed that your friend isn’t around. Something up with her, or what?” He asks in as casual a way as he can allow.
She frowns. “What the hell is it to you?”
Here’s where thinking on his ever shuffling fearful feet comes in handy.
“Was supposed to drop her some stuff yesterday in the woods. She never showed.” He shrugged like it was easy. Kept his voice a tad quieter for obvious reasons, as he explained.
Somehow his cowardly little heart can’t tell her it’s because he has this huge boiling, raging crush on you.
He has a feeling she’d make a huge show of that. For both your sakes, he pads out the truth for now with a little harmless lie. Packs it around the truth like bubble wrap.
Linda looks like she buys it. Her brow quirks. He was the best route to good stuff around here. Whether she liked to admit it or not.
There were several far creepier guys out of school in town who could hook kids up with weed - for a price if girls were pretty or rip them off for way too much money and inferior stuff. Eddie was almost preferable in the vein of supply compared to those letchers.
Yeah, Munson is a total psycho. But his shits good. Strong. And he doesn’t ask you to flash your tits, or give him a handjob, like the others.
“She didn’t tell me she was buying shit from you.” She narrowed her eyes like it was his fault. Flicking her long lashes and blue doll eyes up and down him in blatant distaste.
“Honey, I sell reefer. I don’t to ask too many questions about how or why it’s used.” He charms.
“All I know is, she wanted some of my product.” He comes completely clean and hope he’s selling this lie. Big brown puppy eyes giving off what he hopes comes across as honesty.
“She usually scores Mexican stuff off the guy she works with.” She added. “Sal.”
“Who?” Eddie asks. Confused like he hadn’t just met the guy just two days ago.
“Why would she start buying off you?” She frowns. She says it like his name is worse than mud.
He feels like he’s having to sneak past Cerberus into the gates of hell. And those three heads with slobering teeth, and talons just keep coming back round to bite him in the ass.
“My stuff is primo. And plus I don’t know if you heard, but I’m easy on the eyes, and give discounts to pretty chicks.” He shoots her a playful wink. Clicks his tongue at her.
She scoffs. “Whatever, Munson.” She picks at her nails. Done with him.
“Look. I don’t have enough time to stand here through all the centuries of the Spanish Inquisition, Blondie. I just wanted to know why I lost out on making fifteen bucks yesterday. S’all. Kay? Thought you might know. You look tight. I see you guys hanging around with each other.” He offers.
Hands in his jacket pockets jerking up as he spoke. Playing the disinterested weed dealer. Like he’s nothing more to you. When really he wants to be so much more it’s an aching cavernous pit in his stomach, suspended in hope.
He twirls like he’s gonna step away. Mission failed.
“Forget it.” Shaking his head. Making his curly hair fly. Turning his DIO patch back to this and wondering what the hell he’s going to do now.
He smiles like it’s nothing, but something deep down inside is all twisted and mangled sad. Hitting rock bottom. Scraping razors down the blunt edge of his hope.
“She called in sick.”
Eddie turned back and looked over his shoulder.
That little warm golden beam of hope starts to fizz in his stomach again. You weren’t avoiding him? Holy shit.
The sunny sense of giddiness comes slamming into his gut so hard he has to remember to try and breathe normally. His lungs feel too small.
It was spliced with curiosity now. He was happy as fuck, but now he knew the truth, he couldn’t put aside that you might’ve been on your own. Being sick.
With this skinny slutty drill sergeant as your lone pillar of emotional support with your mom away, now he worried about you suffering on your own, without any sort of kindness, or help.
“Said she had stomach flu, or cramps. I don’t know. I had to borrow my dad’s car to come to school.” She said like it was the biggest travesty of the 21st century for her with, you being out of action. Rolled those eyes over.
“Sick. Right.” Eddie nods. “Well, that explains it.” He grins.
And back out comes the school jester slash freak-
“Bless you for your time, your majesty. I am most obliged. I will let you go back to your embroidery, and having the peasants flogged.” He mock bows and rolls his hand as he does. Hair flipping over his neck. Chain hitting his leg as he moved.
“Only the finest, sweet cheeks.” Shooting a blasting finger gun at her. Cocking his thumb as the trigger.
She gave him a look that was half venom, and all hatred.
“I have mace in my purse, Munson.” She warns. Popping a stick of juicy fruit in her mouth. Not that it would make her sour words any more bubble-gum sweeter.
“Man if I had a nickel-“ He quipped.
“Tell your friend to get well soon, alright? I gotta look after my prettiest newest customer.” He smirks like anything.
“Babe?” Comes a way too gruff voice. Mr. Blonde Ape lumbers up behind Linda and scrunches his big neanderthal forehead up at Eddie. Placing his huge mitt on her hip. Knuckles dragging along the ground.
He had a sad little George Michael earring dangling off one ear. Behind that, the ridiculous lion gold mullet, shiny with whatever celebrity endorsed product spray he caked on his perm.
The jokes floating into Eddie’s head right now are just too rich. He’s gonna burst-
“Uh oh. The cavalry?” Eddie asks. Smirking as he walks backwards, backing off. He knows its a jab. It’s a goading comment that’s meant to invite retaliation.
He’s never been very good at keeping his mouth out of wandering him recklessly into trouble.
“He bothering you?” Her boyfriend grunts. Looking like he wants to crack his beefy knuckles and slam Eddie’s curly head into the nearest wall of lockers, till his brains spilled out his ears.
“What do you want freak? Quit harassing her.”
“Wow. Sharp as a brick.” Eddie smiles in mocking as his eyes flick back to Linda. Ribbing her for being so stuck up to him, when she was going out with a guy who looked dumber than an actual box of rocks. Dry sponge for a brain.
Ironically, Eddie would trust a box of rocks more than any brain dead amoeba wearing a letterman. Bring on the box.
He points at the ape with his hand still in his pockets. “Really? IQ of 2, and it takes three for him to grunt right?” He goads.
“Fuck off.” Linda barks at him. There’s that mouth again.
Eddie remembered how you’d both cracked jokes about it. Her big mouth. Lifted his spirits a little. Facing down the dragon when entwined with memories of you? Suddenly not so scary.
“Gladly, Mi’lady.” He spins on his heel and bolts away.
He makes it back outside and it isn’t lost on the guys how freaking wide his smile is. Renewed whirling sort of energy to him again. Less antsy. More Eddie.
He stomps his feet heavily back up onto the bench and then the table top. Back to his rightful place.
On the way up he pinches the moon pie right out of Dustin’s grasp. Doesn’t even break his stride.
At least he says ‘thank you’ when he tears the food out of his young friends hand.
Henderson protests all squeaky, but then he had another one stashed in his backpack. Well learned by now. Eddie was like a scrounging feral coyote with stealing his food.
A feral coyote always chewing on a cigarette. That may well have been Eddie’s spirit animal.
They had all learnt that Eddie existed on seemingly nothing. Gas station burritos, cigarettes, and a few cold ones.
He doesn’t know where he draws the energy from to be so hyper for Hellfire. For thrashing and head-banging his crazy hair to deafening rock in his van. Rings clacking hard on his worn steering wheel as he drove and drummed along a beat. Spouted hardcore rock lyrics and made a face with that curling tongue hanging out his mouth.
Eddie chews noisily and splits his maniacal grin at Henderson as he eats. Waving off Dustin’s protests. That grumpy little frown coming forth from under his curls and hat brim.
Now Eddie needed to break even more bad news-
“By the way, you little shits are gonna have to make your own way home tonight.” Eddie says through chewing as he peers down at his Casio.
The table descends into pissy uproar. Eddie rolls those brown eyes over. Gareth throws a balled up piece of paper at his back. Eddie tosses it back, harder, with a leer. It bounces off his head.
“What are we being ditched for this time?” Wheeler asks.
A damsel in distress caught in her tower. Is what Eddie wants to say.
