Young Writers Society

Home » Literary works » Novel / Chapter » Action / Adventure

16+ Language

Before The Dragon - Chapter 46.2

by Shady


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.

Stanton stared at Derik with wide eyes then rushed from the room. Derik reached behind him and slammed the door after Stanton. Then he turned back towards Jerica and Akeno. He ran a hand through his hair and strode towards her. “Little prick.”

Jerica slammed the tin down on the table a bit too hard.

“I know,” Derik said soothingly. “We’re gonna get you through this… somehow.”

Jerica crossed her arms, wandering across the room. She leaned against the edge of her bed, letting it take most of her weight as she turned back towards Derik with a deep sigh.

Akeno stood politely in the corner, but took a step forward. “I think this conversation would be best held without me here. I’ll go get us some food, Jer.”

“Okay.” Jerica nodded.

Akeno left and closed the door after him.

Jerica’s anger morphed to apprehension. This conversation was inevitable. But she still dreaded it. There was nothing in life she feared more than disappointing one of the men she respected. And she respected Derik most of all.

Derik strode towards her and also leaned against the bed, standing by her side.

Jerica didn’t look up at him. “Are you mad at me?”

“No.” His voice was calm.

She hesitated. That was good at least. But there was a fair bit between not being mad and actually being on her side. Being okay with who Rek was. “Are you mad at Rek?”

“No.”

She hesitated again, still refusing to look at him. “Did you know?”

Derik was silent for a moment, then he shook his head. “No. I knew he and Nykim spend a fair bit of time together, but I didn’t realize it was anything more than friendship.”

That had been the goal. Not with Derik specifically. But in general. Jerica thought for a moment. She was still anxious that Derik might be angry with her. But she couldn’t seem the courage to meet his gaze to find out. “Are you mad we didn’t tell you?”

Derik sighed and rubbed his face. “I’m a bit hurt that neither of you felt like you could tell me… it makes me feel like I have somehow given the impression that my love for you is conditional, and—”

“No,” Jerica interrupted. She grabbed his hand, finally looking up to his face. He took a deep breath and turned his head to meet her gaze. She gave his hand a squeeze. “No. You are the best father that we—” she coughed, covering her mistake. “Rek – could ever hope for.”

“I parented you just as much as I parented Rek,” Derik said, giving her hand a squeeze in return. “Just because you didn’t have your parents here to watch you grow up doesn’t mean you didn’t have a father here who loves you very much.”

Jerica leaned against his arm and rested her head on his shoulder, leaving her fingers laced through his. “I love you, too.”

She still had so many questions about her own parents. Why hadn’t they tried to find her? Tried to reach out to her? Did they even care about her at all? She wanted to know. But for now, she just wanted reassured that Derik wasn’t angry with her. The fact that her parents were alive didn’t change the fact that Derik was like a father to her. Or that she’d kept this secret from him.

“Did I overreact about Akeno?” Derik asked. “Is that why Rek didn’t want to tell me?”

“No.” Jerica straightened, pulling her hand away. It pained her that Derik seemed to think it was his fault rather than their fear that kept them from telling him. “He and Nykim were together before – I mean… No. No, you were an appropriate level of angry when you figured Akeno and I out.”

It had taken her a lot of convincing before he believed that her and Akeno’s arrangement had been her idea, not Akie pressuring her. Most of the men were terrified of her. But Derik was still overprotective of her when it came to the soldiers. He’d have had one of his own men executed in an instant if any soldier so much as laid a finger on her without consent.

“They were together before you and Akeno were?” Derik asked incredulously. “This has been happening for over two years and I’m just now finding out about it?”

Jerica cringed. She hadn’t meant to tell him that part.

“It’s okay.” Derik took a deep breath. “I know what was at stake, until you got Levin to sign that edict. I would probably also keep this secret to myself if I wasn’t sure how someone would respond to the revelation.”

The moment of truth. “And… how do you respond?”

“I don’t care to know about his sex life any more than I care to know about yours,” he answered. “All I want is for you both to be happy and healthy and safe… and that is why I’m far more concerned about you than I am him. He actually wants his marriage.”

She shrugged, trying to shake away the self-pity that was piling on her shoulders again. She mourned what would inevitably to happen to her. But she wasn’t sorry. Rek needed someone to protect him from Levin. That’s why she came back from Aerik in the first place. At least, why she didn’t argue about it. She was here to people from Levin’s nastiness. “Rek’s marriage can’t happen without mine.”

“Only because Levin decided to be a dick.” Derik sighed.

“In a shocking turn of events,” she said sarcastically.

