“Alright everyone, time is up. Put down your pens.”
Lyra sighed in relief, glad the exam was over. It was over and done with; she was finally done with school. Of course, she just needed to wait for the results of her exams before she could say it for sure, but she knew she was going to ace all of her classes. Then she could wash her hands off school completely. There was no way in hell she was going to attend university. Of course, she had absolutely no idea just what she was going to do, but she knew university wasn’t going to be part of it. She was done with school.
Around her, the exam papers were collected and the hall burst into excited chatters. For once, Lyra wasn’t irritated by it. She was done with school. She would no longer need to put up with irritating people picking on her or assholes trying to make a move on her.
“Freedom at last!” a familiar voice yelled out from right behind her. “Party tonight, at my house! Everyone’s invited!”
Lyra groaned. There went any hope she might’ve had for a calm evening. The person who had announced the party was her science lab partner, Edwin Fenrir. She just knew he was going to hound her until she agreed to attend the party. Sure enough, he leaned on her table, looking at Lyra with excited eyes.
“You’ll come, won’t you, Spitfire?”
“Don’t call me that,” Lyra immediately rebuked, scowling. Nobody had the right to use that name. It was the nickname her dad had used to call her by – just like Arienne had been ‘Little Princess’, she had been ‘Spitfire’. It just sounded wrong coming from Edwin.
“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” Edwin replied, waving the rebuke away. “So tonight, at six, my house. Don’t you dare say you’re not coming.”
Lyra rolled her eyes in exasperation, but didn’t refuse. It was easier to just agree now than delay the inevitable. Besides, Edwin wasn’t that bad. She could manage to spend one evening with him and his friends. It was better than spending the night alone at home, seeing as her mother was going to be at work in anyway.
Several hours later, Lyra had to concede that it really wasn’t that bad. The music was good, the food was good, and the drinks were flowing free. She wasn’t going to ask where Edwin had managed to get a juice keg of all things, but she wasn’t exactly complaining. And if his hands started roaming slightly…well, it was about time she started acting her age a bit, wasn’t it?
It felt good being in the centre of positive attention for a change. Edwin still wasn’t really her friend, and she still knew he only wanted to get in her pants, but tonight she didn’t care. She was so goddamn tired of trying to fix the mess that was her life. It was her turn to be the irresponsible one for a change.
And since Edwin happened to be quite good at kissing…she wasn’t going to complain.
Her head was killing her.
Lyra moaned and buried her head in the pillow, trying to reduce the pain stabbing into her head and eyeballs. It didn’t help much. She scowled and peeked out from the pillow, glaring at the sunlight streaming through the windows. Who gave the sun permission to rise?
Beside her, another person stirred, wakened by the sunlight. Judging from the way he too was groaning, he wasn’t feeling much better than she was.
It took several minutes for the clues to connect in Lyra’s mind, causing the memories of last night’s events to stream back into her mind. Her eyes flew open, causing hot pain to stab into her brain and causing to her groan again.
Stupid sun. Stupid juice. And stupid Edwin, for forcing her to attend the stupid party. She was never going to go near juice again. Her entire body was sore.
…Then again, that probably wasn’t the juice, was it? If it had been she wouldn’t be lying on a bed. Naked. With Edwin. Who was also naked. And she definitely wouldn’t have the memories of why they were both naked.
Stupid, stupid, stupid. She had to get out of there before Edwin woke up completely. She was not ready to face him.
“Ugh, my head is killing me.”
…And of course she couldn’t be that lucky.
Edwin blinked blearily at her before a goofy grin split his face, causing the scowl on Lyra’s face to deepen. He clearly also remembered the events of last night. Or maybe he was just grinning like a loon because she was still very much naked. She scowled and covered her breasts with her arm, looking for her clothes. The quicker she got dressed and out of there, the better.
“Morning, Spitfire,” Edwin interrupted her musings, still grinning like the idiot he was. The familiar nickname falling from his lips caused Lyra to see red. She was not going to allow him to defile that name.
