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"Violet, for God's sake, please come down here," Mom yells. "Yeah, one second," I respond, waiting for Cheryl to be done with my hair. "Oi, Cher," her brother says, stepping into my room. "What is it, John? I'm b-"

"I could give less of a damn what you're doing. The fucker's asking for us to get the bloody fuck home. He missed on rent again, and the bloody alcoholic needs our wages to pay for it. Goin' back down to Giovanni and Sindella to ask for our wages for the month."

"Did you really just- show some respect, John! Please! Mr. Zatara's daughter is right here," she scolds before turning to me. "Miss Zatara, I am truly sorry for my brother's actions, and I will be sure to-" she starts before I cut her off. "No, it's quite alright, Cheryl. No need for formalities. We've been friends since we were six. I understand if you need to go, and I'll be fine on my own."

"Are you sure, Miss?"

"Positive. It's not like this meeting is going to define my whole future."

"If you forgot, it is going to define and decide your future."

"Hold the bloody- what is she preparin' for again?"

I love this guy, but he's fucking impossible sometimes.

"Your puppy dog crush," she motions to me. "Is preparing to meet her future husband. It would do you some good to show respect to her and her parents before you get fired, John. Besides, we just got our wages last week, and there's no way in the depths of Hell they're giving us our silver for a month's work when we've only passed a week and a half of work."

"Cher, it don't 'urt t' ask. We don't have any bloody food at home, if you forgot."

Hearing that broke my heart. Cheryl does everything that she's told to do and beyond, and well, while John is an... accustomed taste, definitely one that my mom wishes wasn't around me, but regardless, it's certainly interesting when he's around, and sometimes I forget that not everyone is as fortunate as we are.

I walk up over to my jewelry box and pick up one of my most lavish necklaces that would no doubt sell for a fortune by their standards, barely a pence by ours.

I place it in Cheryl's hand and close her palm around it. "What..?"

"Sell it. Get yourself some food, pay your rent, whatever that will get you. No doubt that'll sell for a fortune." I sit back down, opening my drawer and picking up my coin purse, picking out the spare shillings I won't need for a while. It's not like I have any choice in my future in if I want to marry Nicolas or not. I'm marrying him no matter what. He's going to "take care of me".

I place those in John's hand. "Now, go home. I can do everything else. You already do so much for me. Just please, help your dad."

"Bloody arsehole doesn't deserve a bloody minute of our time. We jus' don't have anywhere to go t' sleep. If we don't help the bloody motherfucker, he won't let us sleep anywhere. Period. End of bloody story."

"We have- we have guest rooms, I'm sure we do. Even if Mom won't allow you to, I'm sure- I'm sure we have a living quarters for help..."

"No need. You already give us so much."

"Not nearly enough," I respond. Cheryl looks down, as if guilty, then looks back at me. "Are you absolutely certain that it's alright if we leave? I'm sure John has more chores that he hasn't completed yet..."

"What? Of course it's alright if you leave. If he's fallen short, I'll pick up whatever he didn't do. I'm used to it by now. Your father is more important, even if he is as horrid as John makes him out to be," I tell them. "Why are you doing this for us?" John asks.

"VIOLET!" Mom roars from downstairs. "Coming!" I yell back before turning to John and Cheryl. "Go. Go. Please. I insist."

"But-"

"But nothing. I've got this covered. Cheryl, please." I put the finishing touches on my makeup, zip up the back of my dress. Then I hear something from downstairs.

"Constantines!" Dad yells. "Bloody fuckin' hell, John, what- what did you steal this time?"

"Nothin'! I swear!"

"John."

"Well, too big, anyway," he adds. "Fuck, John. Why can't you just be a respectable person who doesn't steal from their employers?"

"Because I-"

"Because nothing. You better hope you didn't get yourself fired, bloody tosser," Cheryl cuts him off, shoving his head down, walking out of my room and down the stairs. "Love, how you farin' after last night?" John asks. "Fine. Just a few bruises. I'll live, though."