Eddie the brave has dared face the fire breathing dragon, and the meathead ogre. All that remains is seeing to the fair maiden in her hour of need.
“House call.” He tells them.
“Find your own wheels, folks.” Patting his pockets and calculating how much he had left over from his last couple of deals. It was a fair chunk. He liked to kid himself he was saving it for a rainy day.
He puts a cigarette between his lips. Maybe it’s to hide his grin.
He has a definite feeling he’ll be literally skipping out his last class.
You felt like hell.
Mind, hell was supposed to be considerably warm. Licking brimstone and red hot flames and all that. You were flipping between corpse cold clammy, and blazing hot. All the blankets pulled tight over your shoulder, and then the next minute, kicking them free.
You’d woken up two days ago with awful pains all squirming nausea in your belly, and a pounding head.
The glories of stomach flu. You spent the entire rest of the day hugging the toilet and hurling your guts out til there was nothing left to give. Retching til you were empty and your stomach cramping.
You then laid in bed shivering with fever for a whole day. Having to drag yourself down the kitchen wrapped in a blanket and fetch yourself a glass of water and something with a little sugar in.
Out of date orange sour juice was your lot. There wasn’t much else in. A few scraps of leftovers, 4 old eggs and a wilting bag of salad.
You weren’t in any kind of mood to stand and cook. You’d nibbled on a few graham crackers. Something dry. You’d kill for a ginger ale to kill the lingering nausea right now.
You rang your sister at the Diner and told her you weren’t so great. She promised to check in after her night shift with supplies. She’d be back around 6am. Mom was supposed to be back in three days’ time too. You’d be back to normalcy by then. With any luck-
You struggled with all your energy to get your miserable carcass in the shower and freshen up. Raking product through your ratty lank hair. You’d been sweating so much with it. The cool water sluicing over your skin felt so reviving.
You got out and pulled on snoopy sleep shorts and a faded Billy Idol tour tee. You’d plucked it out from the dollar store rack for three bucks. It was huge but your favourite shirt to sleep in. You vividly recall Linda going gaga over buying a pink faux leather skirt at the same time. You couldn’t be more opposites if you tried.
You twisted your hair in a towel and managed to scrape together the energy to drag your sheets and pillowcases into the basement to wash them.
By the time you schlepped your way back up the stairs with gargantuan effort, your bones rang with ache for the energy you’d expended.
You flopped back into your remade bed and shoved the small TV in your room on for some soothing noise. The tape you rented from Family Video was still in there from the other day. John Carpenters The Fog. One of your all time favourites. You could happily tune in and out you’d seen it so many times.
You watch the Poe quote about dreams, and the old sailor dangling the pocket watch to some kids around a campfire, before he claps it in his hands and says with that gravelly voice of storytelling doom, “11:55.”
You let it play in the background as you lazed there and in your freshly remade bed. Dragging a thin blanket over your legs. Settling in and feeling drowsy as a milky blue began to wash over the room.
Your small bedside lamp was on, staining your room gold. Window open and your white and pink striped curtains pulled back. They sway gentle on the meagre breeze. Spilling in scents of your garden at a dewy periwinkle sunset. The little white flowers climbing up the trellis smelled so sweet. All rolled in the flavour of cooling night air.
You finally let yourself sag down and drift in and out of sleep. Blanket tangled between your legs. When you blearily stumble out of sleeps cosy swallow again, the film is halfway through. Nick and Elizabeth trying to haul ass and get Andy to safety.
You woke hearing a slamming car door down the street. One of your neighbours coming and going. The sound drifting through your open windows and batting at your curtains. The Anderson’s’ chunky pit bull started barking it’s head off at the noise too.
You yawned and shoved the pillow under your tilted head to watch the film through hooded lids. You were damn hungry, but not hungry enough to move to rectify it. You’d survive til morning on water. Despite the way your belly gripes and growls for something more substantial than crackers.
You turn the film up and get lost in it. Laying back, until you hear a scuffle outside. Knocking up against the wall of your house.
You sit right up to listen better. Ears tuned for more. There’s definitely the telltale rustle and shake of the shrubs below your window. The scrape of something hitting the trellis.
You pause the video with a hurried click.
Some idiot was climbing up the side of your house.
You’re two seconds from bolting out to grab the baseball bat your mom kept in the upstairs closet.
But a familiar voice slithers on in. You catch onto snippets.
“Shit. Motherfucking,sonofa- betch.” Comes unsmothered curses from the underside of your window. There’s another hiss, shaking of a shrub, and a knock. A growl. A stab of a foot hooking onto wood.
That would be Eddie.
Who just fell ass first into a long neglected rose bush. Hissing and cursing at the scrape on his back.
Risking thorns, undeterred, he’s back up. Trying again on the trellis, with more success. Graze burning mean at his back where his t-shirt had ridden up.
You twist around in bed to see leathered elbows knock ungracefully into your room. Bracelet rattling around a skinny wrist. Faded sharpie phone number scrawled on his hand.
Waterfall of hair cupping that face and framing those bourbon-black eyes, and the wicked bright grin. A brown paper bag dangling from between his teeth.
When he sees you on your bed his brows raise in greeting. Muffled smile and sounds coming out his mouth. Spit soaking dark into the brown paper.
He thinks nothing of unfolding his lanky limbs into your bedroom. Shoving the window open wider and clumsily throwing himself inside. Tumbling in so his long legs kicked out. Stomach crawling onto the cushioned window seat. Zips and chains clinking from his jacket and jeans.
He dumped the bag onto the floor to free his mouth. Shiny teeth smiling blinding white right at you. This boy shines brighter than a blazing Indiana summer.
“Heard you were sick, Pencils.”
You blink and laugh cause it’s just so absurd.
You could just kiss that grin off him- sickness bug aside. You had to hold back your itching palms from reaching out for him. He was here. Come to see you.
You stand at the edge of your bed and struggle to know what to say to this sudden and bewildering sight.
Eddie Munson crashing into your room in an explosion of curse words and his on brand maniacal grin. Scaling the side of your house with his bare hands like a spider monkey. Grocery store bag clamped between his teeth.
“What the hell?” You ask him laughing. Shaking your head. Your chest bounces with it.
He stops dead in his tracks. Face falling. “Shit. This a bad time?”
The boy was really hanging there, dangling his legs out your window, asking permission to climb aboard.
You help him by pushing your curtains out his way. “God. No. No bad time. I just- wasn’t expecting a house caller at this hour.”
He finishes hauling himself fully inside.
He slipped into a deep southern Belle voice. Grinning. “Ah do declare ma-self a gentleman caller.”
“How did you know I was sick?”
“Little mean birdie with a blonde perm.” He rasps as he army crawls rest of the way inside.
“You talked to Linda?” You asked him, impressed. Your belly all buttery and mushy. Flipping over like it was trying to qualify for gymnastics Olympic gold.
“Jesus. How in the world did that go?” You asked.
“Goddamnit. That girl scary as hell.” He tells you as he hauls himself upright and snatches the paper bag off your floor. Groaning as he stood tall.
“John Houston in slutty red heels.” He describes her. Makes you chuckle. Appt description.
As he talks, he jerks an arm across his forehead to disturb the dewy sweat and the leaves caught in his shaggy mane he can feel itching at his forehead. Panting to get his breath back.
“Thank god you don’t have a three story house. Don’t think I would’a made it.” He says, winded. Smokers lungs you imagine.
You smile more just seeing the bits of leaf and broken twig he brought in. Like a stray cat. Coming in with parts of garden trailing after him.
You stand close and reach across to pluck them out. Teasing the little white petals out his fluffy strands of hair.
“Hang on now. I just have to check something…” He reaches for your hand and his warm, over-accessorised fingers seek your pulse. He darts his eyes off to the side and listens a moment.
“Yep. I definitely diagnose you, as not dead.” He laughs. You do too.
Then you wince.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t get in touch. You had my number but I didn’t know how to reach you. Couldn’t see a Munson in the phone book.” You said.
