“Oh thank the maker you’re here, Polly. I’m about ready to light myself on fire,” Lyra looks suitably suicidal, “If I have to listen to another goddamn whiny hipster song I am going to lose my fucking shit.”
The coffeehouse is somewhat hipster-esque—gigantic posters are plastered on the walls, beat poetry books line the community library shelves (“Take a book, leave a book!” a nearby sign declares), and the barista is sporting some pretty rancid dreads. Pretty typical coffeehouse stuff, really.
“I was kinda surprised that you invited me out,” Polaris says, “You usually just call me to bitch at me.”
“Just sit down. It’s—shit—I might have done something a little brash.”
“What, you? No, never, I don’t believe it,” Lyra doesn’t immediately respond, so Polaris continues, unimpeded by the awkward silence, “You’re like the most rational person I know. I mean, you put your money into well-researched stocks and you always follow the speed limit, and…”
“Polaris,” Lyra looks grim, “I don’t need that. Not right now. This is serious.”
“Listen. I think Lily hates me.”
Polaris snorts a little. “What are you talking about? Lily is your pal, your friend, your brochacho.”
“Can I tell you why or are you going to be an asshole about it?”
“I’m sorry, it just sounds so…it sounds not like you.”
“Okay, I’m going to tell me fucking story now, right?”
“And you’re going to be a supportive friend about it, okay?”
“Fine. So I went to Luke and Lily’s house—“
“Holy shit, they have a house?! Luke and Lily have a house?!”
“Do. Not. Interrupt. So I went to their house, and they were outside. I’ll get to the fact that they have a house in a moment, by the way. Anyway, they’re kissing. Like one of those stupid dip kisses. And I didn’t fucking know at this point they were together! I mean, I had a feeling—like I told you about the other day—but I didn’t think they were actually together. And UGH he shaved that mohawk and it looks worse, Polly. It makes his face look all scrunchy and horrible and just gross. I don’t get it. What’s the appeal?”
“Seriously, he’s nailed not one, but two hot alien chicks, and how?”
“Is he good in bed? Is that it?”
“Yes,” Polaris quickly gets her word in, “that’s pretty much it.”
“But you asked—“
“Nope. Don’t care about that walking dildo. Anyway, I see them kissing. You can guess what happens next…”
“You killed Luke!”
“No! What the fuck? Is that what you think of me? Like I’m a killing machine?”
Polaris knows better than to answer.
“As you probably guessed, I started yelling, as I’m wont to do. Yelling, not killing, ya bitch. I’m like, ‘What the fuck, Lily?! You leave a note saying you’re fucking leaving and I find you with this jag?!’ And Lily’s all like, ‘oh no, Luke, I told you this was not a good idea.’ And Luke’s all like,” Lyra’s voice drops an octave as she impersonates Luke, “‘it’s okay, babe, get behind me.’ He starts acting all defensive of her like I’m a fucking animal or something. I’m here like, ‘I’m trying to be fucking reasonable about this, so back the fuck off, Luke.’”
Lyra stops and takes a sip of her iced coffee before continuing, “So, I’m standing there, staring down this jackass, and he finally says, ‘Sorry, Lyra. We didn’t want to do it this way, but Lily and I are in love. We’re having a baby.’”
“Yes, a fucking baby! It turns out Lily’s pregnant! I guess they’ve been knockin’ boots behind my back. I don’t even know when they found the time.”
Polaris is quiet. Her ex-boyfriend is having a baby with her friend. Her ex-boyfriend, who is only alive because her fiancé is dead, is now having a baby with her friend, who is only around because fiancé rescued her. When did her life become a soap opera?
“Anyway, they have a house now, some huge-ass modern mess over near the cliffs…” Lyra keeps talking, but Polaris tunes her out. Luke couldn’t find the time to even be around when the triplets were born, but now he’s shacking up with Lily. “And they ELOPED, Polly. Polly, are you listening? They’re now Mr. and Mrs. Luke Loser.” And the knife cuts deeper.
“So I say to him, I say, ‘First you kill Crux and now you’re stealing Lily away?’ And he scoffs at that. Seriously, it’s his fault that Crux is dead—“
“Please stop talking about him,” Polaris says weakly.
“It’s integral to the plot. I follow up with some well-constructed swears, and then he tells me to leave. He says I’m ‘upsetting Lily and this is why she wants to get away from you, Lyra. You’re toxic, and ever since Crux died, you’ve been worse. She can’t take it anymore.’”
“So I’m like, ‘how long have you been fucking him, Lily?!’ but she doesn’t answer. She just stares at me with those creepy vacant eyes. Luke tells me to leave again, and I tell him to stay out of it ‘cause this shit’s between me and Lily. But he insists on staying, says he has to protect his wife, the motherfucking cretin. That’s when he lays it on me that they eloped, apparently because I’m so fucking horrible.” Polaris swears that Lyra’s eyes begin to water, but Lyra shakes her head and quickly wipes her eyes.
