Let's end Episode 6 in Athens with Atria, a little #Eldria, and an unexpected visitor... ;)

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Scene 14: New Leaf

A.D. 2015 

They hadn’t spoken, since that heartfelt hug last night. She hadn’t even seen him. Sure, he was her sort-of-brother, not another one of her boy toys or random hookups or whatever. But still, after anything remotely touchy-feely accidentally happened in her life—let alone something sincerely heartfelt—Atria had to take a while to recover.

She hadn’t said a word, when she’d run to the doorway, fallen into his arms. And he hadn’t needed to hear a thing. Just stood there, existing in all his impossible beauty, holding her close, silent and still until her sobs subsided. Which had taken too long. She’d felt ashamed, upon finally withdrawing from the embrace. But he’d wiped her tears away so sweetly that the shame was almost swept away along with it.

Then he had kissed her forehead, which was sweet and all, but always fucking killed her, which was stupid, since she totally knew by now that hugs and forehead-kisses were the farthest she would ever get with Eldor, which was a fact that she would just have to accept.

But the worst part was that he had then asked her a question. One that he should’ve known better than to ask. But so he had. Asked if she might like to accompany him to hit up some nightclubs, which had sounded super promising, until he had gone on to say: ‘with Cloe.’

Like, what the fuck? Was the guy nuts? In what universe would Atria ever agree to be a third wheel? She had tried to tone down the bitchy scowl that crossed her face as soon as he had asked. Averted her gaze and declined because she ‘wanted to work on her essay.’ Whether or not Eldor believed that bullshit, she knew it was a reason that he would respect.

So he had left, and she had shut the guestroom door behind him and sat on her bed and bitchily scowled the night away.

Since then, she had been shut up in her room, pretending to be sleeping in till noon. Eldor had knocked around that time, peeking inside in response to her silence, then slipped away, hopefully falling for her Sleeping Beauty pretense. Atria had heard him head out—no doubt to see that doe-eyed girlfriend again, she’d mused disgustedly—and only then had she ventured downstairs. To find a note left on the kitchen counter: ‘Stepped out to run a few errands. Be back in about an hour. Please make yourself at home. My home is yours. Always, Eldor.

Her first instinct had been to roll her eyes into the back of her skull at how sickeningly perfect he always was.

But then something had given her pause. Her gaze had flickered toward a small square set upon the windowsill behind the kitchen sink: a picture frame. Holding a tiny photo of two faces, all too heartbreakingly familiar to her. The same image of two embracing children that Atria had treasured in a little silver locket all her life, till she’d tossed it down a gutter, just the other night.

What she had been so quick to throw away, Eldor had saved. Always. This silly thing was sitting on a windowsill in his perfect little house, which meant his perfect hands had put it there on purpose at some point. Somehow, she knew that it had been there for a while.

Well, shit—cue the weepy waterworks again. At least she’d had an hour to let it all out and redo her mascara before he got back.

Which she did, sauntering downstairs as she heard him come in, recent tears hidden behind expertly applied eyeliner and a casually applied smile.

He grinned as she entered the kitchen, where he stood unpacking groceries, which no man should be able to make look sexy, but he did. Of course. “You’re awake! Hope you slept well? Have you eaten yet?”

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