The day would not just fucking end. He was just short of downing a sleeping potion, though he hated the feeling upon waking up that they usually left him with. It wasn't even that late, just going on 8 in the evening. Once upon a time that was considered early, when bedtime was usually between three or four or maybe even sunrise, but the emotional upheaval of the day had left Thorne completely out of sorts.
Remaining at home was completely out of the question and despite the fact that it was exactly how he had started this awful day, he started making his way into town proper. Cate was likely at the Kestrel and while he doubted that she'd pour him a proper drink, it would be enough of a distraction from the day's events to be worth it.
Or maybe he'd just swing by McDermott's before it closed and get another cheap bottle of Vodka and a park bench to park himself for the rest of the evening. Because, honestly, he was sometimes good at those self-destructive tendencies.
When Rory got home after running into Thorne's twin in medical - and that had been quite an embarrassing start - she'd realized that she had a lot of cleaning to do... and that her fridge and pantry were looking a little paltry. So she'd set about the rest of her Saturday cleaning up her place and then making a list of what to get at the grocery store in town.
It was as she was walking home with her shrunken groceries that she happened to stumble upon the - what she hoped was - the actual Thorne Proudfoot. From the look on his face and the little differences she'd noticed between Ford and Thorne, she was about 93% sure this was him.
But just in case it wasn't...
Swallowing, Rory ducked her head just the smallest bit and focused her dark eyes on him. "Thorne?" Better to actually, you know, ask this time instead of just assaulting him as she'd done to Ford early that morning. Lord only knew what would come of things if she really did find herself in that 7% situation.
Thorne had heard the other person approaching, but hadn't really made much of a point to pay attention until his name, in a tentative and almost unsure tone, that he looked up. As much as he wanted to frown and snap at whoever had disrupted his sulking moment of reflection, he felt only a little it bad about doing it to Rory. After all, she had been one of the positive texts that had come through after the articles in the Ghost. Though he hadn't responded to it. The thought was what counted.
"Rory." He nodded to her. "Just come from the store?" Of course, this being Snowcap, there really wasn't very many places for her to come and go from. Fucking small towns.
Oh, thank goodness. She was so hoping she was right. At his response to his name, Rory sighed in relief and moved to him in an effort to put her groceries down and hug him tightly. At least this time she had the right twin. And yeah, maybe she should have asked, but damned if she could think about that right now.
Her daddy would probably be appalled at her manners.
"I was worried," she admitted. They may not be necessarily friends yet, but her sister's marriage to his brother made them family, and that was so much more important right now.
The hug took him by surprise and it took all he could to not step back and out of range, but he'd learned that girls didn't like that. So he just sort of froze and waited for the moment to be over. "I… uh. Thank you?" Not the most eloquent statement that'd he'd ever come up with, but given the way she was looking at him, he was safe. Probably.
"And it's all over now. I'm back in Snowcap, aren't I?" He wouldn't admit it, but there were several dark moments where he assumed he'd be left in Bridewell when the rest of the world moved on without him. So he covered up his emotions with feigned disinterest and confidence. "So now I'm celebrating my newly appreciated sense of freedom."
It was feeling him freeze up that had her letting go and stepping back, blushing in embarrassment. Apparently, she was still pretty decent at making a fool of herself today. First with his twin and now with him. Next, she'd be running into Kent and performing a hat trick. Wouldn't that be stellar?
"I'm sorry. I shoulda asked first," she stated, scratching the back of her neck and refusing to meet his eyes. "Have ya eaten yet? I mean, it's obviously alright if ya have. I just went to tha store an' was gonna cook dinnah. Yer welcome ta join me. If ya want." It was something she could possibly do to welcome him back. Something that would be nice for him. And if he turned her down, well, no harm no foul.
He thought about the offer. While heading to the Kestrel was attractive in only that he would be able to chat with Cate, he wasn't particularly ready for the rest of Snowcap and anyone from the Reserve who happened to be hanging around the bar to get up in his business. That was just too much, too soon. He simply wasn't ready for everyone to know everything.
