Howl of the Carrion King – Chapter Fifty-eight

Chapter Fifty-eight
A New Dawn

Bree stumbled out of the building Father Zastoran had converted into a clinic with a groan. Two days of healing spells, potions and poultices and she still felt like she had been trampled on by a herd of camels!

“I’ve been waiting for you, Star Flower.”

“Trevvis?” Bree eyed him up and down. He was filthy and looked like he had spent the last week in a gutter. “You haven’t been waiting out here the whole time, have you?”

“They wouldn’t let me in to see you.”

“For days?”

Trevvis shrugged. “There’s not much else to do around here.”

Bree crossed her arms. A pang of jealousy coursed through her, followed by anger and then sadness. She wasn’t ready to face Trevvis yet. Maybe she never would be. Still, he had waited outside for days just to see her. Maybe she should –

“Please, Star Flower, just let me speak.”

Bree turned her eyes down to the cracked flagstones, but did not walk away.

“It’s Brotis. She means nothing to me. She never has. I didn’t kiss her that day. She kissed me and only to make you hate me. Which worked, I suppose. And I should have pushed her or, well, something, but I didn’t since she’s a friend, or was a friend, and you don’t hurt your friends. And Yesper is a thing of the past. I know I shouldn’t have lied about it but I didn’t want to lose you and… Ah, gods! I’m making a real mess of this, aren’t I?” Trevvis let out a desperate sigh. “Look at me, while I dig myself a deeper hole, will you?”

Bree looked up at Trevvis. His eyes were rimmed in red. Cayden’s curse, he’d been crying again. How long had he –

No. Wait. Bree knew that look. He hadn’t been crying. He had been drinking. Really drinking. Drowning himself in it.

“You’ve been drunk all this time?”

Trevvis frowned. “I’ve waited for days to apologize to you and that’s all you have to say?”

“What am I supposed to say? You’re not yourself so your apology means nothing.”

“Of course it means something! It means everything!”

“You’re drunk. Really drunk. Long past drunk.”

“I’ve been drunk since you left.”

“That’s an insult to my god, Trevvis! An abuse of the gifts he’s given us!”

Trevvis laughed. “He’s the Lucky Drunk. I don’t think he minds a little over indulgence.”

“This isn’t a little indulgence! You’re not celebrating! You’re using his holy brew to drown your sorrows! How could you even think to come to me and apologize like this? It’s – “

Trevvis grit his teeth. “I had a problem with drinking before I met you, Star Flower. A big problem. It was you that brought me out of it. It’s what Kallien meant when she said you had saved me.” His shoulders slumped in defeat. He sighed. “You saved me from the drink. From the gutters. From myself. You became my world and then you left and I – “

“Don’t you dare blame this on me!”

“That’s not what I meant! I… You left and I had no one to blame but myself. I lost everything. I lost you. I lost my purpose. I lost my self-restraint. Everything. I felt like a shadow trailing behind you, drawn to your light. And once you left – really left, I mean – I wasn’t drinking to drown my sorrows anymore. I was drinking to drown my fear. I was so afraid you wouldn’t come back – or worse – that they’d bring back just your body. Lifeless and – “

“Well, I’m back now, and I’m alive. It’s time to stop.”

“But you’re not back. You’re here, but you’re not back. I want you back with me. Back in my arms.”

“So stop drinking.”

“Come back and I’ll quit for good.”

“Prove to me you can stop and I’ll come back.”

“Promise?”

“Yes. No. I…” Bree frowned. What did she even mean? Would she go back? Could she? “I care about you, Trevvis, but I need time to think. I need to… Just… Focus on healing yourself right now, okay?”

“And then?”

“Honestly? I don’t even know myself. I’m all adrenaline and anger and blood and sadness and -” She laughed. “I’m a mess. I need time to think. To heal. To mourn. To decide if I want to trust you again. Just… Wait. You heal yourself and I’ll heal myself and when we’re both whole again we’ll… Well, we’ll see.”

“Take as much time as you need, Star Flower. I’ll be here for you when you’re ready.”

Would he wait? Really? It could take her months to be whole again with what she had gone through. Years, even. How could he even say that when he was drunk?

Bree looked into Trevvis’ eyes and saw they were clear and certain. He knew what he was saying and he meant it. Trevvis would wait for her. As long as it took. One day things would be alright between them again. They would be okay.

Bree smiled and curled her lip. “Besides, you smell like all the drunks in Absalom threw up on you. When was the last time you bathed?”

Trevvis laughed joyously. She couldn’t remember the last time she had heard something so wonderful. “You’re no spring blossom yourself!”

“Hey! You came to apologize, remember? You’re supposed to be nice to me.”

Trevvis smiled broadly and placed his hand upon her face. “Oh, I’ve missed you.”

Bree blushed.

Trevvis kissed her fiercely and Bree couldn’t help but respond. She parted her lips and slipped her tongue into his mouth. He tasted of stale booze and vomit.

She pulled away. “Trevvis, I – “

“I know, Star Flower. I know. Just let me stay beside you while you… think. As a friend at least.”

Bree raised an eyebrow. “Oh? And you think you can control yourself?”

His eyes bore into hers. She had never seen him so serious. “I would do anything for you.”

Dawn broke. It was a new day. A new beginning.

Bree reached out and took his hand in her own. “We’ll heal together.”

His fingers closed desperately around her own. “Together, Star Flower? Truly?”

Bree smiled. “Together.”

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