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Mavi didn't like shopping malls. They were crowded, noisy, and filled with the smell of overcooked, overpriced, and under performing food. Sometimes, however, in a pinch everyone ended up there. Which was how on her first Tuesday night in Evermore, Mavi ended up in a fitting room of one of the keynote stores, frowning at her reflection in the low grade light of the fitting room mirror. It was cramped and she swore that the white shirt the attendant brought her had a lot more lace and ruffles than the simple, modern cut one she'd chosen from the rack for her interview tomorrow. Her emergency had been a case of wet suitcases after unloading straight into a six inch puddle of mud and water from her Taxi, as she arrived at the new apartment building where she would be leasing for the next seven months. Despite how durable her suitcase was everything inside was soaked and would need a good trip to the laundromat before it didn't either smell of mire or look covered in sludge. She was fairly sure showing up in a white shirt with brown cow spots was not the look of confidence that would help her be hired into Evermore's journalism staff. In fact, it was probably the opposite. Mavi reached for the next item on the hanger, pulling a black skirt up over her body. It was meant to be slightly form fitting and reach just above the knee, but even as she saw it hanging, Mavi could tell that these were the wrong clothes. The skirt that she'd put on was nearly floor length and once again covered in a delicate lace.
Mavi poked her head out of the curtain that protected her privacy. Where was the employee who had her clothes? Her real clothes! She walked out to the main mirrored area and caught a glimpse of herself in full bodied, 20th century style, and couldn't help but snicker. She looked...different, to be sure. It was only as she was looking over at herself in the mirror that out of the corner of her eye, Mavi swore that she saw herself, in the outfit she'd chosen, emerge from the dressing room behind her, and laugh at the clothing on her body. Turning around, she faced her mirrored self. "What the...heck."
"Searching for your father? You came all the way here in Evermore in search for your father?" Then again, the search for someone so significant in your life must've been one hell of an eye opener for most people. She couldn't say she won't understand that because while Malva didn't bother to indulge herself with such trivial matters, she wasn't heartless enough to forget about family. Just because her parents weren't the best parents one could ever ask for, doesn't mean others are the same. When she was shown a picture of a man she knew to be quite familiar, that was when she clicked her tongue in realization, she's met him before.
"Some people can have… the same looks over time" her eyes glazed over her and noticed the aura she emitted, as someone who had her grasp around magic, it wasn't nearly as hard for Malva to figure out who is supernatural and who is not, by simply staring at them. Every supernatural had magic in them. This girl does. "Let's be real here, Mavi. I'm not going to beat around the bush any longer because that doesn't seem to be quite as necessary at other times." She was implying that she knows Mavi is a supernatural. "Maybe they don't age" she mused coolly. A reporter, that's new. "Maybe some mysteries are meant to stay buried. Maybe. But deep down, you know it's something more, don't you?"
Was she really about to uncover the secrets out for someone who may not even realize she is a supernatural? Not yet. She wanted to know more. "Fine… let me test you with a little something then. If you were to find a picture of someone from WWII, a female looking so similar to the me right now… what would you conclude?"
A few years ago, if someone had asked Mavi if she believed in vampires, she probably would have asked if they'd been watching too much Twilight; but the more she'd read recently, it had started to make sense that humans were not alone in the world. They weren't even the first species to inhabit it. It still boggled her brain to get around the idea, especially seeing as she'd never met anyone with fangs, no one who sparkled or fairies with wings. Clearly, if the supernatural did exist, it was well hidden, perhaps even enchanted to be forgotten by those who discovered it. There were reasons why most humans needed to remain unaware and she knew that. Mavi had seen power corrupt even the best of people. She knew that she wasn't human. It had been a strange two weeks and she was more concerned about what that meant for her daughter, than for herself, but Mavi had become adept at landing on her feet. She had a habit of falling and the more it happened, the easier it was to pick yourself up again, no matter how big the bump in the road. "Not long ago, I would have said strong familial genetics..." Mavi squinted at the pictures. "But, I'm starting to realize that not quite everything is what it seems. Some people need to keep secrets to protect themselves. I've seen bad things happen on account of loose lips."
