Tie-In Chapter to Book Two, clarifying some of Ariel's history, and anyone who's subscribed make sure you read the rest of my books in the series if you haven't yet!
Have you ever loved someone so much, you'd give an arm for?
Not the expression, no, literally give an arm for?
When they know they're your heart
And you know you were their armor
And you will destroy anyone who would try to harm her
The sun began to climb down the horizon, filling the sky with ruby and violet colors. A summer night breeze swept through the trees and created a calm rustling sound, breathing through her hair, adding to the tranquil sound of streaming water. Fireflies hovered in the air, occasionally flicking their glowing light on and off.
Ariel sat in the grass beside the stream, her little girl in her lap chattering on as she braided her blonde hair. They had been in the woods for hours, and although the child was timid of people, Valinty trusted her and told her everything. It sickened her that a six year old could disappear from home all day and her parents didn't care. Just a baby, one who was a harsh reminder of what Ariel was as a child. Abandoned, unable to trust, broken. That's why they shared such a strong, unyielding bond, and trusted nobody but each other. Valinty was the little sister she never had.
For hours she had listened to her talk, share stories about what happened at home, horrible things that no child should have to be put through. When her dad was away, her mom would have other men come to the house, and when she'd pass out- probably high or drunk, whoever was over would sneak into Valinty's room then run away when the little girl would scream at the top of her lungs. Her father wasn't much better, because he would come home drunk and slap her around or lock her in a closet.
Which is why she didn't blame her for never being home. The little girl was so attached to her, trusted Ariel with her life, and it stung badly to listen to her stories because painful flashbacks of her own childhood came with them. Terrible wrath would eat at her with some of the things she said, because Ariel couldn't understand how anyone would wish such pain on a sweet little girl. She would start to weep, then Valinty would cry and apologize for upsetting her, and Ariel would force a smile and scold her for saying sorry for something that wasn't her fault.
Valinty had just finished explaining what would happen with the men her mother brought home. "Don't let them touch you," Ariel told her, allowing the anger she felt to bleed into her voice. "Your body is your temple Valinty, do not let them touch you,"
It would hurt Ariel more than anything if her little sister, also being a product of a broken home, went down the same path she did. Her mother Laelia was her shelter, but when someone was hired to poison the heir to the Vampire's throne, her mom took the poison that had been meant for her.
So then her next shelter was an orphanage in the projects, where her "caretakers" would beat and neglect her. Ariel broke free of this shelter and allowed herself to grow up too early. Taking pills to ignore the pain and being with older boys, she thought she was cool or something. Ariel obviously didn't have anyone there to teach her right from wrong, teach her that she was better than that. So, at night she would lock herself in her room and explode, cry herself to sleep. When she was sent to public school she rebelled, and found herself always getting into trouble, then in love with two boys.
The one who fascinated her seemed too good for her, he had his shit straight and everything. Of course, she didn't feel she deserved him, so she went for the other one. Steve Leotard.
Ariel could relate to him deeply, as he came from a home with no father and a mother who didn't take notice of him. He was bad, behaved like she did, and this drew her to him. Of course, it worked vice versa – The baddest kid in school was fascinated with the girl he always saw getting in fights or screaming at teachers.
So he filled the huge void she felt inside herself, but they were so in love that they acted insane. She could recall him throwing her on his couch, punching her in the face, then they fought each other, and later apologized and would laugh together.
"As long as I'm besides you, you'll always be safe," Ariel promised as she walked the girl home, which was extremely painful to do every night. When they neared the village, she dropped to her knees and hugged the little girl tight.
"I love you, Arie,"
"I love you too," Ariel ruffled her fingers through Valinty's hair before kissing her on the cheek then lifting her head to see tears welling in her eyes.
"What you crying about?"
"I don't wanna go home and I wanna stay with you Arie," She sobbed.
"Just hang in there, because one day when I leave the Cirque I'm gonna take you with me, okay?"
"I promise," She hugged her tightly, one more time, briefly, then looked into the soft eyes of innocence again. "Then no one will ever hurt you again, I won't catch a wink of sleep if that's what it takes to watch over you."
With her knuckles, Ariel nudged Valinty's chin. "Stiffen up that upper lip Valiant, and straighten up soldier. You got me,"
She smiled again at the nickname Valiant.