There are moments, as they are, when things don’t quite unfold as someone might want them to. They are the little instances where something doesn’t work out right, something breaks, or the end result isn’t what had been expected.
But that is life, after all.
Of course, life is what you make of it, and Kallie had been doing the best she could. She wasn’t the most attractive of succubi—even though her red tail was almost, if not quite, as bright as Tera’s own. Still, considering her short, bland brown hair and soft blue eyes, she knew that it wasn’t her role to be one of the great seductresses of the Realm.
A seductress needed to be sexy, and really she didn’t think she was.
So she made do.
Often, when this wallflower was walking the streets of the Realm, she’d come across little gaggles of succubi talking about this guy or that girl they’d had fun with, or with whom they were still having fun. Sometimes she’d find herself tagging along behind her sister succubi, listening and imagining what it was like, allowing herself a bit of a wistful smile now and again. A few times, Kallie hadn’t been paying attention and wandered right into her sisters. It wasn’t, really, an awkward moment, however, as they’d always happily hugged her, turned their attention upon her and asked how she was.
Of course, along the way, another red-tail would ask—because Kallie was a red-tail, after all—if she had reconsidered her view of things. All of them would tell her how wonderful it would be for her to join them, to go off to some other world and have a really good time, as red-tails where, as a whole, wont to do.
But Kallie would laugh, wave her tail idly, and just say: “Thanks for asking, but I have other plans.”
So she made do.
She really didn’t mind her sisters inviting her, honestly, but it didn’t interest her because it wasn’t high on her list of priorities, after all. She’d looked into taking some of the seductress courses, but the idea of being close to Tera, watching and learning from her, brought other ideas of the sort that she’d daydream over from time to time rather than focusing on other things that needed to be done.
For Kallie was making do.
She had a goal; it was one she’d been striving towards for a very long time now. But it wasn’t the sort of thing Kallie expected to be given on a silver platter. No, it was something that she needed to work for, to prove that she was the one that was right for the Queen of the Realm to consider. Kallie, the shy, unassuming red-tail she was, didn’t want to seduce anyone, didn’t want to play among the countless worlds of the universe. Her thoughts were closer to home, closer to something more substantial, more real at least to her way of thinking.
Until then, she was making do. At least, that’s what she had convinced herself of.
When Tera had asked what she’d might like to do in the Realm, a short time after Kallie had dipped her toes—and the rest of herself—into the Lake of Fire, joining her tailself and becoming one of the succubi, her answer rather surprised Tera.
“Oh… I’ll make do.”
At the time, Tera simply replied: “I’m sure you can. But I think you can do more than making do.”
What followed from that moment was a whirlwind of trying out different roles in the Realm. She’d apprenticed as a librarian; a life guard, too. She’d tried her hand at the shops on Dreams Boulevard, and had been a barista at several of the smaller, more quaint coffee shops for a time, as well.
Helping out at the Realm hospital was a change of pace, though some of Florence’s oral exams were a bit too much for the shy red-tail. Once, and only once, she’d taken an introductory course in baking, but her cakes didn’t quite turn out as well as she’d liked, even if that nice man Baker had encouraged her to keep trying.
She’d answered, with a small smile: “I’ll make do.”
The first glimmer that she might have found a path to her role was trying her hand at being a guide to the Realm’s Museum. Kallie loved to meet new souls visiting the Realm for the first time, or so many times they’d lost count. Every tour was a new adventure for her, telling of the artifacts surrounding her charges, telling of how each mattered to those that called the Realm their home.
On one particular tour, an elderly gentleman was part of the group. He followed along, his cane making clicking sounds as they went from room to room. He stood at the back of the group, watching Kallie at her passion, listening to her delight in sharing what she knew with those that cared to discover with her. He’d not said anything, never posed a question throughout the tour. Kallie had noticed he looked rather distinguished, a proper gentleman, and, by the end of the tour—which had taken quite a bit longer than she’d expected—she found that he’d come to the midst of the gathering about her. He contemplated her, almost as if he was judging her worth as a guide for the Museum.
