Who: Seamus Finnigan, Isolde Montgomery
Where: Smith Manor
When: 30 November 2001, during the Blue Moon Ball
Isolde was on the hunt for someone to amuse her. Everyone seemed to have disappeared for this reason or that one. She’d be a bit concerned about Tristan getting out of her sight when she was so down, but Issy was fairly sure her twin had gone off with Ben and he’d be good company at least.
Finally, she spotted someone she liked hiding on a bench practically obscured under a large willow. She headed over to flop down beside him with a grin. “I don’t know if you’ve heard, Seamus, but I’ve been told that the point of social events is, you know, socializing.”
Seamus smiled up at her, but it was a bit weak. Nearly a year later, it still felt odd to come to social events by himself. ‘Adjustment’ was a weak word for the situation. Normally he’d lean on Lav at things like this, but unfortunately that wasn’t an option tonight (he made a mental note to check on her the next morning, maybe take her breakfast or something).
Still, Issy was there, and it was rare that he didn’t have fun when she was around, even on his worst days. That had been his reasoning for inviting her to the shop; it hadn’t exactly been entirely altruistic.
“Hi,” he said finally. “I’m not great at socializing these days, actually, but at least this tree rather seems to like me.”
“And that’s saying something,” Issy deadpanned. “She’s a real weeper.”
“Really? Was that actually necessary?”
“Absolutely!” Issy laughed. “You can’t just let a joke like that pass you by when it is handed to you on a silver platter. Admit it, you would lose respect for me if I did. Admit it.”
He smiled despite himself. “Okay, fine. I admit it. You wouldn’t be you if you hadn’t taken that opportunity.”
Seamus turned so that he was facing her, reluctantly admitting to himself that he was glad for the company. “What are you doing wandering around alone? I’d have thought there would be too many people vying for your attention for you to escape.”
“Nah,” Issy said with a shrug and an easy smile. “I’m boring, old hat, yesterday’s news. Nobody wants my attention anymore.”
It wasn’t strictly true on most days. But on nights like this when her friends were more interested in sucking face than in having laughs, she did find herself with fewer options for company. Not that she was settling for Seamus’ company as a result because she certainly wasn’t. There was no settling involved. Shay was great.
“Well, I always want your attention, so I’m glad you’re here.” He grinned at her. “The rest of them are clearly morons.”
He didn’t really understand why people were so obsessed with the notion of “soulmates” anyway. Sure, finding someone that you wanted to spend the rest of your life with was great, but even if you did manage to find them, that didn’t mean you were guaranteed that “rest of your life”.
“I’ve been saying that for years,” Issy agreed with a solemn nod. “Just ask Tristan. Almost everyday I say, ‘You know, I’ve noticed that all people on earth except Seamus Finnigan (and, of course, myself), appear to be complete idiots’. For some reason she always gets a bit huffy about it.”
It probably wasn’t nice to make jokes about Tristan right now when she was feeling sad, but Issy really wanted to make Seamus smile.
“I can’t possibly imagine why,” Seamus said, but he couldn’t help smiling at her. Issy could always be counted on for that.
“Are you enjoying yourself, other than people apparently declaring you ‘old hat’?”
“I suppose,” Issy said with a shrug. “Tristan’s sad. I hate it when Tristan is sad.”
Seamus wasn’t much fond of when Tristan was sad either, and not just because it made Issy sad. “What happened?”
“Tom broke up with her,” Issy said with a scowl. What kind of guy dated a much younger girl, took her virginity, and then broke up with her by claiming the relationship ‘had an end date’? A shitty guy, that was what kind of guy. A real emotional fuckhead.
Suddenly it all kind of burst out of her like a broken dam. “It’s just totally shit of him to have handled everything the way he did, too. He was the first person Tristan slept with and he’s just really stomped on her heart. It was different with me when I lost mine, you know, because I didn’t really think that Jack Sloper hung the stars or anything, but Tristan is different. She was so enthralled with Tom and he just… dropped her. Out of nowhere.”
“That’s terrible.” Seamus’s mother would’ve beaten him to within an inch of his life if he’d ever tried something like that, not that he ever would have. You couldn’t exactly expect other people to respect you if you didn’t treat other people with respect. But this went beyond simply disrespectful — this was just plain shitty behavior.
“I’ve never really understood treating people like that. At school, maybe, because all teenagers are dumb and horrid to each other, but… we’re adults now. We’re aware that we can’t exactly live without considering other people’s feelings.” He paused then, mind flashing back to the rest of her statement. “Wait, Sloper? Really? Issy, come on.”
“Oh whatever, Jack is totally fit and I am not ashamed,” Issy said, rolling her eyes playfully. “Don’t go all overprotective on me. One Benjamin is bad enough, thank you.”
“Not being overprotective,” Seamus said quickly, shaking his head. “Just thought you had better taste than that.” He poked her in the side. “Sloper. Good grief. You had a billion better options.”
“My taste is fine,” Issy said, shaking her head, but still cracking a smile at him.
Bored of this line of conversation, she hopped to her feet and held out her hands to him. “You, Seamus Finnigan, are going to leave this tree who loves you to cry her sad tree tears, and you are going to dance with me.”
“Now, how did I know you were going to do that?” he asked, completely rhetorically, because he was already standing and taking her hands. Obviously, it was a complete hardship to dance with Issy. Total chore. A million other things he’d rather be doing.
(Except, actually, right now there was nothing else he’d rather be doing. Not even sitting at home on his couch, away from this party.)
“Hooray,” she said, beginning to drag him towards the dance floor, grinning. “You just made my night.”
And he really had.