pairing: modern au Tyril x MC (Selene)
word count: 6770
warnings: it’s long. take breaks to drink water.
a/n: i’d like to thank @lxdy-starfury for her amazing modern au Tyril art. i love it so much and i worship it daily. secondly, it’s a (re)collection of rather short memories (which i hope make sense when placed together lol). consider it to be a music video, lol.
tags: @lxdy-starfury @brycesgirl @tyrils-star @ejustlurkshere @ginnyginsposts @cashweasel
as per usual i don’t know who to tag so 🤷 you’re welcome or lmk if i’m annoying and should stop tagging you (one day i will make a tag list i swear)
To say that they were completely different would be a huge understatement. They were as different as it gets, the binary oppositions in every way. Not like water and fire, but like the Boxing Day Tsunami and Mount Vesuvius eruption, both destroying forces once triggered. Two very strong, vivid personalities, stubborn and incredibly sure of themselves, who fought tooth and claw and loved like crazy. It wasn’t just about differences in their outlooks on life—it started with (and was caused by) where they came from. While Tyril came from a disgustingly rich, enormously big, and incredibly influential family who has been controlling the East Coast’s big money for decades, Selene has spent twenty-five years of her life in a two-bedroom house in New Haven, living with her brother and grandma, helping with bills, working any part-time jobs she could find, and studying at the local university. Tyril prided himself on having graduated from Harvard Business School, but truth be told, he was just as clueless about life as Selene who studied at the University of New Haven. For most of his life, Tyril lived with his family in a secluded multimillion-dollar villa in New Jersey, with private everything. Private gym, golf course, pool, screening room, vineyard, stud—everything that would help make an impression on business partners.
How did they meet, then? It started with Tyril having enough of his family’s problems and going rogue one day. After a long day of making numerous headlines with a rather childish, irresponsible behaviour in the middle of New York, he had visited a newly opened cafe where he was immediately spotted by Selene. She didn’t dare to talk to him for the first two weeks, though.
He was sitting across her at the cafe, reading something on his phone, alternately sighing and sneering every two minutes. She chuckled when a furry cat jumped on his table, demanding some cuddles. Tyril’s head sprung up and his intense gaze made her blush. “Sorry, it’s just that… I think he sensed you need a break. You look like you’re about to have a mental breakdown.”
“Are you always so forward with strangers you’ve just met?”
Selene bit her lip because holy shit his voice, and put on her sweetest smile before looking up at him again. “I’ve been watching you for quite some time, so I’d say we’re almost friends.”
“I’m not sure friendship works that way,” Tyril raised his brows, gently pushing the cat away. “Where I’m from it’s called stalking, and you could go to jail for that.”
“You’d lose an amazing friend,” she shrugged. “And judging from the fact that you spend here three hours every day you don’t strike me as someone with many friends.”
“What else can you tell?”
Feeling invited by the amusement glittering in his eyes, Selene quickly changed seats and joined him at his table. “You don’t seem to like cats which is weird considering we’re at a cat cafe.”
“Why are you watching me?”
“I’m a people-watcher.” Seeing the man’s skepticism and the cat’s growing demand for cuddles, Selene extended her hand and stroked kitten’s back, immediately drawing his attention. “Many people gossip about you here and considering this expensive watch on your wrist, my guess is that you’re a big shot.”
“Don’t you have a job? Anything better to do?” he mocked, a bit irritated by the accuracy of her observation.
The corner of his lips rose up for a second, making Selene high five herself in her mind. Having eyed her up, he extended his right hand and Selene immediately covered it with hers. “Tyril.”
“Starfury. East Coast Investment Group.”
“So you knew.”
“No, but how many people with such name are out there?” Selene smiled at his initial confusion and shook his hand before letting it go. “Selene. No fancy titles but I won’t object to ‘your majesty’.”
“I won’t call you that.”
Tyril was very selective of his friends. He had, to be exact, one friend. The people he was usually seen with were either annoying Harvard colleagues or the annoying family’s business associates. Due to his family’s status, he felt as if he couldn’t trust anyone because he was just a means to an end for them. People always wanted something from him; therefore, he was confused about Selene’s motives for the first few weeks.
