The Fairy Forest
By:Kayla Coleman and Tyler Bussmann
I hid lower in the tall grass. For once I was happy that I’d saved the gear my father had given me on his deathbed. He’d made it special for me. He used to make many trips out here when he couldn’t bear his work.
The armor was black as the night, formfitting, hugging me around the waist and breast, allowing little space between the gear and myself. It had to be worn that way, for I was naked underneath. The less you have on, the faster and more soundless you move. Which was the difference between life and death out here in the Fairy Forest. Or so I was told.
I rushed through the grass and behind a tall tree in the shade. Sneaking my head around the corner I met face to face with Bleun.
‘Found you.’ She whispered. I laughed jumping back, dodging her sword. I ran clearly around the tree and off towards the next. I watched her as she flew up and towards me a few lengths.
‘Hey no fair! No flying!’ I exclaimed as she dropped back to the ground silently, walking my way. She drew her thin sword and I mirrored her actions as she moved closer.
‘Bleun you get the upper advantage!’ I admitted. ‘You’re a half fairy for God’s sake!’ I shouted at her. She dodged my blow.
‘Yeah but you’re eight years older than me! That means you should give me the advantage out of the courtesy of your heart.’ She smirked. I turned and ran reaching a tree perfect for climbing. I jumped up grabbing hold of the first branch and pulling my weight up I climbed higher and higher. I knew Bleun had a weakness with climbing.
‘That’s no fair!’ She shouted up at me. ‘You said I can’t fly! And I can’t climb well! You know that!’
‘Sorry you have to learn sometime!’ I let out a loud laugh so she could hear me. But as I shifted on the branch I saw him. Dangerously beautiful, I could nearly see right through his wings delicately folded behind him. He had deep purple hair, his eyes emerald flecked with gold. He was wearing nothing except for a tight fitting pair of pants that fit snug against his calves. He stood tall and shirtless. He had muscles built up on his arms and his tousled hair hung down across his forehead. I had never seen a half fairy boy my age before. Only children. I watched him as he trained, his fighting skills silent and graceful. Each strike of the sword he was holding would be lethal, and almost certainly fatal.
As I glanced in front of me to my right I spotted another one. A girl. She wore a tight fitting shirt and pants similar to the boys, her see through blue wings were spread out as she flew up slowly and back down. Her black hair was neatly tucked in a bun on her head and her blue eyes pierced through me as she glanced my way. I swung down onto the lower branches and to the ground where Bleun stood.
‘What is with all the older faes out here? I’ve never seen any older than you out here before.’ Bleun smiled returning her sword to its sheath and gladly took my arm.
‘You see May, you have chosen the one day, out of very few that the oldest faes come out to break from training. You see because we all have one chance to become full fairies when we reach the age, and if we don’t succeed and change or don’t want it, we stay faes our whole lives.’
I turned my attention back to the boy. But he wasn’t there. As I turned back to look in front of me, a long sword was pointed right at my face and at the end of it, stood he. He looked even more marvelous than from a distance. His eyes pierced right through me, as I stood frozen. I wasn’t supposed to freeze! I was supposed to fight him! Bleun stood laughing at me and flew off through the trees to the other girl.
I drew my sword. This was my chance. I lunged at him and he dodged out of the way and disappeared behind a tree. I ran for the tree swiftly and silently with my sword posed. As I turned the tree he wasn’t there. Confused I looked the other way but no one was there. As I turned back I met the tip of the sword against the base of my throat. I froze again dropping my sword to the ground with a clatter.
‘Hello. I’m Chandresh.’
I sat at the dining table, staring at my betrothed, Thomas Baker. He narrowed his eyes and smiled. They were a deep ocean blue: the eyes of the Devil. I felt my own gaze harden and suddenly wished to have my swords and slice his head clean off his shoulders. Actually, if I had told Chandresh how disgusting he was, he would have probably already done it for me. I clenched my hands together in my lap. I would not eat at the table with this bastard.
‘So we are at an agreement? The wedding will take place at the next full moon?’ Byren Baker suggested, wiping his mouth with a napkin. Thomas’ father was nice enough. It was just his son.
‘No. I’d rather do it on a day where the moon is not full. You know that is when the fairy’s come out.’ My mother, Lydia, cut her food like a lady and wouldn’t look directly into Byren’s eyes out of respect. She would have met his eyes without hesitating if my father was still alive, but since he wasn’t she no longer had the authority to do that.