He scuffs his toes against your carpet. Holding the grocery bag against his thigh looking sheepish.
“I uh, I did call your number. Couple times. Rung out. Thought maybe you were avoiding me.” He goes all twirly, and fidgets.
Eyes not meeting yours all vulnerable for a second. He instead takes in the state of his scuffed thorn scraped shoes. The moment overwhelming him.
Your heart sputters pathetically at the thought he’d been hurt and left doubting you. That’s perhaps the last thing on this earth you wanted.
You’d heard the house phone go yesterday. But you couldn’t risk taking your head out the toilet bowl to run and answer.
You put your hand on his elbow where he stands. Step closer. His eyes raise to meet yours. Peeking unsure out under that choppy fringe.
“I’d never ignore you.” You say so honestly it makes a grin burst onto his face. He couldn’t help it.
He believed you.
“Fucking stomach flu. If I knew who it was calling I would have run to it if I could. Sans vomiting down the phone to you.” You joke.
“Sexy.” He quips. Then he looks you over. Cute PJ’s. Your hair is all smushed. “How you doing now?”
You melt as he reaches across and runs his thumb slowly across your chin and your jaw. So tentative. So sweet.
“Better. Just tired I guess.” You fiddle with the hem of your Billy shirt. His eyes don’t dare drift from yours. You really don’t want him to stop touching you.
“That’s good. Good to know I won’t have to suddenly side step to avoid you puking on my feet. I’m not ready for a 360 exorcist move here.”
You laugh bitterly cause that’s not the most flattering image you wanted him to have of you.
“No projectiles. I promise.” You cross the space over your heart with a fingertip.
His hand is still stroking your jaw softly. Hair still a little damp and soaked in the fresh fake coconut scent of your shampoo. You stand there near each other and Eddie’s heart is just growing wings of its own.
You look as cute as ever. A little drained maybe. Eyes a touch glassy, bags under them dark, splotchy neck like you’d been asleep.
“I wouldn’t get too close. I might still be contagious or something.” You warn him.
“And I look like shit right now.” You add. Putting your hand flat on the front of his jacket.
He doesn’t think you do. He unsticks a curl of hair off your cheek. You don’t even breathe too loud in fear it might spook him away.
“I’m willing to risk it. But we may wanna shelve the intensely hot making out tonight. Much as it pains me to say it. Wouldn’t want you to keel over on me, now.” He flirts.
God, that tone of his sets something in your knees quivering.
“Keel over?” You raise a brow.
“Uh-huh. I’m just that good babe.” He winks. But he gets his desired goal. Which is to see you smile and laugh at him.
He switches up the subject before you notice how much your proximity could make him blush.
“Now. Snoopy shorts. Get back into bed pronto. You’re not well.”
He snaps his fingers and points at your bed with a stern smirk. The bag rustles in his other hand.
“Bossy.” You remark as you turn and climb back into your sheets. A little wary and feeling girlish that suddenly, you’re noticing that he’s in your room.
Your room. He’s going to see your Bauhaus, Billy idol, and Bowie posters. He’s gonna see the pile of dirty washing shoved in your hamper and your messy artists desk, stuffed with pencils and paint smeared onto your sketchbooks.
Your walls that are still skated in pretty lilac paint from your childhood. Your pinned up life drawings and your lumpy arm chair with your blue bra and dirty jeans strewn on the arm of it. And you’d not shaved your legs or anything. Oh Jesus Christ. You should’ve tided up a bit.
He’s stood near your bed. He’s gonna be able to see the ratty old dog toy guarding the shelf over your desk. He’s already remarked on your snoopy shorts for heaven’s sake. You try not to let your mind go there with that last one-
He lets you settle in. Flips the blanket over your legs and smooths it over your knees. “There you go.” As he tucks you in like you are actually a patient.
Then he drops down onto his knees, on your carpet, crouching at the side of your bed.
“Now. Call me Florence fucking Nightingale, but I bought you a few things…“ He explains. Hands shuffling for his pockets. Which you suddenly notice are hugely bulkier than normal.
He fishes through his jacket pockets and all the compartments in his leathers. And those ring clad hands are bringing out goods for you.
A can of Sprite on one denim pocket. “Good for healing anything so I hear. Particularly hangovers.” He tells you with a grin.
“I won’t ask how you know that.” You simper.
“I’m such a paragon of virtue.” He insists all salacious and sugary.
A Canada Dry ginger ale is withdrawn from his other pocket. He puts them both on your nightstand. Pats the tops of both of them after he sets them down. Then he’s back to fishing in his pockets.
He brings out two twinkies, a three musketeers, and a single Reece’s cup.
“We can fight over that one later pencils.” He says with a grin.
“Patients’ bill of rights. Shouldn’t I get dibs you know- I am sick.” You stick out your bottom lip and bat your lashes at him.
“That’s playing dirty and you know it.” He shakes his head at you as he dives into more zipped pockets. His tongue tipped out between his teeth as he looks.
He produced a cereal box toy, one of those sticky gummy Alien things. Two DND dice “Huh, been looking for those.”
Along with a handful of some peanut butter crackers, and a mini bag of chips ahoy, and a DND figurine of a Hydra. Followed by a can of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup.
“Should have a tin of Campbell’s when you’re sick, you know, It’s the law. Cure for the soul.” He insists.
You smile wider.
This crazy metal head who half your school hated and swore was dangerous, here he was climbing through your window with a can of soup stuffed in his pocket, just for you.
He’s not some satanic devil freak. You’ve decided he’s actually a ray of pure fucking sunshine. A human ball of kinetic energy.
“I think that’s about it…” He says as a red sharpie, an eraser, a couple pennies, and a seven eleven receipt end up crumpled on the bed next to you. He did manage to find a fruit roll up too. He adds it to the ever growing pile.
“What’s in the bag?” You ask. Nodding to where he dumped it by your bedside table.
“Aha!” He turns and snatched it up with a huge grin and a flourish. “Flaming hot Cheetos and Funyuns.”
He brings them out and lays them on the bed, along with a marlboro packet.
“And a pack of reds, buuut, truth be told those are for me.” He smiles and stuffs them in his jacket pocket.
You wouldn’t fight him for those anyway.
You’d stolen a Newport gold out moms purse once, and smoked it in the girls bathroom at school with Linda, and that was enough. Never again.
Horrible taste of tobacco burning richly as you gagged for breath. Acrid taste on your tongue all day. You’d rubbed it away drinking way too much Pepsi.
“This is a lovely display of domesticity. Munson. Thank you.” You beam at him. Picking through the packets of candy and the crackers. And you meant it too. He noticed you do this curled little half smile when you’re being sincere.
“Gotta look after one of my top ten favourite people.” He winks.
Now he’s done unloading, he shrugs off his jacket by shimmying his shoulders, and toes off his sneakers. Your garden was dry as a bone. But he didn’t wanna be tracking too much dusty mud into your house.
He leaves his jacket and vest behind him on the bench seat. White socked feet squishing into your thick green carpet. Hellfire shirt on his skinny torso. What else?
He comes back to kneeling by your bed. Looking ridiculously cute as he hooks his hands over the edge of your mattress.
It’s pathetic how much it woos you.
“Top ten? I am touched.” You wisecrack, as he pats your knee over the covers. Before he reaches off for the can of soup. Clutched it in his hand. Twirled it up into the air.
“After Lemmy from Motörhead, but you’re definitely before Slash.” He says. After catching the tin in his other hand like he was juggling with it. His dimples come up where he smiles.
“Good. I like to know where I stand.” You nod along.
“Now. You stay there. I’ll go and heat this.” He scrambled up not at all elegantly and whirled away, loping to your bedroom door.
Oh christ. You sit up straighter. “Please try not to set fire to my kitchen.” You call after him.
“No guarantees.” Gets called cheekily up your stairs as he clatters down them. Leaping down the last few.
