Between the Pages

In a magical world, Between the Pages, lives Sebastian and his twin Edmond. That is, until Edmond decides to work against the Queen and disappears to join the Queens brother, and setting a curse over the country. Concerned for his brother (and the world), Sebastian sets of to search after him. But he needs help.

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They were eating in the kitchen, where Alma was already seated. Beside her was a pretty girl with wheaten hair and light, rosy skin. And Lina couldn't deny it: Lovely simply seemed to be the most fitting word for her. She was chubby with soft features and wearing a white summer dress. Sebastian presented the two, making Marie look up. Else her big blue eyes were hardly leaving the floor. Lina sat down between Alma and Sebastian at the small, square table. The food was on the table, and their conversation was filled by meaningless chitter-chatter, mostly fuelled by Alma who was always laughing, asking about Linas favourite book or commenting on the food.

Marie seemed mostly quiet. Now and then her full lips would curl into a smile, and although she didn’t say much, she seemed pleased in her own quiet way.

When they finished eating, everyone put their dishes into the sink and Alma left, saying she would leave “the young people to talk”, as she put it.

Lina was staring at her hands, not quite sure if she should open up with the conversation. Surprisingly, it was Marie who said something.

 "I see you found someone."

Lina couldn't determine whether it was meant politely or patronizing. If anything, there was a bitter undertone.  

Sebastian shot Marie a glance, and then quickly changed the subject.  

"Did you know," he said, leaning over to the table. "Marie is a muse!"

Lina automatically glanced at Marie whose cheeks had turn into deep coral.

“What does that mean?” Lina’s eyes drifted from Sebastian to Marie and back again.

Marie looked slightly up. As she explained, every word that came out of her mouth seemed to be rehearsed in her head, and they tumbled out. "If one has been considered to have been immortalized in a book or other sort of story."

“Like a poem,” Sebastian chimed in.

“...then you can apply for being the muse of a writer,” she finished, ignoring Sebastian. Marie started fumbling with the hem of her dress again. “All you're doing is paying visits to your world and stay in the background. Whisper things in the ears of authors and the like.”

Lina gaped at her. “So you've been to my world?”

Marie blushed again. "No-not at all. What Sebastian said wasn't completely true,” she looked at him and he shrugged. “I am not a muse, merely an intern. They could deny my diploma any given time.”

“But you’ve been in poems before,” Sebastian added. Marie smiled.

“Yes.”

She looked at Lina. “I'm not the only they draw inspiration from, though.” The way she said it was almost apologetic, but that didn’t curb Linas enthusiasm.

“Can I read one of them?”

“I don’t have one at hand.”

“I could make one!” Sebastian’s suggestion came just a little too quick to be spontaneous and Marie grinned, her shoulders shaking. She rolled her eyes.

“Please don’t!”

“Please do!”

Sebastian nodded at Linas approval. He turned to Marie.

“Don’t worry, I totally remember that poem I read about you, so there will be no inventing new words for now.” His eyebrows furrowed. “Well, at least I remember the gist of it.”

Marie hid her face in her big arms, but Lina could see she was smiling behind them.

Sebastian jumped out of his chair and began to stroll around the small space, his round, freckled nose high up in the sky.

“'A dainty little girl, wandering around with her feet bare...”

“My feet are not bare.” Maries’ protest was muffled as she refused to look up from her arms, but Sebastian pretended not to hear her and continued.

“Her senses open, and her heart welcoming every living thing that walked on the face of the earth.”

Marie let her arms fall down on the table and rolled her eyes again.

"Will you stop that? My heart is not “open”.”

Lina had to resist laughing at the two bickering.

Marie tried her best not to look amused, crossed her arms and tried to up-stare Sebastian. Which was like down staring, except for the fact, that it was highly ineffective.

“One of your own?” Lina snickered, as Sebastian sat down again, clearly satisfied.

“No, this one is actually one of the many, many poems I memorized!”

“Are you serious?”

Marie brushed a crumb of the table, the smile lingering on her lips. She lifted her eyebrows. “He takes great pride in knowing them by heart and mock me with them.”

“Sebastian, could you see to Mel, I think they’re fighting again.”

Alma stood in the doorway, a dripping painting brush in one hand. Droplets of paint hade made their way on her plaid shirt, but she didn’t seem to bother with brushing them away. Lina understood nada of what that sentence was supposed to mean, but Sebastian beamed back at his mother.

“Sure thing.”

Alma walked back to her atelier and Sebastian took the back door out of the kitchen.

The silence that followed was deafening, and Lina noticed how the sky had gotten darker outside. It felt like they had just arrived, but really, the day was slowly fading.

“How… how come you’re not coming with us?”

Marie flinched at the sound of her voice, but covered it up with a small smile. Lina had no doubts that she was merely a second choice, after seeing the two, it was obvious that Sebastian would much rather had gone out with his best friend than a stranger.

“Oh… Well, I’m quite busy. Besides, I get easily scared...” Her voice was drifting, as if it was permanently stuck between her thoughts and reality, as with her gaze. “I’m not that good with fighting either… And I’d just end up worrying a lot of people.” She shrugged.

Lina thought about this. Not for a second had she thought about the fact that Sebastian might expect some great fighter from her. If he did, he would have to learn to cope with that disappointment.

She was about to say something, when Marie interrupted her.

“Listen, I know it sounds stupid… but just be careful. He doesn’t always know what he’s doing…”

“You should take with us,” Lina suggested. Marie seemed to be weighed down by the fact that she wasn’t going, and Lina felt like they could use one as cold-headed as her with them.

But Marie feverishly shook her head. 

“No, that wont work. I just listed way. But please do be careful.”

In that moment Sebastian came in. His pants were dusted and hay clung to them. Lina furrowed her brows; Sebastian hadn’t struck her as a person to keep horses and the like, and after all, they weren’t that far from the city.

Sebastian began putting the dishes into the sink, and turned his head to the table.

"So have you been doing that bonding thing…” His brows furrowed. “Or whatever it is that girls do?"

Marie rolled her eyes and leaned a little over to Lina, half-whispering. “Sebastian thinks girls are aliens that put their hands together and share a telepathic link.”

Lina acted surprised and widened her eyes. “Wait, so you’re saying that we’re not?”

“Absolutely hilarious, thank you.” Sebastian smirked and rolled his eyes, as he finished clearing the kitchen counter for dishes.

"Well," Marie uncrossed her legs and brushed a lock away from her face. "I should be going."

"Already?" Sebastians smile broke in two.

"It was nice meeting you." She nodded towards Lina, who stood up with her.

"I'll follow you to the door!"

"No it's fine, don’t bother!” She smiled. “Bye.”

“See you soon,” he replied, and the two of them exchanged a last glance. Lina once again felt like a silent member of the audience, watching a personal moment that wasn't meant for her.

Although Marie was small, even shorter than Lina, and pudgy, she handled herself with such grace, that when she walked out, her feet seemed to barely touch the ground.

Sebastian was looking as if he was ready to run after her, with his mouth slightly open and his arms half raised. The front door closed with a soft thump, and he was still staring down the hallway.

“So, she was nice,” Lina started.

Sebastian turned around.

"Maybe, eh…” Lina got stuck and cursed silently. She started over. “I just felt it's time for you to tell me your plans."

"Our plans," Sebastian corrected with a smile. His eyes drifted sideways, and at first Lina thought he was staring at the front door again, until she realised that he was looking towards Almas atelier. “Let’s go upstairs.”

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