TWENTY (Part 1)

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Frozen 

hearts did not shatter

dishonored upon those whose eye 

Cries

Lance's lover was not amongst the people waiting in the station for their loved ones—possibly hurt in the earthquake

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Lance's lover was not amongst the people waiting in the station for their loved ones—possibly hurt in the earthquake. Instead, they were in the storage room so untouched any deity would have sneezed. Morita watched him rummage about with slightly scrunched up eyebrows.

"I thought you were talking about a girlfriend. Or a partner."

"I was talking about my partner."

She gestured to the room even though he had his head halfway into a cardboard box. "I wasn't aware that she neighbored with the dust mites."

He scoffed. "Girlfriend? That position is still open." He looked back at her and winked. "The pay is quite good I hear, many benefits. Might have some competition, though. It's a very desired position."

"Seriously, do you have someone?"

"Envious?" he says lightly. Then after a few seconds, he adds, "The day I have a partner is when my father decides to marry me off to some girl from a tree that grows money."

In a sickening way, she found his words ironic. While women were usually the one married off, that wasn't true in their case; Morita had the choice while Lance didn't. "No girl from your hometown you fancy?"

"My hometown? Unfortunately for everyone, every female my age has grown up with this handsome face. Not much appeal when you've seen me covered in mud and Gods-know-what at the age of eight."

She smirked. "You're telling me the great Lance Chastain was incapable of charming a few of them?"

"You wouldn't believe it," he said but didn't elaborate.

"If it counts for anything, I like you," she said, and then added hastily after he glanced at her, "as a friend."

"Tsk. A true loss to both sides. I've never been with a weirdo who thinks they're some Gods' prophet. I can guarantee you've never been with someone as dashing as I. You've yet to live." He paused. "Actually—pardon me if I'm incorrect—but I don't remember the deities as exactly living."

A sad pang of realization hit Morita. Am I not...living? If deities weren't alive, what did that make them? Dead? The thought made her skin crawl.

At last, he pulled out a book. "Ah, here she is. I can't believe they would treat her like this. Next time, I'm carrying her with me. I can't trust anyone to keep her stored carefully these days." He flashed it at her but snatched it back when she tried to read the title on the worn cover. The book had very clearly gone through some things. Some spots were dark with acidic fingerprints.

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