: Forsaken Tradition, among Other ThingsAuthor
: Ayaia of the MoonPairing
: Diadem: Worlds of MagicTheme
: #11 – GardeniaDisclaimer
: I own Diadem! Really! Am I lying? Yes! But I wish I weren’t…
Forsaken Tradition, among Other Things
She had never been one for tradition. When presented with ornamental hair pins and dresses fit for the princess she was, she’d shunned them for soft, leather breeches and a worn cap fit for the scruffy nobody ‘Renald’ whom she invented. Mind-numbing needlework and spirit-crushing dancing lessons were traded for a nice sword and a quiver full of arrows.
The Gardenias she’d begun to receive from one Dathan Peverel were shredded and burned in her fireplace. Her father’s adamant orders for her impending marriage to that half-wit weren’t followed – instead her father got a missing, rebellious, witch of a daughter who ultimately saved his lands a year later, forcing him into a style of living that the people of that world weren’t supposed to be living by for several hundred more years.
Helaine wondered, then, why she was being so foolish. She had laughed with Score at the fool Pixel was making of himself over that peasant wench – sorry, Jenna
– and they had both sworn to never act like that if they could help it. For all her rebellion and denial, Helaine had finally turned into something she’d always fought – a girl.
She could have lived with anything else. Perhaps she could have been a good cook. Or been good at sewing and mending things. These were at least practical aspects of the girlish things that she had shunned in her youth. Why couldn’t she have been good at braiding her hair? Or endlessly combing it until it shone, like her twit sisters? Why did she have to be so good at not despising Score?
At thirteen, she found herself thinking about him all the time, much like her older sister Adelaide would go on endlessly about her now brother-in-law, Tyrus. Or she would wonder if the things wore or spoke about would please him. She would wonder what it would be like to kiss him.
This is when she knew she was turning into a girl. It was something she’d always fought, and it seemed that even her invention of Renald couldn’t save her from the ugly truth – that she really was a girl, and that she still did feminine things, even though she had tried to beat these urges out of herself since the age of five. She’d seen what being women
had done to her sisters – all twelve of them – not to mention her numerous sisters-in-law who had been brave enough to marry her brothers.
At fourteen, then, Helaine Votrin was finally fully accepting of the cold, hard fact. She was a girl. It wasn’t like she could help it, right? And though she was able to put off Pixel’s romancing when they were twelve, it seemed that she couldn’t put off her own feelings for Score as easily. No matter how annoying he was, or how much she told herself that she despised him. She’d even kissed him a few times, albeit in embarrassment and fleeting, rushed moments when she was feeling particularly bold.
But she felt another surge of…of…well…it wasn’t shame
, per say, but it was close – when she felt more need than usual to kiss this Earth boy of whom she was so fond. What kind of warrior was she that she felt such foolish tendencies?
It was hard to remember to be a warrior when she was with him, though. Lately, they’d been difficult to find on their own – Helaine and Score were rarely separated – and it had given Helaine a chance to think over the odd aspects of their attachment.
While they both abhorred the idea of such public displays of affection as, say, Pixel and Jenna, they weren’t shy about letting it be known that they were together. But where Pixel and Jenna would show this by kissing, Helaine and Score would shyly hold hands or smile privately to one another.
While many would consider the speed at which their relationship moved to be positively glacial, Helaine knew that both she and
Score were fine with the snail’s pace, thankyouverymuch, and that they thought it was moving along at just the rate it was supposed to.
So it came as a shock when, one particular day, Helaine had wanted to kiss Score more than usual. She was surprised to learn that she’d be content kissing him ceaselessly, if their lungs could take it. She’d pulled away at that thought, blushing spectacularly at her bold thoughts and internally scolding herself for thinking so forwardly.
Score, though, had grinned at her, pulling her back into their kiss insistently, and she’d lost all thought, simply enjoying the slightly sordid thoughts that pounded in her head. When Score pulled away, she repeated his earlier actions; grinning cheekily and pulling him back to her lips in an instant – the wordless reprimand for pulling away was all to clear.
It soon became clear that one or both of them could possibly die from lack of air, and it was Score who broke the kiss again, resting his sweaty forehead on hers, breathing kind of heavily as the sun beat mercilessly onto their backs.