There was a moment of silence between them, before Derik sighed again. He shook his head. “I can’t fix this one for you, Jer.”

“I know.” Hopelessness settled in the pit of her stomach. She knew that Derik couldn’t get her out of this. And if Derik couldn’t then no one could. She was going to have to lie in the bed that she made. “I’m not asking you to.”

“I’ve never seen a more selfless act of love.” Derik wrapped his arm around her and pulled her in for a side-hug. “The fact that you sacrificed your future to save Rek’s is just… astonishing.”

“You sacrificed more for me.” Jerica shrugged.

“I quit a job when my bosses tried to murder my family,” Derik said. “And then relocated to raise my niece. I didn’t have to consent to spending the rest of my life with a roach like Stanton Fillmore as my husband.”

The rest of my life’ echoed in her ears. But she shoved it away. Forced herself to begin bottling up all these nasty emotions. Shoving them down. Replacing them with a weak attempt at humor. She smirked crookedly at him. “I mean, it’s never too late. It’s legal now.”

Derik snorted. There was a brief silence, then, “Darrana?”

Jerica laughed. “Didn’t want you to think I was serious about that part.”

“I certainly didn’t.” Derik smiled and shook his head. “You’d have to get knocked on the head pretty hard to go from nemeses to lovers… although, if this were a book, it might not be all that out of the question.”

“It’s out of the question,” Jerica said firmly. “She’s terrible.”

Derik smirked.

There was a rap at the door.

Jerica tensed and inhaled sharply.

Derik looked down at her, then pursed her lips and looked at the door. He gave her shoulders a squeeze and then stepped forward. “I’ll get rid of them.”

Appreciation welled up in Jerica.

Derik strode forward and opened the door, blocking the room with his body. Protective.

“Baba!” Rek gasped. “I…”

Jerica straightened as she heard Rek’s voice. Her heart fluttered. She hadn’t expected to have to talk to Rek so soon after the fact. She thought that he’d steep in his new engagement. Celebrate with Nykim. Not show up on her doorstep while she was talking to Derik.

Jerica crossed her arms over her abdomen, protective.

Derik glanced over his shoulder and raised his eyebrows. A silent question of whether to let Rek in or not. She nodded. The conversation was inevitable. May as well get it over with. Even though her emotions still felt so raw.

“C’mon.” Derik stepped back.

“Baba, I…” Rek stepped inside the room, turning to keep his gaze on Derik. He swallowed hard. “I can explain.”

“What’s there to explain?” Derik asked, turning to shut the door. “You’re in love.”

“I…” Rek took a shaky breath but nodded. His eyes were wide with fear as he looked at Derik. “I do love Nykim… and I understand if that’s something that you can’t—”

“My love for you doesn’t come with conditions, Rek,” Derik interrupted gently. He opened his arms invitingly. “I’m happy that you’re happy.”

The tears in Rek’s eyes dripped down his cheeks as he rushed into Derik’s arms.

Jerica’s throat constricted again. She blinked away the tears that stung her eyes. She didn’t want to cry again. Didn’t want to look like she’d been crying when they went back to the Council Meeting. She swallowed hard, trying to focus on the wholesomeness of the moment. Rather than the hopelessness of the situation she was in.

“Jer.”

Jerica looked up as Rek pulled away from Derik and stepped towards her.

“I’m sorry.” He wrapped his arms around her in a tight hug. “I’m so sorry.”

“You haven’t done anything to be sorry for,” Jerica murmured. She’d decided she liked Aerik’s way of saying that more than just telling Rek not to say sorry.

“I’m so sorry,” he said again. She could feel him trembling against her body as she held him tightly. He sniffled in her ear. “Gods, Jer, what did you do? You shouldn’t have done that. I’m so sorry.”

“I’m not sorry,” she breathed.

“Yet,” he scoffed. He pulled away from her and looked down at her, distraught. “I wish you could take it back. I never meant for this to happen.”

“I know.” She took a deep breath. “I didn’t either.”

“We’ll get through this.” Derik stepped forward and hooked his right arm around Jerica and left around Rek, then pulled them both close. “One way or another. Together.” 


Note: You are not logged in, but you can still leave a comment or review. Before it shows up, a moderator will need to approve your comment (this is only a safeguard against spambots). Leave your email if you would like to be notified when your message is approved.







Is this a review?


  

Comments



User avatar


Points: 550
Reviews: 3

Donate
Fri Jan 21, 2022 12:46 am
View Likes
Eragon wrote a review...



Okay, here I am for the next chapter! I may as well get back into the habit of daily reviews, right?

