Chapter 1.2: Options and Horizons

Lilith was starting to feel a little hurt and worried about her best friend Maru. Lately he seemed at times awkward, distant, or to be outright avoiding her.



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Maru had indeed been avoiding Lilith somewhat. He was brooding. Brooding over the meaning of life, of the meaning of meaning. Like Lilith, he’d begun wanting a little…more. Unlike Lilith, he had never minded when other villagers teased about “when are the youngsters going to make it official”. He wondered that too. They were both adults now. Their parents had passed on. They should take care of each other.

Maru got along well with everyone in the village, but Lilith had been his best friend since they were both still in diapers. Lately, he’d started thinking about what seemed an obviously natural progression in their relationship. But, there was that little issue of her ire at the idea of predestination with him. And the fact that she really hadn’t shown any interest in anything other than hanging out. In fact, she seemed to take him for granted, come to think of it!



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Also, he’d never really ‘explored his options’, so to speak, for the very fact that he had unconsciously been committed to the idea of Lilith, and assumed they would eventually be more than BFFs.

His neighbor Kaila Swift was often quite flattering lately. She had recently had a baby, which many felt had been fathered by Daniel Rivers AKA the naked witch dude, but she had ended that relationship a few months ago. Rumor had it that Daniel wouldn’t commit and had even spent time with another woman. Maru brooded some more about that. She was attractive, single, and seemed to pay him special attention sometimes. She was a little older, but…well, Maru did like redheads.

Should he explore his options, broaden his horizons? Or tell Lilith what he wanted?

Oh, what to do, what to do.



After brooding most of the day away, Maru realized the sun had set and the moon was rising out of the molten ocean. He could see Lilith’s camp wasn’t inhabited at the moment, so he headed down to the Community Center to look for her.



Maru was about to go up the stairs when he bumped into his cousin Shane Stone.

“Have you seen Lilith?” he asked of Shane.

“She’s around,” Shane shrugged. “She’s cute. Are you ever going to make a move on her?”

Maru glowered at his cousin. “Maybe. What’s it to you?”

“Maybe nothing. I dunno. I haven’t talked to her a lot, but maybe…”



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“Dude. Don’t even,” Maru almost hissed the words.



He found her upstairs by the billiards table. She smiled, pleased, when she saw him, but her smile froze when he strode to her and embraced her rather intimately. She thought he was actually going to kiss her! This certainly was not how they normally greeted each other, especially in light of his distant attitude lately.

Uh, what??



Confused, flustered, and half-apologetic, Lilith pushed Maru away.

“Maru, what gives? What’s wrong?”

His shoulders seemed to slump. “Nothing, I was just happy to see you,” he mumbled, embarrassed.

“I can see that,” she responded. “Maru…”

Maru turned on his heel, red-faced, and went down the stairs. She could see he took the path back toward his camp.

What the hell?



Confused and vaguely disturbed, Lilith went to the bar and asked for a drink. Or three.



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Back at his camp, Maru did some hardcore brooding. That wasn’t how he’d wanted to broach the subject to Lilith; his cousin had just riled him up a bit, he realized in retrospect. Was Shane interested in Lilith? But no, Shane knew Lilith was Maru’s BFF and the whole village thought they would get married. Shane was just messing with him, probably.

All the same, Maru knew he’d borked his first attempt. She had pushed him away when he was about to kiss her! Gods. Had he moved too soon? She’d never had any other boyfriends, and had always been his best friend, it would just be so natural to progress… he shook his head, and brooded some more.



Kaila Swift broke his reverie, calling out to him. “Why so broody, Maru?” He was pretty sure her chuckle was knowing.

Without pausing to brood, Maru stood and went to Kaila’s camp.



He kissed her goodbye the next morning, feeling slightly guilty.

“I needed that,” he said.

“And it showed. You shouldn’t brood so much,” Kaila said, releasing his hands. “Have a great day, Maru…see you around.”