They would always meet at the cafe. It was their safe space, not too intimate, but not too public. Good enough for Selene’s inappropriate jokes and Tyril’s complaining about his family. For some reason, she always managed to cheer him up with… the lightness in her behaviour. Always cheery, joking about everything, and absolutely in love with cats. Or anything. To be honest, this girl was ecstatic about a new plant and the rainbow.
“So you’re basically a celebrity,” she summed up, gently stroking the back of a kitten that’s fallen asleep on her chest. Tyril found this view rather endearing though he’d never admit it.
“Oh, tell me about it. Living in a castle, graduating from the best schools, and having people serving your every whim? The horror.”
“You forgot having your every move watched, being forced to always bring a guard with you, and receiving threats in the mail before breakfast.”
“Where’s your security, then?”
Biting the inside of her cheek, Selene nodded. “Alright, you win this round.”
One scorching-hot August day, having spent an entire night doing research and calculating her expenses, she stormed into the cafe and slumped down across from Tyril. “I have an idea,” Selene stated as she took a sip of his yet untouched coffee.
“Hello to you too,” he snickered, lowering his book, and looked quizzically at his companion. “Did you sleep at night? Because you look—”
“Shut up,” she warned, making Tyril raise his hands defensively. “I want to offer you an adventure of a lifetime.”
“If this is about sneaking you to some stuck-up party again—”
“It’s not. Though you must admit it was fun.”
Amused, Tyril raised his eyebrow, letting Selene continue. “An adventure that we, the simple folks, often dream about. Are you interested?”
“Interested enough to hear the rest of this plan, at least.”
She grinned and quickly tied her hair into a rather messy bun before continuing. “So I’ve been thinking about what you said some time ago—”
“I’ve said many things to you.”
“Alright, new rule: you don’t open your mouth until I’m finished,” she ordered, a bit irritated. Tyril snorted, but obeyed. “We’re going on a road trip. You lose your guards and for a month we sleep in cheap inns, eat cheap food, and visit all those corny places on the East Coast.”
“I wasn’t finished!”
“I wanted to spare you the trouble,” Tyril shrugged. “Is this all you wanted? If so, I’d like to be left alone.”
“See, that’s why you could use a break! You need to relax!”
“I am relaxed.”
“You’re a terrible liar.”
With a heavy sigh, Tyril pinched the bridge of his nose, making Selene smile. She reached for his book and wrote down her phone number on the last page. “I have to go but call me when you come to your senses.”
And just like that, Selene was sure she could throw that idea into the garbage. She was bummed the whole day, but by the time she reached home in the evening, she didn’t care anymore and was set on figuring out something else. Which had to wait until the next day as she hadn’t slept in… many hours. Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that she was ready to kill after being woken up by a phone call in the middle of the night. The only unknown caller she knew was the one who mocked her for not having any sleep the night before. “Tyril, what the hell?”
“It’s three in the morning, what are you talking about? And why aren’t you sleeping?”
“Why aren’t you?”
“Cause you called me!”
Hearing his tense chuckle, Selene sighed, feeling the tension leave her body. “Can we talk in the morning?”
“Can we leave in the morning?”
Selene frowned and rubbed her eyes before sitting up and switching on the bedside lamp. He sounded distressed and… on edge. “Something happened?”
A really long minute of tense silence later, Selene cleared her throat. “Alright. Rent a car and meet me at the cafe at 8. Nothing too fancy, nothing that’ll break down in the middle of nowhere.”
“Consider it done.”
“You wanna talk about what happened in the morning?” Selene encouraged, seeing the worried look on his face. “You sounded… distressed.”
Tyril looked around the busy square, trying his best to compose himself and failing miserably. “Truth be told… I am not spontaneous.”
“You? No way.”
The corners of his lips quirked hearing the amusement in her voice. “Laugh all you want, but I’ve never been outside New York on my own.”
“Regretting flaking on your babysitters already?”
Hearing a muffled laugh, Tyril looked down at Selene and crossed arms on his chest. “You’re awfully serious. But don’t worry, I’ll keep you safe, your majesty. Even though you’re dodging my question.”
Shaking his head resignedly, Tyril smiled. “Alright, jokester, what’s on the agenda today?”
“We start with a coffee and then just… go from there.”
“So no agenda.”
“Nope,” she chuckled. “The most important part is getting to Miami, and having fun on our way there.”