“Woah…” he joked breathlessly, pulling his head back to wipe his sticky hair away from his face. “Talk about ‘sucking face.’”
“I don’t understand,” Helaine murmured, fanning her face with her hand, wishing she still had her cap to tuck her hair into.
“On my world, when you kiss for a long time like that they sometimes call it ‘sucking face,’ or ‘making out.’ Weird Earth jargon. Sorry.”
“Why don’t they just call it ‘kissing?’” Helaine mused, looking up at the sky, wondering when they were going to have a cloud or two.
“Well, they do. But ‘making out’ is faster to say than ‘kissing for an exceptionally long period of time.’” Score looked sympathetically at Helaine’s attire. “Don’t you ever get tired of wearing all of that armor all the time? You must be baking!”
“It was better when I had my cap,” Helaine admitted. “It was much better without all of my hair down my back.”
“You could at least ditch the chain mail. Or the gauntlets. Something. Aren’t you afraid of getting heatstroke?”
Helaine stiffened, leaning casually away from Score, gathering her hair into bunches to braid. “I am perfectly fine,” she said loftily, looking down at her hands, concentrating on the seemingly simple pattern that had always thwarted her in her youth.
Score seemed to sense the change in her mood. He leaned closer to her, closing the small gap between them and absently resting his hand on her shoulder. “What did I say?”
Helaine shrugged his hand off, trying to plait her hair as neatly as her eldest sister, Yvette, always had. She was hopeless at it, though, and would always get her hair tangled into knots.
“Helaine? I said something, didn’t I? I’m sorry. I’m dumb. Is that all?”
Helaine shook free the braid she had started, deciding it wasn’t tight enough, but her hair knotted and she frowned at it. It seemed that braiding was a skill one couldn’t acquire through age, only through practice.
“Helaine, seriously. What did I do?”
“You spoke of disrespecting my wishes,” Helaine said at last, tossing her tangled hair behind her shoulder to deal with later.
“What are you talking about?”
Helaine looked at him, frowning. “Perhaps it was all of our…our ‘making out?’ Did it addle your thoughts?”
Score grinned. “Well, I don’t know, Helaine, your kisses do kind of knock the wind out of a guy.”
Helaine found herself blushing, twisting her fingers absently in her palm. “You spoke so casually – you asked me to remove my armor – it’s not something I am…I…I didn’t want to–”
“ –Nonononono you misunderstood me,” Score interjected, reddening faster than Pixel when Score teased him. “I’m…uh…no. I’m not…ah…I don’t want to do that particular…um…”
Helaine looked determinedly at her hands as Score fumbled through his words. She was still a furious shade of red, and the ruthless heat did nothing to sooth her burning cheeks.
“Not that, you know…later
…I wouldn’t…or that I don’t want
Helaine looked up sharply.
“No! God! I do want to! But, you know…not…now…” Score trailed off lamely, burying his own burning face in his hands, swearing at himself.
Helaine tentatively leaned toward him, touching his shoulder. Score peeked out at her, looking sheepish.
“I’m sorry,” he mumbled into his hands. “I didn’t mean it like that.”
“I…I know,” Helaine said hesitantly, as Score slowly slid his hands though his hair, sighing loudly.
“I didn’t get much people interaction, if you can’t tell. I was the kid with the dead mother and the Mob Boss father who hit him. Not the conversation-starter of the century.”
“It is all right. I…misunderstood.”
“Because you are
“Is this a compliment?”
“Totally. You’re a babe. And any guy would be lucky to be with you.”
“But…I wouldn’t be happy with ‘any guy.’ I’m certain you mean that you’re
lucky to be with me?”
“And, you know, I do appreciate the whole thing we have going. The pace we’re going.”
“I do too.”
“I don’t care who says it’s too slow, because I’m fine with it.”
Helaine smiled. “There is one thing we could fix.”
Score paled. “What?”
Helaine leaned in even closer to him, until their noses were touching. “We could perform more of this ‘excessive kissing’ that your world is so fond of.”
Score grinned. “See? You don’t even need your agate to read my mind,” he muttered, relaxing into the kiss once more.
Helaine just wondered why they called it ‘sucking face.’