The events of the past few days were quite the whirlwind in her mind. Not only were her various businesses thriving and growing, but her personal life had become quite full, as well.
First, there was Rafolk. He had come to the lands of Marie's home a newcomer, and she had found him hanging around the entry portals. Something had clicked between them, and they not only became fast friends, but extremely passionate lovers.
Marie had taken the initiative to begin venturing back to the lands of her former home again, and with the help of her friend Nikki, had re-established a small home there, above the marketplace near the chocolate factory. In exchange for the space of a home, Marie volunteered her time in the Marketplace, whenever needed.
Marie knew that Willy also had his home nearby; however, he was still estranged from her, and she did her best to respect his privacy. She knew if he wanted to talk, he knew how to find her.
Marie began exporting her creations from her home world to her second home, and reestablished a shop in the marketplace. She also began spending more time with Nikki, and, especially, her son Charlie.
Whilst Willy retained full custody of Charlie, he had not forbidden Marie from seeing her son, and for that, she was grateful. She was more than willing to allow Charlie to stay with Willy - not only for his sake, but also for the sake of the factory. After all, one day, Charlie would be running it, and he needed to learn as much as his young mind could handle in the meantime. Marie was constantly surprised at Charlie's growth, in body, mind, and spirit. It seemed like he gained a couple of inches in height between each visit, and his mind was one of a child genius. He'd even begun manufacturing his own small line of clothing and accessories. Willy had indeed picked an apt heir for his beloved factory.
There were times when Marie just had to 'cut loose', and she often did so at a club in a nearby county. It was a rough area, but Marie knew how to take care of herself. The music was dark and throbbing, and there were times Marie needed just that, to escape from the pressures of both business and loneliness. She wasn't able to see Rafolk much - he had obligations elsewhere - and her heart remained emptier without her beloved Willy inhabiting it. Despite the ritual she'd done to cut the ties, she still harbored love for Willy, and knew that it would never die. Sometimes a shadow would lurk in her eyes when the loneliness got almost too hard to bear.
One night, Marie was furious with a fellow resident from her homeland; he had done something thoughtless that later on, she accepted was unavoidable. That night, however, she was furious, and needed an outlet. The club in the industrial district had a show of dark, angry music, and it suited her just fine. She put on some of her most risky wardrobe, threw on a visor to hide her eyes, and fairly stomped inside the club. It was full of sweaty, gyrating bodies, and the beat rocked her to her very soul. Perfect.
Marie weaved with practiced ease through the throng of bodies, till she found an empty spot on the floor near the front, where she liked it. The music was loudest here, and she could feel it rock every bone and sinew in her body. After standing there for a bit, and throwing cursory greetings out to the working staff and a few patrons she recognized, she began to gyrate - first slowly, then faster and angrier. Soon enough she found herself in a mind-space where the driving music began to pound the anger right out of her.
Near Marie, a man danced quietly, also seeming to be off in his own little world. At first, she'd not noticed much except that his body sported the most fantastic and varied tattoos she'd seen in quite awhile. He was shirtless, clad only in a comfortable pair of jeans, a belt and shoes. He had bright silver piercings through his nipples, and a bright silver chain from his belt loop to his wallet, all of which glinted now and then in the gloom of the club. Once Marie had flushed the majority of her anger, and became more aware of the surroundings, she kept being distracted by the glints from this man's piercings and chain. She began to observe him surreptitiously; a tap on an earbud delivered what little private information there was on him, so she wasn't entirely ignorant. She knew his name, and a few associations. He had several women in his profile information, so she turned her attention elsewhere, figuring he was more than occupied.
Marie's attention was soon interrupted by a ring in her earbud; her mental interface told her it was the man she'd just been observing. With growing curiosity, Marie tapped the earbud, accepting the call. Armans' voice was mid-range and culturally moderated, in total clash with his very relaxed appearance. Arman told her that he'd found some information in her public profile of much interest - primarily that on polyamorous lifestyles.
Marie had added the information after finding out that humankind referred to the lifestyle in that manner; for Fae, it was very common to have several loves, and love them all equally deeply. She was grateful to have found a human equivalent along with ample information she could share with others. Arman continued to talk, his voice full of warmth and friendliness; she found herself responding in kind, as they began speaking mutually about individual experiences which had led them both to choose a poly lifestyle.
It didn't take long before talk segued into other subjects, and before the night was over, they were dancing close and trading tender kisses. Marie had at least made another friend, if not more than that.
As time passed, Marie and Arman began spending more and more time together, interspersed with cuddling, lovemaking, and a lot of talking. They found out they had many a mutual interest and excitedly began exploring them.
