stuff us in boxes that's where you want us
cardboard is boring, we brought our matches - look how it burns
The conversation shifted toward those unfamiliar instruments... that odd name of one, in particular, all but glaring. Of course, he would play something so obscure. It was like he had announced he played the lute. Yet somehow the Cwrth seemed worse. The woman, for now, content to allow it to follow into the world of obscurity, finding it acceptable to picture it as some ancient violin. Count on someone to bring it back. It was only a matter of time some deluded hipster rediscovered it once more, giving it a breath of life. The guitar was far easier to believe. Yet somehow imagining the fae merrily playing his weird ancient violin brought a wave of amusement she could not ignore. "Sounds like a real panty dropper." She teased with that potent sarcasm as the pair meandered down those ancient echoey halls until they found 'the' room.
That room, which possessed countless glimpses of the life of the secretive fae, at least pictures of it were documented and placed within this very room. She fought that urge to rummage through it all, page after page, album after album. How many secrets and stories wound about that very room, stored on simple shelves? Far too many. How did it not stifle him to be here? It was a pity she didn't have the time... nor the chance without Matteo's watchful eye to uncover all of it even though it was hardly her place to know. Plus, he was hardly a fool to keep anything truly incriminating or anything he didn't want to be found left laying about this room.
Herbert, however, tucked quietly by the couch leg was content to flop and remain. For all that energy, to possess such short legs was great and tiring work.
However, Harley lingered upon that military photograph as Matteo attempted to convince himself or her... of that badass cred. That soft snort left him that only widened her wicked gleam as that casual defiance all but glowed from within. That spitfire not easily swayed, especially now when the opportunity to tease her companion was present. Her vibrant, piercing gaze locked with his own. "Of course, fearsome and powerful... and adorable." She insisted almost deviously as her arched dark brow rose as if daring him to deny her. "Can't you be all three?" She teased the woman continued her shameless prodding. The raven-haired woman hardly hid that very amusement at the Frenchman's disdain for the word. After a pause and a casual wave of her hand does she continue. "Does someone have an aversion to the word cute, Matteo?" Oh, she seemed keen to not let this one go. She blinked at him oh so innocently, she gauged his reaction as she allowed her fingers to touch the smooth surface of alll those spines of photo albums, as though she could absorb their contents through touch alone. She felt like she touched the button of every detonator in existence! This, after all, was a game of Russian roulette! The raven-haired woman had found the album of her choice before she perched on that couch to peruse it with Matteo as her personal narrator, something she hardly seemed to mind.
Her mind constantly returned back to the portrait of the woman he seemed to eager to pass off as a few muttered words. How she knew there was more. She could tell as if she could see those cracks he possessed in his impressive veneer. Perhaps because she at times wore them herself. A different mask than his and yet hers was no less effective. However, she allowed the Frenchman that short reprieve, still curious of the man that seemed to be a large part of his life now. Alexander. A topic he seemed more than content to linger on. His words held far less of that strain as he delved into amusing story or two. It was clear how much they meant to one another. Matteo was so very cautious with who he spoke about and what. She was entirely aware that this meant something. That mention that Alexander could shape the future seemed to spark a curious look. That was a dangerous ability. But a useful one.
"He can change the world?" That question had fallen from her lips in awe-filled disbelief. Oh if only she possessed that power. How curious a man this Alexander was and perhaps Matteo had given far too many clues that Harley had honed in on. She doubted he intended for her to be so perceptive, many did not. Time after and yet it never got old when she saw them wisen up to her. How many were quick to shove her in a certain little box when she was so much more. At least it could be used, a weapon of her own making that she was content to wield. After all, she had been self-reliant for as long as she could remember.
Yet while she was good... not even the perceptive woman that she was could foresee Matteo's little trap. That apple ensnared her the moment it landed within her hand. What better way to plan a trick? Then to make someone believe like they were winning only have them fall into the guise of misdirection. Matteo so smoothly set up her fall. How he must have enjoyed it, far too much, that he finally caught Harley off guard. His rich lingering laughter filled the entire room, that earned himself that iconic glare that could make a weaker man cower. But little did he know he opened up a can of worms, a trap within a trap. That verbal repartee returning once more. He was an exceptional partner in verbal bantering, unparalleled. He had an answer for everything, he was unafraid to meet her step for step and change it up in a moments notice. It was almost habitual between them, even though it was clear how deflection could wear many masks.
But how obvious and conveniently placed that deflection was. Perhaps on another day, the raven-haired woman would have allowed it to pass. Yet for some reason, she simply couldn't allow this to rest. That portrait of the haunting woman meant something. It was almost an injustice to allow her to be just some woman who gave him a son. It was also a disservice to him... Did he not deserve the right to reminisce? Was it truly her right to even know? To push? Harley saw that slim opening and she took it. She moved so swiftly, that it was like the rug was stolen from underneath him.
How suspiciously he viewed her int hat moment. Harley met his eyes unflinching. She half expected for him to suddenly....throw a temper tantrum or throw his own jagged stones her way. She poked and prodded where it hurt. It was a natural response. Maybe she pushed too far? Yet she hardly knew what to expect from him at that moment. Which new face would he reveal when he was caught in his own charade? She refused to move, to budge nor cower beneath that look, yet she does not force him on. His words were his own choice after all. She couldn't fix that past just as she couldn't make him share it with her. Would it be so bad? To let someone know him? The past hurt, how well she knew that one? A moment passed before a heavy sigh she knew all too well parted from him. Her question itself hardly possessed that casual disingenuous care that so much of society tended to have with one another. They lived in a world where people rarely gave a shit beyond themselves and the people that did get dragged along the jagged floor, forced to feel every mangling bump and viciousness. How quickly that mood shifted and the quietude that followed it. Had she pushed too far? She wondered again momentarily. She hardly had to hold back with him yet but had she met his limit(she had once thought him to be limitless!) like she often met others... albeit far quicker than his.
Her hand moved to pat the seat, the apple, the sign of her own victory hardly held any kind of gloating within her.... and the photo album abandoned to the coffee table. Both items sat, suddenly meaningless to the story that was to come. The woman watched every move and twitch before his last words were spoken sweetly so. A lesser man would have angered, she was certain of it. Yet that look within her gaze never wavered or lost that rare softened, searching look.
The past was a strange thing. It wasn't like it could come back and truly inflict you any physical harm and yet it could open up far deeper more glaring wounds. How she knew it all too well and she too had been a closed book with her own shadowy past and yet here she asked him for his. Something far more meaningful a gift than anything you could give another person was... trust. It was a difficult thing to give, even in its varying degrees and levels. How that reluctance shone within his every breath. She was certain he was going to attempt to tiptoe his way out of it again. She wouldn't force him and yet somehow it felt like something far larger rested on this alone. Something unspoken. An entity all of its own that couldn't be simply shoved neatly away.
She was still aware of his presence, the heat of his own form, or that scent that often affected her in unpredictable ways. But she was mostly aware of the man then. Somehow it was different. Far more intangible than anything else. Perhaps it took some time for that subconscious battle to catch up with his thoughts as he began. She remained quiet as he processed, her hands placed upon the top of her thigh, while one arm remained upon that armrest. That story stitched together weaving into a painting within her mind like she could see it all play out within her head. His gaze met her own and it was perhaps the most emotive she had ever seen those silver eyes that resembled those metal walls he kept. A vulnerability crept through, unable to keep the sadness from spilling out for but a moment. Why was it that fate seemed determined to rob happiness from any that were lucky enough to find it? She was unsure of what was worse. The thought of love being a lie altogether. Or to have something unlike anything only to have to suddenly stolen away with little to be done about it. A frown etched upon her feminine features, her own fingers almost seeking but toyed with the fabric of her pants instead. Perhaps this was too deep a topic to broach. No wonder why he buried it.
She felt the truth in his words as he answered her question that was probably mostly rhetorical if anything and yet he answered it all the same. "Like your Alexander." She uttered softly then, recovering enough of her own usual zeal, her eyes narrow in the wake of consideration of that. Maybe she too would be the one to defy fate itself. She was content to believe she would be the one to blindside fate itself. But if a man such as Matteo couldn't and he could see that future behind his red-tinted eyes.... Perhaps it was only a fool's dream.
