Chapter 1.13: The Show Must Go On

Screenshot-18 (2)After the spectacle with Maru, the village was buzzing.

Some villagers were surprised that Lilith had refused Maru; the pair had been shadows of each other since childhood. Others, however, weren’t so surprised. Those who lived in the vicinity of Maru’s or Kaila’s camp were plenty aware of their trysts prior to his romance with Lilith, and of his indiscretions while Lilith was away.

And after the confrontation between Shane and Maru when Shane left, some wondered where he fit into all this.

 

Screenshot-3 (2)
Sarah McLachlan – Do What You Have To Do

Behind her, Lilith knew the village was abuzz.

As she reflected on the day’s events, she realized that Kaila had been waiting in the wings, and that Maru hadn’t thought twice about going to her. Inherently she knew this meant he’d betrayed her.

She felt angry, shocked, and a little humiliated.  The man who’d just asked her to live with him–basically, to be his mate–had literally gone straight to another woman’s tent.

Various memories made with Maru over their childhood and teenage years drifted through her mind. He’d become her first lover.

Lilith knew she’d done the right thing. She just didn’t feel the same way Maru did.  But she also knew intuitively the friendship would never again be the same. She stifled a sob against her knees.

And Kaila changed everything for the worse.

 

 

Screenshot-7
Well, she can have him, then
, Lilith thought.

She knew the show must go on. And in fact, she did have a show to put on that very night.

Hefting herself out of the sand and rubbing at her face, she walked back toward the village.

She didn’t see the boat coming in to shore.

 

Screenshot-9 (2)
Lilith’s audience was small, but enthusiastic, and she sang her heart out. She was in the moment, feeling both humbled and empowered that people were enjoying her music.

 

 

Screenshot-10 (2)
Near the end of her set, she caught sight of his familiar face at the back of the crowd, and almost dropped her mic. Shane!

 

reviews
She headed offstage after the song,  making a beeline for Shane with a huge smile on her face.

The proprietor stopped her first, with more good news.

“Lilith, I know it was your first small show, but people loved it! Think you could come back on a weekly basis?”

Lilith could barely take her eyes off Shane, standing just a few paces away. “Absolutely. I’ll get with you in the next couple of days about details.”

And then she was face to face with him, and her crazy world seemed a little more right again.

 

 

Screenshot-11
“Oh my gosh Shane!! You’re back! I’ve been watching for your ship every day. Especially today.”

“Why especially today?”

She patted his hands, his shoulders. “You’re really back!”

He gave a deep, happy laugh at the welcome. “Yes I’m really back. My ship came in just after sunset.”

 

Screenshot-12
Lilith threw her arms around him. Somewhat off-guard, he raised his arms around her shoulders. “Well I’m so glad to see you too!” he smiled into her hair.

“Great show tonight, by the way, you did a great job. I didn’t know you could sing like that! You’re going to be our island star.”

 

Screenshot-14
Lilith kept hold of his hands a few moments longer, as if grasping an anchor.

“This was your first performance?”

“Yes!” she gushed. “The proprietor asked me just yesterday, and now she wants me to do a weekly show! Are you tired? Let’s go to the Community Center and shoot some billiards.”

 

Screenshot-16
Lilith was slightly awed by his skills. “And I thought I was good!”

“Oh you might be good, but I assure you I’m better,” he shot her a cocky smirk. “I let you beat me at chess, by the way.” His face maintained a serene look as the last solid hit the pocket.

Lilith nearly threw her cue at him. “You did NOT let me win!   …did you?”

Bent low to take aim at the 8 ball, he looked up at her, eyes twinkling. Damn, she thought, and then rolled her eyes when he perfectly sank the the 8 ball.

 

Screenshot-17
The bartender was around, so Shane ordered a round of drinks—skill increasing drinks, to mock Lilith’s loss on the pool table. She pretended to be insulted, but drank up.

It was after midnight; no one else was at the Community Center. Shane filled her in on his last few days in Champs les Sims. He’d had the star opal evaluated, and collected more grapes, fruits, and vegetables to bring back to Ouroboros. “I hope to plant some of these seeds and fruits, but at the very least, I’ve got a good base for winter storage now. And lots of great salt fish you can’t get here.”

“Speaking of which, have you even eaten anything?” he asked. Lilith had to admit she’d had nothing but the grapes at breakfast. She didn’t mention she’d had no appetite after the day’s events, then her show, and then Shane’s return. She was running on fumes of emotional adrenaline and a couple too many drinks.

“Well,” Shane said, “stop by my place before you go home, we can roast up some filets, or maybe try out the grapes I brought back.”

 

 

Screenshot-18
“I can’t believe you built this place up in just a few days, ” Lilith looked around the wood shelter he’d constructed before leaving for Champs les Sims.

“Nice, isn’t it? It won’t completely keep winter out, but it’ll do better than the leather tents I lived in growing up my first winter.” Lilith tended to agree, and she pondered how she could accomplish something like this for her camp.

“Here,” Shane thrust a packaged box into her hands. “Nothing special, but I know you liked the French nectar. It’s a few more bottles for you. You’ll have to share at least one with me, you know. And I’ll help you build that nectar machine you brought back.”

“Thank you! Yeah, my nectars sucked, but maybe with practice, and all these wonderful grape varieties…” her words trailed off. He was looking at her so intently.

He cleared his throat. “So let me get the fire going. I’m STARVING.”

 

Screenshot-22
Knee to knee, they sat at the fire, eating foreign fruits rarely tasted on the Isle. Succulent and meaty, Lilith knew Shane was going to make a masterpiece of these grapes  when spring came again.

 

Screenshot-20

“I gotta go sleep. OMG it’s so late. Thanks for coming home, for seeing my show, for beating me at pool, buying me drinks and eating dinner with me,” she babbled, and then yawned as she hugged him goodbye. He thought it was adorable.

Tired, fed, and relaxed, she walked through the dark to her camp.

 

Screenshot
He stood and watched as she walked away.

She’d not once mentioned Maru, nor had Maru been at Lilith’s performance, which Shane thought odd. In fact, Maru hadn’t been in evidence any point that evening, in the village or at the Community Center.

Climbing to his loft, he sank under the blankets, wondering what the coming days would reveal.