That had been the goal. Not with Derik specifically. But in general. Jerica thought for a moment. She was still anxious that Derik might be angry with her. But she couldn’t seem the courage to meet his gaze to find out. “Are you mad we didn’t tell you?”
Derik sighed and rubbed his face. “I’m a bit hurt that neither of you felt like you could tell me… it makes me feel like I have somehow given the impression that my love for you is conditional, and—”
“No,” Jerica interrupted. She grabbed his hand, finally looking up to his face. He took a deep breath and turned his head to meet her gaze. She gave his hand a squeeze. “No. You are the best father that we—” she coughed, covering her mistake. “Rek – could ever hope for.”
“I parented you just as much as I parented Rek,” Derik said, giving her hand a squeeze in return. “Just because you didn’t have your parents here to watch you grow up doesn’t mean you didn’t have a father here who loves you very much.”

This. This is parenting at its finest. Mind, I've not met Jerica's parents yet, so that could theoretically be a bit of a stretch... but I doubt it. But...

She still had so many questions about her own parents. Why hadn’t they tried to find her? Tried to reach out to her? Did they even care about her at all? She wanted to know. But for now, she just wanted reassured that Derik wasn’t angry with her. The fact that her parents were alive didn’t change the fact that Derik was like a father to her. Or that she’d kept this secret from him.

...there's also this. Derik, well, he meant the best, really and truly. And... Aerik? No, that's not it... er... maybe that is it... I'll look later, I'm too lazy to dig through chapters right now XD Anywho, Jerica's got a point, wanting to know more. She's concerned that she's done something wrong because things weren't explained fully and she yearns for knowledge regarding the Guild and her heritage. There's still a lot to be uncovered (and a lot for me to remember, too!).

“I quit a job when my bosses tried to murder my family,” Derik said. “And then relocated to raise my niece. I didn’t have to consent to spending the rest of my life with a roach like Stanton Fillmore as my husband.”

She doesn't, my dear sir. There's this little thing you threatened to do in the previous section called "killing him."

if this were a book

Precisely. Nothing is out of the question. This guy gets it!

“We’ll get through this.” Derik stepped forward and hooked his right arm around Jerica and left around Rek, then pulled them both close. “One way or another. Together.”

Yes, but you can always ask Granny Guildmaster for help! ^-^ Don't forget that's an option now XD

This was a great defuser to follow the previous section. The only thing that I might add is replacing the sentence that says Jerica took a while to convince Derik about Jer and Akeno being a thing was her idea with maybe a few scraps of sentences, maybe a few anecdotal details. Other than that, this is a paragon of a chapter! No one could've written it better, and I'm glad to have reread it ^-^

I hope that this has been helpful and given you some insight into this chapter! If you have any questions, let me know.




User avatar
400 Reviews


Points: 25128
Reviews: 400

Donate
Tue Sep 07, 2021 12:57 am
View Likes
Seirre wrote a review...



I'm back! Thanks for the synopsis blurb, it was super helpful for understanding this chapter ^^ And not at all a boring information dump -- going off of that quick outline of plot alone, I can tell that there's some intense plotiness going on and I feel like this might be the kinda book that's very hard to put down once you get invested in said plotiness @_@

Anyway, onto some reactions, followed by feedback!

Jerica slammed the tin down on the table a bit too hard.

Well I mean, rightfully so!

But she couldn’t seem the courage to meet his gaze to find out. “Are you mad we didn’t tell you?”

I think there's a word missing after "seem"?

But for now, she just wanted reassured that Derik wasn’t angry with her. The fact that her parents were alive didn’t change the fact that Derik was like a father to her.

Word missing here too after "wanted"!

“I don’t care to know about his sex life any more than I care to know about yours,” he answered. “All I want is for you both to be happy and healthy and safe… and that is why I’m far more concerned about you than I am him. He actually wants his marriage.” She shrugged, trying to shake away the self-pity that was piling on her shoulders again. She mourned what would inevitably to happen to her.

THIS. This is such a perfect response. Gahh Derik is amazing.
(also, nitpick: an extra little "to" sneakin' its way in~)

“I certainly didn’t.” Derik smiled and shook his head. “You’d have to get knocked on the head pretty hard to go from nemeses to lovers… although, if this were a book, it might not be all that out of the question.”

I know Icy already pointed this out but I can't help myself; metaaa :')

“My love for you doesn’t come with conditions, Rek,” Derik interrupted gently. He opened his arms invitingly. “I’m happy that you’re happy.”