“Anyway, I say to him, ’You’re as much a murderer as the bitch who shot him. You killed Crux the moment you walked in that warehouse. You know why? Because you’re a worthless idiot. You couldn’t play it cool. You couldn’t let us work it out.’ And then you know what happens?” Polaris doesn’t answer.
“She—Lily says, ‘Crux made his choice,’” Lyra’s voice wavers, “’And his choice was to save Luke. You musn’t twist the meaning of his death.’ Like I’m a fucking—like I’m that much of a bitch or something.” Lyra looks at Polaris pleadingly.
“And what did you say?”
“I just kind of—I get really mad. I start screaming. I can’t remember what I say. And finally Lily steps between us. She puts her little pipe-cleaner arms up like she’s going to stop us from fighting for something. And she’s like, ‘You need to stop this, Lyra. You’ve been holding this in for too long. Crux is dead, and life is moving on. I’m moving on.’”
“Moving on from what?” Polaris asks. Lyra raises an eyebrow. “Oh—oh, wow! You and Lily?”
“Yeah, but she wasn’t exactly keen on getting hitched and raising cats together. Anyway, she asks for my blessing. My blessing! Can you believe that?! I tell her to fuck off, and I start to walk away. She grabs me and asks me again for my blessing, or at least to give Luke a chance. She asks me to stay awhile and talk.”
“So that’s the whole story? Then why’d you ask me out?”
“To talk, I guess. I don’t know. That was a few days ago, and every time Lily calls—which has been a lot—I answer the phone with fart noises. I don’t think—I guess I just want to hear that I’m right.”
“You’re not,” Polaris says, “Lily’s right.”
Lyra’s jaw drops. “Well some fucking friend you are!”
“I mean it—you’re using Crux’s death as an excuse for whatever happened between you and Lily. It’s…disrespectful.”
“Listen, Polly,” Lyra says quietly, “I’m going to say something, and I’m going to try to keep my cool because I don’t really want to fight right now even though I’m 99.9% certain I could kill you in two moves. Crux was my friend. I lived with him. I went on missions with him. I spent almost as much time with him as you did. Just because we weren’t in some hyper-romantic, fucking-all-the-time relationship doesn’t mean that he wasn’t important to me. If his death caused a rift in my relationship with Lily, it was a genuine rift, not something I made up to feel better about myself. I know everyone sees me as some kind of moral black hole, but I have a fucking heart.”
“Don’t. Just shut up. You’ve been acting like a fucking whiny bitch ever since he died. You won’t talk about him, you didn’t want to even try to recover his body, and you won’t tell his kids about him—about their DAD, Polly. He’s not Luke. He’s not some guy who ran out on you or whatever the hell that guy did. He died and you won’t tell them anything about them.”
“I just think—“
“I said shut up! They deserve to know. He’s a goddamn hero—he’s not like a ‘save the world’ kind of hero but in this saga of our life, he’s the definitive hero. You’re hogging his death! You are the only one allowed to feel anything, the one who dictates how we talk about him. Luna probably has some shit to say about Crux—she saw him fucking die—but do you let her? Do you ever talk about it with me or Lily?”
“What you’re doing isn't grieving. It’s like you’re procrastinating life. You’re putting everything off. He’s not coming back, Polaris. He’s not. But your kids are here now, and I’m here.”
“Someone had to fucking say it.”
“Did you have to be so cruel about it?”
Lyra smirks, “just talk about your feelings, ya ho.”
They reach out of nowhere.
Leather-clad hands cover her mouth, silencing her screams, and twist her hands behind her back. Her stomach drops as she’s pulled backward. Her abductor is strong. He pushes the back of her knee with his leg, forcing her to the ground. She draws short, quick breaths. Hyperventilation. He swiftly binds her hands with a zip-tie. It cuts into her skin, causing her wrists to tingle.
Target’s been neutralized, he says, but she doesn’t see anyone.
Stop! Help, someone! This seems familiar. A sudden shock, and she begins to fade.
Her eyes close, then open again. A strange room greets her. Metallic tubes line the walls—five on one side, another five on the opposite side. She feels a push behind her, and she can smell the leather gloves of her captor. She stops suddenly, a frail attempt at resistance.
Where am I? She tries to sound strong, but her voice trembles.
Keep moving. He pushes her again. She senses delight in his voice. He’s savoring this.
Where am I? She repeats herself.
Don’t make me tase you again, he warns. She trudges forward until he grabs her by the back of the neck and pushes her laterally into one of the tubes. Sweet dreams, blondie.
She tries to scream, but a cold vapor enters her mouth, stifling her.
“Are you asleep?” Luna whispers, “Elly! Elly? Elly?! Are you asleep?”
“I was,” she yawns as she sits up, “thanks for waking me. I was having a weird dream.”
“You always have weird dreams. Remember that one you had about Ethan?”
“Not that kind of weird, sicko,” she grumbles as she glances at the clock, “maker, it’s five in the morning! What are you doing up?”
“I can’t sleep,” Luna frowns, “Dad called last night.”
“Oh yeah? What’d he want?”
“Lily had her baby.”
“Already? It feels like just yesterday that they got married.”
“Yeah. They already brought him home. His name is Oliver.”