That question soon slipped, one that he seemed hardly prepared or wanting to answer. She was hardly unaware that it was like a dagger she had unintentionally stabbed him within an already gaping wound. She had never once seen Matteo flinch, not as he did at that very moment. A rare pang of regret assaulted her then. How her brazen tongue could cut like a knife and yet Matteo was hardly one she wanted to harm. Whoever said time healed all wounds didn't see that look. The brazen woman might have not been one to shy away from the truth. But her care for the Frenchman clearly overrode her usual unflinching need to unroot things from the very centre. Maybe not everything needed an answer. A lesson she hadn't really learned yet. At least not now. She allowed that line of questioning fell away. That question far more complicated, despite its innocence before. That deflection was clear and she would not press it now. "I understand." For once the woman didn't push.
That conversation shifted to regrets, it was like one piercing blade after the next. There was almost a vulnerability to his words, explaining how he would have altered history itself far before it had time to play out. Just how many times she had thought that. Played it like a torturous video in her mind. With 2000 years under his belt, she could only wonder how that felt, a lifetime of pain to relive over and over if you did not come to terms or locked it away. It caused a distinct frown upon her features. It made sense why he locked those emotions away, his sad smile caused a pang within her own chest. Not even she could deny she cared and wished he could obtain that very fantasy. For all their banter and bravado... they could somehow find a way to crack that exterior, if only for a little while. It was a glimpse of the man behind the mask. She would remember this moment. Even with all its misery, she found a rare solace, an even rarer connection.
Ah but regret was a part of life and yet how it could be like poison. It could shadow the now no matter how much it threatened to. "That's the thing with regret. It's like the past gets to find new ways to bite you in the ass for things that can't be changed.. It's like a slow-acting poison. But really.. I wonder if we all are just a bunch of masochists walking around, tormenting ourselves with what could be." She mused, raising her hand as if asking why to no one other than herself. The pair grew silent. Both a presence of some semblance of understanding and a vague reminiscing. But at least for a moment neither one of them were alone, his mere presence a warm comfort she'd never really known.
It was Matteo's voice that broke the quietude, his demenour once more shifted to something familiar. She idly wiped her hands upon her knee like she could wipe away the heaviness that had assaulted her. Matteo was infectious, he always was. That innuendo impossible to ignore, an irresistible golden carrot she could simply reach out pluck. What could she say, it was a weakness.
The French fae was like a boxer, knock him down and he bounced right back up. Those vivacious eyes of hers met his own, unable to keep that quirk of her own lips. Her mood had hardly been ruined. After all, an old pain became a familiar friend (if one could call it that) after awhile. Yet in her own despair and hardships... she had found herself. She had become far stronger than she hadn't like a phoenix rising from the ash, anew. She learned how to take care of herself, to use those potent emotions to fashion a weapon, along with her weapon-like tongue. Although that mouth was both a blessing and a curse. How one could say that about the very woman herself!
Matteo spoke of fae being good at sex, a clear indication he meant himself. Smug bastard. Yet if that night was any indication how a night with him would be.... No. She thought firmly to herself pushing the vivid thought from her mind. Yet she could not hold back that slight smirk. Her own words concurring with his own. What was the point in settling for mediocre sex? If you're going to play the game, why not enjoy it. You better damn well learn to do it right. Matteo's chuckle prompted her mischievous gaze to find his own gaze. "Damn right I would." That meaning of intent was clear. That suggestiveness within those words. How grateful she was for that reprieve... And yet. That conversation prior seemed to linger, unspoken in that air around her.
She leaned toward him, smoothly, her body shifted toward him with ease. That chaste kiss pressed to his cheek that word of thanks... followed by a terrible pun. His reply caught her off guard. That surprise flashed behind her intelligent eyes. "I doubt that's the only sin I'll ever commit." She said with near suggestive humour even despite its striking truth before she laughed.
