Andria graduated from high school that weekend.
Her grades were respectable. She was voted Most Like to Get Married. She flinched, but managed to accept the award with grace.
Dylan wasn’t there. He’d called the evening before to say that he was accepting a travel photography contract in China.
“Do you want to talk about it,” Xia asked without looking up from the sink she was upgrading.
“Not really,” Dylan replied. “Not yet, anyway.”
China was even more breathtaking than Dylan had expected.
Sampling the local fare
And being sucked into bizarre arguments with the locals.
And he thought. A lot. He went days without speaking to a soul, alone with his thoughts.
It was cleansing.
He thought about his parents and the big mess they’d made of their lives after he was born. He knew he didn’t bear responsibility for their choices. What he wanted was to be sure that the same thing didn’t happen with his family. He wanted to be with someone who took the commitment as seriously as he did.
He wanted a straightfoward, traditional family. Was that too much to ask?
Was such a thing even possible with a fae creature whose true nature he might never understand? If he stayed with Andria, their life would be anything but straightforward.
But he was the son of a ghost. Did he even know what straightforward meant?
When his plane landed, he was ready to call her. “I think I’m ready to talk.”
“I’ll be right over.”
They met in the foyer of the Sample Estate.
“Can you share what you’ve been thinking?” Andria asked. “Are there any questions I can answer?”
Dylan took her hands and stared into her eyes. “Actually, I would be deeply grateful if you could grant me one favor,” he said.
Andria flashed a nervous smile. “What kind of favor?”
“Show me your true form again.”
“Are you sure?”
Dylan nodded. “As certain as I can be.”
She stood awkwardly before him in machina form, and he stared at her. Then he closed his eyes.
And stepped forward.
He couldn’t describe what it felt like. Completely different, and yet entirely Andria.
“I love you,” he whispered.
She held him tightly. “I love you too.”
Turns out you can do all the romantic interactions with a real IF in doll form. I’d never seen anyone do that, so I didn’t know until I tried :).