She had the dream again, the one where she lives in a small town by a slow river. Nothing happens in these dreams, she's just there, living. Sometimes there are people, sometimes she's alone, but every time, she feels like she's home, like this is where she's supposed to be. She'd been having this dream since childhood, mostly when she'd been placed in a new foster home, or had been removed from one and was back in the group home. She didn't need a therapist to tell her what the dreams meant, they were obviously trying to give her the one thing she wanted and never had, a home, a place where she belonged. The dream had become more persistent in her teen years. Labeled as 'troubled', not entirely unfairly, as she'd become prone to acting out, it became more difficult to find families that would take her, and she spent most of her adolescence in the hated group home.
What's surprising is that the dram has followed her into adulthood, when she's finally out of the state's care and on her own. Well, not entirely on her own yet; the tiny studio apartment she's living in was provided for her by social services, as was the part time job in the grocery store that she's supposed to start at tomorrow. She's no longer a ward of the state, but she's not as free of them yet as she'd like to be.
She should be getting ready for her graduation ceremony, but she doesn't see much point in it. She barely attended classes and only just managed to keep her grades above passing. She didn't have friends there, and the teachers saw her as a problem to deal with rather than as a person, so why should she go to their silly ceremony? Instead, she heads out to Veneto Beach. It's early afternoon, and the beach is quiet while the surf is low. One man stands at the shore, oddly dressed for the beach. Oddly dressed for anything, really, but that's hardly unusual for L.A.
Not one to be shy, she steps up and wondering what his story is, she approaches. "The ocean is magnificent, isn't it?" she asks as a conversation opener.
"She's sick," the man answers, his voice heavy with sadness, "This water is poisoned."
"Is this where you ask for a donation to the Surfrider Foundation?" she quips.
"I don't know what that is," he answers, "My name is Meri," he introduces himself, "Meri Dayspring."
"Allyn Dale," she says, shaking Meri's hand. He's as odd as he looks, but Allyn has always been attracted to strange, and right now she's glad she decided to blow off graduation.
"Are you hungry?" he asks, "I brought lunch."
Allyn had blown of breakfast this morning, too, so accepts Meri's invitation gladly. She sinks her teeth into the burger, and the strangest sensation comes over her, the images from her dream flood over her, and she feels like she's home in a way she's never felt before here, in this city where she's lived all her life. This place in her dreams, this town with its slow river feel so alive, they must be real, and Allyn is sure she could find it, if she just set out and looked. How could something as simple as a hamburger evoke such strong feelings?
"You should never eat anything offered to you by a fairy," Allyn says, remembering stories she read as a child, "If you do, they have power over you, and you can't leave them." She blushes as she speaks, knowing as the words come out that she's talking nonsense, but able to stop herself all the same. Meri stares at her like she's the strange one, and Allyn feels like a fool. "I'm sorry," she says, getting control of herself, "You probably think I'm totally nuts."
"No," he assures her, "Not at all. Do you believe in fairies?"
Allyn's blush grows deeper red, "It depends on what you mean by 'believe', and what you mean by 'fairies'," she says. She's gone this far without scaring him off, she might as well just be herself, "Those pretty little winged things most people call fairies were made up for kid's stories. But even as a kid, I never went in for that stuff. When I was supposed to be doing my homework, I'd read books of the old stories, and in those, the fae are frightening, terrible creatures, luring humans to death or insanity just to amuse themselves. If I were to believe in fairies, they are the ones I'd believe in. But, honestly, I don't know that I believe in anything."
"Those stories are fairly common where I'm from," Meri tells her, "We have an ancient circle of standing stones there, they say it used to be a portal to the fae realm."
"Wow, I'd love to see that," Allyn answers, intrigued, "Where are you from, anyway?"
"Edgewater. It's a small town."
"Edgewater," Allyn breathes solemnly. Like the taste of his burger, the name evokes images from her dreams. Maybe it's him, she thinks, not his food or the name of his town, that makes her feel so at home. "Are you going to be in town long?"
"No," he replies, "This is just a short trip."
Unwilling to let him go so soon, Allyn invites him up to a local bar for a couple of drinks.
As the sun starts to set, they head out to the bar's patio.
"There's a river behind my house," he tells her, and Allyn pictures the river in her dreams, "I've always lived near the water, but there's nothing like the ocean. Even as polluted as she is, she's beautiful."
"Where are you staying?" Allyn asks him, taking his hand.
"I...hadn't thought about it," Meri answers. Because he shouldn't still be here, he shouldn't have come up here with her.