“What’s the probability we’ll run into your stalkers? And most importantly, is my makeup first cover worthy?”
Grinning, Selene tried to convince Tyril to play footsies with her, though all she managed to do was make him snort. “I’m serious.”
“Most probably they already know we’re here, but we won’t see them,” he shrugged. “Though you might expect to be featured in several articles as my mysterious mistress.”
“Works for me. But I really hope they choose my best photos.”
Tyril observed her with utmost scrupulousness and a bit of amusement while she played with the ice cubes in her iced tea. He couldn’t wrap his head around how easily she accepted this part of his life. She just… didn’t care, whereas many of his so-called friends would hang out with him only to get a chance to be photographed by the paparazzi. It was a nice change.
“You don’t care? People tend to be ruthless online.”
“That’s why I’m not on the Internet,” she shrugged. “Besides, all I care about is our lovely trip, not other people’s opinion on me.”
Walking side by side through Spruce Street Harbor Park, Selene was telling the story of that one night she got arrested and spent several hours locked up and eating a cotton candy twice the size of her head.
“So you insulted the public authority,” he concluded, side-eyeing her.
“How was I supposed to know he was an actual cop? It was Halloween!”
“I suppose you could’ve chosen your wording more carefully nevertheless.”
“I did at first, but he wouldn’t leave me alone, so I told him to fuck off,” she shrugged. “I regret nothing. He was a creep. Oh my—”
Tyril looked to his side and snickered seeing his friend crouching in the middle of the sidewalk, petting a puppy. “You’re so tiny,” she squeaked, scooping the dog’s tiny body into her arms. “I love you already. Tyril, look!”
“He’s probably lost.”
Selene chuckled and turned her head to the side to avoid the pup’s kisses. In the meantime, Tyril examined the plate on the dog’s collar. “There’s the owner’s number.”
“You’re absolutely no fun,” she pouted. “Fine, but you’re calling.”
“Well… this is less than ideal. And a bit cliché,” biting the inside of her chin, Selene examined their hostel room. The only room left was a single room and since it was two in the morning, they didn’t have much of a choice. “FYI, I take up a lot of space in my sleep.”
“I’ll take the cou—”
“Do you see a couch here?” she giggled. “Unless you fancy sleeping on the questionably clean floor, we’re sleeping together. Though I must warn you — if you start snoring, you will wake up on the floor.”
“Don’t tell me you’re scared of a little storm,” he mocked, seeing Selene shudder with every thunder. In response, she pointed out the middle finger from under the sheets, and he laughed. “We all have flaws, I guess.”
“Excuse you, I’m perfect.”
“There she is.”
Resignedly, Selene sat up and tied her hair messily before turning to Tyril. “What’s your flaw, then?”
“I don’t want to embarrass you too much.”
Tyril locked his phone and placed it on the nightstand before answering. “I’m… not a fan of open water.”
“Some childhood trauma?”
“If you consider watching too many horror movies a childhood trauma.”
Just then another lighting cut the jet black sky, followed by a series of loud thunders, and Selene cursed under her breath. “The weather app says it’ll pass in an hour or so,” he consoled though the effect was rather mediocre. “Come here.”
Selene carefully examined his outstretched arm and the comforting look on his face, clearly warring with herself. Until another thunder had struck, that is. After that, she snuggled up closely with her head on his chest and an arm wrapped around his stomach. “To be fair, I’m not a fan of open water too,” she mumbled minutes later, feeling the need to cheer him up a little. Tyril only stroked her arm appreciatively.
“Well, we’ve been lied to,” Selene sighed, looking outside the window. It was pouring rain, and it didn’t look like it was going to stop anytime soon.
“The weather app.”
“You can’t control everything.”
“I’m a diagnosed control freak, so I’ll keep trying.”
With a heavy sigh, Selene slumped down on the edge of the mattress. Involuntarily, her eyes followed a quiet thud coming from the bathroom, currently occupied by Tyril. What she didn’t expect, though, was to find the door ajar and her friend’s ripped abs reflected in the steamy mirror. When she realized he was watching her, her cheeks blushed deep scarlet and her eyes focused on her hands. “The perks of a private gym, huh?”
He’s laughing. Good. Crisis averted. “Are you done? I need the mirror.”
