Beginning Chapter 36 this week on the Tale … I think the Queen needs to make an appearance … at least for a little while … And she needs to speak with someone about some things that bother her …
Storm Clouds 206
Time passed ever so slowly in the room. Someone who concentrated might be able to follow the dust motes as they floated here and there among the bookcases, tables, and chairs. Someone not so inclined to watch them might be held by the image of a woman straddling a man on one of the chairs, her fingers laced into his hair and their lips crushed together in a deep kiss.
One might also notice that neither of them were moving. But there was one other in the room who was. She was stalking back and forth, her long, red, heart-tipped tail swaying pensively as she walked, her eyes scanning intently from the carpet below her to the two intertwined and then back again as she paced.
Out of what some might mistake for frustration or impatience, she would tuck a wayward lock of hair back behind one of her ears from time to time. In fact, it was neither of those emotions, but rather her pondering over what she knew and understood …
… and when Tera, the Queen of the Succubi, put a puzzle together and the pieces fit? That spelt issues for someone.
Her thoughts were interrupted by a familiar presence entering the apartment building, so her pacing came to a stop and a warm smile played upon her lips. She had been wondering when he was going to appear and it seemed that this moment was the one that mattered.
His timing, as always, was impeccable. But then, he was especially attuned to her.
Counting to twelve, Tera walked over to the apartment door and then waited another three beats before opening the door and looking out into the hallway. The elevator dinged, the doors opened and she waved to the one standing there, his hands quite full. “Coming! Just a moment, my heart!”
The man in the elevator, who Thomas would recognize as the pastor from the funeral he attended not so long ago, nodded his head in lieu of a wave: “All fine, Dear One. I’ll manage.”
Quickly making her way down the hall, Tera replied: “Manners will not allow that, you know. At least allow me to be of some use?”
He chuckled: “We’ve talked about this before, Dear One. You sell yourself short. You are more than useful and, one of these days, you’ll see that.”
She scrunched up her nose as she took a small bag from under his arm: “Family trait, you know.”
He nodded once: “Yes … quite so.”
Moving to walk beside him, she slipped her arm with his and they moved towards John’s apartment. As they walked, they slipped into the banter they always shared.
“I’m sorry for being late.”
“Not late. You are exactly on time, as always.”
“How are you managing, Dear One?”
“Oh … managing, my heart.” Of course, she didn’t want to worry him.
“I see.” Of course, he saw right through that.
The next words that passed between them were ones that each knew didn’t need to be said, for they had known each other, it seemed, forever. Tera’s heart would always be so, as would she for him as his Dear One. That was just how things were, and nothing in the universes could change that fact. After they entered John’s apartment, he handed her one of the styrofoam cups he held. As he closed the door he asked: “And where is your Eternal, Dear One?”
Tera smiled as she traced a fingertip around the rim of the styrofoam cup: “Oh, he’s off and about looking after something.” She looked at him and nodded once: “But he is with me and I am with him.”
The look he gave her was somewhere between understanding and concern: “Of course. That was not my concern.”
Her finger stopped moving as she tilted her head to the left: “But you are concerned.”
He nodded, taking the lid off his tea: “I am concerned about you, Dear One. You are troubled, have been for some time. I can see it in your eyes … your Eternal and I are the only ones that possibly could have seen it, of course, but it is there.”
Tera was silent for a time, then admitted: “I think the Dark has been messing with things it should not. So I am … hoping … to fix that damage.”
“I see. And the two over there?”
“They are the thing that needs to be made right once more.”
He took a sip of his tea: “Playing matchmaker, Dear One?”
She took the lid off her own tea: “Oh those two are matched, my heart. I’m just trying to set things right once more.”
“Dear One, are you sure you are doing the right thing, or are you possibly, inadvertently, just maybe doing the Dark’s own work for it?”
Tera paused, her tea almost to her lips: “Memories have been changed, my heart. The reason for that I do not know. Yet the Dark has altered the memories of some of the succubi. It has also changed the memories of innocents. It is trying to set something up to Its benefit. Jane is one of them. John, the dear man she is with at the moment, is the other.”
“Are you sure?”
Tera’s tail moved slowly behind her: “I know Eternals when I see them, my heart. In that I am sure. What happens after that is in their hands.”
“Which means we wait.”
“You need not have to my heart. I’ll wait.”
He winked: “And have you talking to yourself? I shudder to think what your dear Tail will have to say about that.”
Tera smiled a warm, knowing smile: “You are, of course, quite right, my heart.”
He walked over to the couch and settled in: “What would you like to talk about while we wait?”
Tera took a spot on the other end of the couch, curling her legs underneath her as she did: “I have a theory … more of a thought, perhaps.”
He looked at his tea: “Why do I have the feeling, Dear One, that we’ll need more tea?”
She laughed: “Because that is how it always works when we chat, my heart. And, next time, I will bring the pie to share.”
He tipped his cup towards her: “So. Tell me what’s bothering you.”
And so she did.