I finally picked up my fork. I was still looking at Thomas.
‘I have to agree Father, having a wedding on the night of a full moon isn’t very safe. But I don’t want to procrastinate either.’ His gaze found mine, and he grinned. ‘The sooner we’re married, the better.’ I felt rage entrap my whole body. How dare he speak to me like that! Not that he really said anything rude… but I know what he meant. And everybody else did too. My mother stiffened at his comment and his father shot him a glare. His grin got bigger as he saw the fury in my eyes. ‘Wouldn’t you agree, my dear Mayrose?”
I stabbed the meat on my plate with my fork, in an obvious sign of anger. ‘I couldn’t agree more.’ I forced the words out of my mouth for my mother. Out of the corner of my eye I saw my mother visibly relax. I forced myself to smile at Thomas. If I didn’t marry him, there was no future for my mother and none for that and me would break her heart. I couldn’t do that to my mother. Not after my dad passed away. But neither could I stay at the table with him any longer. ‘I wish to be excused.’ I declared and put my fork down.
‘You are excused, my daughter.’ My mother smiled at me, obviously thanking me for reining in my anger. I gave a curt nod and stood.
‘I wish to escort my betrothed.” He drew out the word “betrothed” as if to taste it. I clenched my fists at my sides. I would not give him the satisfaction of turning around and yelling at him… For Mother. I took a deep breath and repeated the thought in my head, over and over again.
I did not look at him as we walked up to my room. I opened the door.
‘What? No good night kiss?’ I ground my teeth together.
‘I really don’t feel like it.’ I said without turning. ‘Now get out.’ Thomas shook his head.
‘So rude.’ I almost laughed.
‘I’m rude? What is wrong with you?’ I hissed, finally facing him. He grinned.
‘Ah. I need to get you angry. Then I get your attention.’ I wanted to growl at him.
‘Don’t test me.’ I whispered. His grin changed to a smirk.
‘What are you going to do? Punish me?’ He teased. I felt the rage reach a boiling point. ‘I can’t wait until I have you as my wife. In our own house.’ He carried on disgusting me. ‘We will be alone with just you and me. What great times we have to follow. You can punish me all you want then.’ His voice softened so it almost sounded like a purr. I shot a dreadful gaze straight into his eyes.
‘You bastard.’ I hissed. He came closer to me.
‘You defy me and I break off the marriage.’ He said softly. ‘Then I’ll have a great time telling everybody else how unruly you are. You will never find another husband, and your mother will be heartbroken.’ He dropped his voice further. It was all I could do not to break his neck. He was right.
‘Just get out.’ I said dropping my gaze. He moved. I backed up and looked straight into his eyes again. ‘Get. Out.’ I spoke under my breath. ‘Now.’ He stepped back throwing his hands up in defense and left back down the stairs again.
I dropped down onto my bed and decided I needed to get out of the house again. I opened my wardrobe and got dressed into my armor clothes and grabbed my cloak hanging up and tied it around my neck. I opened my window part way and scanned the ground outside. The tall old oak tree stood right next to the house on my side and reached clear past my window. At the sight of no one I pulled the window up all the way and climbed out onto a thick branch. I closed the window behind me so no one would notice and snuck down the tree; quickly and through the back meadows toward the forest line. As I snuck through the tall grass I whistled in the quietest tone possible that no human could hear. Bleun had taught me.
Once in the safety of the trees I crept along the path I had memorized until I was completely enveloped in darkness. I whistled again. Slowly very slowly I watched a few tiny lights twinkle up in the trees. I smiled with joy as I watched more and more light up the forest. I watched blue, then red, then green all sparkle as if the stars had been tied to the trees. I knew what they truly were. Fairy lanterns, all the faes had them. I made my way through the trees and followed the path the lanterns gave me up to a high structure of rocks. It just looked like an ordinary cave but as I made my way around the side I snuck through a small crevice and into a tunnel. I held my right hand along the wall as I walked through the maze downwards and into the ground. The maze led me out into the large opening in the ground where I could look up and see the forest above me.
As I walked through the bottom of the small canyon I found a large opening in the wall and walked through. I felt a small surge of energy as I passed through the field and into the half fairy realm. Light blinded me as I walked out into the open.
