stuff us in boxes that's where you want us
cardboard is boring, we brought our matches - look how it burns
Matteo admitted almost too innocently sweet, a little lie she could see right through and he probably knew it. It prompted a very clear look that screamed bullshit even though the smile upon her lips was one out of amusement. That temporary lock of eyes as she rose a singular brow. "one part good at at least three parts of mischievous." She uttered with ease, her fingertips reached to run along the wall occasionally in an all too casual way as they meandered through the French castle, her gait entirely comfortable. It was nice, admittedly to not have to look over your shoulder, to simply... just be.
The pair moved with ease through the impressive castle that was Matteo's home, curious eyes soaked in all there was to be seen while they spoke. Door after door they passed which only felt increasingly more like some infinite mirror. Never had she seen so much accumulated stuff... It was like she walked down the halls of Museum de Matteo with the man himself as a guide. She passively wondered if there were secret passages hidden within those walls. It was amazing to see the countless amassed relics all with their own tale to sing.. All but dwelled within those chosen rooms. There was simply too much to see, between the art, architecture and the countless doors that opened upon Matteo's silent magical command, and yet the fae seemed far more intriguing than all there was to see. It was uncertain just where they would end up. Perhaps the highest peak where she would survey the land like some kind of gargoyle. Poor Herbert with his short legs, attempted to keep up with the pair as much as they possibly could... the hardest bit were those stairs. But he tried... admirably like the resilient little beast that he was. For being such a tiny dog, Harley had to admit he certainly made up for it in... personality.
They finally passed the music room, Harley mentioning that mostly embarrassing memory that seemed so long ago and yet... she had been in her 20's then. It felt more like a distant memory with each passing day.. More like it was a dream than anything else. It was a short period of her life where... she was able to be free where her fate for once felt like her own. Free from the vampire nonsense and any other dark voodoo mumbo jumbo that always seemed to be waiting, lurking like some ominous monster waiting for her. She remembered the tattoo parlour she owned with perfect clarity and great fondness. How proud she felt at something that was her own, something that was successful because she had made into just that. It was one of those rare times in one's life when you have some epiphany of, hey I have my shit together... that creeps up on you and you realize you've grown not just in age but as a human that gives you some false hope for a pitiful future. She could do whatever the fuck it was she wanted.. She fixed up her dad's old car, made a band with some friends.. And yet how was she to know that her freedom was never her own. She had been foolish to think there was life after all she had experienced. Yet perhaps she'd always be a fool.. A hopelessly hopeless one, clinging on to smoke as if it were a tangible thing to hold on to.
Curiousity seemed to spark within the silvery eyed fae then. She could not help that devious grin that found her lush lips then. He wanted to see the damn video! There were some things in life that should have remained buried. She was certain. "Oh Matteo.. You have no idea. I fear I would never live it down if you knew. But you should know... We had merch too and creepy old dude who wore that shirt at every gig we played... no matter how small.. He showed up, same place at the front... by the speakers, how he had any hearing left I have noo clue... We played heavy rock music at those tiny little dive bar venues... I played guitar and vocals.." She offered... pulling one out of Matteo's books.... Giving information while giving none at all. "You won't find me anywhere... online, I had a friend get rid of every last trace when... things started to go a little sideways..... except for... Let's just leave it at that. For my own dignity or maybe when that's finally gone... I'll give you a shirt." She shook her head with a little laugh.
Matteo went on to indulge her in his own instruments he played. A crwth... What the hell? Was that some throaty crunching sound that someone sick would probably make or some.... Weird whistle type thing. For a moment she seemed entirely confused. Maybe it was just the french pronunciation of it. "Come again? A guitar and what?" She asked entirely perplexed, not even bothering to hide it from her voice.. She didn't even want to attempt repeating that name of whatever it was, knowing damn well she couldn't without hearing it several times. Maybe it was just some weird.. Noises you could make with your throat. Or hell, maybe he was just making shit up. Of course he knew how to play some obscure instrument no one beyond a 1000 years would know. At this point, it was any one's guess.