As if on cue, Tyril pushed the door fully open and gestured to the empty half of the counter. “Be my guest.”
Well, fuck. Crisis not averted.
Putting on a brave (and flushed) face, Selene straightened her back and entered the bathroom, avoiding Tyril’s amused gaze with all her might. As if nothing happened, she reached over to her make-up bag and busied herself with covering the signs of tiredness under her eyes, ignoring the heat waves whenever Tyril’s lose-towel-covered hips bumped into hers, or she noticed the smirk on his face as he was shaving his chin. He enjoyed messing with her. For the first time he managed to render her speechless, and he took full advantage of it.
“What’s the itinerary for today?” he asked before turning away to look for a hairdryer.
“I wanted to have a nice walk around the city, visit some parks perhaps, but that’s out of the question now,” she shrugged, applying a thin layer of a red lipstick. “I’m starving though, so hurry up.”
Having finished her makeup, Selene sat down on the counter to shamelessly observe his body and the way he clumsily dried his hair. Alright, the way his muscles tightened whenever he was raising his hands. She chuckled which drew his attention. “You need help?”
“Are you sure? I’m pretty good at untangling hair, and it is kind of my fault.”
With a resigned sigh, Tyril handed her a hairbrush. “Just bear in mind that I’d like to keep at least half of my hair. And don’t ever touch anything with sticky fingers again,” he mocked, and Selene gifted him a nudge in the ribs.
It was a new sight. Tyril usually wore his hair in a bun so seeing how long and beautiful it was for the first time was an experience. Being unable to stop herself, she ran her hand through the soft, thick strands, marvelling at how incredibly well it suited his handsome face. So stunning. So out of her league. “Turn around,” she ordered, reaching for a hairbrush. Expensive thing.
“And entertain me. How was Harvard?”
“Like any other school,” Tyril shrugged, crossing his arms at his chest. “I wasn’t one for partying or even living on the campus.”
“So you were a nerd,” she giggled, gently brushing his jet black, luxuriant hair. “I could’ve foreseen that. Alright then, let me entertain you.”
Selene swallowed at the sight of his bare, muscular back and bit her lip, trying to push all the dirty thoughts out of her head. “During my senior year I accidentally went on a date with a professor.”
“I wish,” she chuckled seeing the disbelieving look on Tyril’s face once he turned around. “I wanted to try Tinder and I matched with this guy. We went to dinner, spent some nice time together, and the next day he introduced himself as my new professor during class. It was… an experience.”
“I’m having a hard time believing this,” Tyril admitted, placing his hands on both sides of her on the counter, trapping her with his body.
“I would show you our texts, but I uninstalled that damned app the second I came back home.”
“How old was he?”
“What was the class?”
“Indigenous Canada, at 8 a.m. every Friday. I finished the course with an A.”
Squinting his eyes suspiciously, Tyril searched for any signs of a lie in her eyes, but apparently she was telling the truth, however bizarre it sounded. “Fine.”
“Are you ready to put on some clothes now?” she bickered, admiring the tiny blush appearing on his cheeks. “Not that I mind the view, but the police don't take kindly to flashing.”
“Who are you texting?”
“No one, I’m googling you.”
Surprised, Tyril raised his brow and looked at Selene’s cheerful face, abandoning his milkshake for a second. “Why?”
“I’m looking for some embarrassing stories, but apparently you’re all prim and proper,” she shrugged. “And disgustingly rich so breakfast’s on you.”
Smirking, Tyril rested his head on a hand as he observed her hilarious reactions. “Holy shit, your family’s hot.”
“Alright, that’s it.”
With a laugh, Tyril gently took the phone out of her hands and laid it on the table. “I guess you were lucky to hit the genetic jackpot. Also, the girl two tables to the left has been ogling you ever since we walked in.”
“Too bad for her, I guess.”
3:12 a.m. It was still dark outside and rather chilly, though that could’ve been caused by the close proximity of the ocean. While sharing a blanket on the back seat of their rented car, Selene kept nudging Tyril in the ribs whereas he tried to get some well-deserved shut-eye. “Can you stop already?”
Selene chuckled seeing the irritation on his face. “My door won’t open, and I really need to go out, so you either move or let me scramble over—”
“I’m not moving so do what you must.”
