The day was finally here.
Andria was aging into adulthood.
The whole extended family and then some turned out for her birthday party. Also, her half-brother Clifton Hodgins, who was the keyboardist in Ghostwriter. Her Uncle Arma had to work.
But nobody was happier than Dylan. Andria gave him a knowing wink as she blew out her candles.
Now was the first day of the rest of their lives.
Let the party begin!
As everyone settled down for cake,
Sky goofed around with Clifton.
“Do you think I’ll get grandbabies out of this?” Sky whispered to Xia.
“Shh!” Xia warned. “Not your business!”
They stole out together to the quiet of the back yard to watch the stars and snuggle in a way they hadn’t done since they were kids.
“Do you wish upon stars?” Dylan asked.
“Sometimes,” Andria laughed. “That one looks like it’s listening.”
“What would you wish for?” Dylan asked.
Andria whispered in his ear.
Dylan blushed flaming red.
And party a little bit.
Dylan got out his birthday present for Andria.
“You’re old enough to drink it now,” he said. “I thought this was pretty fine stuff. Perhaps we could share a toast to a fresh start together?”
“I think that’s a lovely idea. I’ve been curious to know what nectar tastes like!”
They clinked their glasses and each took a sip. Andria made thoughtful noises. “It’s, um, a lovely color,” she concluded.
The sounds of the raucous party were still going on the front lawn. “Do you think they’ve even noticed we’re gone?” Andria asked.
“Mama’s never needed me to party,” Dylan replied. “Usually I just slow her down.”
“So tell me, my knight of propriety,” Andria asked archly, “are we cleared to cuddle on the sofa now?”
“Of course!” Dylan replied. “I’ve been looking forward to it!”
He put his arm around her.
And very quickly
Things got out of hand.
Andria pulled herself away. “Let’s take this upstairs,” she panted.
Dylan, unable to speak, just nodded. He let her lead him back to his bedroom.
Dylan was almost incapable of thinking at all. Never before had he felt desire like this. Never had he needed someone the way he needed Andria at that moment. Her touch trailed fire over his skin. His chest was so tight that it was almost hard to breathe.
Then, suddenly, he came to his senses and yanked himself away.
“Andria! What are we doing?”
Andria just stared at him. “Isn’t it obvious what we’re doing?
Dylan sat up. “We could have — we almost — how can we disrespect our relationship like this? We’re not even married yet!”
“Dylan!” Andria cried. “I just passed through one hoop for your propriety. How many more do I need?”
Dylan sat at the edge of the bed, shaking. “My parents came together just like this,” he said. “They were young. They didn’t know what they wanted. All they thought they were doing was having fun. They made ME, by accident, and it almost ruined their lives. I can’t do that. If we’re not sure that we will stay together, how can we take the risk?”
Andria laid a hand on his shoulder. He ran his fingers over hers, reverently, then took a deep breath and pushed her hand away.
“Do you want to marry me?” Andria asked softly.
“I… can’t imagine myself with anyone else,” Dylan said. “But is that enough?”
“Before we go any farther,” Andria said in a wavering voice, “there’s something you should know.”
She swung her legs over the side of the bed, stood up, and… shifted.
Dylan gasped. “What are you?”
“They call us machina fae,” Andria said. Her voice was strange, higher pitched and ethereal. “We live in your world in secret, using a glamor to make us look human. My father, Doctor Hodgins Sword, was fae. He taught me about it in secret. My mother never knew. I was supposed to keep it secret from you too, but I just can’t live like that. I need you to know who I really am.”
“You’re not human.” Dylan’s voice was flat, stunned.
“No,” Andria said. “If you can’t live with knowing that… I understand.” Her voice broke, just a little, as she said it.
Dylan sank to the bed and held his head in his hands. “I need to think,” he said. “I just need to think.”
Andria is an Imaginary Friend! WTH?
I first discovered this when Dylan took her portrait, and the photograph subject was identified as “Imaginary Friend” rather than “My Main Squeeze,” which was what I was going for.
I looked at her parents in the mausoleum, and she inherited this from her father, Sebastian Hodgins, not her mother, Lynn Winslow Sword. I have no idea who Sebastian inherited from because his parents are long since purged. Gwynn? I don’t remember anything about IFs from the Hodgins Wishacy.
So that’s Andria’s big secret. She’s a part of a secret fae society living among the Avalonians.