All was quiet as dawn stole over the house, slowly and almost imperceptibly moving towards the forest that lay beyond. The world held its breath as it does each dawn until...
The first bird stirred, cheeping. Then the dawn chorus began in earnest, admittedly before what could technically be deemed dawn. Light was beginning to suffuse the air, shapes becoming discernable, but as yet the sun had not journeyed over the horizon.
Eveline, however, had not even bothered to attempt to sleep as she did most dawns. Rather, she was industriously digging through the closet her parents had happily filled with all the clothes she asked for, tugging out various items, leaving others hanging where they were. The drawers on the chest were all pulled out at least partially, various items hanging over the edges. It was disarray that would normally be banished quite quickly with the day. Today, it remained as the young woman in the room worked quickly to fill the two bags that sat on the bed before her.
Her decision was made and she was leaving. It was time. For this young woman, perhaps it was far past time. No longer could she go on with the way her life was, no longer could she pretend that her rescue would be found at the hands of some perfect (or not so perfect) man who would sweep in, haul her up on his brightest white (or darkest black) charger, and carry her off with him to the life she had always dreamed of. As she waited for such a man she was watching her life pass her by.
It was time to live, whether she spent her entire life living under the curse or not.
So here was the demure, perfect young woman hastily packing what she could, taking care to ensure for as many eventualities as she could manage. It was a good thing she had not chosen to flee during the night; she had been too occupied with the stranger she had met. It meant that daylight ruled and she was able to plan rather than flinging herself headlong into an ill-advised move.
Her steps were steady as she made her way determinedly down the stairs, a bag in each hand. Although she heard her parents call greetings from the dining room, she took the time to set her bags at the door before joining them. She was pale and concern flared in their eyes, but her father saw the stubborn lines of her jaw and dabbed politely at his mouth before raising his eyebrows in expectation. "Is there something you wish to discuss, darling?"
For just a moment she was tempted to simply pour her troubles out, to give her concerns into the hands of her parents who would do all in their power to protect her from the woes of the world. Then she straightened her spine metaphorically and nodded once. "Yes father, there is. I am leaving. It is time. I can't stay here, can't keep pretending that I am going to find the cure in the young men you have been introducing me to. None of them are ever going to be what I need."
She saw her mother's mouth open, saw her father ready a protest. Instead she held up a hand, shaking her head forlornly. "Please, don't. I know you would do anything for me, but what I need is for you to let me go. I have been so caught up in trying to fix my life that I have almost forgotten to live it." All too true, even if one did take into account the nightly revels of the wilder Eveline. There were still so many things the young woman wanted to do and to see. If she had to do them alone and find a way to live with the way her life was, then so be it.
"I can't keep waiting for my life after the curse is broken. What if that day never comes? What if I never find someone to love me the way I am? I will be old and grey and will have nothing save a lifetime of waiting. I need more than that." She felt her knees quivering, but knew that even with the fear she felt it was all for the best.
The discussion continued, degrading into an argument, but eventually her parents were inclined to accept her choice. Perhaps because they knew the only way to change her mind was to lock her away in her room, an act that would last only as long as the day, and then the fairies would simply free her and she would be lost to them.
As Eveline's parents stood at the door, watching their child climb into a taxi, her mother called out, "The door is always open, Evie. Come home to us!" And with tears in her eyes she hid her face against her husband's shoulder, afraid for what her little girl would find in the world, afraid of who would try to take advantage of the perfect young girl, and afraid of all those new and dangerous things the child of the night would find.
As the taxi pulled away, there was a slight stirring within Eveline's chest as her cheek rested against the chill window. Straightening slightly, she frowned. It was at that moment that she realized that for the first time she felt excitement during the day. A strange sense of adventure took her over, something she had previously only known with the cover of night when her inhibitions no longer ruled her.
Although terror still gripped her, she began to think just maybe she would find quite a bit more than she'd bargained for beyond the doors of her parents' house.