Contented, Selene made her way to the door, making sure to irritate her friend with digging her knee into his thigh and swinging her hair by his face. It worked. “Jesus Christ, what do you want? Because I have a feeling it’s not about going out.”
“I want to see the sunrise from the beach.”
“I was hoping you could go with me.”
Selene bit her lip, seeing the deadpan look on his face at that moment. Did she have an agenda? Yes. Was she an awful liar? Definitely. So considering she couldn’t lie, being annoying was the only option left to get what she wanted.
“Will you let me sleep after that?”
“Then get out,” he sighed, throwing off the blanket.
“So what is it really about? And why is Miami our destination?”
Selene knew those questions were going to appear in his head eventually. Did she bother to come up with a reliable lie? Of course not. She could feel his burning gaze on her face, even though her eyes were fixed on the horizon, slowly changing colours in front of her eyes as the sun slowly ascended. “It’s dumb.”
“Nothing’s more dumb than your excuses to get me here.”
“Oh, shut up,” she smiled and hid her hands in the pockets of her hoodie. “I guess you won’t believe if I say I really want to see the Ocean Drive cause I’ve played too much GTA as a kid?”
“Of course not.”
“It seems you have a perfectly working bullshitometer when it comes to me,” she sighed but seeing the annoyed frown on his face, gave up. “Fine. I want to visit my mother’s grave. Consider it a part of my therapy.”
Selene expected a snarky remark. Perhaps a sneer and him turning around to go back to sleep. Anything, really, but not a nod and a quiet “Alright.”
“I was planning on doing that when you were sleeping or something. I won’t drag you into this.”
“You’ll do whatever you want, and I’ll support you no matter what you choose,” Tyril shrugged.
“You’re my friend, and clearly it’s important to you.”
Selene nodded, having eyed him up carefully and gave him a tiny smile. “Thank you.”
“Any boyfriends? Girlfriends?”
Selene quickly downed her shot and grinned, looking at her perfectly sober companion. “So that’s why you wanted to get me drunk. I’ll let you know, I’m not one for spilling secrets drunkenly. But I’m feeling generous, so we can play a little game, though you only have two questions so choose wisely.”
She made herself comfortable in the armchair and quickly typed something in her phone before locking it. “I don’t do relationships.”
“My therapist said commitment issues so won’t argue with her.”
Tyril eyed her cautiously, not even trying to hide his disbelief. “That’s bullshit.”
“I’m not one for relationships, believe it or not. I’m a lot of trouble, and it’s too much for most of the people,” she shrugged. “My turn. Who’s this?”
Tyril looked at her phone and snorted, shaking his head amusedly. “Just read the headline.”
“I did, but I have a hard time believing this is your mistress,” she bit her lip to hide her amusement and threw the phone aside before sitting next to Tyril. “So?”
“You’re kidding. She’s like… Miss Universe or something.”
“Not in the slightest,” he shrugged. “We were engaged for six years.”
“Suddenly I’m seeing you in a completely different light,” she mumbled with surprise painted all over her face, making Tyril chuckle. “So what, you must’ve proposed when you were… 18? 19?”
“19,” he sighed. “We were definitely too young.”
“Is this why you agreed for this trip?” Selene raised her eyebrow curiously, wrapping her arms around her knees. “To forget?”
“Time for a more mundane question: why are you so secretive?”
“I am not.”
“I don’t know anything about you despite your name and some questionable stories,” he crossed his arms but seeing he’s not getting any information from her, resigned. “Fine, keep your secrets.”
“You’re telling me this because you want to share some shameful regrets, or you want me to take you to an actual concert?”
Tyril smirked. “I’m telling you this because you asked.”
“We should do a bucket list with all those plebeian things you’ve never done,” she chuckled and offered her hand. “Give me your phone.”
Once he handed her the device, Selene quickly opened the notes and started typing. “Next, you ever got drunk?”
“Good thing I came prepared, then,” she grinned and reached over to the nightstand for an already opened beer. “You finish this, and I continue robbing you out of your bashful secrets.”
Seeing the disgust on his face after the first sip, she laughed mockingly. “Embrace the taste, it’s just the beginning.”
“That’s exactly what I’m afraid of,” he sighed but bravely continued drinking.
“Soon it won’t matter anyway. Next, perhaps the most important question — you ever watched The Notebook?”