She grabbed the thing closest to her and threw it at him with all her might. ‘It’ happened to be her phone, and it hit him with force, bouncing off of his forehead before clattering to the floor, leaving an angry red welt on his forehead.
“Don’t call me that,” she growled venomously, her eyes glaring daggers at him. He had started swearing up a storm when the phone hit him, but she ignored him completely, getting dressed instead. He was still swearing by the time she left the room without a backwards glance. She didn’t even bother to retrieve her phone. It wasn’t like she used the damn thing much in anyway.
To her relief, her mother wasn’t home when she arrived at their house. She had no desire to listen to her mom’s lectures right now. She went straight to the shower, feeling dirty and defiled. Sure, she had been more than willing last night, but now she just felt disgusted with herself. She scrubbed herself as hard as she could, but she didn’t feel much cleaner.
…And gods, did they even use protection? She couldn’t remember. She remembered kissing and groping and…and yeah, no protection. They had both been too juiced to even think about it.
She groaned and rested her forehead against the shower wall. She hated her life.
She really, really hoped she wasn’t pregnant. She wasn’t ready for a child, much less one that was the result of a juiced one-night stand.
Lyra spent the rest of the day alone, agonizing over the events of the previous night. The stress over the possibility of being pregnant made her sick to the stomach. The hangover that still didn’t want to go away didn’t help much either.
Her mother didn’t come home until early the next morning. Lyra wasn’t planning on being present when her mom returned, unwilling to listen to the lecture she knew was coming, but she couldn’t sleep. She was in the kitchen, making a cup of hot chocolate with the hope that it would help with her insomnia, when her mother returned. She looked tired, and Lyra could see something was bothering her.
Lyra glanced concernedly at her mother, but didn’t say anything. She was afraid by talking she would set her mom off on the expected lecture. To her surprise, her mother just sighed and sank into a chair.
“I know you’re expecting me to lecture you, but I won’t,” she announced tiredly. “I don’t have the strength to do it. Not tonight.”
Well, Lyra thought, I’m sure you’ll have a word or two if you knew I might be pregnant. But she didn’t say it. Her mother clearly had enough things to deal with already. She wasn’t going to load her own issues onto her as well.
“What happened?” she asked instead, giving her mother the hot chocolate she had just prepared. She looked like she needed it more than Lyra did. Her mother gratefully folded her hands around the cup, soaking up the warmth.
“Angelica moved on,” she announced sombrely. It made her feel terrible, but Lyra couldn’t help the flash of happiness in her chest at the news. It meant there was one less ghost she had to deal with.
“She was waiting for her husband to return to her before she could move on,” her mother continued, oblivious to the happiness Lyra felt. “Tonight he did. Turns out he’s been wandering the world, looking for her, and tonight he finally found her. They moved on together.”
Lyra didn’t know how to respond to that. She had never been close to the ghosts, so it was rather difficult for her to understand her mother’s melancholy.
Her mother sighed again and buried her head in her arms. It was several moments before she spoke again, and when she did, her words caused Lyra to feel even worse.
“I miss your dad,” her mother whispered softly. Lyra’s hands stilled from where she was making a second cup of hot chocolate; one to replace the cup she had given her mother. She too missed her dad; more than anything. It had already been two years, but Lyra still missed him every day. Desperate to change the subject, she asked the first question that popped into her mind:
“When is the soonest a person can take a pregnancy test?”
…And that wasn’t really what she wanted to say.
The question caused her mother to raise her head again, looking at her with an enquiring stare.
“…Depends on the sensitivity of the test,” her mother answered after several long and silent seconds. “And why are you asking? Do I need to worry about something?”
Lyra clamped her mouth shut, unwilling to answer and place herself even deeper into trouble, but her silence did it for her.
“…You think you’re pregnant,” her mother stated incredulously.
“No, I’m just saying that…I might…be…you know,” Lyra hedged uncertainly. She really didn’t want to have this discussion with her mother. Her mother rested her head in her hand, a bemused expression on her face.