She pressed her mouth into a thin line. The knowledge that some things needed to stay hidden was a deep contradiction her impassioned curiosity for opening doors that had lead her to becoming a reporter. "Things need to be done with tact and identities revealed to sources you trust or kept anonymous if danger is involved. That's the whole reason there is whistle-blower protection, but I suppose if I were in that situation..." She tilted her head. "I would ask for your story. Try to find inaccuracies. Ask detail about your family history. I do not like to assume with no cause. It leads to too much error."
Meeting someone who wasn't supernatural stumbling upon things that would be claimed supernatural wasn't something new to her. She's lived quite some time already, she's met plenty of humans and supernaturals alike. It wasn't something new to her anymore, she's tried blending herself in the crowds just as well. But the case for this is that whoever Mavi was, she's supernatural, far from being human. One of the other questions that was still lingering in her head was whether Mavi knows she's a supernatural or not.
"Nobody likes a whistle-blower yes, that applies on a lot of things. People don't like to hear things they have to hear, that's the reality of it." Secrets were bound to get loose one way or another but how it got loose matters too. There were more than few cases when she needed to make sure they keep a close lipped situation on when the circumstances call for it. Not her best work but keeping their mouth shut was pretty much a need when they're being very loud. "And if I refuse to tell you all of those which you seek? What will you do then?" She had nothing to hide, of course. But she wasn't exactly outing herself as a supernatural to someone who is also a supernatural, no?
"Are you aware of your… heritage?" By heritage, of course, Malva meant if she knew she's supernatural or not. It's impervious for her to know every single bit of detail there is. "I may be able to help you find what you're seeking but of course, it doesn't come free without a price. As you well know, just like everything else, it comes with a price. The question is, would you be willing to pay me for my services?" From her tone and look, it was clear Malva was not talking about cash or anything of monetary value. "So you have something to lose? Because I know I don't. That's the difference between us. I have nothing to lose but something to gain from this. Do you?"
Mavi knit her fingers together like a breadbasket, weaving them in and out, over and over, until she could lift her eyes towards the young woman across the table. It was a nervous habit, something she’d learned to do as a child during mass when her elders had constantly reminded her to not kick and try to sit more still. The truth was that she had everything to lose. Becoming a mother made you irreversibly knit to a small person who depended on you for food, for comfort, for amusement, and shelter. Her daughter was her everything and the fear that she could expose a six year old as being inhuman and supernatural terrified her more than anything she’d ever known. Jonah was a little girl and didn’t deserve to have her life turned upside down just because her Mom’s insasitable curiosity couldn’t be satisfied by 2+2. Mavi always had make everything an equation and dig deeper and sometimes it made her relationships suffer. She couldn’t knowingly inflict permanent harm on someone so innocent. Someone who still called their icecream ‘icedreams’. “I have everything to lose.” She bit her lip, but shook her head. Her hands were cold and there was a sharp pain in the middle of her back.
I have to go. This isn’t okay.
Mavi stood quickly, completely ignoring that she’d left her purse behind on the seat. “Excuse me. I’m sorry for for wasting your time.” Before she could be stopped, the willowy brunette rushed towards the women’s bathrooms. She felt sick and her head was spinning. Cold water poured over her shaking hands as she looked up into the bleery mirror that hadn’t properly been cleaned in a few weeks. “You’re ordinary. Normal. Blend in with the crowd. Life goes according to plan.”
Mavi’s speech of preparedness was and had never been about telling herself she was special. She’d never really wanted to be special, at least, after the stark realities of her childhood had set in. She had wanted to fit in and be normal. Just be human. Life had a cruel, albeit funny way of answering those desires. “I am a good person.” Her voice flexed as she stared down the familiar eyes that she shared with her child. Ever so slowly, the door opened and Mavi’s reassurances fled her voicebox. Whether she liked it or not, the human card had already been pulled from her hand. It was on her if she stayed in the dark.