Stop being a loser and go to a concert (I recommend the queen, Rihanna, but I’m not picky. Just make sure it’s a concert, not opera).
Watch the greatest movie ever made (“The Notebook,” in case your drunken mind erased the name of this masterpiece).
Carve a pumpkin!
Don’t call yourself a citizen of this country until you make some proper s’mores.
Read a book that will make you feel things for once and no, books on economy don’t count (The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a must, and I envy you reading it for the first time).
ORDER JUNK FOOD. And by “junk food” I don’t mean fancy chicken. I mean KFC chicken.
Go trick-or-treating! Wear a lame costume and force people to give you sweets.
Disney movie night week because I have a feeling your childhood was all about reading Bartleby, the Scrivener and watching the lamest news programs. Also, watch some SNL.
COOK A DINNER. Open YouTube and follow the instructions. It’ll probably be stressful AF, but self-made dinner tastes amazing 😋
Go on a proper date, loser❤️ When you’re ready ofc. But I have a feeling you haven’t done that in a really long time.
“Do this, then we’ll reassess,” she summed up, handing him back the phone and raised her eyebrow seeing the beer bottle empty. “That was fast.”
“I figured I’d rather get over this as soon as possible. It’s awful.”
“It’s passion fruit,” she chuckled. “Rich boys and their refined palates. Choose your next poison, fancy pants. Beer, whiskey, champagne?” Selene looked up from the fridge and smiled, seeing that he’s already a bit tipsy. What a loser. “You know what, forget that. We’re going out.”
Selene was a good singer, apparently. Not extraordinarily good but… good. Tyril appreciated her solo performances of acceptable pop songs during their car rides even though sometimes her choice of repertoire was rather childish and headache-worthy. For some reason, she really loved listening to Disney songs and rather vulgar rap songs, which tended to draw attention. Like this one time when they stopped at the red light and a girl in a car next to them rolled down her window and joined in. Or when a group of kids waved at them yelling how much they love that song.
That night, however, Selene insisted on a karaoke club and while Tyril occupied their table, sipping some questionable alcohol, Selene sang her heart out with newly made friends. Mostly drunk and not half as talented as her, but they had fun. And the thing with Selene was that she had a really beautiful smile and Tyril would do almost anything to see it.
He watched her as she dominated the stage, shamelessly upstaging her companions. Illuminated by the blue reflector and shining with the ton of glitter on her body, she looked absolutely stunning and apparently Tyril wasn’t the only one who thought so.
“Someone asked me on a date.”
Selene slumped down next to him and took a few deep breaths, visibly exhausted, though with a huge grin on her face. He eyed the small piece of paper with a number she placed on the table and nodded. “Too bad for them,” she added before ripping the note in half.
“His voice wasn’t impressive enough?” he asked jokingly and finished his mug.
“I wouldn’t know, he was hiding somewhere the whole night,” she shrugged. “But I’m here with you and I don’t ditch my friends for dates. How’s your head?”
“If you expected me to get wasted on one beer then I have some bad news, love.”
“I didn’t, but that’s your second beer, love.”
Selene expected him to blush and change the subject. It seemed more like him. However, considering the alcohol, their recent heart-to-heart, and the growing something between them, it was not that surprising to see his gaze slip to her lips, though it was enough to make her heart sink for a second. “Wanna make out?”
“Stop dodging my questions.”
It was a challenge. A dare, if you will. Knowing Tyril, Selene supposed he would opt out at the last second, considering they were in a very public place, so she kept egging him on the whole evening. And he took the bait.
Despite him being a great kisser, he was also a bold one. Tyril didn’t play around—he kissed her with all his pent-up desperation and hunger, drawing her close by the neck, and absolutely not caring about their surroundings. Selene smiled mid-kiss—it was enough to draw his attention and ask what’s the matter, but not enough to break the kiss.
“I think it’s high time to leave this place.”
For the first time in his life Tyril was… drunk-ish. Spilling secrets left and right, giddy, cheery, and so in love. They were sitting on the bed, playing cards, and having a pretty serious heart-to-heart.
“So what was the real reason for this trip?”
“You won’t let this go, will you?” she asked, and in response Tyril only shrugged and collected Selene’s cards. “I needed a break.”