"Don't do that again, please. Bloody terrifies me when you disappear on me durin' one of your nights out."

I smile. "I won't. I'm sorry. It's just... I've had so much going on, I- you know how bad my visions are right now, I... I just wanted to know who this... this man is. Now, come on. Let's go."

I go after Cheryl, and John behind me. "Vi, what took you so long?"

"Sorry Mom, Dad."

Mom coughs. "Sorry. Mother. Ready?"

"Of course."

"You called for us, Sir?" Cheryl asks. Dad gestures to the open door, where a lanky, almost boney man stands there. "That's..." I start. "The arsehole that assisted in our birth, yes," John confirms. "Let me talk t' him first. John's gonna get himself killed if he tries," Cheryl says before stepping outside and closing the door behind her. "Violet, Your medications. You must be in the right mind for when we meet his family."

I nod my head, shakily opening the bottle of pills. I pour out two pills, my typical dosage, then swallow them whole. "Alright. Let's go," Mom tells me. 

"I know, I know. We don't want to keep the guy's family waiting," I say with a sigh before lowering my voice. "Not like I have a choice in this shit," I mutter under my breath. "What was that?" Mom asks. "Nothing." I roll my eyes. "Go outside. I'll be right there. I promise," I tell her with a tight-lipped smile. "Alright. We're supposed to be meeting your future husband and his family soon. Hurry up," she responds, closing the door behind her and Dad. John looks at me, and I glance back at him. "What? You think I want to be traded off like a piece of damn land?" I scoff. "Hell no. If I had a choice I would be painting by the lake or fighting pricks on the street. Hell, I'll take gambling in the bar over getting married to some asshole I don't even know. If I had to take a person to marry, it definitely wouldn't be this guy."

"Vi, you don't- don't have to go through with this."

"Oh, no, I do, John. You don't understand. If I don't go along with this, I'm out of the house. You don't know... I have... so much damn pressure on me at all times to be perfect. Nothing in my life has been according to me."

"Vi, I've known you since we were kids. You always stood up for everyone else, me most of the bloody time, always stood with me when your old man busted me for stealin' a crumb or two. You stand up for me when your mum threatens to fire me on a bi-daily basis. I honestly don't see why you're too scared t' stand up for yourself, Vi. Part of the bloody reason why I love you to death is because you'll stand up for what's right, right for others. Now, why can't you do that for yourself?"

"You wouldn't understand," I tell him, pulling my elbow-length gloves up further. "Wouldn't I, now? What happens if you try to break free of this bloody fate your parents inflict on you? What happens if you... let's say, run away with a servant?" John asks with a slight smirk. "Never tried it, not seeing what they'll do is my best option right now. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have," I sigh. "A future husband to meet."

"Vi. Sweetheart, ple-"

"I'm sorry, John. I know- I know you want me to do things in my life according to me, but... I have no choice."

"VIOLET!"

"Sorry," I say apologetically, shooting him a small smile. "Wait."

"What?"

"Promise me, Love... if you get a wrong feeling about this... arsehole, you'll stand up for yourself?"

"Of course, John."

I start to walk outside, but he grips my wrist to stop me. "Vi, wait."

He turns me back to him, and kisses me deeply.

"I'll miss you when I'm gone."

I walk out to where my parents was waiting, the limo door already open. "Please, darling, be ready faster the next time you meet this boy."

"Who even is this boy?"

"Nicolas Edgar Necro. One of the city's finest families, and one that wasn't immediately put off by your reputation. Now, you must be ready quicker next time."

"Will there be a next time?" I ask. "Violet, of course. What do you think I am, a fool? I didn't spend months planning every detail of this affair, only for you to not go through with the plan and only meet the Necros' son once. Violet, if you don't go through with this, God so help me-"

"Sindella..."

"Nothing. Absolutely nothing. This is our only chance to set Violet up for a good life, a secure one. There's no other family in the city that would be even willing to marry her with the type of reputation she's gotten."

