aldersprig: (Beryl)
[personal profile] aldersprig
After B is for Beryl and her Boys, for my Third Finish It Bingo Card..

Her mother didn’t really want her to go out alone with Jake, but Beryl was, after all, a good girl, and there was the not-argument they didn’t quite say but talked around: If I’m good and want to be Aunt, I’m going to be Very Careful. If I’m not good, then you don’t have to worry about me being the next Aunt.

Beryl knew other girls worried about things like the guy not respecting them, or doing something they didn’t want. She’d given two of her friends charms - not her own work, but things she and Aunt Eva had found left over from Aunt Zenobia - that she liked to call “No, no really means no” charms but which effectively meant that anyone pushing their luck would find the world coming down on them in strange “accidental” ways.

She didn’t wear one, even though she’d kept the third one for the family. She could’ve asked for it back from Chalce, and Chalce never would’ve questioned it, but she chose to go without.

She left her necklace in her drawer, asked Radar politely to stay behind, and let Chalce primp her until she looked, as her sister said “like you, just more.” She thought she looked pretty; that was new.

Jake picked her up at five. Her father answered the door and gave Jake his best Imposing look.

For a professor of mythology and literature, Beryl’d always thought her father had a very good Imposing look. From the nervous look on Jake’s face, he agreed.

She noticed the moment his expression went from nervous to impressed - when he saw her coming down the stairs - and made a note that she really, really owed Chalce. “Beryl. Wow.” He cleared his throat. Her father was still right there. “You look - you look beautiful.”

Beryl noticed the way her father’s expression softened. “You have her back by ten - eleven, you hear?” He patted Jake firmly on the back. “Beryl, you be as clever as I know you are and as safe as we want you to be.”

“Yes, sir.” He really was a little intimidating. “Yes, sir,” she repeated. “Ah.” She cleared her throat and smiled at Jake. Her smile might be a little shaky, but so was his. “Shall we?”

“Yes, let’s.” A little awkwardly, he offered her his arm. As gracefully as she could while giggling, Beryl took it.

Jake’s truck had been washed and there was a small bouquet of flowers waiting in the seat. He smiled crookedly at her. “I didn’t want to - with your dad and everyone else and-”

“Thank you. They’re really pretty.” She smiled broadly at him and almost, almost leaned in for a kiss.

They weren’t out of her driveway yet. She cleared her throat. “So. Tonight’s a mystery?”

“Well, you said ‘surprise me.’ So, well,” it was his turn to clear his throat. “I decided I’d hopefully surprise you.”

“In a good way, right?”

“Well, here’s hoping.” He started the truck and backed it out of her driveway - twisting behind him to look where he was going. Beryl approved. Chalce had dated a boy once who’d been too busy showing off and run over the mailbox. That still held the record for Chalce’s shortest date; she’d gotten out of his car and gone back inside, leaving him to deal with their father alone.

“So.” He cleared his throat and glanced over at her once he had the truck on the road and heading - away from town, that was interesting, but not necessarily a bad sign. “Your cat was glaring at me. I don’t think he likes me.”

Might as well risk being dropped off while it was still an easy walk home. “He doesn’t dislike you, he just thinks you’re bad for my future.”

There was silence for long enough that Beryl wished he’d slow down. At fifty-five, every minute he was quiet was nearly another mile she’d have to walk home.

“You know, I expected you to say something like ‘oh, he just needs to warm up to people’ or something. And if you were, um, some other girls, I’d assume that meant you thought I was bad for your future. Or that you were fishing for something.”

“I’m not really the fishing sort,” she demurred. It was going to be a long walk home. She supposed it would be good practice for that space-folding trick.

“So, that being that and you being you… probably means that you meant exactly what you said.” He looked at the road for a few minutes, his hands at 10 and 2 on the wheel, saying nothing.

Beryl watch the Snyder’s place go by, then the next cross street, and thought about the wisdom of calling Chalce for a ride home.

“So, your cat thinks I’m bad for your future. What do you think?”

Beryl jumped a little. She had stopped expecting him to say something. “I think… that my cat doesn’t dictate my life, for one. If it did, I’d end up like Aunt Bea, and nobody wants that. I think that everyone has plans for my future and I’m just a sophomore, so… I don’t really want to be thinking about too much anyway. And, um. I like you. And I think you’re good for my now. Which is about as far as I’m comfortable planning at the moment.”

She peeked over at him. He was slowing down… pulling the truck over to the side of the road between the Christmas tree farm and the U-Pick strawberries, neither of which was open this time of year.

Well, she could at least make a go of the bending space. It was probably seven miles from here to home.

“I think…” He was smiling! Oh, dear, was this a prank? She was going to kill Jenny Tyler, that little bitch! “Well. I think about you all the time, for one. And for another, I think I ought to kiss you before you get it in your head that your cat was right. And for a third, I think you’re the strangest girl I’ve ever met, and I mean that as a compliment.”

“…Oh, good. I didn’t really want to walk home.”

He snorted. “As if… oh. You really thought that I might…?”

“Our family is known for being weird,” Beryl pointed out. “And we’re sometimes trolled for it, too. I mean, you wouldn’t be the first guy to decide that going out with me was more trouble than it was worth.”

“Then they’re either idiots or cowards. I mean, yeah. Everyone in the school knows that there’s, um, there’s a group of you, and you don’t mess with one of them unless you want all of them - all of you - coming down hard. That happened last year. Oh, you probably remember that, don’t you?”

