Eveline was swept away with the fairies who came for her every night, a wicked sparkle in her eyes but a twinge of pain in her heart. Even at her most carefree the way Darian had run hurt. What were the chances anyone would be able to love all of who she was? Even she could not do that. A tiny little piece of her felt that pain amidst the revelry, but it spurred her on to be wilder and even less inhibited than usual.
She danced, she drank, she ate, she kissed. Partners blurred before her eyes and she had a naughty quip and daring laughter for each and every one. She was moonlight and stardust, something that could not be held for longer than a moment before she was gone. It was always thus, every night seeking a new path to mischief.
This night the fairies had taken her to the wilds, there to discover a gathering of youth who had ventured into the wildwood to hide their own revels. The fey creatures joined the young men and women, inciting them to dizzy spirals and carefree coupling. Impishness and naughtiness lurked in a multitude of eyes, mischief finding all too many outlets as the wine spilled on the loam, laughter thick in the air.
And in the midst of it all Eveline found herself captured by one of the fairies, found herself pulled into his embrace. She slipped from his arms and led him a merry chase through the trees, her laughter leading him onwards. Tiarnan was his name and he chased her with a singleness of purpose that was, perhaps, surprising. But perhaps not, when one considered that it had been Tiarnan's idea to curse Eveline in the first place, although to his way of thinking it was no curse but a gift, a chance to taste the freedom that the fae lived. The way out of the curse, however, was none of his doing and he rather regretted that it existed at all.
He caught her wrist finally, spinning her around until she fell to the forest floor dizzily. Her smile held promises that her eyes pledged to break. Lurking within those dark depths was a dark knowledge that claimed she was no innocent. It was all of that which drew Tiarnan to this girl. His smile was lazy as he folded himself down beside her, cupping her cheek in his hand. "You could have this forever if you wished it. I would make it so." For Tiarnan hoped that she would come to love the freedom as he did. He wanted her for now, for a night or a hundred, until he tired of her as his kind always did of mortals in the end.
Seriousness flowed over her face, the change denoting a quicksilver temper that came with the night. "And what of the day?" A pertinent question, for as much as Eveline found the sides of herself at war, a part of her longed for the promise inherent in the curse to be fulfilled. She longed for one who could love her as she was, both day and night. It was that tiny shard in her heart that spoke now, breathless. Darian had rejected her, but perhaps this fairy could be the one. Perhaps it was all over.
His laughter echoed, stroking over her skin and saturating the air around them. "Ah, but we could spend the days in blissful sleep, awaiting the nights when we would sport and play. So many tricks to play, so much mischief to make." The curve of his smile suggested a few more meanings to his words than might be quite obvious.
Eveline yanked her wrist from his grip, her smiles gone in a flash of anger, a temper that promised reprise. "No! You are no different than the rest of them." For he was not. He wanted only a part of her, wished for her to give up a part of her self. As much as she hated the division, she could not imagine a life in which she was always either one or the other, never to taste freedom or glory in accomplishment again. And so for the second time that evening Eveline ran.
For the young woman was discovering the full meaning of the curse and its cure. To find one who could not only accept the two sides of her but love them both, it was a heady thought now that she truly understood it. Even headier was the idea of being herself. No more hiding, no more pretending.
In her flight through the woods she stumbled back through the group of young men and women, so many caught in the carousing of the fae. There was one, though, who caught her eye and offered her a smile. A wink, a hint of deviltry lurking in his eyes. All in all he was a nice enough looking young man, probably close to Eveline's own age, although she was no true judge of such things, especially during the nights. She paused in her flight, flashing a smile of her own at this young man, and then she ran.
Like Tiarnan, this young man followed her. Unlike the fairy, he knew nothing of her. He was a stranger, a mortal, but what was the harm in chasing a fairy girl for an evening after all? His laughter was warm as he stumbled after a girl fleet in her fey and madcap race. And yet he caught her, but not with his hands; no, it was a breathless, laughter-filled plea that she pause, wait for him to catch his breath.
It was not what Eveline expected, and it caught her short. Her smile was just faintly uncertain as she slowed, then stopped. What was the harm? And so she passed the hours of the night in the company of the young man with darkness and starlight and laughter. No names, nothing to tie them, but it was pleasant to share company with someone who asked nothing more than that she be who she was in that moment. She got a taste of what her life could be, just maybe. Perhaps. If she could find it in herself to choose it bravely with the light of day.
With the dawn she was gone, returned to the house of her parents. Eveline had reached a decision and it was time to put it into action.