"Does it really matter, Sindella?"

"Yes, Giovanni. It absolutely matters," Mom tells him. "And why can't I just... choose my own path again?" I ask her as I sit down in my seat as John and Cheryl sit on the ends of the limo.

Guess they dealt with their dad.

"You've been spending too much time around that Constantine boy."

"Right here," I hear John mutter under his breath. "You don't get to decide your life, Violet. I do. It's always been this way, and I expect nothing to change. Once you marry Necro, he will decide your life."

"Mom, I-"

"No. You are going to do exactly as I say, you understand me? And refer to me as the name I want you to call me."

I sigh. "Yes, Mother." She goes up and walks to the driver.

"Vi, I'm- I'm sorry for how your mother's been acting... she- she hasn't been herself, she's been beyond stressed," Dad apologizes to me when she goes away from us. "I don't understand why I have to marry. I'm... I'm only seventeen, turning eighteen in five months. I want my own life, that's why I've gone against your rules, Mother's rules. I'm sorry if I haven't been the-"

"No, I'm sorry."

Mom sits next to Dad, and looks at me dead straight in the eyes.

"Now, Violet-"

"Must you always refer to me as my name? Why can't I be... something else? There's a reason why I always go against your rules. No problem with Dad, no, none at all. With you, though..."

"Violet, enough!"

"Why can't you-"

"Shut up! You're lucky enough that I found a husband like Necro's son for you! You're damn lucky that I saved your future! You don't know how hard it was finding someone for you with that reputation of yours!"

"What reputation?!"

"Every family I've went to, they turned me down straight away! Every family said "No way our child will be married off to a reckless, idiotic, promiscuous girl like Violet". Why can't you just be more obedient?!" She yells at me. "I want a life of my own, what is so wrong about that, Mother?" I ask, spitting out the last word with venom and anger.

"You can't be serious, Giovanni. You... you're going to just let our daughter talk to me like this?"

"I see no problem with the way she's talking to you, Sindella."

"Let's just get to the Necros' house so I can get this over with, please," I ask of them.

"So you can get this over with? Please, you're stuck with this boy for the rest of your life, Violet."

"Vi," I correct under my breath. "You better drop this attitude of yours and fix it by the time we get to the Necros'. I will not have my daughter talk to a future husband of her's like this. Do you understand me, Violet?" 

God, if there was one person I could kill in the world, it'd be her in a heartbeat.

And no, I'm not being dramatic. I want to see the light leave her damn eyes and see her fall to the ground.

I take out my phone and open text messages with my best friend, Dinah Lance, who is also "bad" by my mom's standards. Surprised she hasn't called Di a whore yet.

Di, you've gotta help me

Bestie: What happened, Zee? What'd the bitch do?

Mother decided on my future husband

Bestie: Who? What rich prick is "Good enough" for that bitch?

Nicolas Necro

Bestie: Oh, shit... good luck. He's a player and a fucking dick
Lemme tell ya, he ain't all that in bed either

...
Don't tell me, Dinah...

Bestie: I was a naïve little shit, okay?

I can tell.

Bestie: Do you want to go through with this?

Absolutely not. I would much rather be painting the
 lake or practicing magic. Do you how hard it's going
 to be to sneak out and save the city when I have a husband?

Bestie: Is he your first choice?

Di, I don't even know him. And, based on what you
just said, I doubt that I'll enjoy it. If I absolutely had to
marry, it would be John, without a doubt.

Bestie: Yeah, sorry Zee, I don't think that's
happening with your mom on your ass

I know, I know. I've known him since we were a little
younger than six, we've had this thing going on
for... God knows how many years,
I really don't want to do this.

 

Bestie: Darling, listen. You need to get yourself the
fuck out of there. Your mom... what she says to you,
does to you, it's not healthy, it's not good

Trust me, I would. I wouldn't know where to
even start, though. Where would I go?

Bestie: Me. 

What?