Marie now had two lovers, though Arman was more consistent than Rafolk could hope to be.
Then there was one evening where Marie found herself alone, in the marketplace. She wandered around, feeding the various waterfowl in the pond system, and showing affection to the giant rabbits. She had her perimeter notifications set on, and was very surprised when her earbud tweeted in her ear, and revealed that Willy was in the immediate area.
Marie brought up her mental map, and began scanning. It didn't take long to pinpoint him; Willy was standing at the top of one of the factory towers, which was one of his favorite places to reside and observe the markets and the countryside beyond, most of the time, without being observed himself. Marie knew about this tower; she'd been up there plenty of times with Willy, and also, alone. It was a great vantage spot. After telescoping up and verifying his presence, Marie continued her rounds, quite aware that she was being watched. Eventually, she settled down on a pier post, occasionally feeding the loons and swans who resided nearby. A movement caught her eye, and she watched Willy run up the path, across the bridge, and into his own market shop. She waited a bit, then got up and walked around the far side of the pond, approaching her own tent inside the markets proper. By the time she reached her own stall, she was mere meters from where Willy was. Marie began paging through one of her product vendors, wondering if she should remove it, since it hadn't sold anything. At the same time, she was hoping Willy would take the opportunity to speak to her.
It took a little while, but Marie wasn't disappointed. Her earbud rang with a very familiar set of tones, ones she'd set long ago to alert her when the incoming call came from her love. She took a big breath, and tapped the earbud. Willy's voice filled her ears, bringing on both joy and more than a little anxiety. After they exchanged basic greetings, Marie took another deep breath, let it out slowly, then stepped out of the tent and walked right up to Willy, where he stood in the doorway of his store.
Willy was dressed in casual clothing; a new outfit, which looked both comfortable, and very stylish. He also had a new hairstyle and Marie found herself thinking that it looked casually tousled, and yet, it framed Willy's face quite well. The only thing that disturbed her were the dark circles limning his eyes; he'd obviously not slept well in weeks. Her eyes echoed a little of the concern she felt inside.
They continued conversing, and while it was obvious Willy was still quite angry with Marie, he didn't stop talking. By the time they concluded for the night, they were once again tentative friends, and Marie had a standing invitation to come hear him at a nearby club where he had taken a DJ job.
Marie returned home that night with renewed hope in her heart. She knew what she'd done wrong, what her part had been in their very painful breakup, but she was confident she could do better and grow the friendship.
They talked on and off for the next two days; at one point, Marie was fearful that she'd lose the tentative friendship they'd fostered, when Willy snapped at her. He vanished that night, but he did not cut her off as he had, before.
The next day was the big gig at the nearby club. Marie passed the morning with Arman at her home, drinking tea and talking, then she invited him to come join her at the gig. Arman gladly accepted, and they headed down to Club Omega, little butterflies dancing all around in Marie's heart and stomach.
Marie wasn't sure what Willy would say or do when he saw her show up with Arman at her side, but she was hoping it would turn out well, and she was pleasantly surprised. The two men exchanged pleasantries and they began dancing with the others, including Nikki and her partner, Jez. It wasn't long before everyone was relaxed and thoroughly enjoying the party.
Arman was called away at one point and Willy asked if it had anything to do with him. Marie assured Willy that it did not; Arman had a lot of things going on, and a lot of friends. Everyone continued dancing and having a good time; Arman returned but soon had to go again, as a friend needed his help. Marie stayed at the party, enjoying the banter with Willy and her friends.
Too soon it was over, and before long, Willy and Marie were the only two left at the club. Marie had taken some pictures of the event, knowing that Willy was too busy playing the music to be able to, and she offered to send them to him. He accepted and thanked her for taking them. Rather than excuse himself and leave, Willy remained, and they continued to talk. He offered to go somewhere else with Marie, and soon enough, they were in a local space park - a truly fantastical place - and they were cuddling. Marie began purring despite herself, feeling so at home in Willy's arms that she could almost forget that they'd been separated for more than a month. They continued to talk, hashing over this point, working through this problem, slowly reclaiming a sense of friendship and affection.
The next day, Willy had another gig, surprisingly enough, and this one was at the headquarters of a very diverse and artistic group both of them used to be a part of. Marie had left, out of respect for Willy, but now that they were talking again, she asked for readmission and was accepted with open arms. This gig was even better than the last and both Willy and Marie were high on excitement by the time it was done. After awhile, they went to explore another fantastical place - Stonehenge in the Heavens - and had themselves a thoroughly good time.
That night, for the first time in a long time, Marie curled up with Willy in his bed, and they slept peacefully together. While they both agreed that they needed to see other people, they were nevertheless back together.
Marie was home.