That conversation, however, was distracted by the room he brought her to next. That endless archive of Matteo's life was impressive to be sure. She was shocked it wasn't bolted shut with a million locks meant to deter people... So much like his true emotions he kept hidden behind endless years of practice walls that could rival her own. She was amazed by how many countless files and binders and paintings all fit within that one room. It seemed to go back forever and yet everything was neat and orderly. Oh the sheer number of things she could find in here, she was certain of it... Harley was like a bloodhound when it came to finding things that were intended not to be found. Give her a man's computer and she could find their porn or promiscuous photos in no time flat..
Matteo spoke a great deal of Alexander, that even the name alone seemed to be spoken with an undeniable respect... that name amongst all those sneaky clues he had set out of her... whether by accident, subconscious, or intentional the raven haired woman hardly knew. But she retained far too much for her own good.He directed her to that framed photo of himself and Alexander in uniform, Matteo's all too familiar face remained unchanged from then and now, it was almost eerie. She studied that photo with such impressive scrutiny before she drew her gaze back to the french fae.
"You both look incredibly adorable in uniform." That obvious tease spoken with that hint of mischief in her tone. That was probably the last thing any terrifying soldier wanted to hear and yet she could not lie... Still she could not help but draw back to wondering which great king he was.... That name.... Alexander the great played over and over in her mind, resurfacing once more again now. How ridiculous a notion... and yet how could that be? A peculiar expression soon appeared on her feminine features as she reasoned with herself.. Yet... if Matteo's age alone was any indication... A quick google search would be all the conformation she needed. Hm. Perhaps weirder things have happened... and would.. At the end of the day.. It hardly mattered who you were.. But more the person you were now. At least to the spitfire anyways... who could count the number of people she trusted on one hand.. And yet.. Who truly knew her?
It did not take long before she found that large painting of a woman, perhaps even a little eerie but mostly beautiful. It even seemed to possess its own... aura... Not that anyone who could walk in here and miss it. That brief description glossed over by Matteo only fueled her own intrigue and yet it was clear that there was more than a story here. No one kept a painting so large and prominent if it meant so little to him. Such a sad painting and yet something about it was hauntingly beautiful. Harley broke her line of sight of it to peer back at the man whose expression remained unchanged. Not a hint of a smile lingered on his lips as he attempted to keep whatever emotion he so attempted to hide, contained in a neat little box behind that perfected veneer. As if emotions could ever truly be contained... no matter how many masks you wore you could never run from yourself.
Matteo's familiar accented voice eased into the room again, she swore it seemed softer then, his answer far more contrived... not giving more than a simple answer to what she had asked. The more he concealed the more aware Harley became, while she didn't feel he was lying.. No her bullshit meter ran strong.. but there was so much that the dark haired fae wasn't saying.
The frenchman was certainly not unpracticed in keeping those secrets at bay... purposely shifting the raven haired woman's thoughts... onto something else like a well oiled... defector at work. Yet how she was unable to truly stop thinking of that portrait. She allowed the conversation to shift, at least for now.. Harley decided to at the very least choose an album at random.. Oh no. She would not choose the safe bet he offered up, no matter how much she would have loved seeing him in those flared pants. Infinitely curious of the man's potential... hippy phase.
She found her way to the comfortable couch then, allowing herself to skim through those pages as he explained the era from the book she procured. He had probably known which one she had chosen even before she had chosen it. He continued to explain the bet his father had lost to him. It seemed almost foolish to bet against someone who could see the outcome... The image of a full grown man king on a bike throwing papers seemed to amuse her. " A king reduced to a paperboy.. Now that is something I wish I could see. Why would anyone bet against someone who can see into the future anyways?" She mused out loud a small smirk played upon her lips then as she casually peered over those photos, her fingers skimming with strikingly gentle care as she did.
She curiously studied a rather baffling photo when suddenly she saw Matteo move, a deliberate move meant to draw her attention back toward him. Naturally it worked. Those feline instincts seemed to hone in on those ever quick movements...especially when something as big as an apple tossed... slowly her way.
Oh come on now, the man hardly tried a proper attempt, that game already at its last bite. Harley easily captured the remaining tossed fruit.. That impish look that was entirely the frenchman bloomed upon his own features meeting his entrancing silver eyes. That was not a look...of someone who looked like he lost. She closed that album, placing it upon the table before her, raising the apple higher in line with her eyes. Really? That was the best he could do. She was certain he preferred to win. That bet with Alexander and his apparent smug pride as he spoke of it seemed to attest to it!