You can picture him bouncing around down there. Human pinball. Opening drawers, faffing with the cupboard doors trying to find your pots and pans.
No smell of smoke you can detect so that was a positive. He returns promptly and without fanfare, carrying a steaming mug in one hand, a spoon in the other.
“Couldn’t find your bowls. I improvised.” He speaks before he’s even in the room.
Treading carefully on white socked feet into your room. He crouches and hands you the piping hot mug and the spoon. You sit up and balance it on your knees. Thanking him again.
Your cheeks warm. You don’t think it’s from the soup though.
“What we watchin pencils?” He asks as he snaffles the packet of Cheetos onto his hands as he slumps down onto your carpet, and crosses his legs to sit there quite happily.
“You seen the Fog?” You ask as you start to slurp a mouthful of hot soup. Blowing on it first cause it was lava-hot.
He crunches Cheetos so loudly. speaks with his mouth full.
“Lock your doors. Bolt your windows.” He leers in a gravelly voice. Throws another Cheeto into his mouth. “Absolutely. A damn classic.”
“Wanna watch from the beginning?”
“Go for it. I got all night man.” He beams up at you. Wiggles his toes like he’s an excited little kid. You rewind it. Watch the screen slice to monochrome ribbons over the jerky picture as it does.
He seems content to stay there. On the floor. Knees up and hands clasping his kneecaps, as he plucks at the Cheetos and opens one of the peanut butter cracker packets.
You swirl your spoon into the soup. “You can come up here y’know. I mean. If, if you wanted. It’s much comfier than the floor.” You tell him.
“You missing me already?” He smiles all wide. Flashing his straight teeth. Tipping on his ass to lean right up against the bed. Beaming at you. Dimples on that mouth and wrinkles around those eyes.
“You hand delivered me soup. Doesn’t seem right you should sit on the floor.” You scoot over without jostling your dinner, and pat the space next to you.
Your bed was a spacious double. Plenty of room to be had on your blue and pink faded rosebud sheets. Couple of flowery throw pillows against the headboard. You could gladly make space for a little black leather and a splash of Hellfire on those prim sheets of yours.
“Alright, Pencils. But you gotta keep your hands to yourself. Alright?” He leers. “I know you’re at deaths door, and I’m irresistible and all…” He spreads those long guitar strumming fingers across his chest.
His rings gleam in the low gold light from your cheap yellow lamp. Limning him in gilded gold. Creeps across his cheekbones, his jaw, his neck. The curls that wave down his shoulders.
Does something particularly stunning to those deep dark eyes. Like a gold shooting star is bursting across them glittering, as he looks at you.
He’s utterly gorgeous. And it turns you inside out all over again how much you like him.
He pauses as he’s got his knees on the bed. Leaning over to ever-so-slightly invade your personal space. Because when around Eddie, not even your own personal space remained fully yours. Truth be told, you kinda liked that about him. He somehow made it the least obnoxious thing. Invading your space.
His hair hangs over his shoulders. As he stays on his knees at your feet. Grinning like a joker.
“Never fear. My hands shall remain on this mug at all times.” You promise. Cupping the warm sides of it.
He crawls past with a nod to prop himself up against the pillows next to you. Shuffling around to get comfy.
Your stomach goes all wooed and sentimental, cause that amalgamation of drugstore apple shampoo, powdery laundry detergent, cigarettes, and old leather is drifting over your bed as he clambered past on his hands and knees. His guitar pick on that ball chain necklace sways into his chest.
The scent of him and the closeness is chucking you back to memories. Living back through the yesterdays
That sensation of being wrapped around him the record store closet. Your cheeks heat again and you take another sip of your soup to have something to blame it on.
It’s not two seconds of silence and he piped up again. Unable to leave gaps so it seems. “I like your room, by the way.”
You look at him and he’s got this smile on as he’s scanning around at your posters, and your books. Your messy clothes, your shelf unit stuffed with cassette tapes. The assorted minutia of your life crammed all around.
It’s real. It’s cool, it’s somehow intimate. Seeing this inner space all splashed in influence of you. It’s like pulling out wires and cogs from something cause you just want to see how it functions. How all the stacked things that build you, take shape.
Your little habits. Quirks, pinned and hand painted on the walls. History and childhood, all thumbtacked and hanging off picture pins. Your adolescence tucked into drawers, shelves stacked with it.
Wooden paintbrushes stuffed into an old enamel jug that the cream paint is flaking off. Your crinkly cornered art posters above the desk, ticket stubs faded on the far wall, pinned to a busy cork board. Pencil shavings scattered across your open sketchbook that he definitely peeked at when crossed the room. A deep sea blue stroke of an Indie State pennant flag.
“Thanks, it’s uh, not much but-“ You shrug. Modest.
“It looks like you.” He says softly.
“Disorganised?” You laugh.
“Cosy. Artful.” He decides. And he makes a mental note to check out your collection of cassette tapes before he leaves. You had quality taste and he wanted to unwrap more about it. Spool it out and study it.
“I see you’ve ultimately customised the bed space.” He swivels around and catches the scowling slashing red and black of a Billy Idol poster above your headboard. Shirtless and moody, Rebel Yell.
You smile as you dig your spoon into the broth. Swirling it around. You definitely felt your cheeks glow with that one.
“What can I say. I’m a fan.” You tell him openly. Twisting to meet his eyes.
Nods at your poster. “I can see that. He sure is one lucky dude.”
You frown. Confused. Lucky?
He gestures to your band tee.
“Listen I’m getting jealous. He gets to be close to your tits, and above your bed.” He winks.
You laugh. A loud laugh and you try not to snort.
“Maybe so. But you’re the one currently in my bed, Munson.“ Your tone dipping into lovely silky flirt.
You side eye a look at him and he tilts his head all quirky. Dimples in his cheeks rise again. “I guess so.”
He turns and makes a big show of twisting over and flipping the bird at the poster. I win you loser.
“I actually think he’s kinda cute-“
“He is a pretty hot dude. I’ll give you that.”
“You’re cuter though.” You tell him.
His brain stutters through the fact you paid him a compliment.
“You’re only trying to butter me up so you can steal the Reece’s cup. I see right through that facade, sweetheart.” He nudged your knee with his socked foot. Sprawled out on the bed with his hair fanned out crazy over one of your pillows.
You lock eyes. It feels like an electricity pulse. Stinging and sweet. He’d lean in and seal a kiss on your lips if he could.
“Yeah. You got me.” You play. And you’re not even playing at all.
You smile and eat more soup as the movie clicks back to the beginning. You point the remote and hit play.
When you finish your very satisfying mug dinner, you set the mug aside and curl down in your bed. Sliding under the blanket.
This move brings you closer to where Eddie is laid out. Brown eyes fixed on your small glowing tv screen. But his attention is screaming and shrieking and so tugged to you and the way you’re moving next to him.
You fold both hands up under your face and rest down on a pillow near his shoulder.
He swallows when your head sinks close to him. Flicks his eyes down and across to you. He sits with one arm folded behind his head. Legs kicked out every which way. His knee brushed into yours. You don’t shrink away. You stay put.
In fact, where you relax down, your cheek brushed against his shoulder and still you stay. Eddies smile curls a little at that.
There’s a rustle and when you look he’s shaking the Cheeto packet at you. You smile and reach in for some.
The silence is comfy somehow. The film blares on. He opens things and offers them to you. Crackers. The chips. He slurps the sprite. You hog the ginger ale. It’s nice.
You feel in on his chest when he speaks when he laughs it rolls through him in the shake of his steady bowed ribs. The way you smile makes the walls of his heart go all warm, gooey and slippy.
Eddie Munson is the type of guy to celebrate with his fists punched in the air like a roaring frat champion, when you throw a cookie that he catches in his mouth. Crunches crumbs all down his shirt front as he grins.
Your sides hurt with laughing, you nearly snort and send fiery ginger ale out your nose. How is he more amusing than the film you’re both pretending to watch? He just is.
