Lies, Epilogue 1

2008

Karai let out a satisfied sigh. After several minutes of pulling, gasping and tying, the corset she had been lacing now fit more-than-tightly against her torso. Another minute, and she was more or less accustomed to the restricted movement and breathing it brought upon.
It had been an eventful year. After a devastating battle against an ancient demon bearing her father’s name and face, she had finally begun regaining a semblance of her old life. No longer haunted by her failure to save her father from his exile at the hand of the Utroms, she had managed to begin focusing on the one thing she had been neglecting for years: herself. To that point, she had begun repairing her relationship with the turtles, and working on bringing the Foot back from the brink of destruction. She’d even begun dating again.
Although she initially spent time with Chaplin (and it was always Chaplin—as far as she was concerned, he had no first name) more out of gratitude than actual desire, the young engineer surprised her by being a much more…balanced than he’d initially seemed: there was more to him than just an otaku genius. Perhaps most importantly, he stood out from the Foot rank and file by being a truly nice guy, the type she hadn’t seen much since, well…since Joshua five years earlier.
As she zipped up a skirt belonging to an outfit belonging to some anime character or another—one of the things she did as part of her and Chaplin’s play—Karai couldn’t help but be reminded of her former mark, something that had been happening a lot, lately. He’d liked anime and robots and science fiction and corsets too.
Initially, this extended feeling of déjà vu bothered her: she had managed to mostly forget about the guy, and she did not need those memories brought up again, particularly when they raised several uncomfortable questions about her current relationship.
However, as time passed, Karai came to realize that those questions were irrelevant. Joshua was gone, and even if she were to find him again—and she could—trying to return to his life, even if it was only to explain and apologize, would likely do more harm than good. Her decision, in retrospect, had been the most sound one, even if she hadn’t liked it back then. Like with her father, nothing good could come of dwelling on it and letting it eat away at her. Chaplin, on the other hand, was available, completely aware of her darker side, and was unquestionably devoted to her despite it. Even if she did not yet truly love him—and she wasn’t sure she didn’t—he made her happy. And right now, that was enough.

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