But it was the talk of the future that caused a nearly resigned sigh. This again? How it nearly made her angry to think of a world outside the silver chains that now bound her. How badly she wanted to believe him and yet it felt almost cruel to taunt her with hope. As obscure a reading as it was. Her own mask returned then in an effort to contain the bitterness although Matteo's mask was far better than her own. "Hope... is a dangerous thing to offer." her voice lowered. She leaned back into the plush couch as she reminded herself of that childish agreement. Vampires didn't exist here. No not in this very room but the memories of them clung and stung like regret. How badly she struggled to keep those feelings inside of her. Matteo was not the enemy here. She focused on the prettiness of those words. Words with little stupid wildflowers sticking out of them and yet that hardly disguised what he insinuated. But thats the thing with plucked flowers, they were dead and only pretty for a short time before they faded away. She regained her own composure she clung to like a thread. No, she wasn't mad at him, far from it. But he pressed a nerve whether he meant to or not. She didn't want pretty delusions of a hope that wasn't true. "What does that even mean? Everything I want. What do I want Teo?" She seemed to challenge, even though her voice seemed steady with resolve as she turned to face him. She looked him square in the eyes then, that vivid purple held a defying resilience. If he were to lie to her, he would need to stare her in the eyes. She had a bullshit meter tried and true.
That seriousness was not one to last at least. It was this fucking rooms fault. Unveiling truths and buried memories. One moment Matteo was there that impish smile upon his handsome face, the next he was gone. That warmth gone in an instant. She was startled by the suddenness of it. That unintentional gasp betrayed her surprise as her gaze already searched to seek out the unpredictable fae. It was when she felt the cushion at her back start to sag beneath his weight and his tantalizing scent assaulted her all at once she turned enough to catch a glimpse. Oh Very... funny. He looked so damned smug with his chin in his palm, a man who could look comfortable anywhere. Even if the world itself could have fallen to ruin. Harley rolled her eyed at him. How terribly aware of his presence she was. But there was always a barrier between them. It was like he got off toying with her. Not now. She urged that smug calm in her body as she met him with that sardonic expression. He toyed with the back of her seat as if he threatened to toy with her flesh.
He finally found the appropriate time to answer her question. It wasn't long before his fingers found the sensitive part of her neck, those touches all too teasing echoing a reminder of what his touch could do even though they were executed so idly. How her skin seemed to respond to those touches as though her senses craved for more and Harley was not falling for it. Nope, not even a little bit, nope. Who was she fooling? It wasn't like her skin seemed to tingle that ricocheted through her body. Right. How did he so casually ignite a fire within her? Yet she steeled herself all the same. It was then that he asked that question. What kind of scandal was she looking for truly? How suggestive those very words were. Ah but if his lips trailed that same spot her fingers threatened. She refused to pull away either. "The potentially regretful kind." She returned with ease that nearly startled her save for the oh so slight quiver of her voice. It was so slight, he had to have missed it. How was it that he knew just how to touch her? Had he seen it in some vision? Or was her body simply a traitor, all but asking for what she wanted and somehow he could understand that very language. How dangerous those waters were to delve and yet she didn't pull away. She shifted to face him as if she challenged him. Hardly appearing like someone underneath his spell, but he knew better even though she learned to play his game.
Yet out of the blue, he spoke of dinner How could she possibly think of dinner? She knew his thoughts had wandered, they had to. He was hardly innocent! He leaned in toward her with his arm wrapped around her as if to tease her further. He asked her silently to take her hand once more. "You did promise." Yet was he truly thinking of dinner?
She caught sight of the painting once more, only in the corner of her eye. It was almost like it watched them. Yeah.. maybe staying here while her resolve so wavered was a bad thing. She placed her hand in his, as she had grown so used to. Ah she was not once to pass up his game. It was a gesture she accepted as gentlemanly and yet he knew damn well that his presence was everywhere. His hand felt so warm and familiar. She rose, unabashedly to her feet. Oh dessert, is that what he taunted her with now. That suggestiveness was hardly lost."You know I never played by the rules anyway." How almost catlike she moved around that couch to join him from behind it. How she allowed her body to brush against his own. She lingered just so, her hand still in his. "I think I want dessert." She replied almost innocently and yet her gaze fell to his lips.. Oops didn't mean to look there. Ah she couldn't allow him that upper hand just yet. "What's on the menu? But you and I both know that an apple is not merely an apple and dessert is not just dessert." She leaned in just so before she removed her hand, oh curse that tempting scent of his. How easy it would be to kiss him, to blur those lines simply because she could and she wanted to tempt him as he did her. Or was it simply she wanted to remember that taste. Instead, she walked away, slowly toward that door as if engaging in that game."But that would mean we are going to the kitchen.. Unless you eat your dessert elsewhere." She looked over her shoulder, that daring smile drew upon her lips all the same. "Are you coming?