Tyril furrowed his brows and collected another two cards. “From what?”
Pursing her lips, Selene averted her gaze for a second. Tyril seemed to have sobered up in an instant, and she immediately regretted elaborating on this subject in the first place. “From everything. I told you I’m trouble.”
“And here I thought you couldn’t be even more vague,” he bickered, making Selene sigh, and finally laid the remaining of his cards on the messy pile between them, not feeling in the mood to play anymore. “You can talk to me, you know.”
“My parents weren’t the best caregivers in the world,” she mumbled after a while, suddenly too shy to even look at him. “I don’t want to go into details cause I’m in a really good place right now, but… I needed a break from seeing my family every day. Going to therapy, reopening the wounds I never knew I had, and.... You seemed to have similar experiences,” she shrugged her shoulders. “How come you’re drunk, and I’m the one spilling secrets?”
“What happens tomorrow?”
Tyril met Selene’s eyes in the boudoir’s mirror as she busied herself with finishing her really heavy makeup and crossed his arms on his chest while leaning on the door frame. She’s been wondering the exact same thing since she woke up in the morning. What they had was unique and the further they went, the more forbidden it felt. Selene was aware of what his family thought of her, and it didn’t bother her, though she worried about Tyril. He was torn between staying true to family’s tradition and to himself. Their little road trip breathed some life into him, made him truly… happy and careless for a few weeks, but it had to end eventually. Now was the time of serious decision-making. Were they going to remain friends? Or will their roads part?
“How about we worry about this tomorrow?”
Tyril nodded with a smile that didn’t quite reach his eyes and seemed to be the fakest she’s ever seen. Then she returned to putting some blush on her cheeks. Taking the last glance in the mirror, Selene took a deep breath and adopted the approach of fake it till you make it. She forced on a smile, blinked away the tears, and reached for Tyril’s hand. She intended on not letting it go until they had to part tomorrow.
Once they made their way downtown and got in line for the comedy event Selene managed to snatch tickets for, she got… clingy. Though her official version was that she was cold. Not that Tyril minded. With arms wrapped around his waist and head resting on his slowly rising chest, she took the moment in, breathing in his cologne and trying to imprint his touch in her brain. A futile effort, but it brought her some comfort.
She was never like this. Her heart was the most guarded place in the universe, and yet he managed to steal it, with no effort whatsoever. This trip was supposed to be an escape, an excuse to make him feel better, unburden him and help forget the mess he left in New York. It was a purely friendly thing at first and now her heart was breaking at the thought of coming home without him. Because as much as she wanted to ask him to stay, she couldn’t as it would mean flaking out on his own family and everything he worked for his entire life. And as much as she didn’t want to admit it, what they had was just a fling with no right to become anything more.
Feeling a soft kiss on her temple she snapped back to reality and followed Tyril inside the building once it was the time. During the show, he seemed to be really enjoying himself and at that moment Selene felt that her job was done. Finally, Tyril looked like a twenty-five-year-old, relaxed, and having fun on a Friday night.
“I don’t think you realize how many heads you’ve turned tonight,” Tyril admitted as he closed the door and placed the card key on the boudoir.
“Back at you,” she smiled, stepping out of her heels and taking out her quite heavy earrings. “There’s still one thing we haven’t done.”
Selene extended her hand and once Tyril caught it, she placed it on the small of her back and rested her left on his forearm. Tyril smiled as realization dawned on him. He promised her a dance. To teach her a dance, to be exact. She might be a decent singer, but when it came to dancing she was absolutely horrible.
“You better tell me what to do next because I’m completely clueless,” beaming, she looked up at his face just as he instructed and slowly followed his footsteps.
As he watched her, still full of energy despite the late hour and so beautiful, he thought that it was hard not to fall for this woman. She was the epitome of kindness with a natural talent for making friends with everyone. Always so positive, cheery, kind. He’s seen her in all the unflattering states: drunk, exhausted, stressed, and heavily disappointed, and he still thought she was the most stunning woman he’s ever seen.
Then he thought about how much he didn’t want to lose this. He truly considered leaving the business behind just so he could wake up to her every morning and watch her going on with her life, standing by her side and supporting her every decision.