Bestie: You leave your house, you're always welcome
to live with me and my family. They won't mind. If it gets
you out of that toxic environment, then I'll help you get
the fuck out of there.

"Violet. Phone, now."

"What?"

"Now." 

Bitch's commanding me to give her my phone.
I'll call you or drop by your house later <3 you bestie

Bestie: Love you Zee. Good luck.

Thanks Di

I shut my phone off and hand it to my mother. "Here," I tell her before muttering a "Cagna" under my breath.

"Vi."

"What?"

"We're here. Get out."

John opens the door and helps me out, grabbing my hand. 

"I'm sorry."

"Don't be. Not your fault."

"No, I'm the one who gave you that dumb "stand up for yourself" speech before you faced the bitch. I don't know how you do it, Vi."

"I honestly just keep my head down and keep my mouth shut. That's what keeps me through life."

"You know what she said about you and your "reputation" isn't true, right?"

I chuckle. "To my mom, it is. I don't care. She can believe anything she wants to believe. I know it's not true."

"Violet!"

"Coming, Mom!"

I roll my eyes and follow them into Necros' mansion, and I am immediately take aback with the feeling of magic.

There's fucking magic in this house.

Maybe there is hope for me...

"Bloody hell," John mutters under his breath. "Thought you would be used to it by now, being around my house all the time."

"No, it's not that, it's just..."

"You're early," A voice interrupts.

"Better early than late," Mom responds. "Right you are. Welcome, Sindella, Giovanni," a tall, black-haired woman says. "I assume this is your daughter, Violet?" Her counterpart asks, motioning to me. I stay quiet and nod my head. "Yes. It's a..." I pause, a tight-lipped and fake smile appearing on my face. "Pleasure to meet your acquaintance."

An explosion or something sounds upstairs, and I slightly jump back.

"Nicolas!" She yells upstairs. "My apologies, Zataras. My son is... exploring, and sometimes gets ever-so out of control."

She turns upstairs. "Get down here! Now!"

I hear a vague thing sounding like a moan. "John," I laugh under my breath. "I know, Love. Fuckin' man-whore, shaggin' some slag the day you're supposed t' meet your future wife."

"Di wasn't kidding."

"What'd she say, Love?"

"Don't let my mom hear you call me that," I mutter with a smirk. "Eh, you're right, Princess. What'd she say about this... charmer, anyway?"

"Said he was a player and a dick. Starting to believe her."

"You know, I think I'll join ya on that."

"I can go and get him," I offer to his parents. "Nonsen-"

"No, I want her to go and get him. Perhaps seeing such a pretty girl will convince him to come down. It's good for him to get to know his future wife as opposed to us introducing them to each other," Ms. Necro says.

I smile at here and  start walking up the stairs. "I'll tag it," John adds at the last minute. "Alright. While they go upstairs to get Nicolas, why don't we go into the other room and have some tea?"

"That sounds wonderful, Elizabeth."

He walks up the stairs with me, stopping at the first door on the right, where we hear the sounds of fucking.

Yeah, Di was right.

"You wanna do the honors?"

"It's your husband."

"Jesus fu-"

"Just do it, it'll be funnier this way."

"You do have a point..."

I knock on the door lightly, and without a second wasted, some asshole opens the door, with a naked bitch behind him.

Fucking hell, this guy has no shame.

As soon as I see him, my visions come flashing in my head.

"What do you want, Fath-... woah, who... are you, beautiful?"

Him... Nicolas...

He's the man from my visions...

"Vi, Love." John shook my shoulder, snapping me out of my trance. "You okay?"

"I'm fine." I turn to Nick. "I'm- I- Violet Zatara. Call me Zatanna. You... slept with my best friend," I tell him. "Um..." he looks around guiltily, like he doesn't remember who she is. "Dinah Lance. Ring a bell?"

"Oh, fuck, seriously?"

"Pleased to make your acquaintance, fuckboy. You slept with my best friend and we're," I smile, about to fuck this dude's day up. "Supposed to be married."