She didn't expect her to answer so soon because every question she gave people, they always seem to take their time and thread carefully because Malva doesn't do favors. Not really. She always did find a way to make it beneficial to her. At the end of the day, Malva Ailward is not some saint or fairy godmother where she was there to grant people's wishes, she does things at a price that will tell her it's fine. It's nothing bad seeing as the Aspect of Magic herself wasn't obligated to help every soul she came across. So when Mavi answered her almost instantly, Malva had to admit that she was visibly floored and surprised by her reaction, "Everything to lose" she repeated, it sounded foreign to her tongue yet so familiar.
She had been in the same situation the other female across her had been. Or is actually sitting in right now. Mal was about to say something to her but the brunette was quick to get up from her seat and make her exit like someone just shot her down from the sky, or at least, threaten to shoot her down. "Wait... " she murmured and let her blue hues follow Mavi's silhouette that headed towards the women's bathroom. Her grip tightened on the chair as she chewed her bottom lip lightly, should she go after her? That's the logical thing to do, right? She wanted to know more about this mysterious woman and she may be able to reach for her answers if she tried hard enough.
After a while of debating whether she should stay or not, Mal sighed and stood from her seat and make her way to the same direction she saw Mavi dash to, stopping just in front of the entrance and wondered if this was a good way to go with. As she tried to advance, she realized she heard Mavi's voice echoing not far from her, in which Malva stepped inside and stood by the door, "Nobody said you weren't" she exclaimed as her response following the dhampir's words on being a good person. "Why do you think wanting to know more makes you bad? Isn't that natural human nature to want to know more?" Unless she had someone else she was thinking about. "What's on your head, Mavi."
The door opened and the face of her mystery maker of the evening stood in front of her, arms askew. It really was a bit uncanny. Mavi took a deep breath and reached for a paper towel. It was all on her: the gnawing guilt, the restless readiness to always be on the move. She hadn’t learned she was pregnant with Jo until she was over a third the way through. It had been all chalked up to the Freshman fifteen and a bad case of test anxiety. Her cycle had never been normal, but really, it had been denial. Denial that she was going to have a crying, messy human the size of a football not only living inside her for the next few months but also forever in her life. She’d been offered termination, but raised as a good Catholic girl...it just wasn’t something that she could do after reading about how at 16 weeks, her baby had functioning everything. From that point on, Mavi was a mom and moms make sacrifices. With her hands still slightly damp and her heart beating to the badum-tiiish of the air conditioner that pulsed nearby, she tried to gather the poorly arranged words in her mind to best tell the story.
“I met Caden when I was eighteen. He was several years older and he wasn’t supposed to be...more. More than a friend, more than a lover, but it happened. Instead of following my instincts like a reporter should, I just decided to feel...” Mavi tucked her hair behind ears as they sat back down at the table, the only ones still in the small establishment. “He was my lone star. Just meant to be a story, but I guess that as an eighteen year old who had ignored the better parts of health class, I was dumb. I let myself be a reckless teenager for maybe the first time in my life.”
Mavi bit her lip flipping through pictures of Caden and his daughter cuddling on the couch and Jonah and her Uncle, Caleb fly fishing on a lake. “But, she’s the light of my life now. I wouldn’t change it for the world. We share custody. He has her during the summers and I do during the rest of the year, but I asked for time to take a trip. I don’t even know if the Judge will give me permission to move...or if I did...”
Mavi couldn’t even make that into words. “We make it work, but I can’t imagine how to raise a six year old with any extra complications. If I’m not human, what does that do to her?”
She tried to center herself in the idea that growing up she’d always been a normal, healthy child. Maybe, there was some way that Jonah could just never find out. She was a happy girl who didn’t have her mother’s eye for mystery: perhaps, because so much of her life was already full. “Malva?” She tilted her head, unsure if she wanted to know the answer out loud. “What am I?”