I whistled again but in a different tone and waited for a response. Nothing. I whistled again and this time I got a reply. Slowly and softly a light whistle filled my eardrums and made my heart beat faster. He was on his way.
I quickly turned and ran back out of the realm and into the canyon again. I jumped up the rocks quickly and through maze with my left hand on the wall and out into the black of the night once again. I waited sitting at the base of a large red wood and waited with my face in my hands. I counted to sixty and once I looked up the familiar face greeted me. Chandresh held out his hand to me and I took it, helping me up.
‘Hi.’ I mumbled.
‘You sound troubled.’
‘Just Thomas again.’ I muttered. Chandresh didn’t reply. I stopped staring past him. I looked at his face. It had turned dark with rage. That enough made me smile. ‘It’s okay. I really wish you were there to kill him.’ He let out a hollow laugh at my remark.
‘Why do humans even bother with marriage?’ I heard him whisper as he turned away. I placed a hand on his shoulder and turned him back to face me.
‘Please Chandresh. We’ve been through this before.’ His eyes looked up from the ground and he held my gaze as I slowly removed my hand from his shoulder.
‘You are not like the other humans though May.’ He whispered quietly. I blushed.
‘Thanks Chandresh, but I’m still human. And I do believe in marriage. Just not with.’ I held my breath from saying it.
‘Thomas.’ He hissed. I actually thought he had seen him for I turned around to look behind me but no one was there. ‘You know, I really wish I could meet him.’ I grinned giving him a light punch in the shoulder. I watched as his wings twitched and sent off a faint sparkle in the black light. I could barely even see his face.
I whistled lightly and Chandresh joined in shortly after until a few fairy lanterns were lit around us. Now I could clearly see his face. Enough to tell that he had ink swirl down his neck and behind on his back.
‘What’s that?’ I asked curiously pointing at the ink.
‘I got marked today.’ He hesitated. ‘Everyone gets marked at 18.’ He added.
‘What is it supposed to be?’ I asked. He smiled and turned for me to see his wings and the ink that went down his shoulder blade and stopped between his wings. It was a bunch of intricate swirls spreading out with symbols intertwined in them written in Selaids.
‘What does it say?’ I asked again. Then realizing I kept asking questions I stopped.
‘It says what I am destined to become. A fighter.’ He shrugged at the thought.
‘Do you even want that?’
‘May? Do I want it? That is what I have trained for my whole life.’ I could hear the passion grow in his voice.
I backed down, ‘Okay. Okay, calm down Chandresh.’ I let out a small giggle. I watched as he blew a tuft of his hair out of his eyes. His eyes. I stared into the golden flecks that pierced his green eyes. So, perfect. They were too perfect for any human to possess. I felt the warmth grow within them and I was forced to look away.
‘I’m sorry.’ I muttered.
‘You can’t help it, you’re human May.’ He responded softly. ‘No one can really help it.’ I laughed feeling on top of the world for a single moment, and then was dragged back down thinking about being human.
‘Chandresh.’ I said.
He turned his attention away from the lanterns and looked at me.
‘I think I have to go. Before my mother notices I’m gone.’
‘May, you know you could just come and live here in the woods. With us.’ I sighed.
‘Chandresh we’ve been here before. I’m human, I can’t. I will be back during the day though to see you, when you have your break.’ I smiled as he took a step closer.
‘I guess that will be fine.’ He puffed out a small breath of air. He took another step inward standing close enough for me to feel the warmth he gave off. Closer than I had ever stood to him before. My eyes brushed past his lips and up to his eyes. Standing this close they actually looked like there was gold in his eyes. Real gold. I watched, as his eyes looked me over as if confirming something.
‘You’re eyes are much too beautiful for a humans. The green mixing into the blue.’ He whispered leaning his head closer in. ‘It’s as if I can almost see yellow in them too.’ I smiled at his compliment, closing my eyes I leaned in too and brushed his lips gently, moving closer he kissed me. It was like a feeling I had never had before. The warmth the swirled through my stomach and in my throat: the closeness I suddenly felt to him: the flavors I tasted on his lips: the powers he possessed. It was inhuman, well half human. He pulled away gently and opened his eyes. Something had changed in them. The emerald green shone brighter and it seemed his eyes grew sharper but they seemed to make me melt inside. He turned away.
‘I will see you later.’ I watched as his wings flicked to life and he disappeared along with the fairy lanterns. Leaving me there small and lonely.