"Oh, fuck... right... that's today..."

I raise my eyebrows in disbelief, still not believing that this douchebag is the fucker my mom chose for me to marry.

"I can't fucking believe this," I mutter under my breath. I'll gladly take John over him, and no, that's not just because he's been my best friend for years and my boyfriend for at least three.

'Hey, hey, hey, I'll- just tell my parents I'll be out in a minute, alright?"

I turn to John. "This is the asshole that I'm supposed to marry? What the fuck?"

"Apparently. You want me to rat 'im out?"

"Nah."

I turn back to the future charmer of a husband. "So, you gonna..?" I ask, motioning to the still-naked girl behind him with a raised eyebrow, then glancing down at him, where he was still fucking naked.

Glancing downwards, I saw a fucking pentagram on the floor, the girl in the middle with her hair covering her nipples.

"Yeah, tell my parents that I'll be down in a minute."

He slams the door in our faces, and I turn to John, and we laugh. "What the fuck, this man... this dipshit is the guy I'm going to marry? This motherfucker, who is naked for the first time I see him, is going to be my husband? He still has a girl that's naked behind him, most likely in the middle of a fucking demonic summoning, and yet he tries to hit on me."

"Apparently. You- you okay?"

"I'm fine. It's just... the visions, the man I've been seeing for the longest time, I... it's him. Nick is the man in my visions."

"Well, Love, no wonder he's in your visions, he's definitely gonna be in mine. I mean, did you see that man's size? Now that's a knob that'll split me up the a-"

"Alright, Johnny, you want to fuck him, go on ahead. You're not the one that's being forced into marriage," I tell him, putting my hands up in defeat, starting to walk back down the stairs to my parents and Necros' parents. Right before I start to go down the stairs, John turns me towards him by holding my shoulders. "John, this doesn't feel right..."

"Love, your future husband was fuckin' some slag jus' now. One bloody kiss or a pin won't 'urt," he tells me, pressing my weight against the wall. "You have a point," I respond. "See?" He says in a low voice, almost in a whisper before he kisses me, his arm above my head as my arm went around his neck, kissing him back fiercely for a short-lived passionate kiss.

We split apart, and walk down the stairs to the room. "He's coming down soon."

"Thank you, Violet." I smile at her and wait for the guy to come down.

A few minutes later, he does.

"Sorry to keep you all waiting."

"I thought I told you to be ready by the time the Zataras arrive," his dad says. "I had a massive hangover this morning, I'm sorry if I don't remember random shit you tell me."

"Nick."

"My bad, my bad."

"It's like... he doesn't care about this," I whisper to John. "You look like a bloody knockout, if he isn't gettin' a bone, well, bloke's got somethin' wrong with him."

"It's fine, I don't want this either."

"So, when are we thinking, Elizabeth?" Mom asks. "Next week?"

Both Nick and my eyes shot open. "No way," we both say.

If there's one thing we can agree on, it's that. 

"I didn't ask for this," Nick argues. I scoff. "Big news, buddy, I didn't either."

"Vi," John mutters. "Yeah, I know."

"I don't care if you asked for this. You won't be able to live with your parents forever, and this is the only way for you to take your life into your own-"

"Bullshit. This," Nick motions to me. "Is not in my hands."

"Beg your bloody pardon, don't mind me, rich boy, but, miss girl right 'ere is the best you could bloody have in this situation. So, be grateful that you're even in Vi's presence an' jus' stop it with the whole playboy thin', aight? It don't work for you," John snaps. "Constantine. Outside, now," Mom hisses, stepping out of her chair and standing by the doors to the room we're in. "Bloody hell, I'm-"

"Did I stutter, Constantine? Get outside and the hell away from my daughter, now."

"Sorry, Love," John mutters to me.

God...

He shoots me a smirk, then follows Mom outside.

I hear a slight whisper under Necro's breath. "What was that?"

"Nothing, Mom."