"I mean, sort of? Ate I mean. Haven't been all that hungry." Despite the wide array of foods in the kitchen, his favorite among them. Which, now that he had the so-called benefit of this morning's perspective, might have been preparation for the bombshell of Ford Harper. "What were you planning on putting together?" Personally, he'd never been all that interested in cooking. As long as he could put it in his mouth and sustain him, he was happy. But it was polite to ask.
Looking down at her bags for a moment, she tried to remember what it was exactly that she'd bought for dinner. She couldn't come up with anything specific, but there was something she'd had in mind. A nice spicy chicken with sweet potatoes, broccoli, and avocados. She'd been planning on having wine with it, but who knew what they were actually going to be drinking since Thorne might join her.
There had been several things Gramma Brynn taught her two half-Veela granddaughters. One of those things was how to cook. Rory could whip up a mean dinner when she wanted to. And tonight, she'd wanted to. If for no other reason than to make herself feel better.
Well that all sounded disgustingly healthy, but having someone else cook was probably the easiest route he could take at the moment that didn't involve going to the diner to purchase a meal. "As long as there's no honey, milk, or ginger, I should be fine." He listed his top three allergies, unsure if he'd ever shared them with her or not. Tonight was one of those nights where he didn't want to risk it. "And white or red wine?"
Because they were still in the middle of the street and he wasn't exactly sure where Rory lived, Thorne bent down to pick up her bags. It was the least he could do for her, after all. And with the proper charms, they were as light as a feather. No hardship at all. "Lead on and I shall follow."
It probably was disgustingly healthy, but it was also delicious. At least, she thought so. It was why she was making it, after all. She couldn't help but smile when he mentioned the three ingredients, however. "Don't worry, Thorne. I'm not gonna kill ya. There's no milk, no honey, an' no gingah. It's all gonna be good. I promise. An' if it ain't, then I'll make somethin' else. How's that?"
Her smile only brightened as he leaned down to pick up her bags and started carrying them. "Well, I guess chivalry ain't dead aftah all. Thank you. I was thinkin' red, but we can with white if ya'd prefer. I'm not picky." To be honest, she was pretty surprised he agreed to it. She hadn't thought he would at all.
If she wanted to call him a gentleman, Thorne wasn't going to argue with her. She was wrong, but he wasn't stupid. "I'm not picky either. When it comes to wine at least." Mostly because wine was classy and he was the furthest thing. He used to give Quen so much shit for his craft beers. But at least she wasn't giving him shit for wanting to drink. That was something, at least.
"Were you able to get in touch with Angelyka?" Thorne hated small talk, but Rory had been totally stuck in a research rut and he thought he might have been able to help. In circles such as theirs reliable research was hard to come by. And while he might never give the information to an outsider, Rory was different. She had a need to understand herself and Thorne would be a hypocrite if he denied her the opportunity.
Rory didn't count herself as "classy". She simply liked what she liked. Liquor, wine, beer, it was all the same to her. "I do have beer if ya'd rather." She could give him that, at the very least. While she knew he probably shouldn't be drinking, she wasn't his mother. He was a grown man. If he wanted to drink, she could at least give him a safe place to do it at.
"I was," she answered, her eyes brightening considerably. "She gave me a lot of different possibilities ta try out. I just haven't gotten a chance to yet. I'm plannin' to start figgerin' it out next weekend more than likely. What I can an' can't do, what has to be learned. She allowed me ta fill two whole notebooks covah ta covah. I cain't wait ta get started." The excitement was evident in her voice. "It'll give me good practice for when I start studyin' ta become an animagus."
She'd planned on starting that next weekend, but when Angelyka had given her all the information she had, Rory put the animagus thing on the backburner. Her heritage was far more important. And not just for her sake.
Thorne nodded. The animagus transformation was a difficult piece of magic, though not one he had ever been interested in. Being accused of being one step up from a creature had given him no interest in turning into one. Because knowing him he'd end up turning into a bat and that was the absolutely last thing he wanted. "Glad she could help. I know information can be hard to come by."