She had walked headlong into a waiting trap that he had planned for her.. Yet a victory was a victory. Harley then sunk her teeth into that final piece of apple. She had won. Even if he had let her. But what a trap he had her in, that victory bite still tasted so sweet within her mouth before Matteo explained that symbolism of apples. Harley was not prepared for that mention of marriage in the least, as Matteo laughed genuinely at the sight of the raven haired woman's shocked features as she nearly choked on that bite. He meant to murder her apparently! That slippery little sneak! It was far from what she was anticipating and she had waltzed right into it.. She struggled to compose herself... That disbelief of today's events is easily spoken in teasing amusement... "To think that it isn't even happy hour yet... seemed pretty hard core." the pun was fresh upon her lips curious to see if he had caught on to it, wiggling the last of that core. "You know instead of jumping straight into marriage.. You could have just told me I'm the apple of your eye.." That thickly woven sarcasm laced within every syllable, one of the only things that never let her down. Nor.. did those terrible puns spoken with every confidence in the world apparently. "I'm sure that's a little too punny." If only she had a dollar for every bad pun ever spoken, she would be a very wealthy woman.
Yet... how undeniably that game he had attempted to restore between them didn't seem at all.... Convenient with the timing of those harder topics. Ah if it was a game he was after, that flirtatious repartee far too easy to get swept away in. She had admitted it would have been a simple thing to fall into that habit as irresistible as it was. He knew it too. He had to know his charm and appeal and how to use it and that impish look upon his features foretold the endless ways this conversation could go. How far was either one of them was willing to take it.
She leaned in forward to place that apple upright next to the abandoned book. Ah this room and its many secrets still watched over the duo all while Herbert contently enjoyed his spot of rest by the sofa leg. Apparently the poor dog tuckered out from that massive staircase he overcame with all the determination in the world.
Ah but that one look was enough to see that game struck a new... but she saw beyond it. That crack in his carefully carved mask he sealed himself away. It perhaps gave her the means to steel herself as she created... a trap of her very own.. She could tell she had him wrapped around her words, eager to leave those painful memories behind that manicured facade.Yet did she not risk her life to help him? Did she not deserve at least to know him a little? How few seemed to hold any story worth knowing... and yet her intentions were purely genuine.
She saw his gaze narrow the moment she caught him off gaurd at that single word of 'deflection'.
Darling, that sounded so different than anything he or people in general had called her before and yet it almost sounded tender. How quickly that mood shifted from... a game to something far more serious. How she had almost anticipated yet another rouse... but the cracks had already begun to show. Yet... the name felt kind... Not those antagonizing names people so often uttered.. Like.. Kitty.. Or that cursed.. Name pet... Or perhaps any number of other names people seemed so intent to call her... to degrade her in some way. How long had it been to actually be called something kind.. Perhaps even... genuine. But that was swiftly ushered away.. At the admittance that he under estimated her. Yeah... get in line buddy.. "I know." She spoke, pausing for a moment.. As if she threatened to recall the countless times within her mind.. And yet she focused on what was now that precarious moment of whether the frenchman.... Chose to trust her or not. "It happens far too much, but it works to my advantage.. sometimes.." Yet that typical jest hardly lingered in those words. It wasn't about that now... It wasn't about the entertaining bravado that they effortlessly partook in. Why bring her here in the room full of his darkest secrets if he hadn't meant to truly share? That rare softness entered her intricate violet gaze. Her hand gestured toward that space beside her and honestly he looked at it like it might have fangs ready to bite him. She had never seen him so hesitant than in that very moment. Perhaps she pushed.. When she had no right to.
Without another word, that pregnant tangible pause he abruptly crossed that room to join her, that soft fall into that cushioned seat brought over that.... Delicious scent due to that proximity. The heat from his body could be felt and seemed to appeal to her inner panther and yet .. she forced all of it down. It was like she was electricity and he was a god name lightning rod.