I wandered back in darkness, picking off strands of the tall grass as I walked. I couldn’t help but smile at the thought of seeing Chandresh again. Although I couldn’t tell if he was happy or still sad when I left him. As I exited the grass I walked up the to the base of the oak tree and pulled myself up to my second floor window. Once inside it was dark so I lit a candle next to my bed and got changed into my nightclothes.
Slowly I climbed into bed and let the dreams of the fairy forest rush through my mind and carry me off into a peaceful sleep.
‘Do you know when we decided we would have the wedding?’ My mother said quietly at the breakfast table.
‘You really think I want too know?’ Anyway, I was supposed to meet Jess this morning, and the wedding would hopefully be the farthest thing from my mind. I cleared the table and got up as fast as I could.
‘It’s in 2 weeks.’ My mother added. I couldn’t help but slam the dish in the basin, breaking it. My mother sighed. ‘Must you always do that?’ She got up and helped me collect the pieces of the shattered pottery.
‘It was you’re fault.’ I muttered. I could see a trace of a smile on my mothers face. She shook her head.
‘How about I wash the dishes, Rose?’ She said.
‘May, Mother. Not Rose.’ I said turning away. My mother turned me back.
‘You’ll always be my little Rose.’ She kissed my forehead. No, I was not going to argue. If she wanted me to be her little Rose, than I was her little rose. ‘Don’t forget you’re boots.’ She said staring pointedly at my bare feet.
‘I don’t need boots! I’m only going to the town center!’ I threw my hands up. My mother hesitated but then nodded.
‘Okay. Just this once. But before you come back in, wash your feet off. And please be back by midday. You have chores and we need to finish Josef Seeble’s Tapestry.’ She waved me off.
‘Yes Mother.’ I walked out the door, walking down the main road, to get to the town’s center.
‘Good morning, Mayrose.” I smiled at the person who called out.
‘Good morning, Desleait. How is you’re work doing?’ Desleait laughed.
‘Good, good, thank you.’ He kept walking.
‘Good day Mayrose. How is you’re mother doing? Feeling better? Let her know she has my regards.’ The seamstress called out. She was a good friend of my mother. She was always concerned about her.
‘She’s doing much better, thank you.’ I walked past her, now having seen Jess. Jessamine was waiting for me at the edge of the fountains waving me over to her.
‘Good morning May.’ She smiled giving me a small hug. I returned it as I stepped back I could tell she read the desperation in my face. ‘What is wrong?’ She asked beginning to walk away from the center and towards the outskirts. I just looked at her. She should know me better. ‘Oh.’ She said. ‘It’s the wedding right?’
‘What else would be bothering me this much?’ Jess shrugged.
‘I don’t know. You tore one of your favorite dresses, perhaps?’ She suggested. I gave her a mild glare. ‘Okay, okay, sorry I know you don’t really care about dresses as much as I do.’
‘It’s alright Jess, thanks for trying.’ I sighed as we wandered our way down a street she added:
‘I just still don’t understand though why May, that you don’t like him. He is perhaps the most handsome man in the town. I’m getting married to the Blacksmiths son for God’s sake. He might be broad muscled but he is always dirty and isn’t nearly as handsome as Thomas is. I say you got lucky.’ She smiled elbowing me.
‘No Jess, I didn’t get lucky, and his number one priority isn’t really a good relationship with his wife. He’s after me as a person Jess.’ I ran my hands over my figure. She awed at me as if finally fitting the pieces together.
‘That would make a lot of sense.’ She whispered to herself.
‘And that would explain why at dinner last night with his father, my mother and I, he made it very clear he couldn’t wait to have the wedding soon enough to have me to himself.’ I spit out the words. Jess took a deep breath.
‘I have never seen him like that, but he does always seem to keep his eyes where they’re not supposed to be whenever I see him.’ She eyed me. Her eyes slid past me. ‘But he’s so adorable!’ I turned and saw Thomas, buying something at the market. I whirled back, hoping that he didn’t see me. But he did, as he started my way I gathered up my skirts in my hands and bid Jess farewell, trying to make a run for the fields.
‘Good morning Jessamine. Where is Mayrose going?’ I heard him say, already hidden in the fields.