“I wasn’t even aware you’re seeing somebody,” she replied bemusedly. “Why didn’t you tell me?”
“Because I’m not,” Lyra answered, realising the cat was out of the bag, and nothing she said would put it back in. “Seeing someone, that is.”
Silence fell between them at that confession. Lyra closed her eyes, bracing herself for the lecture she knew was coming, but her mother surprised her once more.
“Hmm. Really now,” her mom responded mildly and mercifully let the subject drop, choosing instead to answer the original question. “It really does depend on the sensitivity of the test. The more sensitive tests can be used seven days after conception, but it won’t always give you an accurate result. It’s usually better to wait a little longer.”
“Right,” Lyra replied, her stomach dropping to her shoes. So it was going to be at least a week before she knew for sure. Hopefully it would result in nothing, but she couldn’t help the sick feeling in her stomach.
She really, really didn’t want a child.
“What are you doing here?” Lyra scowled at her visitor, definitely not in the mood to talk to him. He was the absolute last person she wanted to see.
“You forgot your phone,” Edwin announced and offered her the small device in his hand, looking as uncomfortable as Lyra felt. “And we need to talk. About…that.”
“Yes, that,” Lyra agreed sarcastically, making absolutely no move to take her phone. She knew that if she took it she would throw it at him again. Then Edwin opened his mouth again and Lyra wished she had taken her phone. Only so she could throw it again.
“Look, it shouldn’t have happened, okay?” Edwin declared frankly. “We were both juiced and not in the right frame of mind. It was a terrible mistake and I’m…really…sorry…” Something in her eyes must’ve warned him to stop talking, because he suddenly trailed off, looking at her with apprehensive eyes.
Lyra had no idea what kind of expression was on her face, but she knew that if she had had a knife in her hand, she would’ve stabbed him. Repeatedly.
“Who would want to have anything meaningful with an ass like you?” Lyra retorted, irritated beyond belief. She did not want to deal with this shit right now. She was tired, cranky, stressed and frankly, the less she had to do with the ass in front of her the better. She couldn’t be pregnant; not with this idiot’s child. Then again, as her luck had it, she probably was. Only because Life decided fuck you.
“Believe me, Edwin,” she continued, “I’m well aware that it meant nothing. If I wasn’t out of my mind with juice there would’ve been no way in hell I would’ve slept with you. So do my favour and go away.” She turned on her heel, trying to get away from him, but he suddenly grabbed her arm, preventing her from going any further.
“That’s not what I meant,” he protested pleadingly. “What I meant was…” He sighed and released her arm, choosing instead to sweep his hand through his hair. Lyra crossed her arms and raised an eyebrow at him, waiting to see how much deeper he was going to dig the hole he was putting himself in.
She honestly didn’t expect what followed.
“I really like you, okay?” Edwin stated. “I’ve liked you for a long time now. You’re amazing and stunningly gorgeous, especially when you laugh. I’ve wanted to ask you if you wanted to go on a date with me since forever, but then last night happened and I’m really, really sorry about it. This isn’t exactly what I wanted to happen.”
Lyra blinked, caught completely off-guard. Edwin liked her? She had no idea how to reply to that. Nobody had ever liked her in a romantic way. There was a reason her classmates referred to her as the Ice Bitch. She simply couldn’t wrap her mind around it.
The seconds slipped away as Lyra stared at Edwin, struck completely silent. He shifted awkwardly, clearly waiting for her to break the silence and give him some kind of response.
“You…” she croaked. She cleared her throat and tried again. “You like me?”
He nodded. “I do. I have ever since we first partnered up for science.”
“Oh,” was her eloquent response.
She honestly didn’t know how to feel about it. To be honest, she hadn’t ever really thought about dating before. Well, she had thought of it in passing, but never seriously. Dating was something other people did; not her. She had had enough other shit to deal with. Still…
“Well,” Edwin said, disrupting her thoughts. “I guess I should I go. I just really wanted to say I’m sorry.” With that he shoved her phone into her hand and turned around, stalking away from her. She could see the tips of his ears burning red.
