CW: Ableism; bullying of ASD people. This chapter contains scenes of bullying aimed at an individual on the autism spectrum which may be unsettling for some readers.
Eliza weaved through the crowds of people in the house. The party she had come to attend with her girlfriend was packed with people of varying ages; some as young as fourteen, others she couldn't guess, due to the races that mingled together. Dwarves lived centuries, and she had heard pure-blooded elves could live for a thousand years. Right now, she was after a drink and her useless girlfriend had disappeared on her.
She found a table in the middle of a crowd that was stocked with so many bottles of alcoholic drinks and mixers it looked like a small cityscape. She picked up a clean metal cup and turned the tap on a keg to release an amber liquid into her glass, turning off the tap, she took a sip of her cider; happy it turned out to be a dry but sweet cider.
She turned and glanced around the room before doing a double take, thinking she had seen someone she was sure she’d seen before. Her heart raced as she recognised her; it was Julia Dragonsbane, the daughter of her godmother, and a friend of her father’s. She was only a few years older than herself and they had played together as children, or more specifically she had chased around the taller girl relentlessly. But she looked different from the gangly girl she had known. She has bleached her hair golden, she was dressed in a shimmering lehenga with intricate embroidery and she had a body like the bronze statues that decorated the square in front of the government buildings in the city centre. She looked hot.
Eliza blinked and furrowed her brows as a copper-skinned human woman broke her line of vision of the young woman she had grown up with. She moved her head, ignoring her girlfriend’s amused expression. She wanted to steal another glimpse of Julia’s striking sandy curls that illuminated her bronze-skin; gods, she looked beautiful. She sighed as her girlfriend, Ursula, chose to step in-front of her eye-line and glanced at who had her attention.
“She’s almost unrecognisable as a bottle-blonde, right?” Ursula said, her brown eyes sparkling with mischief. Eliza was unsure where the human woman was going with this.
“It suits her.” Eliza responded. She sat down on an empty seat, wanting to ignore her girlfriend.
Ursula threw herself into the seat next to Eliza, she wrapped her arm around her shoulder and brought her in closer to her. Cupping Eliza’s cheek she placed a lingering kiss on her lips before going back to relaxing.
Eliza paid no attention to her older girlfriend, she was mesmerised by the bleached blonde half-elf across the room. The lehenga she wore was royal-blue and fit her body like a glove. Julia stood awkwardly as she nursed her own drink and made small talk with some other young adults who looked mildly uncomfortable. No matter her mood, her face and tone of voice always came across deadly serious, which could come across a little intense for some people. From the snatches Eliza could make out, she seemed to be talking very passionately about which types of runes best suited which schools of magic.
“I will concede and say she’s an attractive woman. It’s a shame that she's not all there.” Ursula said, as she made a twirling gesture at her temple with a smug grin that Eliza managed to catch. Her expression turned to one of pure glee as Eliza looked at her, disgusted.
“She’s autistic and perfectly normal. Don’t you ever make another joke like that again.” Eliza responded heatedly. A group of people had sat down near them, they were most likely Ursula’s friends. Ursula holds her hands up. Their onlookers looked at them amused.
“Alright, sorry.” Ursula apologised, but barely paused before adding, “Do you think she talks about magical theory during sex? ‘Ooh yes, I love runes! Mm! Rituals make me so wet!’” She was rewarded by a wave of laughter from her friends.
“Fuck off.” Eliza moved out of her girlfriend's grasp and gave her a dirty look, ready to throw her drink at the woman if she continued.
“Come now ‘Liza, I’m only teasing, it’s not like you have feelings for Julia Dragonsbane. Right?” Ursula’s voice oozed out like honey, the others around her laughed, adding in jokes of their own, like ‘how to tell Julia from an iron golem’. The punchline: “you can’t”, was met with a laugh so loud and sudden that the butt of the joke looked around startled, prompting them to go silent for a moment, then break into giggles like naughty school children.
Eliza stared at the bottom of her empty cup, she had heard enough from this group and they ignored her or teased her when she told them they were being despicable.
“You’re all horrible.” Eliza murmured, but they were too engrossed in their discussion on who could bed the wizard to hear. She got up to leave.
“Where are you going ‘Liza?” Ursula asked her.
“Going to get another drink.” Eliza responded.
“Get me one too babe.” Eliza pretended not to hear over the noise of the party as she left the group.