By: IvyAdrena and Fallacy
When DG woke up the next morning, she immediately cringed at both the bright light streaming in through the carelessly open curtains, as well as the sore, gummy feeling around her eyes from her crying fit the day before.
Cheeks flushing a dull red, she flopped over onto her back and frowned up at the ornate ceiling tiles. It wasn't that she was embarrassed about it, though there was a small part of her mind that squirmed about breaking down like a child over something, no matter how life-changing said event might be.
That Glitch had been the one to witness it hadn't helped, but the worst part had been his acceptance-- almost expectation of her rejection. How could such a great guy think so little of himself? He was loyal, funny, had an engaging personality, and told the most wonderful stories...when he could remember them. In fact, any girl would be lucky to snag him as a husband...
Not that she wanted to marry him, of course.
As if her thoughts had summoned him, Glitch chose that moment to burst into her bedchambers with a chirpy greeting that was far too enthusiastic for such an early hour.
"Rise and shine, sleeping beauty!"
Before she could decide if he'd meant it as a compliment or if it was merely a turn of phrase, her friend had all but danced across the space between them in gliding steps and perched on the edge of her bed, settling the tray in his hands over her extended legs. DG sat up carefully and sighed in appreciation when she saw the various breakfast-y food items, all of which looked mouth-watering and delicious.
"What's this?" she asked, thought it was obvious she knew what it was. Because what DG meant was not "What's this?" but "Why the hell are you bringing me breakfast-in-bed when we're not married? Or even dating, for that matter?"
Glitch just smiled and perched himself at the foot of her bed. "Toast, strawberry jam, milk, two sausages, and two easy-over eggs."
And then she knew she couldn't ask him that second question. Instead, she swallowed back a shiver and smiled, taking a ginger bite of toast. "You know," she said around chews, "you don't have to do this, Glitch. We're not married."
"I said would you like some jam with that?"
DG set said toast down obstinately. "Glitch, tell me you're not seriously contemplating what mother said."
He pulled his bottom lip between his teeth. "Well, no, but..."
"But...you know...if it was--"
She pressed the heels of her hands into her eyes. "Get a hold of yourself, would you? I was promised to you when I was, what, ten? Eleven? Eight?"
"I don't remember."
"Exactly! So why can't we just forget about it?"
He nodded, looked at the wall opposite them in thought for a moment, and then turned back to her. "If it's alright with you, Deege, I'd rather not forget anything else."
DG's eyes widened. "Oh, Glitch, I'm sorry..." Quickly setting the breakfast tray out of the way, she crawled down to his side and grabbed his hands in her own. "I didn't mean..."
He smiled weakly, shifting their grip so he could brush his thumbs over the back of her knuckles. "I know."
They were quiet for a moment, each lost in their own thoughts. Then:
"It wouldn't be so bad, would it? I'd be good to you, I promise." Glitch glanced away, normally pale cheeks tinged pink. "If you're worried about, er... intimacy, I wouldn't expect anything, really--"
DG felt herself flush again, and this time it was definitely from embarrassment...and something else she wasn't ready to admit to just yet. The thought of being with him that way wasn't exactly a repulsive prospect.
Ducking her head so she could meet his eyes, she assured him, "It isn't that. Besides, won't mother expect grandchildren to spoil horribly? That generally involves lots and lots of..."
He made a face that was somewhere in between confusion and deep thought. "Like...sex?"
DG turned a prettier shade of red. "Uh, yeah."
"Like, sweaty sex? Really intense, slow-but-frantic, hot, amazing sweaty--?"
"Glitch!" Her voice broke in sheer embarrassment.
Glitch put a hand to his mouth and jumped. "Oh! Oh--oh, dear. I--I said that out loud. That was just meant to be--it was just a thought."
A very enthusiastic, well-thought-out thought that was giving her ideas.
DG bit her lip and stared down at their joined hands.
Glitch cleared his throat. "So if it's not me-- it's not, right?" he added, still sounding unsure and abashed and so hopeful that it almost hurt.
She squeezed his hands gently. "It's not you at all, I promise. I just don't like the fact that I wasn't given a choice."
"That you remember."
"Or you. Doesn't that bother you at all? What if there was someone else you used to like, and the chance to be with her was taken away by some stupid royal agreement?"
"Anything I used to have like that is gone now, doll. Besides, if that portrait in the front hall is anything to go by, I was a real stuffed shirt. I doubt the ladies were very fond of me."
The words, combined with his wry, self-deprecating expression, made DG burst into laughter. Leaning forward, she kissed the corner of his mouth. "Their loss."
