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Rondel of Merciless Beauty

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Spring of 1985

She knew about them, had pretty much since it started.
Billy came home one day early spring actually smiling. Which.Was.Weird

He looked genuinely happy for the first time since they moved here and for reasons unknown to her she needed to find out why.

Her questions were answered three weeks later when she came home a bit early one night. Neil and Mom were away for the weekend and it was a Saturday so the arcade was open till 10.

Earlier that evening Billy had just handed her a five and said be home at 11 before driving off.

He’d been doing this more often, giving her more freedoms, even more than he did after she threatened his balls with Steve Harrington’s bat.

Billy’s temper had been going down significantly as well which in return meant that his ‘conversations’ Neil had lessened up a bit, at least in the sense of their severity.

The change in behavior did give her mom the evidence for why Billy and Max should be able to stay home by themselves more though. And Max was truly grateful for it. She assumed it was a sad attempt of her mother’s to fix their terrible marriage but that wasn’t her problem, her mom knew what she felt about Neil and still decided to let him crush this entire family under his violent words and for one member of the home, the physical manifestations of them.

Turns out that was the one night Keith decided to be an ass and close up at 9pm so she and the party decided to call it a night and all head home.

She had Lucas bike her halfway to her house. Just in case they were home early.

Giving him a chaste kiss on the lips under the yellow street light before turning down her street hoping he couldn’t see that her face was as red as her hair.

She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw that Mom and Neil were still out. She had forgotten her key and Billy might be nice now but he was still kinda a bitch about having to come out of his room when he didn’t have to.

So she went around the house to the back door cause that’s the one that they always kept unlocked. It was there where she saw them.

Billy’s window faced the woods, so he often kept his blinds open even at night. And since Neil and her mom weren’t here he really wasn’t afraid to have them and the window open to let in a late night breeze.

But tonight he wasn’t alone. She saw them through the screen, the pair weren’t doing anything gross really. For a second she had to wrack her brain for any girls she knew who had hair that short who went to Hawkins High or hell even those who used to go there.

As she got closer she saw that it was he and Steve Harrington on Billy’s bed.

What the fuck? She thought to herself inching even closer to get a better view of the softly lit room. Why was Steve here? And why were they like...that?

Billy was sitting up against the wall with a book in one hand he was reading out loud and the other was running his fingers through Steve’s hair.

Something that she knew for a fact he never let anyone do.

The taller boy was sprawled out across the covers, his head tilted up towards the other boy like a flower to the sun.

His eyes were closed but he looked far from asleep, more like he wanted to cut out all other distractions and focus on the words being read aloud.

She’d never seen two people look so comfortable.

Billy’s voice was soft- softer than she had heard it in years. He was reading something old and she sneaked a little closer to hear what was being said.

“Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;”

His voice flowed in a way that Max never knew was possible almost like he was breathing life into the words themselves, they floated from his mouth not unlike a perfect melody and even she couldn’t help but become entranced.

“Their beauty shakes me who was once serene;
Straight through my heart the wound is quick and keen.”

She saw him pause looking down at Steve who’s big brown eyes were-ohh.

This was big, very big.

She suddenly felt like she shouldn’t be here like this was too private for her to voyeur.

“Only your word will heal the injury
To my hurt heart, while yet the wound is clean -
Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene.”

She ducked and silently walked back towards the front of the house. She could take her bike back to Wills, his was the closest house she’ll just call Billy before 11 and let him know where she is and ask to be home at 12.

As she turned she could still hear her step brothers voice blending with the sounds of the cool spring night.

“Upon my word, I tell you faithfully
Through life and after death you are my queen;
For with my death the whole truth shall be seen.
Your two great eyes will slay me suddenly;
Their beauty shakes me who was once serene;
Straight through my heart the wound is quick and keen.”