Partial-Vampires were rare. Apparently, those like him often passed away during their first year of life, if they even survived birth in the first place. To think that his mother had twins.... No. He slammed that particular book of thought firmly shut. That whole matter was a no go.
"But I'm the nerd who likes research." Thorne shrugged. "Let me know if you need anything else."
"Yer not tha only nerd who likes research," Rory laughed, shaking her head as they walked. It wasn't a long walk to her place. But it did sit a little on the outskirts. As someone who loved the country, she'd chosen one smack dab in the middle of town and the Reserve. Made things easier no matter which way she needed to go.
"I cain't count tha numbah of books I went through until you gave me that numbah. Honestly, you really have no idea how appreciative I am for that. Ya might very well have saved mah sanity."
The two of them had a few things in common, she knew. Perhaps this little dinner would reveal more. Or show her new interesting things about the man she was talking to. "So, what would ya prefer when we get to tha house? Red wine, white wine, or just a good ol' fashioned beer?"
She was giving him too much credit. Thorne shrugged off Rory's praise as they continued to her home. He just happened to know the right people to talk to, that's all. Rory was smart, she would have figured out that line of inquiry sooner rather than later. "Beer. But none of that hipster crap. I might have the glasses, but that doesn't mean I'm one of those flannel-wearing and man-bun sporting assholes." After living in New York, he had some very definite feelings about the new age hippies. Yes, he hated everything, but he wasn't doing it ironically.
They fell into silence after a few moments and Thorne allowed himself to formulate the question that was just on the tip of his tongue. "So, you're like figuring all of this out now? Your mom didn't think to tell you anything?" Thorne kind of got why he started a little late, he had no one to help him navigate. He'd been stumbling around in the dark for the most part. But Laura and Rory had their mom. Shouldn't she have said something?
If someone asked Rory, she was giving him too little credit. There really was nothing that Rory could do to thank him the way she thought he deserved to be thanked in her eyes. "Yer talkin' to a country girl, Thorne. Tha last thang in mah house is hipster crap," she reminded him, raising an eyebrow in amusement. "An' besides, ya wouldn't look very good with a man bun. Ya look great right now." He may be going through some major crap, but that didn't change the fact.
The silence was comfortable, nothing awkward, which was nice. When he asked her about learning everything, she simply gave a shrug. "Honestly, mah mama's family has always been full blood. She doesn't know the extent of what we can do either. She's never had to deal with it until us." Until she shacked up with their father, her mother's family had never exposed their bloodline to anything other than another Veela. What happened with her mother was unique. "So she's just as lost as I am, really. And she's back home in Port Aransas, so I cain't exactly just call her up every time I want ta try somethin' new. I tend ta spend weird hours when I'm feelin' inspired. Or cain't sleep."
He looked like crap, Thorne wanted point out, but realized that in the last few months his appearance had changed dramatically. He'd gained a bit of much-needed weight and his skin had lost the deathly pallor. So he only looked like a pale young man rather than a walking skeleton. "Uh. Thanks."
It sounded to Thorne that her family was an untapped resource, but it wasn't his decision if she tapped it or not. Though if he were her he would have definitely been on the phone or at least emailing every time he had a question. But then again, he was also someone who grew up knowing nothing about his vampiric heritage. "You could probably have a running list of questions that you email once a week or something." What he wouldn't ask if he could pick the brain of his sperm donor.
Once they reached Rory's house Thorne was at a loss of what to do. "Uh. Is there anything you need me to do?" He looked around. "Fair warning, I am a disaster in the kitchen."
The door opened for Rory and Thorne easily as they walked up to it (passing three of the four swings Rory set up when she moved in), charmed by Rory once she'd moved in to recognize her and open upon her arrival. It was the easiest thing to do and Rory was glad she'd found the charm when she was younger. It made life just a bit easier. Sometimes even the tiniest things made the all the difference.
"If you'd like, you can set the table. Dishes are in tha right cabinet an' tha drinks are in tha fridge. Ya don't have to though. If youd rathah, you can just relax in tha livin' room an' I can take care of everythang." It was said with the easiest of smiles as she immediately began to move around her small kitchen.