He gossips to you about school. Of all mad things. He tells you about what happened in the canteen when Tammy. H on the cheer squad found out that Debbie C kissed her boyfriend after the basketball game. Tammy apparently dumped a carton of milk over her head. A slapping fight ensued. It was a mess.
You chuckle at the fact he doesn’t give a shit about any of the popular assholes. Except when something funny happens in the lunchroom in front of everyone. Then, it’s worth a chuckle over. They were both catty girls anyway, fighting over some boring ass jock. There was no love lost there from you guys.
He tells you he got a D on his Spanish paper which no one could understand how.
Dustin told him to stop eating his body weight in plastic wrapped jerky from the gas station. Chucked a syrupy yellow fruit cup at him and told him about a balanced diet so he wouldn’t end up getting scurvy.
“Honey, honestly I swear that kid is like the voice of my conscience. If that voice was like, an annoying little gnat yammering on, buzzing in my ear.”
“It’s sweet. He cares about you so much.” You defend.
“So sweet.” He mocks. “Little shrimp.”
But he can’t hide the clasp of affection that settles in his voice. Even in his mocking. The kid worships him. Looks up to him. You just know that puffs up some part of Eddie’s chest. This genuinely sweet and weirdo kid had found his hero in the freak. Always grinning up at the metal head with great gleaming stars in his eyes.
Eddie who was always unapologetically himself and hurled away anyone else’s distaste in him, with the contempt it deserved. Eddie who always told Dustin to be himself and like what he likes without shame.
You hit Eddie upside the head with some hardcore truth. See if it doesn’t sink in that crazy scarecrow head of his. That hard skull and his impenetrable skin, that both grew over double thick to keep out unwanted opinions. Wrapped his vulnerabilities up in razor wire and didn’t let anybody trespass on it.
He’d let you trespass though. Just a little.
“I think Henderson seriously looks up to you Eddie. You’re who he wants to be when he grows up. You’re a literal rockstar to him.”
He blows a raspberry.
“Nah man. He’s got Steve ‘the hair’ Harrington for that. He’s who kids look up too. And more importantly, he’s who their parents want them to be. Straight laced. Shiny hair. Chicks dig him. Prom King. Going to college like a good little boy and will have your daughter home by 9.” He rolls his eyes.
He doesn’t say it to get mean at you. But he’s twisted all the jagged edges around and pointed them in at himself.
You know this is coming from the well of his insecurities. And it plunged down so deep it didn’t see the light of day anymore. You peel off a few of those self deprecating cynical layers, and you hurl some honesty at him.
People aren’t usually… honest, with Eddie. Not really. They don’t get close enough. They don’t care enough. When it seems all be gets is bad press and horrible hard spitting truths. You wipe that away and decide to dare put something else there instead.
“I’ll bet you that Reece’s cup your scrawny ass is so wrong on that. Munson.”
His hair flicks out when he turns to look at you. Sat there and those inscrutable brown eyes looking all melty and puppyish.
“You think it’s scrawny?”
You bite a cracker and grin. Shoulder to shoulder with him.
You’re slumped on each other as the film progresses. Drifting on. Eddie lifts his arm up to stretch out his shoulder, purely by chance, this leaves you curled up. Practically pasted onto his ribs. Hearing the full whump-whump of his heart push through his warm Hellfire clad side.
Underneath all that stiff denim and cold leather, he’s all softness. Mush. You’d never have suspected that. You end up resting your palm flat to his stomach.
He has to blink and revel in the way that touch of yours makes his stomach fizz with squirmy awareness. He begs begs begs his dick not to react cause that would just really shallow and cheapen this moment. He doesn’t want that.
He’s eating the gummy fruit roll up. He bites down on it, maybe too hard. Because he just tested, resting his palm down across your shoulder and stroking the dry ends of your hair. The raised bone of your shoulder blade through the washed black of your shirt. You smell like coconut and so do your pillows and he wants to bury his head in that sweet tropical smell. Wants to take a chunky bite out of it.
You nuzzle into him and make this soft noise at the back of your throat that has his body transcending on through this bed.
Flipping around in giddy idiot joy. It makes him bite his lip. He has to pull himself back to the ground from bumping the ceiling with every touch that you lean for- you fucking lean in for touch of him.
You fill his belly with warm fluffy pride. Euphoria. You stud his angry rocker heart full and silly with red cupids arrows.
And you sat there tonight with rose pink cheeks and didn’t pussyfoot about. No games. Straight laced honesty. Pure and unfiltered. Something hard and punchy like a vodka shot or a stick of dynamite.
Look at him with those eyes that just beckon him to taste your lips again, so he can chase the flavour of his name coming out your mouth.
And best of all, the pièce de résistance, you certainly don’t mince your words about what you think of him-
You admire him. Laughed and joked with him. Chucked Cheetos, cookies and crackers for him to catch with his mouth and laughed so crazy, like it’s insanity and it’s catching.
You tell him his friends love him, and somehow you heal over that ragged wound in his heart, that tells him he isn’t lovable. That little rift in his body that had been there since the day mommy abandoned him, and daddy got thrown in jail again.
It stitched up that little gaping hole. He felt it soothe and heal over. Closed a bit and it felt good.
When his head tips forwards, his eyes burn when he blinks them. Cause apparently you’d both fallen asleep. Lulled by the movie and the snuggly warmth from each other’s bodies all rolled up in the blankets.
The films credits are rolling on and on. His mouth is dry with peanut cracker dust and the sourness of sleep.
He didn’t know how long he’d been out. He rubs a dry knuckle onto his eyes until his world slants and bursts into popping static. He blinks and registers where his limbs are splayed.
Would you believe they’re curled around the shape of you. He doesn’t find that hard to discover.
His arm slung over your belly. Your hips are nestled back into the cradle of his pelvis cause you’d twisted and he didn’t even feel it.
His shoulder tingles, pins scrape to the bone, your hands are curled around his arm that’s over your pillow and down by your side.
His chest was crushed to your back and he’d wondered why his dreams smelt so good- He’d been nuzzling in to chase that sweet coconut smell entwined into your hair. Some added warmth of your skin and the feel of your body making him all dozy.
“Pencils?” He whispers. His voice is shrouded and raspy. He flicks out his free arm and reads his watch. The blinking square numbers tell him it’s 2:04 in the morning.
It feels wrong and mean, peeling the blanket off the corner of his thigh that he doesn’t remember pulling over himself. The new air that rushes over him is cold.
He slips his arms out carefully so as not to disturb your sleep. You looked serene, the way you breathed deep and even, had him leaning in and tucking a hair away from your warm cheek.
He carefully scoops the used packets of food as noiselessly as he can, into the waste paper basket under your desk that’s filled with scattered pencil shavings and crumpled up paper. He leaves the pile of food he gathered stacked neatly on your bedside. Nestled around the pool of gold still being cast around by your lamp.
He shoves his shoes on. Pulls on his jacket. Tiptoes across your squishy carpet and scribbled a note on an empty page of your sketchbook with his red sharpie. The soft skate of pen on paper as he wrote.
He did sneak a glimpse at your sketches. Some of the pen and ink ones you’d do that were better than some comic books he’s read (talented, brilliantly amazing and so nuanced)
Took one very quick spurring survey of your cassettes too. Colour him curious. (Really pencils? Kool and the gang?) Reminds himself to tease the shit out of you for that later.
He pulled your blanket up to your chin. switched your light off. Threw the room into darkness save for the steady sleepy burn of orange that flowed in via the street. Slanted across your carpet. He closes the curtains for the window across from your bed. Let you get your sleep.
He can’t resist brushing a thumb across your cheek before he leaves. Nestled a tentative kiss on top of your head. Takes a lungful of you. You are better than nicotine.
Before he climbs out your window, and probably falls face first in that fucking prickly bush again, he leaves a note slotted on your bedside table. Your nickname unmissable in scrawled red slashing letters. A squiggly funky little doodle of him in a nurses costume. And another one of him, Eddie the Brave, battling with a sword against a permed and very cross dragon in high heels and lipstick.
