A/N: Yes, I'm still alive. No, this is not the sequel to "Dreams of a Queen."
Which one should I use this time? I stare into my cocoa, pondering my options. Stalling for time, I take a sip, finding it hot but lacking something.
Like her. Not that it matters now.
After two years of being punished – cursed, really – by my half-sister Morgana after breaking her half-sister Morgause's heart, I've become something of a professional break-up artist.
I really have no choice. 60 days and done. Because that's how long I dated Morgause before deciding I was bored with her. That's how long it was according to Morgana. I really didn't keep track.
Now I do little more than keep track of the days.
"That is all you get, Arthur," Morgana had said, her cold green eyes boring into me. I felt a coldness spread throughout my body and I knew. I knew that this was more than a threat. Morgause was dead, overdosed on pills, and Morgana had wielded her grief as vengeance on me.
60 days to date a woman. On day 60, done. The next day I have to start all over again, finding a new woman to woo, spend time with, all the time knowing I will have to split up with her.
Oh, there have been times where she has tried to break up with me, but I always manage to talk my way back in, trying to ignore the gnawing guilt.
I've dated tall and short, thin and thick, smart and… less than smart (those are the worst to break up with), and every color and ethnicity in the human rainbow.
I am a miserable man.
"And if I don't?" I had challenged, arrogant and angry.
Morgana pointed at my trousers, at my zipper. I felt a cold, searing pain in my groin, and I swore sharply.
"Useless," Morgana spat. "Not only that, but any chance you might have had for happiness in love? Gone. You will die miserable and alone." She paused, and laughed a heartless laugh. "If I could find a way to take your inheritance away, I'd do that, too. But no. You can have Father's money. Hell, you can have my half, even. You can be as rich as a king but with no one to love, what good is it?"
I glance up again at her, a bubbly little blonde with a button nose and big blue eyes. Vivian. As pretty as a dolly and almost as smart.
"Arthur?" she asks, attempting to draw me out of my thoughts.
"My… my father said I could use the summer cottage this weekend, bring some friends out," she says, a little hesitant. Blushing.
Here we go.
"I was thinking… I was thinking you and I could go… together… alone. Molly would cover for us, Daddy would never know…"
"Vivian, I think we need to talk. About us," I start. The classics are always in style.
"What?" she asks, her already high-pitched voice squeaking higher, her carefully-groomed brows knitting in confusion.
I have used every break-up line there is. "It's not you, it's me." "I've met someone else." "We're too different." "We're too much alike." And on and on. Once I even resorted to "I think I might be gay." That one almost backfired on me when she ran into me later while I was with another girl. I just shrugged and said that I discovered I wasn't. Thankfully it was that girl's day 60 as well, so that one sorted itself out rather neatly.
Once or twice it was difficult. Mostly I was more than ready to move on by day 30. With Vivian, it was less than two weeks in.
"I… I don't think this is going to work. I don't think we are going to work." May need to spell it out for her. "As a couple."
"What? I… I was ready to let you… to take the next step with you…" she squeaks.
She's been trying to get me into her bed for weeks, and I suddenly realize that I have never been more thankful that I haven't slept with someone. Some of them I've had sex with, most of them not. Especially these last six months.
It's hard to feel sexually attracted to someone when one is secretly miserable all the time.
"I know, that's why I needed to say this now," I sigh. "Before we did it. I'm not happy, Viv."
"Don't call me 'Viv.'" She pouts at me and pokes her finger in the foam of her latte. Then she sticks her finger in her mouth, sucking the foam off. Is she seriously trying to seduce me now?
I sigh, but don't apologize. "Look, I need to go. You're a nice girl, and you need someone who can make you happy. I don't think I'm that person," I say, standing now.
"You're leaving?" she sniffles.
God help me.
"Yes, what do you think I was just saying? I'm done here; we're done. Sorry." I turn on my heel and walk out the door, not looking back, my barely-touched cocoa cooling on the table.
I have to find a way out of this curse before it kills me.