He was several paces away from her before she finally spoke her mind.
“You know, I wouldn’t be too averse,” she stated, drawing his attention back to her. “About…going on that date.” There, she said it. She could feel her face burning with embarrassment. She couldn’t believe she was seriously considering it. But…well, she had to start sometime, didn’t she?
And Edwin was a very good kisser.
She couldn’t believe she was actually going to do this.
What had she been thinking, agreeing to go on a date? What were they going to do? What were they going to talk about? She had no idea what people usually did on a date. She knew from movies there were usually some kind of dinner involved where both parties subtly flirted with each other over the table, but she had no idea if that actually happened or not. And again, what were they going to talk about? She didn’t know him that well.
At least she didn’t have to worry about the possibility of being pregnant anymore. Nature had rather kindly informed her that she didn’t need to worry about it.
The doorbell ringing alerted her to the fact that she had ran out of time. It was time to face the music.
…Why had she agreed to this again?
“Uh, hi,” Edwin greeted her the moment she opened the door, awkwardly offering her the bouquet of flowers in his hand. She took it, a little embarrassed, but at the same time, a little flattered. She wasn’t really that fond of flowers, but she appreciated the gesture all the same.
“Uhm, thanks,” she replied. He smiled at her and offered her his arm, clearly inviting her to get the date started.
The date…wasn’t exactly what she had been expecting. She had expected something like…a movie, followed by dinner. Instead, Edwin took her to a secluded viewpoint looking out over the ocean. The sun was just setting in the distance, throwing its last flickering rays dancing across the water.
She had to admit, it was a stunning view.
“I know this isn’t a typical thing to do on a first date,” Edwin announced, rubbing the back of his neck, that same embarrassed red colouring the tips of his ears, “but, well, I wanted to do something different.” He gestured towards the picnic basket, inviting her to take a seat.
“Different is good,” she agreed absently, still enchanted by the view.
The date continued until long in the night. The food Edwin had packed was quite good (not quite the quality of her mother’s food, but still good nonetheless) and the nectar he had chosen was surprisingly sweet and light. She rather liked it.
To her surprise, they managed to keep the conversation flowing. They talked about their favourite things and hobbies, they gossiped about people they both knew from school and they told each other anecdotes and stories they had heard somewhere or another, accompanied only by the sound of the waves breaking far below them on the rocks.
It was different from what she had expected, but she really didn’t mind.
“I’ll admit, this isn’t exactly what I expected of tonight,” she admitted during a slight lull in the conversation. “But I like it. I’ve always enjoyed watching the sun set over the ocean. There’s just something calming about listening to the waves.” She took a sip of nectar from the glass in her hand, her thoughts far away.
She always had enjoyed watching out over the sea. She hated Sunset Valley with a passion – she couldn’t stand the way the town was stagnating, too caught up in stereotypes and tradition – but even she had to admit, its oceans were gorgeous. Still, gorgeous oceans didn’t make up for everything that had happened in the town; for all the shit she had had to go through.
“Yeah,” Edwin agreed, his eyes joining hers in looking over the ocean. “And of course, Sunset Valley has the best views. I honestly can’t imagine living anywhere else.”
His words made Lyra still. The way he had said it…it was clear he harboured a lot of love for Sunset Valley. It was something that mystified her slightly. How could anybody love this godforsaken town? Were the people around her honestly that blind to the town’s faults?
“I can,” she contradicted him. “Very easily.”
“Oh,” he replied and looked away from her, allowing his eyes to drift over the ocean again.
Silence fell between them, broken only by the waves sounding in the distance. For the first time that night, the silence was slightly uncomfortable.
“Is it…because of what happened in the winter season?” Edwin asked hesitantly after several minutes. “With your father, I mean.”
Lyra knocked her head back, downing the rest of the nectar in her glass. This was one topic she did not want to talk about.
