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The true art of being a cynic

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         Thelriel was a man of taste, among anything. He wasn’t a film major, nor was he an art major- but he liked watching the films that his friend, and coworker  Signe Brosca-Arainai was assigned for her courses. It was mostly so they’d have a reason to talk to eachother often. Unlike with Verona, Signe lived with her husband,Zevran in an apartment elsewhere, so besides work- they really had no excuse to see eachother. Signe was a rather interesting dwarf, she was messy, chubby, and quite happy most of the time.Thelriel on the other hand, and Verona too, was lanky, pale, and gothic. He’d grown up with Verona, and when they’d decided where to go to school, had decided on moving in together as best friends do. 

          He wasn’t one for dating. Every time he met someone he thought he liked, they just- weren’t right for him. He had no real understanding of if he was being rude or not, and most of the girls and guys he tried dating had slapped him  when he decided to break it off with them. The most recent being Anora, she’d been sweet- but not right, and even if it was right, he wasn’t really the romance-y sort. So he decided to break up with Anora. Another slap to the face, another broken heart. 

          He couldn’t fault Verona for her interest in it though. For her it seemed to be more physical than romantic, but then again- Verona had been with the same guy since, well, for as long as he’d ever really known. Gilmore was a nice man , and sweet to Verona. He wasn’t goth like the two of them, but Gilmore fit in with their friends and crowd. Verona and him were meant to be together, even if he went to Denerim University, while they went to Ostagar State. 

          So when his favorite human busted in the door, red faced and already bawling her eyes out- he wasn’t really sure what to think had happened to her. Surely it wasn’t something to do with Gilmore?  

          “Hey, Hey - Verona what’s wrong, why are you upset?” Thelriel called out to her in as calming of a tone as he could. Neither of them were emotional people. Verona never really cried, ever. So to see her bawling her eyes out was a foreign concept to him. She was hard to understand, especially with the tv still going. Thelriel turned it off , motioning for Verona to join him on the couch. Their couch was nice, cushiony , perfect for comforting. Thelriel reached out to his friend. “Hey, breath Vehnan. It’ll be okay, just tell me everything, but slowly and with proper breathing.” 

          Verona tried to calm down before the first thing she blurted out was

          ” NOTHING IS FUCKING OKAY!!” In a frantic mix of anger and upsetness. “I don’t even know where to begin. Tldr for the night, but Rendon Howe is a bastard.” Thelriel wanted to laugh, but the look in Verona’s eyes was telling him that this was not a situation to be laughing at. “We already know that, Verona- you’re preaching to the choir.” Rendon Howe was a teacher at the university they went to. He, coincidentally was not only also teaching at Denerim University, but he was also a friend of her father. Friend being a loose term from here-on out. “But what did he do, I thought he was a friend to your father?” 

          “Going to the beginning of it I thought that Gilmore was cheating on me...”Verona had started. It was true, she had been made to believe for the last few months that Gilmore was secretly seeing Howe’s daughter. Why? Because an unknown number was sending her photos of the two together around the Denerim University campus. Whenever she tried to call Gilmore about it, he’d always be too busy to talk to her. So it wasn’t hard for her to come to that conclusion. Verona had been saving up the evidence she could, ready to drive over to Denerim University herself- to meet and question Gilmore. 

          When she had gotten there though, she’d begun yelling at Gilmore.Verona thought she had all of the facts laid out in front of her, that everything was pointing to Gilmore cheating on her. So she said some nasty things to him, really badly things about his own problems and things only she knew about from the years of them being together. Gilmore claimed that he didn’t know what she was talking about, but before anyone could call the campus police on them for shouting - Verona had broken up with Gilmore, and stormed the fuck out of his residence hall, dumping the evidence into a nearby trash can.

          On her drive back home to Ostagar State, she’s gotten a call. It was from Nathaniel Howe, the oldest son of Rendon Howe. It was no secret to anyone that Nathaniel was kind of the family’s black sheep. No matter how hard he tried to change that. Nathaniel had heard something that he wanted Verona to see. So she agreed to meet him at a waffle house in Amaranthine, before getting all the way home. Nathaniel had gotten there before her, which wasn’t surprising to the woman, as the man had been known to be wherever. What Nathaniel had given to her caused her to get really pissed. 

          It was correspondences between Rendon and his daughter , with Rendon offering to pay her to mess around , and annoy Gilmore. Rendon said that he was planning on blackmailing Verona, and then Lying to her father. Verona had been understandably shocked. There was no fucking way this was real, but unfortunately it was. Nathaniel had apologized to her before leaving her with the papers, and disappeared off into the night. Verona wanted to call Gilmore and apologize, but was too late for that. She knew what she had said , and couldn’t ever take that back. 

          “By the gods.” Thelriel muttered as he listened to Verona finish up her story. “I can’t believe he’d do that to you.” Verona sobbed into Thelriel’s shoulder. “I’m so fucking done with love. If Rendon wants me hurt, then I’ll give him what he wants. I’m giving up love. Forever. I don’t think I’d love anyone more than I loved Gilmore- but there’s no way I can ever take back what I said to him.” Thelriel ribbed her back as she cried into him, and when she spoke those lady words, it gave him an idea. “I know.” He spoke , grabbing a notepad from the coffee table, and began scribbling down in it. “What are you?”Verona questioned before she realized what it was.

          “A no love contract?” She read off of the note pad. “If you aren’t going to love, then neither will I. I’m done getting slapped in the face, and I’m done chasing after nothing. So I’m joining you. There’s no bad consequence for falling in love, if that ever happens though.” Verona smiled a bit at this before reaching to grab the pen from him. She signed her name at the bottom. “Alright.” She spoke matter-of-factly “we are the no love club now. Forever alone, together.” He laughed, nodding. “Together.”