“They didn’t want me involved; I was too young back then. But I definitely heard about it.” Someone had turned harassing into bullying - they’d been targeting Bellamy, which was unwise to start with - and all of the cousins, en masse, anyone sixteen-to-eighteen, had explained to the bullies why that was a particularly bad idea. The bully had taken two weeks off of school sick and had opened doors for Bellamy for the rest of the year. “We can get a little carried away, and Bel is one of, um, she’s one of the Ones.” One of the ones who might be the next Aunt.
“From what I hear, or at least from how I’ve been threatened, so are you.”

“Who’s been threatening you?” She knew she bristled, and she didn’t care. Jake was hers.

He smirked at her. “Let’s see. How many male cousins do you have? Add in any of the girls that are seniors, Jessie, and your uncle who does the landscaping for the school.”

“…seriously?” She raised her eyebrows at him. “You’ve got to be kidding. All of them?”

“Well, half of them seem to think that I’m going to be bad for your future - sort of like your cat - some of them think I’m not good enough for you, three people have warned me that it will never be serious between us and two have warned me that if it ever does get serious, I should run away.”

“I am going to murder all of my cousins. Except Bellamy.”

“Bel’s among those that didn’t feel the need to have a Talk with me, you’re right. I mean, she punched me in the arm and told me ‘go get ‘er,’ but I don’t count that.”

Maybe Bel really did want the Aunt position.

“... Hunh. Well, I think the first date is too early to worry about if it’s going to be serious, and I get to pick whether or not you’re good for me or my future.”

“And what do you say about it?” Something about the way his fingers tensed on the wheel told her he cared more about the answer than he wanted to admit.

“I’m here, aren’t I?” No, that wasn’t going to be enough. Beryl put her hand on his knee. “I say that I like you, that your smile lights up my day, and that I really hope there’s a second date. Also, I’m really grateful that you didn’t bail on the whole thing when I told you my cat didn’t approve.”

“To be honest, no matter how we — interesting your family is, I’m more worried about your dad approving than you cat.”

The real trick would be if he met Aunt Eva and survived the encounter. Beryl didn’t think now was the time to bring that up, though.

“So,” she said instead, “where are we going?”

“Well, colour me completely weird — but we’re going to a cemetery.”

“Oh, goody.” Beryl smiled crookedly at him. “Are you sure you’re not related to me?”

“I’m gonna take that as a compliment and say I hope not - and hope you take that as a a compliment too.” He grinned at her before turning his attention back to the wheel. “I think you’ll like it. It’s a really pretty place, and i brought a picnic.”

“As long as there’s no digging up bodies - or bodies digging themselves up - it sounds fun.”

“What, your family’s not into that?” He asked it so straight-faced, so deadpan, that it took her a moment to realize he wasn’t serious.

When she giggled, he chuckled too. Beryl leaned back in her seat and grinned. Whatever everyone else thought, this was totally worth it.



Want More?

Date: 2017-04-04 02:41 pm (UTC)
thnidu: Lucy bright and bold. Lucida Bright font, boldface: backslash, small-o, slash: YAY!! (yay)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Heehee (grin). That ending ;-) ...which might be a beginning.

• you’re family’s not into that?
-> your

Date: 2017-04-04 06:57 pm (UTC)
kelkyag: notched triangle signature mark in light blue on yellow (Default)
From: [personal profile] kelkyag
<giggles and giggles>

Date: 2017-04-04 07:11 pm (UTC)
kelkyag: eye-shaped patterns on birch trunk (birch eyes)
From: [personal profile] kelkyag
If you want angle brackets to appear rather than be parsed as html, you can use "&" "lt" ";" (<) and "&" "gt" ";" (>), with no spaces. This is silly, and I am ridiculous and stubborn in refusing to switch away from angle brackets, and sometimes it amuses me that they break cutting and pasting ...

Mark's a professor, huh? Mythology's got to be an interesting field for someone in the Family.

Date: 2017-04-04 10:47 pm (UTC)
kailing: self portrait of me in front of my bedroom door, with purpled [and blued] hair, being very heart shaped (Default)
From: [personal profile] kailing
fun :D

Date: 2017-04-09 01:37 am (UTC)
sauergeek: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sauergeek
It's good to see Beryl off being at least a semi-ordinary teenager. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out: she's a candidate for Aunt, she at least is interested in being Aunt and will likely be competent at it, she has nontrivial power, and Eva seems to like her.

Good on him for handling the "my cat thinks you're bad for me" well.

I have to wonder, though, what prompted him to offer a picnic in a cemetery as a first date. Then again, she agreed, so despite the oddity, he found something that will at least work.

I approve of his deadpan, too.

Date: 2017-04-11 05:28 pm (UTC)
sauergeek: (Default)
From: [personal profile] sauergeek
Mt. Auburn Cemetery is a quite pretty one nearby, which I've meandered around in a few times. I'd still be dubious of a first date there.

Date: 2017-04-09 01:59 am (UTC)
clare_dragonfly: pink dragonfly in green frame, text: Clare (!Clare-Dragonfly)
From: [personal profile] clare_dragonfly
I giggled a lot at her cat having complex enough thoughts to require explaining XD

Also, a cemetery! What a great date location! I want to see more of this guy.

Date: 2017-04-11 11:46 pm (UTC)
clare_dragonfly: Abby from NCIS, text: squee! (NCIS: Abby: squee)
From: [personal profile] clare_dragonfly
Was it with Mr. T? :D

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