‘Oh she, um, she wanted, um, she needed to get something from the fields, that she remembered she put there the other day.’ Jessamine stuttered. I almost slapped my forehead. She was a terrible lair. I soon continued though, because I was really after what was beyond them. I burst my way through the cornstalks in a straight line heading for the edge of the forest. As I entered the dimly lit forest I ran further and further towards the center where no other human would ever venture.
I dropped my skirts out of my hand realizing I hadn’t the time to change into my armor before I came. I straightened out my deep blue dress and the belt that wrapped around right under my bust. Giving a low whistle I waited for a response. Nothing. As Always. I thought. Giving another whistle I waited as I spied a couple of children half fairies running away from some trees towards the rocks. I sighed waiting and waiting but no one came. Giving one last whistle I heard a quiet response right in my ear. Spinning around I met face to face with Chandresh. Usual entrance. I thought smiling on the inside.
‘I told you I would come later.’ I grinned. He just looked me up and down then back at my face.
‘Is this what you normally wear?’ He asked, his eyes giving a twinkle. I blushed.
‘Yes.’ I patted down my hair on the top of my head and my bun so that it wasn’t sticking up and smiled, looking halfway presentable.
‘I like it, better than the armor I think.’ His lips twitched up in a small smirk, probably taunting me.
‘Well the armor is supposed to protect me but I now stand vulnerable.’ There was an awkward silence. ‘You know, he wants to use me.’ My voice was now a whisper. Chandresh shot me a puzzled look. ‘He wants to, use, me.’ I paused on each word. I could tell he understood it then he stepped forward a little, with a worried look on his face. ‘You know, he’ll expect me to be in the house all day every day, you know how hard it will be to sneak out without permission from him? And I don’t even want to think of the consequences he will have for me.’ I rambled on.
Chandresh stood up taller fixing his posture. ‘Don’t worry, if you marry him. Don’t bother coming back here.’ I watched as he struggled to say the words as he looked away from me and towards the kids playing in the distance.
‘Chandresh, please no. I want to come back. I can find a way to be able to come here.’ I pleaded. He kept looking away from me then spoke.
‘I was going to tell you I needed to stay half fairy if I were to become a warrior. And live here in the fairy woods. But in a weeks time I’ll become a full fairy.’ I clamped my hands over my mouth holding back the tears, but he couldn’t see me.
‘Why! Because of me?’ I got choked up. He turned to face me.
‘Yes, because of you.’ I watched as a gold tear streamed down his face and onto the ground with a little plop, as I looked back up into his eyes, I could see one less gold fleck pierce the emerald. He wiped at his face and sighed looking back away mumbling something to himself. Luckily Bleun had taught me how to be attentive.
‘Full fairies show no compassion.’ He recited to himself. ‘Once all the flecks have gone, I can become a full fairy.’ I cried silently as he didn’t face me and as I ran up to him he turned around and embraced me in a hug. I wrapped around the top of his shoulder blades right above his wings and held my head against his chest crying.
‘Is that the only way you become a full fairy?’ I asked between sobs.
‘No.’ He whispered into my ear. ‘I can take the test if I don’t already lose them all. Then I become a fully fairy.’ I hugged him tighter not wanting to let go. I had never hugged Thomas. And I never wanted to. He forced me to kiss him a couple times, and being reluctant it just turned into a peck on the lips. Now I wanted to kiss Chandresh, feel what I had felt the night before. It had left me with a small sensation that I could do it. I could defy Thomas and leave him, and still have something to live for. I lifted my head off of his chest and looked up at his face. I followed his eyes as he studied my lips, then he leaned his head in and closing his eyes the world slowed as if it were freezing, and all that stood was Chandresh and I.
He was mesmerizing. I fell into his spell as he filled me with all the feelings I had from the night before although better, and stronger. I held him close to me as his kiss deepened. I pushed up against him and his embrace softened, all the while pulling me closer so there was no space between us. Gently I bit his lower lip just to play. He pulled back, breaking our kiss and smiled. When he moved back in he gently kissed me under my ear then moved down along my neck and collarbone. Softly I took his head in my hands, guiding his lips back to mine.
Between kisses he whispered. ‘Stay here May, stay here please.’ The world suddenly stopped and his words lingered in the air. I couldn’t stay. I wanted to, but I couldn’t. I stepped out of his arms.
‘I can’t.’ I whispered.
‘Why?’ Chandresh whispered harshly. His hands had curled into fists. ‘Because of Thomas? I thought you hated him!’ His voice rose. I stared at him desperately and shook my head.