Her whole house was small, but to be fair, she didn't need any room for anyone other than herself and Archimedes, who was currently sitting in his cage in the living room.
"Is there anythang ya need before I start cookin'? You can look around if ya'd like. Not too much ta see, though." She tended to spend a lot of her time outside, either on the roof or in one of the swings outside. Her book collection was in her bedroom, a multitude of genres spanning in alphabetical order by their author. She was a big reader of many things.
The book she'd currently been reading was sitting on the coffee table in the living room, the mug she'd had her morning tea out of this morning sitting next to it.
Thorne had too much energy to just sit down at let Rory do all the work. He would leave everything that had to do with the actual cooking to her, mostly because he didn't want to be responsible for accidentally burning her house down, but setting the table was easy enough. Though once that task was completed he was at a loss for what to do with himself. Eventually, he found himself in the living room. Staying quite clear of the bird, his siblings' dogs were about the only type of animals he tolerated, Thorne couldn't help but notice the book on the coffee table. Like a niffler with a shiny object, he all but gravitated to a book covering astronomy. And not just the wizarding side of it either, but the full scientific underpinnings of chemistry, physics, and cosmology. Settling on the couch, Thorne made sure to keep Rory's spot marked as he began to read. So engrossed in the book, he didn't hear her come in and announce that dinner was ready.
"Huh?" He looked up. "Did you say something?"
It was cute, really, the way he seemed so lost in her new book. If he liked astronomy, there were a lot more books in her room that had to do with the subject. No-Maj and Magic alike.
"Dinnah's ready," she repeated, giving him that soft smile as she watched him. "If ya like, aftah dinnah I've got a lot more books like that one. When it's clear I usually go up to tha roof an' relax a bit. Watch tha sky."
She'd been seriously considering buying and setting up a telescope in the yard. Someplace she could see things clearly through the trees. Maybe once she got it she'd invite him over to give it a go. For now, however, the dishes Thorne had set out for her were full of food and there were two beers sitting next to the plates instead of the wine she'd been planning on having.
The wine could wait. Thorne had been through a lot. While she didn't expect him to talk, she could at least offer up an easy dinner and what she hoped was pleasant company to try to make things a little better for him. Even if it was only temporary.
She could only imagine what it was like and hoped someone would do the same for her if she were ever in a situation like he was.
Closing the book, Thorne gently put it back on the coffee table and stood. "The clear night sky is one of the few things I missed about being out here," he revealed with what he hoped was a nonchalant shrug of his shoulders. "Too much light pollution in the city."
He saw the beers instead of the expected wine and raised an eyebrow, but otherwise didn't make a comment. What Rory served was her business and if she wanted to bend to his whims that possibly made her a little bit too nice, but that didn't mean he didn't appreciate the gesture. It was just awkward to mention it aloud. "Looks great." Slipping out his phone, he shot off a quick text to his father to not hold dinner for him, he'd made alternative plans, before sitting down.
"Part of why I've always enjoyed livin' out in tha country on an island," Rory agreed, nodding. "I don't think I could ever be a city girl. I like open spaces too much." She spoke as she moved to the table, taking a chair and settling in. The beer was picked up first, a healthy swig being taken before she continued.
"There's a place back home, one of tha highest points of tha island. Felt like you could see for miles. Nothin' but endless night sky an' stars. I learned tha constellations from that spot. Cain't count how many times mah daddy whooped me good because I snuck out there an' fell asleep. It was one of mah favorite places though." She grinned as she began to eat, hoping Thorne liked it. She thought it was delicious and the chicken was perfect. She'd done better than she'd hoped since this was her first go-round with the recipe in question.
"Now I just climb up to tha roof on clear nights an' watch it all."
Thorne blinked. It probably wasn't the point of her story, but he couldn't help but focus on the bit about her father. Because if he didn't count the two or so years between his mother's death and coming to the Proudfoot home, he never had someone raise their hand to him in anger. But she said it so casually, so offhandedly, that it clearly didn't bother or. Or maybe she didn't want it to bother her. So he opted not to say anything and call attention to it.