“Well that’s great. Mazel tov,” Elysia yawns again, “I’m going back to sleep.”
“They want us to visit today,” Luna slides off her bed onto the floor.
“I know,” Luna sniffles, "this is the worst!"
“Well, you can go with Solaris after school,” Elysia says.
“He has study club,” Luna’s eyes begin to water. Elysia sighs and rolls out of her bed and onto the floor.
“Hey, c’mon. Don’t cry. He hasn’t really been our dad for years,” Elysia tries to sound comforting, “He’s a great weekend-dad, don’t get me wrong, but you couldn’t expect him to hang onto mom for forever.”
Luna begins to bawl.
“Ugh, stop that,” Elysia sneers. She hates it when her sister cries—she can feel it all the way to her bones.
“I’m sorry, Elly,” Luna whines, “I just can’t go by myself!”
“Fine, fine! I’ll go with you! You don’t have to be a baby about it.”
“I miss him.”
“We see dad every weekend. What’s there to miss?”
“No, I miss Crux.”
“Oh, yeah. Me too.”
“Aww, he looks just like you,” Luna coos as she sways back and forth with Oliver, “He’s like a tiny little Lily. How cute!”
“Oh, his coloring is mine, but I think he looks so much more like his father,” Lily smiles at Luke. Elysia tries not to roll her eyes. As soon as they got there, Lily handed Oliver off to Luna and then perched herself on Luke’s lap. They’ve been gazing into each other’s eyes for what seems like forever.
“No, babe, he definitely looks like you. He’s got your cute widdle nose,” Luke replies sweetly. Elysia gags—is this how he talked to her mom, too? Gross!
“Well, whoever he looks like, he’s adorable.” Luna loves babies, at least when she doesn’t have to take care of them. They’re very cute when they can be handed off to a responsible adult upon soiling themselves.
“He’s a baby,” Elysia scoffs, “all babies look the same.” Oliver whimpers a little.
“Honey, I think Oliver is getting tired,” Lily says, sliding off Luke’s lap, “And so am I. Can you and Luna take him to his crib? I’d like to speak to Elysia momentarily.”
“Anything for you, my sweet,” Luke winks.
After Luke and Luna leave the room, Lily sidles a little closer to Elysia.
“I like babies,” she says softly.
“Good, you just had one.”
“They’re soft, and sweet. They feel warm.”
“Well, they’re warm-blooded so that makes sense.”
“No, I mean they feel warm. Their minds. They’re calm, inviting. They don’t have the blocks and biases that more mature humanoids do,” Lily attempts to make eye contact but Elysia avoids her gaze.
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“I believe you do. I know you know. I can tell, the same way you can.”
Elysia turns to Lily. “Okay, I’ll bite. You’re obviously getting at something.”
“I’m getting at nothing. I just want you to know you’re not alone. I know what it feels like,” she pauses, “It’s strange to know what people are feeling, to know where they are. The dreams, they are unnerving.”
“Okay, so you’re like me. Yippee. You’re also annoyingly vague.”
“The dreams feel real, don’t they?”
“Ugh, sure, of course, whatever.”
“You dreamt of a cold room. With tubes, and people inside them. I’ve had this dream, too.”
“Really?” Elysia is surprised—she’s never been on the receiving end of telepathy. “It woke me up this morning. Scared the hell out of me.”
“I have it all the time. Almost every night, in fact. Sometimes I wake up screaming. ”
“If we can read minds and sense people, do you think we can…?” Elysia trails off.
“See the future? I don’t think so. It’s significant that we have the same dream, but I doubt it’s predicts a definitive outcome. I believe it has meaning, though. We may want to investigate that.”
“I don’t want to think about it,” Elysia admits, “really, I try to forget a lot of the things I see. Or hear, or smell, or whatever.”
“I can understand that. When you want to figure this out, come visit. I know Luke would like to see you more often. Just please bring your brother and sister.”
“I’ll make sure to do that,” Elysia stands up and begins to walk to the front door before turning back to Lily, “Thank you, Lily. It’s nice to—it’s nice to know I’m not the only one.”
Lily hugs Elysia. “I was afraid I was the only one, too.”
“Why are you so happy,” Luna asks as they leave, “I thought you’d hate this.”
“No reason,” Elysia grins, “I’m just happy.”
Author’s note: It’s been over a year since I started this legacy! I need to get my shit together and pick up the pace. :p Honestly, I meant for my legacy to be quite action-packed when I started it but I got distracted by silly things. I do have to say that this legacy has been an awesome experience. I don’t often write creatively, but I write technical material all the freaking time. It’s nice to take a break from the boring kind of writing.
Anyway, someone mentioned a few chapters ago that they thought Lyra might be a lesbian. Yes, she is. She and Lily were lovers when I moved them to Lucky Palms, but they broke up at some point. Polaris was jealous of Lyra for absolutely no reason—Lyra and Crux were just bros. In the game, Lyra actually lives with Luke and Lily, which must be super awkward.
Solaris rarely gets screen-time. This past week, he was way too busy with Halloween: