OF :: Disappointed

Title: Disappointed
Arc: Faerie
Rating: PG
Written: Summer 2005
Summary: Richard considers the effects of Adryana’s absence.
Author’s Note: In the first draft of The Fairie’s Daughter, Richard was an abusive father. When the story was redrafted, I needed a more sympathetic Richard, but I had to be careful to keep him from turning into his brother, Marcus. This piece, inspired by the lyrics from The Frames‘ song Disappointed, was one that I wrote on a whim while listening to the song, but it soon became the cornerpiece of the new Richard’s character and motivation.

These characters, stories, and ideas are the original, copyrighted work of Nicole Sharp and are protected under a Creative Commons License.

On nights like this, Richard felt like there was nothing he could do except sit on the edge of his bed and sigh. Jeanne was crying in her sleep again—chattering in Faerie between sobs, and all Richard could understand were the two words that mattered: Maiara and carisae. If anything Adryana had ever told him about that word ‘carisae’ was true, then she knew that Jeanne was crying tonight, crying every night. He wanted to hate her for putting Jeanne through this, but he couldn’t hate Adryana and he knew it.

So he sat here and sighed because it had all come to this. Dreams and promises and plans and all that was left of it was this: Jeanne spent her childhood in misery, and he sat alone in a silent, dark room, sighing because he could do nothing for her. Two or three years ago, he would have paced back and forth, speaking to the empty air as though Adryana might hear him. But it was clear now to him that Adryana had sided with her mother—or given in to her at least. There were no more visits, no answers to Jeanne’s pleas, no appearances when she fell into her odd illnesses and fevers. Nothing at all.

As much as it must hurt Jeanne to be ignored so, Richard felt that pain, too. Having Adryana’s attention was like touching heaven; he used to swear that her smile was a pure sunbeam filtered through an angel’s wing. The world was a cold place without that.

He wondered if Adryana was even still capable of shedding such light anymore. She was colder and more distant now, even toward Jeanne, it seemed—how could she bear the look of disappointment in her daughter’s eyes? Richard knew that she saw it; it was impossible to miss. And the woman he’d known and loved—the woman he’d married—would have shuddered at the thought of causing such grief. She would have cried; he could still remember the wetness of her tears against his shoulder, though her eyes seemed to have forgotten how to cry. Maybe Jeanne cried for them both now.

If this was what Fairie did to one, he had to wonder why Jeanne longed for it so. Surely, she had no desire to become the woman her mother—and her grandmother, he suspected—was. It’s only her mother’s influence, he told himself, Adryana was still herself until she took the Crown. More or less. It used to be that the tiredness around her eyes would fade at the sight of Jeanne. Either the girl made her happy again or she was a damn good actress. Richard supposed that it could be the latter—she had, after all, fooled him for well over a year—but he liked to think that he could see past her masks now, though he didn’t have the telepathy his wife and daughter shared.

A scream from Jeanne’s room startled him, and he rose, creeping into her room, careful to avoid the creakiest floorboards. Jeanne was sitting up in bed, her eyes open, though he could tell that she was still asleep. Her hair was mussed, a strand of it stuck to her wet cheek. Lower lip atremble, Jeanne was gasping and shuddering as she spoke in Faerie. The intonation was off—Richard guessed that she was asking a question. The child’s face contorted as though she heard an unwelcome answer, and she crumbled, murmuring something to her absent Maiara.

As gently as he could, Richard eased her back into bed, wiping her tears away and soothing her with a hummed lullaby. This life wasn’t fair to either of them, he thought. But then, Cecylia’s actions had guaranteed that life would be unfair to them all.

It was still a disappointment.

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