‘No! You don’t understand!’ I felt the tears coming on again.
‘You’re right. I don’t.’ Chandresh gritted his teeth. ‘Explain.’
‘My mother! If I don’t marry Thomas she’ll have nothing, no money. And she’ll be heart broken because I won’t have a future either.’ I tried to explain but it just turned out worse.
‘But you have a future with me.’ Chandresh cried. ‘And you’re mother has to understand. She loves you right? If she loved you as much as I do, then she’d understand.’ Chandresh continued.
‘But I can’t do that to her! I love her too.’ I reasoned. Chandresh shook his head.
‘But you can’t be happy with him. I though you marry who you love. Who you could be happy with your whole life.’ Chandresh said quietly. I smiled sadly at him, suppressing the tears.
‘Sometimes you make sacrifices for the people you love.’ I replied. Chandresh looked at the ground.
‘Marriage means you make a promise to stay with that person for your whole life, through good and bad, right?’ I nodded. Chandresh looked me in the eyes. ‘Would you marry me?’ He whispered.
‘In a heartbeat.’ I smiled and wrapped my arms around him embracing his kiss with joy.
‘So do we have it straightened out now? Let’s run through it once more.’ Chandresh sat on the ground at the base of a tree with me as we walked through what I was going to do to stop my marriage with Thomas.
‘So I will defy Thomas, he will ask for an apology and I won’t give him one. Then he’ll call off the wedding and I give mother all my inheritance from my father telling her I’m moving away and that I will come to visit, and that she can do as she pleases.’ I finished, but then remembering something I added. ‘But I can’t live here Chandresh. I’m not half fairy.’ He held his finger to my chin lifting my face to his.
‘It’s alright, we’ll just have to make a trip to the dragons.’ I froze in fear thinking about the large over sized scaly creatures. People had said they had spotted them before over the villages. They said that dragons could come into the human world and go as they please, unlike the fairies. ‘Don’t worry my love.’ He gave me a gentle kiss on the forehead. I relaxed in his arms and said:
‘Then it’s all sorted out.’ I stood up dusting off the dirt and leaves from my dress. ‘I will see you as soon as I can make it.’ I smiled giving him a gentle kiss.
‘Fair enough. I will have to make some assortments myself.’ as I turned to walk I couldn’t help to look over my shoulder back at him, but he was gone from my sight. As fast as he had appeared.
I washed the dishes alongside my mother.
‘They invited us over.’ She said again and grabbed the plate before I could destroy it.
‘I’m not going.’ I said and picked up another dish to wash, clenching it in my hands. My mother sighed.
‘Please, Rose. He-’
‘He has no interest in me personally! I am just his toy!’ I hissed. ‘You saw how he looks at me! You heard what he said last night at dinner!’ I longed to tell her what he had threatened. But I wasn’t going to. That would only make things harder.
‘I’m sorry Rose. I know he can be a little unpleasant,’ She started. Unpleasant? That was an understatement. ‘But I really think that’s just the boy inside him. You’re father was similar, always making jokes like that,’ Thomas is not joking. ‘But we really got to know each other in a few years, and we loved each other. Just stand your ground and him a chance.’ She insisted. I sighed.
‘Okay, Mother. I’ll give him a chance.’ Not for all the money in the world.
‘Thanks Rose. I’m really proud of you.’ My heart painfully contracted. I couldn’t let her down. I couldn’t go to Chandresh. Not yet. ‘Can you wear your red dress? The one with the golden embroidery.’ I felt the dread settle in my stomach. The red dress. No. Not that one.
‘No.’ I said flatly.
‘But you look so beautiful in it.’ My mother said and smiled at me.
‘That’s my point.’ My mother laughed.
‘Please.’ She said. Her eyes sparkled with joy. ‘I’ll help you into it!’ I frowned on the inside.
‘Marvelous!’ My mother cried as I looked in her mirror. Yes. I did look good. But somehow that made me feel worse. It made my bust look much bigger then it already was and hugged my waist. I was thankful for the skirts at least, because they billowed out from my waist, hiding the shape of my arse and legs. My green eyes and light skin stood out against the red brilliantly, as the red flattered my dark brown hair as well.
‘Thank you Mother for helping me. Come let’s go.’ I grabbed my mother’s arm and walked down the hall and out the front door. She picked up the bottom of her thinly layered dark green dress and I followed picking up mine as well so it didn’t get dirt on it.