He signs it with his phone number. And love, and a whole row of wobbly kisses. from, Florence fucking Nightingale.
He grows all warm with the thought of you waking up tomorrow and smiling at his dumbass note. That was the best feeling. He wishes he could bottle that and get drunk on it. Sip it like a pocket flask of whiskey or gin and he’s got DT’s like an alcoholic. High on the nearness of you.
It was well worth the scrape and dig of rose thorns he falls - again - into that damn bush below your window. So worth it.
Summary// After Beron strikes a deal with your father in exchange for land, your younger sister is set to be married to the heir of the Autumn throne. However, you knew she would not survive the cruelness that Eris Vanserra is known for and that she would die before years’ end. So, with a prayer to the Mother, you take your sister’s place, risking your own life to save hers. You can only hope that fate is on your side.
(Chapter two is here! I hope you guys enjoy and as always, thank you so much for the messages and likes and interactions. It helps me so much more than you think. <3 If you'd like to be added to the taglist just lmk!)
Warnings: Suicidal thoughts, Burns, panic attacks, mental abuse, if I missed anything let me know!
Taglist: @ev-ems @cynicalpotato95 @karinaadara @crazysocklovingfangirl @fangirling-central @baebeepeach
Chapter Two: The Forest House
The rope dug painfully into your wrists as you swayed back and forth, your head hanging low as the men around you conversed. It was mid-morning now, the sun now high in the sky as you rode to what you assumed was the Forest House. Eris held you firmly against him, arm tight around your waist while keeping his eyes forward.
Beron and his guards were the ones chatting away as if they hadn’t just ripped you from your home and the life that you knew. It was foolish of you to think they would actually care about their actions, but you had hoped you would at least get some quiet on the journey to your prison.
“What is your name?” Eris asked quietly behind you, fingers tight on the reigns.
It took you a moment to realize that he was speaking to you. He sighed when you remained mute before tightening his hold on you to the point that it became hard to breathe. You struggled against him for a moment before hissing, “Leave me alone.”
He clicked his tongue and eased his grip, though not enough for you to be comfortable. “Tell me your name.”
For the first time since the start of the journey, you looked up, squinting at the sunlight. You didn’t dare look back at him as you mumbled out your name, not having the energy to put a fight. His only reply was a hum as he went back to his thoughts.
However, you took the chance to take in your surroundings. The forests surrounding your court were always bright with colors. You couldn’t imagine something more beautiful than it. The sun and wind would catch the reds and yellows of the leaves, swirling them around and illuminating them like the Mother herself was painting the sky and ground.
It reminded you of when you and Edia would get lost in the woods for hours, playing pretend and making crowns out of the leaves littering the floor. After the two of you would tire, you would just lay back and watch the trees dance above you to a song only they could hear.
The thought of Edia made your heart clench in worry. Eris had claimed to have seen her, and if that were true, others might have well. It was completely out of your hands at the moment and you could only pray that she had gotten to safety before a search party could be collected.
Suddenly the horse came to a stop and you were pulled out of your head, eyebrows furrowed in confusion. The guards and Beron were ahead of you, now in single file, and when you raised your head higher, you realized why you had all stopped.
You had never seen the Forest House in person. It was always described to you as ancient and foreboding but of what you could see, it was beautiful.
Most of the stones that made up the walls of the large estate were covered in moss in various shades of green as well as some of the shingles on the roof. The ground and stairs leading to it were also covered, giving it an enchanting look. Giant trees surrounded you, some of them even seeming to be directly inside the home, with the most breathtaking colors you had ever seen. As you peaked around Beron and his men, your eyes widened when you saw cascading waterfalls flowing down the mountain where the Forest House was built into.
It was something you could have never dreamed of and yet…the beauty was marred with what it truly was. This was not your home. It was your prison.
A golden cage but a cage nonetheless.
The awe and excitement turned sour in your mouth as you rode through the tall gates towards the stables with everyone else. Servants were waiting for you and, when you approached, helped you down with Eris following. Two guards appeared by your side as Eris strolled ahead with his father, climbing up a small flight of stairs and into the house.
“Walk.” One of them grunted and you scowled, wincing as they shoved you forward. You started to follow the same path and, with difficulty, walked up the stairs and to another door. This one was made entirely of wood and was carved with the faces and symbols of previous Autumn Court rulers and nobility.
Their eyes seemed to be watching you as the doors opened, making you feel uneasy as you stepped inside. The air was much cooler than you imagined though the walls looked as you thought, an assortment of dark reds and browns with portraits and animals lining them.
Another thing you took note of was how quiet it was. You had thought that by now the house would be bustling with servants and people but you could hear a pin drop. The guards behind you shuffled in their place and when you turned to look back in front of you, you almost jumped at the woman standing there.
She was older, streaks of grey mixed in with the red of her hair, with brown eyes that seemed to hold numerous stories. Her lips were in a thin line as she looked you up and down, no doubt judging you since you were still in your slip and beaten up.
With a nod of her head, the guards turned around and walked outside, leaving you alone with her. She didn’t wait for you as she started to walk down the hallway. Her steps were soft and quiet like a spirit in the night as you awkwardly followed behind her.
There was a line of windows on the western wall that looked out into a courtyard, a magnificent oak tree in the middle with branches spread out in every direction. There were people strolling along the pathways, some of them dressed in grand outfits while others wore more simple garments. You recognized a few of them as business partners of your fathers and immediately frowned, cursing them under your breath.
“Don’t dawdle about, child.” The woman chided from down the hall, waiting by another large door. You sighed and took one last glance out the window before scurrying down to her, hands still bound, and stopping a few feet in front of her.
She gave you another look as she turned to open the doors, leaving them open behind her for you to follow. You were expecting another set of stairs to lead you to the dungeons but were surprised when instead, you found yourself in a stately room.
On one of the walls was a bed that could sleep an entire family, with dark sheets and blankets made of the warmest furs. It had four columns on each side with a canopy that made you think of the princess stories you used to read Edia. You found yourself reaching out to feel the blankets under your fingertips, relishing in the softness.
The room itself was a soft cream that made you think of home, with a fireplace on the other side that went all the way to the ceiling. A desk was in a corner, parchment and books stacked on the side, while a bookcase was beside it. It was a room out of your dreams.
“This will be your room.” The woman said with her hands behind her back. You watched her with suspicion. This could not be where you were meant to stay, it was far too grand for you alone and Beron wasn’t generous enough to offer it to you.
The dots connected in your head, and you fought back the bile rising in your throat when you realized why they gave you this room. This wasn’t your room…it was Eris’s.
You weren’t going to be allowed the dignity of having something of your own, even if that was a damp cell. They wanted this union to begin without delay.
“Come.” The woman said, walking to the bathroom. “I need to get you cleaned.”
The bath water was scalding against your bare skin but you didn’t acknowledge the pain, cringing as two foreign hands scrubbed you clean. Myrna, the lady from earlier whose name you learned as she undressed you, was your head chambermaid. She was talking to someone outside as two younger women attended to you.
You hadn’t said a word to them since they came in, still processing that you would be with Eris tonight and every night after. This morning had seemed like a blur and you knew your brain had been blocking off the fear and worries so you didn’t go into a panic attack, but now, being here, it was closing in on you.
Someone called your name but you didn’t hear them, darkness fuzzing the edges of your vision as it got harder to breathe. The stories of Eris, of his cruelty, were all you could think about. You were currently recalling what happened between him and his last intended bride, your nails digging into your skin so hard that blood was starting to trickle down your arms.
“Y/N!” Myrna snapped, grabbing your chin and breaking you from your spell. You looked down at the water and saw the red swirling around you. “What are you doing?”
She was scowling as the other two servants left to go grab a healer. The wounds were already starting to heal but you didn’t care. It was like the color around you was fading and you could feel yourself becoming numb.
