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Catherine Smith for Percival Adlard Jr..
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Boys Like You
#17
She should leave. Every instinct she had was screaming at her to tell him goodbye once more and flee. The fireflies didn't pose anywhere near the risk that staying in the shed with him did. A few stings, maybe even a burn or two, but all things that would heal. If they fell apart once more...Melody couldn't even begin to imagine her despair.

Except, she didn't have to imagine it. Melody had spent two years drowning in the depths of her misery. She had spent two years wallowing, wondering what could've happened if she had taken just one more risk - if she had just allowed herself to be an ounce more vulnerable. It couldn't possibly be much worse than that, and what did she have to lose anyway? A marriage she would refuse if she could in anyway? A life she constantly daydreamed abandoning? Another minute wouldn't ruin anything that wasn't already destroyed. Another minute would simply give her a dream to replay once this all fell apart again.

"Okay." She nodded quickly before repeating it once more. Her hand rested lightly on his sleeve as she stared up at him, completely unsure of what else to say.


Beautiful set credit goes to MJ
[Image: rVeL1F.png]
#18
"Okay," Ben echoed back, not quite sure that he'd really heard her correctly. He'd convinced her, apparently — it was unbelievable, but she wasn't leaving. She was touching his sleeve, in fact — more casual intimacy than they'd had in years. He felt a flush of warmth, of excitement — like he was a giddy schoolgirl being near his crush unexpectedly. Merlin, what a change had overcome him in only a few moments. He wouldn't have believed it possible when he'd first pulled her into the shed. He'd lost his reason to blame her for everything that had happened, and when those feelings had dissipated — well, it had left nothing behind except for how he felt about her, which he'd been steadily burying and ignoring for the past two years.

"I'm not smart enough to figure this all out," he said quietly, shaking his head slightly. "But you are. So... let's figure it out. We're not — you can't just be miserable for the rest of your life," he said, which was really about as far as he'd gotten. He didn't want her getting married off to someone awful in six months — but what was the alternative? Life with him wasn't an option — it wasn't better than the alternative. He couldn't provide any of the things that she needed — but what other options were there?


Set credit to MJ! <3
#19
The single feasible alternative was to elope with someone - anyone- else. It was far too late now a proper courtship and wedding, anything rushed at this point would sully Penny's chances. Her father wouldn't risk another failure of a daughter. Far less feasibly, she could flee; run off to America or Australia and portray herself as a young widow. To do so required money, and a hefty amount at that. Most of her allowance was spent by her mother on new gowns and tickets to society events. She would be a pauper in America.

"I've thought it through repeatedly, Ben." He didn't want her to be miserable, but he didn't want to marry her. Even now, after kissing her and begging her not to leave him, he still wasn't offering. Again, the nagging thought to leave pulled at her. Something inside herself wanted to save her from the inevitable heartache. "The person I thought I was getting close to over the summer hasn't offered. And you - " she cut herself off, too afraid to say the thought she wished for most. Her hand dropped from his arm, though she made no move to step back. "I can flee. That's what's left for me. I can make a new life somewhere far from here. Perhaps I could even work my way up to be a professor."


Beautiful set credit goes to MJ
[Image: rVeL1F.png]
#20
Ben had no doubt that Melody had thought it through before — she was that kind of person, thinking things through when he would have just rushed in blindly. It should have been no surprise at all, then, that she had been trying to find another way out of this scenario — but even so, when she mentioned the person I thought I was getting close to it stung a bit all the same. He had to remind himself that he had no right to feel that way — and in fact, by all rights he ought to have been encouraging her to move on. Not that he ever really had.

"You can't just run away," he countered, shaking his head. "That's not an option. You don't know what that's like — being somewhere with nothing." He wasn't about to convince her to do something stupid and throw her life away — not for his sake, and not for the sake of some high-minded ideal. "There's got to be some way to get both. To get your freedom, and the kind of lifestyle you deserve."


Set credit to MJ! <3
#21
"There isn't, Ben. That's the price you pay for comfort. You do as you're bid." She hadn't, once. Melody had nearly gotten herself married off to the first person to so much as raise an eyebrow two years ago. Her father had threatened her into submission then, and she fell into line because she had no choice. Never - not since leaving school and entering this bloody society - did Melody feel she had a choice in any of this.

She glanced towards the door. Time was ticking away, and they were wasting it debating something she already knew the answer to. "I don't despise you. I was wrong to say that...I... don't want to leave with you believing I resent what you showed me."


Beautiful set credit goes to MJ
[Image: rVeL1F.png]
#22
She was shooting him down, but the worst part was that Ben couldn't even refute her. Maybe she was being too pessimistic, but what did he know? It was her world, not his. He hadn't been born into her kind of family, with her kind of parents. He hadn't ever had to consider getting married to some boring, stodgy old man just to maintain his current lifestyle. He sometimes had to be nice to Aldous to prevent getting cut off entirely, but in recent years he had been far more independent. He'd really mostly had to walk that line while he was getting Aldous to fund his booze trips around Europe and that was... well, decidedly different.

Still, he couldn't just let it go. "I'm going to find a way to fix this. I am."


Set credit to MJ! <3
#23
Determination alone couldn't deter her fate, if it could then she would already be freed. Ben wasn't privy to her father's thoughts, though, he hadn't had time yet to reconcile with it. Melody had had years to settle into what now felt like an unstoppable force. Her marriage would happen. Ben would be even more unattainable. She would never be free. Nothing could stop fate.

"I hope you do. I sincerely hope you see something I don't." Melody replied before glancing towards the door once more. The noise was dying down outside. If they were to avoid suspicion they would have to leave shortly. Without further conversation or thought, Melody pressed her lips to his. She had far too little time left to spend with him, and for once - just once - she was going to do as she pleased.


Beautiful set credit goes to MJ
[Image: rVeL1F.png]


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