I'll say it again, Derik is AN AMAZING, WHOLESOME BEAN <3 <3 Why can't humanity just all be Derik-y??

“I’m sorry.” He wrapped his arms around her in a tight hug. “I’m so sorry.”

I can't put my finger on it exactly, but there's something so human and real about the way Rek keeps repeating that he's sorry, even when Jerica tells him not to. Like sometimes that's just all there is to say, and this is one of those sometimes.

~~~

The only real critique I have for this chapter is that it feels a bit light on setting descriptions -- I mean, I'm sure this bedroom has been described amply in the previous 45 chapters, but going off of this chapter alone I have zero clue what space the characters are existing in (except for the presence of a table, bed, and door). Maybe just some vibe-y descriptions? would be nice; what kind of lighting is there, are there any smells, does Jerica fixate her gaze on anything while she's trying to calm down, that sort of thing.

That being said though, there are a lot of awesome character and action descriptions; like, the descriptions of Rek crying and Jerica trying not to cry and Derik giving wholesome bean hugs are perf and just the right amount! I love how the actions you describe Jerica doing, like purposefully not looking at Derik because she doesn't want to see he's mad, or focusing really hard on not crying, show us a lot about her character, too.

Overall, another fab chapter -- I think I'm gonna have to hop along and read the next one, even if I don't leave a review! I swear, if the ending is that Jerica marries Stanton poo-poo head I may very well flip a table. And aim said table it in the general vicinity of Stanton.

I hope this review is useful for ya! :3
--whatcha


Image

Banner courtesy of a certain Shady Vypy <3




Shady says...


THIS. This is such a perfect response. Gahh Derik is amazing.


:') It makes me happy that you like him haha WE STAN UNCLE DERIK

I feel like this might be the kinda book that's very hard to put down once you get invested in said plotiness @_@

I think I'm gonna have to hop along and read the next one, even if I don't leave a review!


Ohoho another one bites the dust

I swear, if the ending is that Jerica marries Stanton poo-poo head I may very well flip a table. And aim said table it in the general vicinity of Stanton.


hahaha aim fOR THE HEAd

Banner courtesy of a certain Shady Vypy <3


<3

Thanks so much for the review! It was lovely <3



User avatar
1079 Reviews


Points: 86725
Reviews: 1079

Donate
Mon Sep 06, 2021 12:32 pm
View Likes
IcyFlame wrote a review...



Ooh I'm finally beating @TheScribe to a review? Excellent!

He ran a hand through his hair and strode towards her. “Little prick.”

In which Derik summarises most of the characters in this story for us.

She hesitated again, still refusing to look at him. “Did you know?”

Derik was silent for a moment, then he shook his head. “No. I knew he and Nykim spend a fair bit of time together, but I didn’t realize it was anything more than friendship.”

Ok... so has Jerica just outed him to his father in public? Because now it's seeming less of a sweet gesture. Could she not have got it all in writing and then given Rek a chance to talk it through with the people he wanted to know before he was talked into proposing to Nykim?

Derik sighed and rubbed his face. “I’m a bit hurt that neither of you felt like you could tell me… it makes me feel like I have somehow given the impression that my love for you is conditional, and—”


Oh Derik </3 Is he planning to tell Rek the truth about where he came from?

She still had so many questions about her own parents. Why hadn’t they tried to find her? Tried to reach out to her? Did they even care about her at all? She wanted to know. But for now, she just wanted reassured that Derik wasn’t angry with her. The fact that her parents were alive

I get why she has these questions, but it feels like we're missing the current issue when she starts to think about them.

There was a moment of silence between them, before Derik sighed again. He shook his head. “I can’t fix this one for you, Jer.”

“I know.” Hopelessness settled in the pit of her stomach. She knew that Derik couldn’t get her out of this. And if Derik couldn’t then no one could. She was going to have to lie in the bed that she made. “I’m not asking you to.”

Oh :(

although, if this were a book, it might not be all that out of the question.”

Well this is excellent.

Oof I know we're close to the end now, so I wonder how much of this we're going to get resolved before the book ends! I thought Jerica might go and pay a visit to their prisoner and make a marriage deal with him to end the war... he's better than Stanton!

Ok, Jerica needs to fight something. She's done way too much feeling recently.

Icy




Shady says...


I thought Jerica might go and pay a visit to their prisoner and make a marriage deal with him to end the war... he's better than Stanton!


omigosh xD That thought literally never crossed my mind. Imagine. Poor Josef xD

Thanks for the review! You raised some good points. I'm going to think through the whole proposals scene again.




The moral of Snow White is never eat apples.
— Lemony Snicket