When you had taken Edia’s place you had convinced yourself you were strong enough to get through this. It wouldn’t be that hard to play along until you escaped. But now that you were staring at it face to face, your confidence had all but vanished.
Edia wouldn’t have survived this…and now you weren’t sure if you would either.
“Get up. You’re going to be late.” She said with a sigh, grabbing a towel. When you made no move to get up she frowned, her eyes watching you with pity.
“Y/N,” She whispered while grasping your arm. “Stand.”
Her voice pulled your attention to her, knowing she meant more than a simple command. You got out of the clawfoot tub and stood bare before the mirror, looking over yourself as the servants returned with a healer. They made quick work of drying you off and let the healer do his work, his hands roaming your ribs and back where you were bruised the most.
You did your best to cover yourself but he just grunted and went on about his work, keeping his eyes focused on your injuries. It was only a few more minutes before he bowed and left, the girls returning to fix your hair and makeup.
Myrna had been talking with someone about a meeting but you didn’t know who. With all the kohl they were lining your eyes with, you assumed it was with Eris or Beron, feeling like a doll being dressed up for display.
“She’s ready.” One of them hummed. Myrna walked in to examine you and nodded in satisfaction, sending them away. She motioned for you to come into the main room, and you begrudgingly did, struggling to walk correctly in the ornate gown.
“Lord Beron is expecting you.” She explained, glancing at the door. You followed her gaze and frowned at the two guards waiting for you. “After that, you will come back here and wait for dinner with your intended.”
“My intended.” You snorted, taking her by surprise. It was the first time you had spoken in front of her. “You mean my master? My prison guard?” The words were now spilling out of you like a flood, unable to hold them back as your fists balled up. “The man who left his last wife bleeding out on-”
Myrna shushed you with a harsh glare and a finger to your lips, only angering you more. You went to push her away from you but noticed the guards had turned their attention towards you. She watched you like a hawk as the fight left your body.
You were outnumbered here. No one was under any obligation to help you and even if they could, you knew better than to expect them to do the right thing. They had their own lives and families to worry about, not some girl who was throwing her own pity party.
It made no difference if you fought or gave in. Either way, you were completely alone in your choice.
“Child,” Myrna murmured, angling her body so that the guards no longer had complete eyes on you. “Do not fight with him. It will do you no good right now. Take in what Lord Beron says and leave as quietly as you came.”
She had a very serious look in her eyes that had your head feeling whiplash. Was she not just glaring at you and indifferent to your situation? What was she trying to do now? The questions clouded your brain until the guards stepped inside and cleared their throats.
They both walked up to you as Myrna seemed to disappear into the shadows, binding your wrists in the same rope from earlier. You rolled your eyes and looked at the person on your left, raising an eyebrow as you said, “Is this really necessary?”
The guard chuckled and shook his head. “We heard the commotion from your house this morning, girl. Lord Beron doesn’t want to take any chances.”
Beron’s name was at the top of your list in red ink right now, as well as your father's. They were the masterminds behind this union and you weren’t the type of person to forgive easily. You could hold a grudge for years and as they led you down a separate flight of stairs, you took joy in imagining all the ways you could make the two of them suffer for what they had done to you and Edia.
Even if you couldn’t escape now, you could allow yourself this small dream.
Another long corridor was in front of you as you took the final step off the grand, spiral staircase. This hall seemed much more formal and lively, servants running around to make sure everything was polished to perfection. You tried not to stumble over your dress as you passed door after door, trying to memorize every detail.
Towards the end of the hallway was one of the larger doors painted a shade of deep blood red. It made you feel small as you took it in, noticing the three of you had stopped just outside of it. One of the guards reached to knock just as it opened, revealing a male with short, red hair.
He turned in surprise but quickly replaced that emotion with amusement. You could tell from the arrogance oozing off of him that he had to be one of the younger sons of Beron, cringing as he shamelessly looked you over like a piece of meat.
“I take it you are my eldest brother’s newest interest?” He taunted while leaning on the doorframe. “I’ve seen better but then again, I think I have a superior taste to Eris.”
It took all of your self-control not to react to his words. Myrna’s warning echoed in your mind as you locked your jaw and looked past him into the room, hoping he would leave when he saw you weren’t rising to the bait.
However, it did the exact opposite. Apparently this Vanserra took personal offense to being looked over and, before you could even blink, had his hand raised to strike you, teeth curled back in a snarl as he spat on your face.
Every insult he could think of was firing out of his mouth at you but before he could actually hit you, someone cleared their throat behind him. The man turned, face red, and lowered his hand when he saw Beron.
“Anwir,” Beron said, smirking. “I thought I raised you better than this.”
Your eyes narrowed in suspicion as the man, Anwir, straightened his posture with a smirk of his own. “Apologies, father.” He responded with a small bow before giving you one last glare as he walked down the hallway.
Beron laughed under his breath before turning to you and welcoming you inside. One of the guards undid your restraints so you could shuffle inside, both of them standing by the door. You held back a snort at the thought that Beron, one of the oldest high lords, needed back up against you.
The study you were in reminded you of your father’s. It was a dark color with a roaring fireplace and various trophies hanging on the walls. Beron also had a massive painting of himself on the wall behind him, looking over the desk like some sort of deity.
You didn’t doubt that that was the point.
“I have to say that you are much more enjoyable cleaned and dressed.” Beron complimented, pulling out a chair for you to sit. You kept your eyes on him as he walked to the other side of the desk and sat as well, his smile not reaching his eyes. “However that beating was well deserved and, if I may, mild compared to what I would have done.”
Images of dungeons and torture devices flashed across your mind and he must have sensed it, his grin turning sadistic. “Precisely.” He gloated, licking his lips. “Perhaps that will keep you in line.”
When you didn’t reply, he hummed while looking for something, papers shuffling about until he pulled the one he wanted to the top. He cleared his throat as his eyes went from you to the paper, going back and forth multiple times before he laid it back down.
“This deal between your father and I has been many years in the making, almost a century,” Beron explained. “It is no secret the amount of land and people your father overlooks, the crops and money he brings in each year. My original plan was to kill him and take over, but, after recent events, I think this arrangement is much more favorable.”
You fisted your hands in your skirts as you took in the information. You assumed the “recent events” was his recent ally of the mortal queen, Briallyn. He had gotten two dozen Autumn Court soldiers butchered and his own son kidnapped, ruining what little trust your court had with the others.
It had been a huge topic of discussion for everyone, from nobility to farmers. People had called into question his ability to lead and you had even heard a whisper of a coup. It was rare for the two classes to agree, but when it had been revealed Beron had allied himself with her, against the advisement of his closest people, everyone was pissed.
Beron had to do some major damage control and this marriage seemed to be one of the pawns in his game. A “royal” wedding would be a most welcome distraction to the people, give them something new to talk about besides his blunder.
As you watched him, you realized he was grasping at power desperately, an animal backed into a corner. And he didn’t even know how easily everyone could see it.
“Edia was, of course, your father’s first choice, not even mentioning another daughter.” He snickered, pulling you back into the conversation. “He was adamant on only the best for her, wanting her to be the next “Lady of the Autumn Court”. I cannot help but find it funny he had no thought for you.”
He, like his sons, was trying to goad you into a fight. You could see where they got it from. Sharp fingernails dug into the leather of your seat as you bit your tongue hard enough to make you wince, knowing whatever you said would be used against you.
“You don’t agree?” Beron asked with a raised brow. “Nothing? Oh well.”
The chair squeaked underneath him as he rose up to stare down at you, eyes dark with malice. “I am no stranger to sibling rivalry, Y/N. In fact, it is something I raised my children on. However, since you have made your sister disappear, this entire negotiation is up for debate.”
Heat burned your cheeks at his accusation, crawling up your spine and your throat as you glared at him. He tilted his head as his voice grew louder, the room seeming to shrink to just the two of you.