She wasn’t surprised he knew about it. Everybody in the damn town knew about it. The gossip about the events from that night had spread faster than a wildfire did through Appaloosa Plains during the dry season, and everyone had been shocked about it; lamenting the loss of such a great writer. Lyra was just glad nobody had come to their house to offer their condolences. Seemed like living in a known haunted house had some benefits.
“As a matter of fact, no. It’s not. And what happened to my father has nothing to do with you,” she replied tersely.
Edwin raised his hands in defence, trying to alleviate her anger.
“Okay, I’m sorry. Let’s talk about something else instead,” he suggested. Lyra exhaled, trying to rein her temper in a bit. She allowed her tense muscles to relax marginally, choosing to pour herself another glass of nectar instead of continuing the argument.
“So what do you have against the name ‘Spitfire’ in anyway?”
…And of course the topic hadn’t really changed.
“Nothing,” she replied curtly. “I just don’t like it when people call me that.”
Somehow, Edwin managed to miss the warning signs, as he actually went and continued the topic.
“Why not? I think it fits you pretty well,” he asked curiously, a slightly amused look on his face.
“Yes, well, so did my dad.” The moment she said that she averted her eyes, immediately wishing she hadn’t said it. It was too personal. And she didn’t want to talk about her dad, or anything connected to him.
Edwin drew in a sharp breath at that revelation.
“Shit, Lyra, I’m sorry,” he immediately apologised, but the damage was already done. What had been a pleasant evening had been ruined by his inability to take a hint.
She stood up, more than ready to end this farce.
“You know what, Edwin, I don’t think this is going to work out,” she informed him irritably. She didn’t want to deal with this disaster of a date any further. “Please, just take me home.”
The despondent expression on his face was almost enough to make her take back her request, but she stubbornly ignored it. He packed up the picnic and before long, they were on their way back to her house.
The ride back was extremely uncomfortable; an awkward silence hanging between them. Lyra considered breaking the silence several times, but in the end, her pride always stopped her.
She was beyond glad when they finally arrived at her house. She didn’t wait for him to do the whole chivalry thing, choosing instead to open her own door and stalk towards the house. Edwin followed her dejectedly, half a step behind her.
She was about to storm into the house, desperate to get away from him, but she made the mistake of glancing at him for a second. He looked so much like a kicked puppy at that moment that she couldn’t get it over to heart to leave him without at least saying something to him.
“Thank you for tonight,” she told him with a sigh. Sure, the date had ended a failure, but she would be lying if she said she hadn’t enjoyed at least a bit of it. She had actually enjoyed his company before that disastrous topic. Sure, he was a bit cocky and arrogant, but he had managed to make her laugh and smile. She couldn’t remember the last time she did so. “It wasn’t…entirely horrible.”
The expression on his face was like the sun rising. His expression fell slightly after the initial shock of her words wore off and he shifted his weight, clearly wanting to say something. Lyra patiently waited for him, slightly bemused by his behaviour. He really was acting just like a puppy.
“Then, would you, maybe, like, be up for another date?” he stammered nervously. “Like, when you’re ready.”
In response, she did something she had never in a hundred lifetimes thought she’d do. She stood on the tips of her toes and placed her lips on his in a soft kiss. It took him a moment to respond, clearly caught by surprise, but when he did he reminded Lyra just how much of a good kisser he was.
“I wouldn’t mind,” she answered his question when they finally broke the kiss, “but not too soon. I’ll call you.”
She flashed him an impish smile and disappeared into the house, leaving him standing alone on the porch.
AN: …And generation 3 starts off with a bang. XD To be honest, this isn’t quite how I planned this chapter to go, but Edwin insisted on his date, so…he got his date. It was supposed to be a nice date. Then Lyra absolutely insisted on making a failure of it. I’m starting to doubt that Lyra is actually capable of having a conversation without having a fight somewhere during the course of it. I’m really enjoying her. She’s fun to write.
Oh yeah, I got tired of censoring things, so I decided to use the adult content warning from this generation onwards. Lyra’s words and actions aren’t exactly child-friendly.