Selene smiled shyly and moved closer, carefully examining Tyril’s Greek-God-like symmetric face. The cold tips of her fingers touched his cheek, examining the soft complexion, as her thumb caressed his lower lip. He was mesmerising. Truly stunning. Hardly ever did she have a chance to take such a close look at him but when she did, she was stunned. She was so awed, she didn’t even notice the way his breath hitched when he noticed the brown specks in her blue eyes. She knew that at that moment she was breaking her own rules, but her body was aching for his touch ever since his hand accidentally brushed hers.
“You wanna make out?” Tyril quoted her own question with a smile on his face. Selene giggled, wrapping her arms around his neck.
“I’ll do you one better - you wanna bang?”
“I’m scared to think what your marriage proposal would look like,” he mocked, but before she could throw a counterblow, he kissed her, pulling her body close to his.
The rest of that night was restless as neither of them managed to fall asleep for even a few minutes. Selene lied comfortably in his arms while Tyril took in the feeling of her bare skin on his and her slow, rhythmic heartbeat on his chest.
She desperately wanted to ask what had he decided, but it was a) none of her business, and b) not the time. So she just stroked his stomach, drawing some nonsensical figures with her fingers.
“You know you have your own Wikipedia page?”
“Do you mind elaborating on “turbulent love life?” she giggled, propping her head with a hand. Tyril sighed, but the amusement was clearly visible on his face. “You do look like a massive heartbreaker.”
“Let’s just say that I might’ve taken advantage of my social status as a teenager.”
“And here I thought you were a perfect example of prim and proper.”
“Everybody makes mistakes.”
“Tell me one thing about yourself. One memory, if you will.”
“A good one or a bad one?” she asked eventually, throwing his shirt on. Tyril’s hands travelled up and down her bare thighs as she straddled him while his eyes admired her features in the faint, navy-blue light.
“Whichever you feel like sharing.”
Selene took some time to think it over, constantly distracted by his touch, and eventually averted her gaze.
“I don’t remember most of my childhood,” she confessed with a gaze fixed on the withering rose bush outside. “My shrink thinks something bad happened and my brain just… revolted and repressed it.”
With a heavy sigh Selene shrugged and smiled nervously. And that’s when he finally connected the dots. It doesn’t take a psychologist to figure out she must’ve experience serious mistreatment. It was the only logical explanation, considering all she’s told him so far. That’s why she never talked about herself. She was figuring out whom she really was.
“It’s whatever. Can’t miss something you never had, right?”
Running her fingers through Tyril’s long hair, Selene wondered whether they would ever meet again. She certainly hoped so but at the same time she was aware that his lifestyle was completely different from hers. People like him have their life arranged before they’re born, and she couldn’t interfere with that. It was a good adventure, but perhaps too idyllic to last forever.
“Was it worth it?”
Tyril raised his head from her chest to look her in the eye and see uncertainty written all over her face. “It was.”
“I don’t want this to end.”
The mood became quite somber as the sun slowly rose and the realization of the journey’s end finally really dawned on them. Selene kissed his temple once Tyril snuggled up to her again and closed her eyes, enjoying the last minutes in his embrace.
New York (8h)
The eight-hour ride back to New York was dead silent. Selene focused on the road, blocking out everything else, from the radio to her vibrating phone and even Tyril shifting uncomfortably in his seat. She had to stick to a plan. Her emotions didn’t matter.
Tyril, however, warred with himself most of the time. He wanted to respect her decision, but at the same time he could feel his heart physically break, and wanted to be selfish. But he couldn’t force her to stay. They both had things to figure out, and it wasn’t a great time for a relationship. Or whatever it was between them.
“It doesn’t have to end this way,” he pleaded, taking her hand in his.
“It does. I told you I don’t do relationships.”
“We’re still friends. Nothing changes between us,” she smiled reassuringly and cupped his cheek, tenderly stroking it with her thumb.
Before Tyril could further protest, Selene stood on her toes and silenced him with a kiss. A deep, passionate, tear-tainted kiss, though she wasn’t sure whose tear it was. And as the clock struck 4 p.m., she stepped out of his embrace, looking at him with a soft smile. “It’s time. You have to figure out what you want to do with your life, I need to fix mine.”
He sighed, slowly releasing her from his embrace and took the last look at her.
“Call me when you do that,” she added quietly, slipping her hand out of his grip. “Then we’ll reassess.”
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