"Seriously?" she laughs, "You just dropped into L.A. and you haven't gotten yourself into a hotel? Lucky for you you met me. You can crash at my place. Such as it is."
"Oh, I don't think..." he stammers and blushes.
"You are so adorable, you know that?" Allyn sighs, and leans in to kiss him, gently, so as to not scare him off.
They stand, silent, looking into each other's eyes.
"Allyn, I shouldn't..." he says.
Are you married?" Allyn asks.
"I know you aren't here to stay," Allyn says, "I know this will just be a one time thing. And I know you want this as much as I do, so let go of whatever is holding you back and say yes."
He should go now, he's already gone far past what he was sent here to do. But Allyn is right, he wants this as much as she does, and he'll deal with Summerdream's displeasure when he gets home.
Allyn follows him out to his truck. From the outside, it looks like a normal enough vehicle, but inside, Allyn quickly notices there's no ignition. Meri lays a hand on the dashboard, closes his eyes, and the engine starts.
"Wow," Allyn breathes, "How did you do that?"
"The Landgraab Institute in Edgewater has been working on cars that don't run on petroleum," Meri answers, "We all have them."
"Why aren't these everywhere?" Allyn asks.
"The fuel source...isn't something that can be produced easily or cheaply," Meri says, "So right now you won;'t find this technology outside of Edgewater."
As soon as they get back to her tiny apartment, Allyn gets him out of his clothes.
"Are you some kind of closet bad boy?" she asks playfully when she sees his ink for the first time.
"Me? Not even remotely," he laughs, "I hope you aren't disappointed."
The apartment is a small studio, only a few steps from the door to the bed.
"You're stopping? Why are you stopping," Allyn asks, her voice hoarse and breathy.
"You aren't what I expected," Meri answers.
"What do you normally expect from random girls you meet on the beach?" Allyn asks.
Meri smiles, kisses her neck, her breasts, "You're the first," he whispers. He wants to tell her the truth, that their meeting wasn't random. But as far as he's gone beyond his mission here, he can't go as far as to reveal it to her. It's wrong, he thinks, to make love to her under such false pretenses, but stopping now would require more explanation than he's free to give. So, he gives in to their mutual passion, hoping she'll forgive him for this when she learns the truth. And she will know the truth eventually, unless he's completely screwed this mission up.
They make love, and fall asleep together, wrapped in each other. In the early morning hours they wake and make love again, and then a third time. Allyn had been with boys before, awkward teenage fumblings, more about proving she was grown up than from actual desire, and nothing like this raw, open passion.
Allyn turns off her alarm and they sleep into the late morning. She silences her phone when it buzzes; she's missing her first day at work, and she doesn't care, even hough she knows she's lucky to have any job at all, given her lousy school performance, and that not showing up means she could lose even this sad little apartment. None of that matters while she watches Meri making waffles in her tiny kitchen. He tells her he works in a restaurant and hopes to be a chef someday.
"These are my magic waffles of binding," he jokes dramatically as he serves her breakfast, "One taste and you'll be in my power forever."
They're just waffles, but they are the most amazing waffles she's ever had, crunchy on the outside and indescribably light and fluffy inside. "Wow, yeah," she says, "I'm going to have to chain you to my bed and keep you here."
"My evil plan has backfired," he laughs in response.
"So, how much longer are you going to be in town?" Allyn asks as she finishes the last bite, "I was thinking I could take you around the city, show you the sights."
"I have to leave today," Meri answers, not without regret.
"But you just got here," Allyn protests, "You can't leave now."
"It's the air," Meri says, "I can't take much more of it, it's making me sick."
"Yeah, the smog is pretty bad," Allyn says, getting up and clearing the dirty dishes, hoping he doesn't see the tears forming in her eyes. Stupid, stupid, girl, she chastises herself silently, you knew this was a one night thing, why did you have to fall for him?
Meri rises from the table and follows her to the sink, "Come with me," he says, taking her hand, pulling her around to face him, "Come home with me, to Edgewater."
"What, and give all this up?" Allyn quips, trying to use humor to hide her emotions.
"I know you want this as much as I do," Meri answers, repeating her own words from last night back at her, "So let go of whatever is holding you back and say yes." Summerdream isn't going to be happy with him, Meri thinks, but he's beyond caring. He has his happiness to think about. And Allyn's.
Give up her lame part time job and crappy apartment for an unsure future with a guy she just met? "Just let me get my things," Allyn answers.
The Prologue takes place in Los Aniegos, a custom world by Coasterboi.
I'll post generation rolls and stuff with chapter 1.