We turned off the main path and headed down an alleyway taking a couple turns we made our way to the town center where the bakery was located. I stared up at the tall building that shared his house on the top two floors above the bakery. I fixed my posture and went inside and upstairs to their dining room. The table was neatly set and Thomas stood and kissed my hand, and pulled out a chair for me. I sat as he started returning to his seat. Impress the family. I remembered Father’s rules about engagements that I was supposed to follow. Defy him. Chandresh’s words hissed in my ears. I wanted to listen to him, but I didn’t.
‘Good evening Mayrose.’ Thomas greeted me.
‘Good evening Thomas. Good evening Mr. Baker.’ I smiled his father’s way. His father returned the smile and spoke.
‘Good evening to you too Mayrose, and Ms. Lydia.’ We began eating as Thomas’ father served us meat with fresh bread he had baked once he closed up the shop. It was delicious but Thomas stared at me the whole dinner. And not even at my face.
I considered getting him to look away by throwing something at him but instead I just dropped my napkin on the floor and bent down to pick it up. He looked up into my eyes with a watchful gaze and I glared back. Noticing my mother and Mr. Baker talking I looked away from him and turned my attention towards my mother.
‘We’ve decided to do it in the meadows right beyond our house.’ My mother explained to me. I nodded in response as Mr. Baker continued. ‘We have planned it to be five days after the full moon to give a good amount of time.’ I let myself smile. I liked that. It was almost one and a half weeks away. I felt even better as I saw a little disappointment flash through Thomas’ eyes. But he covered it quickly.
‘I would love to show her the meadows and the house she’ll be living in. But only when she is finished eating.’ He smiled at me. I clenched my fists before I reluctantly I got up. Refusing an invitation would be dishonorable, as would breaking a dish. He led me outside into the dim night and walked me down the street towards the meadow. I stumbled quickly over a cobblestone but straightened up and ignored my clumsiness. I heard him hold in a laugh and held myself from hurting him.
‘Should I help you?’
‘No.’ I hissed.
‘You know, you’re much more independent then the other ladies of this village.’ He turned his head and faced me.
‘Do you like that? Because so far, I don’t think you appreciate the choices I’m making for myself!’ I mocked. I knew I began to set him off. But he held it in and continued walking trying to take my hand I held it away from him and step further from him. We exited out into the meadows where there was nothing but grass.
‘This is where the wedding will be.’ He gestured to the meadow.
I spoke flatly, ‘I already knew that.’ He shrugged.
‘I thought you would want to see it. You’re being quite stubborn.’ I straightened up proud at his comment. ‘Oh, you like that. Well lets see if you like this.’ He led me right to the edge of the meadow where I could see the fresh wooden house stand. It was sobeautiful! I gasped covering my mouth but then stopped and held it in. I didn’t want to see me like that. He walked up to the back of it and as we stepped in the back door he lit some lanterns to reveal us standing in the dining room kitchen area that all connected to the living room. By the front door as I walked down the hall, was a room on my left with a small bed in the corner. It obviously wasn’t our room, but probably where I would have spent most of my nights.
He reached for my hand again and I finally held it to give him a little satisfaction. His hand was large and soft because of all the baking he did but it didn’t feel right to be held. Chandresh felt right.
He walked me up the small staircase up into what seemed like the attic room, but it wasn’t. It was our bedroom. As he opened the door I saw a wide room with a bed in the middle against the wall on a beautiful frame. There was a small table in the corner of the room and a large wardrobe that took up almost half of one wall across from the bed. On both sides of the room there were two small windows that I stepped up to and peered out into the night.
‘So you do like it.’ I could hear the smug smile he was most likely wearing. I turned around to face him but avoided his eyes. He was smiling. Just as I thought he was pleased by impressing me.
‘Yes. It is very beautiful.’ I admitted. It wasn’t bad if I admitted that the house he built was a beautiful home that I would of loved living in, just not with him. As he stepped closer, his eyes narrowed, and his smirk got bigger.
‘You are beautiful. I love the way you dressed. Tell me, you dressed like that just for me, didn’t you. Very considerate,’ He purred. I backed up only to find the wall. He stepped closer holding his hands up to gently stroke the curve of my cheek as he leaned in to kiss me. When I moved my head to escape his lips, he gripped my chin in a painfully strong hold and forced me to face back to him.