He your boyfriend? I hear in my head. I almost choke on my tea.

Don't act like you can't hear me, Zatara.

I look at Nick, who stares me down.

How are you even..?

You saw that ritual on my floor. Going around as Zatanna at night when you introduce yourself as Zatanna is just plain dumb. Now, is he? 

No, he's not. He's my best friend. I lie.

You sure? Pretty fucking sure I saw him pin you against the wall before you went down.

Listen-

No, I don't mind. I honestly don't. I understand that we just met, that you don't know me. You've probably know that boy for years, I don't care. You saw me in my room. Your parents are fucking strict, feel like you would hide everything from them.

Now why the hell do you know me so well?

Got a vibe, darling. I'll take that a yes.

Alright, yeah. I tell him, sipping on some tea that was far too sweet for my liking.

Yeah, sorry about the tea.

"Violet."

"What?!"

Mom walks in, without John.

"Mo- mother, where is John?" I ask, my voice wavering, fearing the worst. "That insolent bastard? Oh, I did what I should've done a long time ago. He won't be bothering you anymore."

John... no...

"What? You did what?!" Cheryl exclaims. "Fired that useless brother of yours," Mom repeats. "Be glad I didn't fire you."

"No. If my brother goes, I go. I don't care. I spent enough time under your watch. I'm outta this joint." Cheryl walks out of the door, and I'm almost crying at this point. "Cher, w-"

"I'm sorry, Love, but... I'm... John'll get 'imself killed. I need to look after 'im. I'm all he knows."

She holds my hand one last time, then she walks out, runs after John.

"Mom, you just- you just cut me off from my two best friends! You bloody bi-... I'm done with this!"

I push myself up off of the seat and stride off towards the door briskly. "Cher! Wait! Cheryl! God bloody- no! Please!"

"Vi! Zee, wai-" I hear Dad start calling after me before I close the door. "Vi, what the bloody hell are you doing?!"

"What I should've done a long time ago. John!"

"Now what the bloody fuck are you doin' outside of the Necros' mansion?" He asks, holding my hand. "Following your advice."

"Uh-oh, Love. That's a bad sign."

Someone ran out of the Necros' mansion, and lo and behold, it's the fuckboy. "Nick?"

"Zatanna, why are you-"

"She just fired my boyfriend and his sister. What do you expect me to do, stand by it? Hell no. You wouldn't understand. Hell, I-"

"What you saw there is not what you thought it was," he argues. "What was it, then?"

"Ritual to see if I could break free of this fucking household, be born in another life where I can actually live normally. Restart my life, turn back time. That girl was just some demon I owed money to, one that I had to pay in sex, apparently. Now, I'd be honored if you would grace me with your demon-busting expertise," he offers with an extended hand.

"Is that even possible?" John asks. "Was trying to figure that out myself, Constantine." He turns to me. "What do you say, Zatanna?" I glance behind him to the mansion, where our parents await for us, where my mother waits for me to come back, apologizing. "Fuck this life. I'm in. John?"

"Don't 'ave t' ask me twice, Love'. If you're goin', I will," John says, holding my hand. "You're my ride or die, Love. When're ya gonna realize that, Vi?" 

"I know, John." I smile at him, and then turn to Necro. "So."

My mother comes running out of the manor. "Zatanna, come- come home with us. We'll- we'll make you feel better, heal you."

"No."

"What did you say to me?"

"No. I'm not going back there. I'm staying here- with John, with Nick, and there's nothing you can do to convince me otherwise."

"You're going to regret saying that soon enough, Violet," she threatens, her eyes turning a different pigment, from blue to a dark black with grey streaks.

"Let's go, sweetheart. She ain' worth your time, Love."

I sigh. "Fuck this life. Fuck you." All three of us walk through a portal, coming through to some place, when a car almost runs all of us over. "What the fu-"

"Welcome to reality, you bloody rich folk."

"Destiny ain't got shit on us."

"Got that damn right, Nicolas."