Before she could pull away, Glitch tilted his head a bit and pressed his lips firmly against hers. One hand cupped her jaw gently, the other a warm weight on the bed next to her hip. Unlike her old boyfriends, Glitch didn't try to press her for more; he even kept his tongue firmly in his own mouth, which was refreshing. It wasn't her first kiss by any means, but DG was still unprepared for the flutter of warmth that settled inside her at the contact.
When he finally released her, DG simply sat there for a moment, half-lost in the man's closeness. It was his voice that finally brought her to her senses, her name spoken quietly in a worried tone. She opened her eyes (which she didn't remember closing in the first place) and smiled to reassure Glitch that she wasn't offended or about to knee him someplace unpleasant for taking liberties. Instead, she wrapped her arms around him in a familiar hug, burrowing beneath his open coat and ruffled vest until there was virtually no space left between them. His own arms settled around her without hesitation, his chin coming to rest on the crown of her head.
They simply sat there for a while, before Glitch finally gave her an inquiring squeeze. DG sighed and pulled away. "Time to face the music, huh?"
Glitch gave her an encouraging smile. "It's for the best."
It was only with sheer force of will that DG managed to drag herself out of bed, away from Glitch, and through the castle to find her mother.
And Glitch, of course, trailed dutifully behind, gnawing on a slice of toast that she'd abandoned. Her stomach was churning far too much for her to be able to enjoy such luxuries. Ignorance really was bliss, she supposed.
And the minute she found her mother, Glitch decided to shrink into the shadows of the walls, watching from afar. She approached the queen, who was busy sewing some article of clothing, and opened her mouth to speak. "Mother, I--"
"Oh, DG, I was just about to call." She held up said article of clothing in her lap. "I've just begun to sew the trim for your veil." And indeed she had. What very well could have been real pearls littered the band in a very fancy, orderly fashion, and several strings of lace, ribbon, and other gorgeous, feminine things traced the length of the garment. "The maids really are doing a wonderful job. Everyone is so excited!"
The south wall abruptly choked on its toast.
"So," her mother continued, fingering the veil in her lap fondly, "have you and Ambrose decided on a date? I thought that late May or early June would be wonderful."
"Oh, mom, I think it'd be too hot that deep in the summer."
"You think so? Well, then perhaps mid-spring."
"That actually sounds nice. I always wanted a spring wedding when I--wait, what am I saying? Mom, we can't do the wedding."
Her mother's hands stilled. "...What?"
DG knelt before her mother, the queen, the ruler of the Outer Zone, and put her hands firmly on said queen's knees. "Mom, this is ludicrous. I mean...you just hit us with this out of nowhere."
"Nonsense," ol' Lavender Eyes laughed, continuing with her sewing. "Ambrose has been fully aware of this engagement for years."
"But he doesn't remember all that," she said, casting a glance to where Glitch had successfully dislodged the crumbs from his airway. "And neither do I. It just doesn't seem fair."
The queen dropped her voice to just above a whisper. "DG, you were a promise made to his family. His father did a great service to me, personally, as well as all of the Outer Zone, and for this, I promised you to their son. Ambrose."
"Do you think I would have done so if I thought you would be mistreated?" she asked, and her voice was back to her normal lilting pitch. "I was extremely confident in regards to both Ambrose's capabilities to provide for you and my own. You wouldn't be leaving my sights until you were completely comfortable with the arrangements, DG."
"Yes, mother, but that's just it. I'm not comfortable with the arrangements." She absently drew circles on her mother's knee through her dress. "Not at all."
"The maids are waiting for you both in the ballroom. We need to get your sizes if we want to make this wedding a spring one."
Sighing and frustrated that her mother had just ended the conversation like that--like there was no question and she couldn't do anything to stop it--DG stormed toward the ballroom. Glitch peeled himself off the wall, eyes red and watery from previously inhaling his fiancé's breakfast, and followed her.
"Oh, and DG," the queen called as the couple was about to exit through the main door.
Glitch turned to face her, but DG didn't.
The queen smiled but didn't look up, fingers still working on that beautiful veil. "Give it a chance, won't you?"
DG's shoulders slumped. "Yes, mother," she sighed. "Come on, Glitch."
"I think they were trying to get rid of me."
The quiet words dragged DG from her thoughts, and she glanced at her friend-- fiancée. "Who?"
Glitch's dark eyes were fixed firmly on the smooth floor tiles, his hands tucked into his trouser pockets as they made their way slowly towards the ballroom as directed. "My parents. They never could understand half of what I said...father said it was unhealthy, the way I was more interested in my inventions than normal things like hunting and girls." He chuckled suddenly. "An arranged marriage smacks of mother's influence, though. If there was no hope of me finding a girl, what better way to ensure I continue the line than to pick a bride for me?"