“I do not take lightly to someone interfering in my affairs. If it were up to me, I would have left you to be hung in the streets.” The words were like venom as his nostrils flared. “My son saw things differently. I suggest you remember that whenever you get that itch to do something stupid, as I’m sure you already have.”
“I held this meeting with you to remind you of your place. It is the only warning you will receive. In the absence of your sister, you are to be Eris’s wife. You will obey him, serve him, and submit to him in every way or there will be repercussions on a scale your small mind cannot fathom.”
His last words were your breaking point, face full of smugness as he said, “My family is too deeply invested in this for it to be broken over which sister my son gets to fuck.”
You swore you felt yourself become the fire in your veins as you stood swiftly, the smell of burning leather filling your nose as you lunged for him. Beron saw it coming, though, dodging your attack with ease as his own fire encircled your wrists and bound you to the chair.
The rings burned into your skin as you thrashed and cried out in pain, struggling against his magic as he watched with satisfaction. The guards had drawn their weapons at your outburst but Beron waved them off, enjoying the way your tears fell down in defeat.
“What a waste of magic.” He crooned as you set your eyes on him once more. “Was that it? I thought I might be able to push you harder. No wonder you are such a disappointment to your family.”
“Fuck off.” You rasped, chest heaving as you looked away in embarrassment. That magic had been inside you since birth but your mother was adamant on not teaching you to use it, insisting ladies didn’t need to know those things.
“Shall I set your hair aflame next, girl?” He snarled, eyebrows scrunched together as he walked around his desk to come face to face with you. “This was a lesson in what lies in store if you do not comply. I hope you learned something here. The wedding will take place in a month's time so I would suggest coming to terms with your fate and falling in line with my rules.”
You tried to look away, but he grabbed your hair, just like your father, and forced you to stare. “You will attend lessons and training to mold you into the perfect woman, just as my wife did. Any disobedience will be dealt with immediately by myself or Eris, do you understand?”
All of the things you wanted to say died on your lips as your wrists throbbed in pain. He had burned them badly enough that they weren’t immediately healing, probably to remind you of this moment. It was no use to try anything right now, especially with how exhausted you were, so you nodded.
Beron smiled and, with a snap of his fingers, released you to his guards, the rope once again being tied around you but this time digging into your wounds. “Excellent, I’ll be watching. I look forward to seeing you at dinner tonight, Y/N. Good day.”
And with that, you were whisked away and back up the stairs, all but thrown into your room so they could shut it and lock you inside. You let out a scream of frustration as you grabbed the nearest thing, a vase, and threw it against the wall. It immediately shattered and scattered about the room but you didn’t care.
Soon you were grabbing things off of shelves and just going on a rampage, broken sobs bouncing off the walls as the gravity of what the rest of your life looked like. It was stupid of you to think you could do this, outsmart a high lord.
You weren’t brave or selfless for taking Edia’s place. If anything, you were a fool for not putting yourself out of your misery the second Eris laid his eyes on you. Everything you had pictured for your life was falling apart in your hands, the dreams and plans floating away in the wind.
A soft breeze wrapped around your arm as you readied it to throw a book into the wall, calling to you like a siren. You looked over and saw the window cracked open, birds singing to each other while you cautiously walked over.
As you peered over the edge, you saw how far the drop was. There was a small pool of water about sixty feet below you with sharp rocks barely poking out. The window itself was able to go out further than it was, and something whispered in your ear.
Beron’s words, Edia’s face, everything over the last twenty-four hours drowned out all other thoughts as your fingers gripped the edge until they were white. You had nothing left to lose. Everything you loved had been ripped away from you and no one cared. No one was going to save you, so why shouldn’t you?
One foot after the other climbed onto the small bench below the window until the only thing stopping you was your grip on the edges of the sill. Your heart thudded in your chest as part of you screamed no while the other wanted to welcome death so that you could be happy.
That was all you wanted. You just wanted not to feel so alone.
The wind whistled past your ears once more and you closed your eyes, taking a deep breath and uttering a prayer to the Mother to forgive you as you started to lean forward. You were ready to meet death earlier today, and now…now it seemed better than anything else.
Just as you said goodbye, the door clicked open behind you, making you startle and almost lose your balance. Your head whipped around to see who it was and you were terrified to see Eris. He had his arms crossed and eyes guarded as he took in the room, yourself, and the window.
After a tense moment of silence, he sighed and simply said, “Pity.”
Your face scrunched in confusion as you regained your balance, body half turned towards the room as he just sat on the edge of the bed. Here you were, literally about to throw yourself out the window, and he seemed as nonchalant as anything.
All you had to do was lean forward and you would plummet down to the rocks below, letting the Mother take you, and yet…you were hesitating.
“Aren’t you going to try and stop me?” You croaked, voice hoarse from the screaming. “Call your father? The guards?”
Eris looked you over with disinterest as he removed his jacket and undid his belt. “Do you want me to stop you?” He asked, looking down at his boots as he began to undo the laces.
“No.” You said a little too quickly, frowning as he walked across the room to a closet. “No, I don’t need anyone to stop me. Death is a far better option than this life. With you. Forever.”
He huffed out a laugh and emerged in simpler clothes, hair tied back beautifully. “Is your sister this dramatic? I’m starting to think I might just go hunt her down if this is what I am stuck with.”
The mention of Edia and hunting her down had you hopping off the ledge and onto the floor, your finger raised at him as you took a step toward him. “Do not even think about touching her. I will-”
Eris cut you off by grabbing your hand, tilting his head mockingly as you stared at him with narrowed, rageful eyes. “Did my father not just give you a lecture about being an obedient wife? And yet here you are, threatening me.”
You tried to pull back but he was much stronger than you, making you stomp your foot in frustration. He was just as arrogant and bastardly as the rest of his family. “I am not your wife and I will not be talked down to by someone who has to use their father’s threats to scare people.”
This seemed to strike a nerve as his eyes suddenly filled with anger. Your body once again went into fight or flight but you were so exhausted from today that you could not care less about protecting yourself. If you were going to die at the hands of him, then so be it.
But as he stared daggers at you, he never once raised his hand or grabbed your hair. Eris took you in, staring deeply into your eyes before his gaze traveled to your wrist that was still in his grasp. His upper jaw clenched at the blisters and scars, turning them over in his grip before shoving you away.
He smoothed out his shirt and licked his lips, hands clenched as he said lowly, “I suggest you come to terms with this reality quickly if you want to survive this place.”
A scoff left you as you crossed your arms and rolled your eyes. “I don’t want to survive this. I just wanted to protect my sister.”
The truth in that statement shocked you, eyes wide as you watched him cautiously. You expected him to laugh or mock you but neither of those things happened. Instead, a flash of sympathy lit up his eyes but it was gone so quickly you assumed it was imagined.
“If you care that deeply for your sister,” He began as he walked over to the window to shut it, his back turned to you. “You will do what it takes to make my father happy for the time being.”
You opened your mouth to say something but nothing came out. This wasn’t what you were expecting at all, especially from him. Eris ignored your gaping look and strode over to the door, looking back over his shoulder at you.
“Your death will be in vain for her shall you continue this act of rebellion.”
He was right and you knew it. It was why you didn’t jump, why the voice in your head pleaded with you to come back inside. If you died, they would either find your sister or another poor girl to replace you.
Eris pulled something out of his pocket and placed it on the small table by the door. “For the burns. I will see you tonight.” And with that, he left you alone without a glance back.
As his footsteps faded away, you timidly walked over and picked up the salve, turning it over and over in your fingers. You were now very confused. Eris had seen you about to jump. Hell, he could’ve pushed you out himself but he chose to help you instead.
What was his game? Why would he give you this if he had just threatened to tell his father about your actions? Was this his way of manipulating you?
Your mind raced as you listlessly walked into the bathroom and turned on the water as hot as you could, hoping the heat could drown out your waring thoughts until tonight.