He looked to that framed portrait as Harley stayed perfectly still and silent. As if one wrong movement would send him fleeing, yet the notion of someone fleeing in their own home seemed almost humorous. Was she truly that frightening? There was a shift in that usual demenour he wore as that sigh exited from his slightly parted lips as if releasing that weight, trapped within a cage inside of his own chest. He tapped his fingers upon the other arm rest before the floodgates opened.. With those now visible skeletons... there was always a story within the marrow of the bones we all possessed.
There was always more than mere words could provide and yet in the depths of that tale Harley shifted in order to face him better. It might have been so long ago that it happened and yet... it still felt real. There were no words to truly give a lifetime of pain any semblance of justice.
When he spoke of being blindsided by falling for her, so the all knowing fae still could be blinded by love like the rest of them. She had known it was a story of love when she first peered upon the painting and that idle mention that it was his son's mother even if he need not say it out loud. She had not expected Matteo to divulge as much as he did... each word seemed to simply fall from his tongue.. As if he found no more reason to conceal it. It hardly seemed to surprise her in the least that Matteo fell for a seemingly unattainable married woman. Yet love rarely gave you the choice.
Matteo finally turned to her at last that faint smile alluding to the careful resolve he so clung to.
Harley studied his features, thoughts sifted through her mind. It had been so long ago, but the sands of time could not corrode the pain of loss. How well, she knew that. For all the man could see into the obscure future he could do little to stop it. He possessed all the powers so many wished to know and yet there was almost a luxury being so oblivious to what the future held. "Does fate always win in the end?" she questioned softly with a frown.
Yet even still there was still some beauty in that tale. Had Isabella not met Matteo she would have not known love, perhaps he would not have either. That long debated question surfaced within her own mind. Was it better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all? Who the fuck knew. It all still found a way to suck one way or another.
Of course that tale was not without complication. It would have been easy to assume.. But there was a true question behind his very words and even though Matteo seemed to easily transition to that lightheartedness mentioning married women. Yeah, like that lessened what him and the woman in that painting's story. She was not some mere married woman he had sweet talked into his bed. He asked if he had answered all her questions.. No not really.. But there was one main one that was certain to be far more telling if he gave her an honest answer. Yet... she was almost curious of those many regrets he spoke of. From someone with many regrets herself... she knew how perilous it was to linger upon them too long.
"Could she not be changed.. Into a fae like you?" If she could.. They wouldn't be here speaking of loss now would they? She knew her own predicament.. Loathing being a mere fragile human... and what she would have given for the chance to change... but on her own terms. Or so she thought.
How foolish she had once been to think that becoming something other would have been enough to solve all her problems. To rise from the rubble of her life and become somehow.. Stronger.. Freer. In fact, it felt like it had done the complete opposite. Then again, she wouldn't have chosen turning furry for herself. "What on earth do you have to regret, Teo?" She questioned after a long moment, giving him time to respond to her initial question.
A soft sigh escaped his lips, that smile remained, that perfect mask perfectly settled upon his features once more. That glimpse behind the mask was a fleeting one and yet.. How she only seemed to trust the man more.. However foolish a notion that was. Matteo's accented lilt flooded the room once more, Harley fell silent as he continued, curious to whatever puzzle pieces he would offer her next. He explained how Alexander was pissed off... how fatherly a trait that was. That seriousness had quickly spun around in a flash as Matteo regained his footing from the wreckage those assaulting memories..
That mischievousness rose swiftly only to ensnare Harley once more. That master of deflection back at work again. She could hardly help that smirk.
"Isn't that a dream to most men? All the sex none of the responsibility." She spoke those words and perhaps... it felt like she had said them once before. A moment of deja vu assaulted her then.
"But I would hope so.. I am a firm believer in if you're going to do something you better do it right. Sex is just one of those things where its better when both parties are enjoying themselves and if your going to live forever.. Might as well have some fun doing it." She shrugged, that teasing sarcasm flared to life once more.
"Thanks teo for trusting me with that." She leaned in to press her lips to his cheek, a chaste kiss. She leaned back to her own side.. "Hell... I hope one of us gets our appley ever after.... And if not... well.. What does a girl have to do to find something scandalous in here?" That devious banter an almost welcomed friend... even though the past still remained... there was little they could do about it.