Of course, she was making do.
The tour came to a close, as it always did, and Kallie bid each of her group a fond farewell with the hope they’d visit the Museum again sometime. She turned towards the gentleman, to offer her thanks for visiting, and found him a short distance away, looking at an item that was under glass upon a pedestal.
Kallie quietly approached him, intending to give her thanks before moving on, but instead the gentleman tapped his cane against the base of the pedestal: “You are an excellent guide, you know; quite stellar, really.”
Demurely, Kallie replied: “I’m making do.”
“Really? What makes you think so?”
Her tail moved slowly: “Well … I’m not sure this is what I want to do.”
“You are quite good! It’d been a shame for the Museum to lose your talents.”
Her reply was a bit self-defeating: “I’m making do.”
He turned towards Kallie and, as he did so, there was something very familiar about his look. She’d seen him before, she was certain, but she couldn’t place him exactly: “You sound very much like my niece.”
“I’m sure she’s a wonderful person.”
He seemed very amused by that: “I do believe she is.”
Brushing her hands over her purple dress, Kallie mused: “Do I know you?”
“I would expect you do, but you likely never expected to meet me.”
The confused red tail took another long look at him. Silver haired … quite tall … A thought came that, if she didn’t know better, he almost looked like that incubi in the formal picture of Tera’s mother, father, and …
He smiled as his red horns appeared along with his long, red tail: “I’m not that much of a curmudgeon, am I?”
Bowing—for that was what one did when in the presence of royalty—Kallie offered her apology: “I’m sorry. I should have recognized the advisor of the Queen and King.”
“I’m just Tera’s uncle, so stop that.”
Kallie’s confused expression spoke volumes as he continued: “I’ve been told there’s a red tail around here that’s been making do.”
“I think that’s … me.”
“Well, that’s going to save a lot of time, isn’t it?”
The shiver that went up Kallie’s tail wasn’t a good one, all things considered: “Am I in trouble?”
“Depends if you are going to run away screaming when I hug you.”
Kallie didn’t, and the hug was something she’d needed.
She’d been making do for too long.
Her eyes wet, Kallie asked: “Did Tera send you?”
Reaching into a pocket, he handed her a small hard rubber puck: “I was going to donate this to the Museum when I saw you starting your tour.”
Kallie turned the puck over in her hands: “Then … why?”
His cane scraped over the floor before he tapped it: “Because I could tell you’ve been making do. Did that myself once, and I promised myself that, if I came across someone who was making do, I wouldn’t pass her by.”
Her shrug was automatic now: “I’m …”
“No. You’re not.”
His cane tapped again: “No, you are not making do. You’re making excuses.” She didn’t have a good answer to that, and she found herself looking at her hands as he continued to explain: “You’re lost, and making do isn’t how to figure yourself out. Have you been out with some of the other succubi? What about going out to dinner? Or are you spending your time sitting at home and looking at the walls?”
She shrugged: “They are really nice blue walls.”
“Sort of like your eyes?”
That brought a giggle and the tip of her tail was soon giving him a light tap on the waist: “Are you flirting with me?”
“Depends; are you willing to try something new?”
She found him looking at her kindly: “Depends on what you mean by new?”
He took the puck from Kallie: “I’ve got two tickets to a hockey game.”
“I have no idea what hockey is.”
His gasp was exaggerated: “What? You haven’t lived until you’ve been in an ice cold arena, drinking overpriced coffee and cheering as these little pucks get blasted from one side of the rink to the other!”
Kallie couldn’t help but smile: “Sounds …”
“… like fun.”
He offered his arm: “Excellent!”
She shook her head as the one that Tera called “Uncle” led the way from the Museum towards something a bit better than making do. As he continued to explain about hockey sticks and something called a zamboni, Kallie realized something:
Making a friend was better than making do.
Where that lesson led next was another step on the way towards her own dreams …
… and making her own way …