"That's horrible!" she exclaimed, a frown furrowing her brow.
"I think they did love me, in their own way. Probably thought they were taking care of me or something. I'm just sorry you got dragged into it."
DG threaded her arm through the crook of his elbow and squeezed his bicep in an odd sort of hug. "It wasn't your fault."
Before he could reply with more than a grateful smile, they arrived at the ballroom and were both swept off to a corner of the huge room by a gaggle of excited seamstresses and maids. Shoes and coats were tugged off (respectfully, of course) and tape measures whipped out of thin air.
Glitch simply stood there and let them manipulate him at will, though he jumped now and then when someone was particularly abrupt in grabbing him. The curious zip of the cloth tape and the seamstress's voice as she called out his measurements to her assistant as she went were familiar, even if he couldn't recall a particular moment in time when he'd submitted to the attention.
At that moment, though, his attention was all for DG. She stood a few feet away, surrounded by another cluster of women whom appeared intent on gossiping and cooing over her as they worked. Her movements were awkward as she shifted at their direction, but she smiled and replied to any questions they asked.
Her eyes flew towards him, however, when he squawked and nearly jumped out of his socks as a very enthusiastic seamstress tried to measure his in-seam and went a bit higher than was deemed proper.
"Hey!" he exclaimed indignantly (and admittedly quite higher pitched than normal, but he felt rather entitled to it, thankyouverymuch), and backed away on his toes.
The woman blushed bright red and instantly began apologizing, which made him feel bad. Poor girl even had a stutter and couldn't seem to look him in the face. Glitch finally managed to wave her off with an, "accidents happen, really," and skittered away towards where DG was standing by a cloth-laden table, valiantly attempting to suppress her laughter.
He frowned rather depressingly at her. "It's not funny, you know. Uncomfortable."
"Yes, well--" She was cut off by a surprised squeak on her part when one of the tailors measured her bust.
It was inevitable that his eyes would be drawn there, really. All the attention was on that place. She couldn't have expected anything less than that he would look directly at her breasts.
Except he stared for a bit too long. And she turned a light shade of red. And she didn't know whether to feel embarrassed or angry or both.
His eyes finally snapped up and away, then, staring off at something just behind her head. "Just a--um. Yes. Just a white dress, then, or--?"
"Did you know that the white dress signifies your bride's virginity?" one of the girls asked, seemingly as giddy about this wedding as DG should have been.
"And the black of the groom's signifies his intent to corrupt," an older woman giggled with the same girl.
Glitch looked like he might have fainted just then. "I would--I couldn't--I never--!"
And DG could only sigh. "They're only kidding, Glitch."
"Not that he doesn't want to," someone chirped, and DG very eagerly wanted to crawl into a hole and die, then.
Thankfully, it was the last measurement the group of well-intentioned harpies needed. Of course, that just meant that now they had to choose which kind of cloth they wanted, and if there was a particular style they had in mind, now was the perfect time to mention it.
DG perked up at the latter part of the conversation and left Glitch to paw through the piles upon piles of material available. Borrowing paper and a pencil from one of the maids, she settled down on a chair and began sketching.
Nearly twenty minutes later, she handed the completed pictures to the head seamstress. The woman initially gave her a rather patronizing smile that quickly blossomed into an eager amazement (DG imagined that she was used to getting vague stick-figures with scribbled notations in the margin); she was hurriedly assured that everything would be prepared exactly as she wished.
She finally turned to find Glitch-- and found him at a smaller table playing with, of all things, a lacy garter belt.
The man in question jumped and spun towards her, guiltily shoving the skimpy item behind his back. "Yes?"
"It--it matched!" was his defense when DG steadied a patronizing glare on him. "It was--it was pretty! The lace was nice? I just thought it would look nice on you!"
"What are you thinking? Put that down, Glitch."
He did as asked, dropping the thing like it was on fire. Oh, sure, now he acts like it's some sort of sinful object...
"Have you decided on a suit, sir?" one of the male representatives--and there were very few of them--asked, motioning toward the stock behind him.
"Um...no..." Glitch admitted, though he followed the man to the wall of sample suits.
"And what color?"
Glitch looked to DG in question.
DG shrugged. "I don't know, Glitch. You pick. You're the one who's gonna be wearing it."
"White?" DG complained. "Don't you think that's going to be an overload of white?"
"Okay, then, yellow."
"What? That's an ugly color."
"Are you out of your mind?"
"Fine! Silver, then! Silver! The worst color in stock, how about we just go with silv--"
"That's a great idea, Glitch!"
And that was when Glitch deemed this the longest day of the year.