"It was my mom who started me off with the stars. She used to tell me the stories behind the constellations and it went from there." It was an interest his father had encouraged. Thorne didn't have much from his early years and being able to gaze up at the night sky was a way to keep a connection with a woman whose face he couldn't quite remember in sharp detail.
Rory smiled softly as he told her about how he got into astronomy. His mom. She didn't know if he talked about his mom much, but she was glad either way that he felt he could tell her something personal. "I learned all tha stories. Once I learned a constellation, I'd research it, see what I could find. An' then I'd start on tha next one. On an' on until there were no more ta learn." She grinned at that, taking a drink of her beer. "Then I started makin' up new ones."
She was wary about asking him about his mom, but her curiosity sometimes got the better of her. She loved her parents, couldn't imagine living without them. "Do you remember what she was like at all? Yer mama, I mean?" The worst he could do was tell her it was none of her business.
Well, that wasn't the worst, but it was what she hoped could be the worst in this instance.
It was hard to separate what he knew about his mother and what Thorne sort of inferred (alright, made up) about her over the last several years. He gave a short of shrug and used his fork to stab a piece of chicken. "I remember her as being kind. And pretty, but kids always think their moms are pretty, right?"
His memories of Alex Spencer were few and precious, but now after his morning interactions with Ford Harper, they were tainted. One more mark against the other man wearing his face. Unconsciously, Thorne began to frown, glaring at the chicken at the end of his fork. Fucking hell, even when he wanted to forget that the man existed, he still managed to creep up in unexpected ways.
Rory wasn't sure what made him frown, but she didn't like it. So she tried to think of something to make him smile. "I always thought mah mama was pretty... but she does kinda have an unfair advantage ovah a lot of tha othah moms." Her grin was playful as she stuck another forkful of chicken in her mouth. The beer chased it soon after.
"Tell ya what. How about aftah we eat, you pick what we do next? Ya don't even hafta pick nothin'. If ya wanna go home aftah this, no harm doin'. If ya wanna sit on tha couch an' read mah book, yer more than welcome to. I won't even bothah ya. I'll clean up tha kitchen an' disappear for awhile if that's what ya want," she chuckled. It was hard sometimes, finding somewhere that you could just do what you want. Especially whenever people hovered. Rory didn't want to be that person. She wanted her place to be a place where Thorne felt safe. Where he felt he could come if he needed a breather from life.
Rory knew it was important to have that.
Instead of answering immediately, Thorne finally put a few pieces of food into his mouth. They didn't taste of much, but he assumed that was more of a him issue than any commentary on Rory's skills in the kitchen. She was probably a great cook. He just wasn't in any mood to be nice. To continue this charade of amiability when everything else in his life felt like it was seemingly spinning out of control. "You're too nice," he used his fork to gesture, pointing it at her, "I hope you realize this."
He should tell her that he ought to go home, that he wasn't fit for company, but he wasn't the nice one… ever. "But why don't you show me the view from the roof? You can tell me about some of the stories you made up."
Rory couldn't help but smirk at his statement. Too nice. Was there really such a thing? Rory didn't figure so, not really. She just continued to smirk as she put the last bite of food into her mouth and finished her beer. "Honestly, Thorne, I thank this world would be a whole lot bettah off if more people were nicer to each othah." Picking up her plate and empty beer bottle, the blonde moved around her kitchen to clean up a bit before she returned with two more beers and that grin. "Besides, what're ya complainin' for? Yer benefitin' from it, ain'tcha?"
She waited for him to finish his dinner before putting away his plate and empty bottle. After that, however, she was leading the way out to her fenced-in backyard, past the trampoline swing and up the makeshift ladder the ivy lattice made at the back of her house. Finding her favorite spot, close to the center of the roof, she uncapped her beer and took a healthy drink before leaning back and looking up.
Well, yes, he was benefiting from it all, but if recent events had taught Thorne anything, it was that he needed to look out for himself over everyone else. Which usually precluded him from being nice to anyone for an extended period of time. Screw the rest of the world.