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“That is not how he said to do it,” Adisa said angrily.

“I think the yellow things are supposed to go in first, then it won’t,” I was interrupted by death glares from Kitane, Adisa, and Troen. I finished softly anyway, “it won’t keep flipping over.” The boys continued struggling with the tangle of poles and fabric for another hour or so before an average-sized hut stood before us.

When Tyler had offered us somewhere to sleep in order for us to get on their schedule, Kitane and Troen could not be convinced to stay inside. Kitane had a rough grip on my arm, leading me protectively toward the door as soon as Tyler suggested we sleep at all. After some convincing not to go all the way back to the cave, we “pitched a tent” as they called it, in the woods near the house.

“Everyone needs to stay close. No wandering off,” Kitane announced to the entire group before focusing his attention on me. “You stay in the tent. I can’t protect you if you keep wandering off and trusting strangers. I’m not going to let you get us further into this mess.” I had been disobedient enough for one day, so I slipped inside the tent without a word.

Deep breaths and a few swallows reduced the urge to cry, though I wanted to do so badly. This was a mess and it was my fault. I couldn’t argue that. I strained my ears to hear the others talking outside my colorful prison cell. The flimsy walls were not at all sound-proof, but they knew that too so they kept their voices down. I phased to make use of our sensitive hearing.

“She is still very much a child,” I heard Kitane say.

“She’ll grow out of it,” Adisa was assuring him.

“Well she better do it soon. If she is going to cause me trouble, I will not take her no matter how many people it angers.”

“She’s a good girl, Kitane. This whole situation is causing us all to be unlike ourselves. She obeyed you when you told her to go inside the tent. She’s trying. Would you like me to go talk to her?” There was a long pause after Adisa’s plea, which I’m sure my parents were going to hear about – how she saved the day and covered for her intolerable sister.

“No, I should talk to her.” As soon as Kitane said this, I phased back. I kept my eyes to the ground as he entered just in case he caught a glimpse of the glossy black in them. “Asheni.” I looked up at him, but said nothing.

“Asheni, I want to make this work, but you are not making it easy for me.” I opened my mouth to apologize, but he hushed me. “I understand this situation is strange for all of us and I forgive you for your previous disobedience, but you must make more effort to be… agreeable. I’m sure you do not want to disappoint your family.” I could no longer look into his reproachful eyes. I dropped my own and suddenly seemed fascinated by my hands.

“I’m sorry,” I said softly. He wrapped both my hands in one of his to stop my fidgeting. Then he put two fingers below my chin and gently lifted my head.

“Thank you.” The kiss he planted on my forehead was sweet and tender, but those feelings did not accompany it for either of us. That was the harsh reality of it. We were to be married, not because of love but because of expectations. Neither of us would gain anything from this union, but our families would – power, influence, wealth. Those sorts of things were what mattered to everyone else, but I didn’t care for any of that.

Material things are low on my list of priorities - far below adventure, freedom, independence, and love. I’m too young to settle down. Seventeen is for having fun, not marrying and having children. I’m still a child myself and eighteen is not much different.

My eighteenth birthday is fast approaching, and my wedding date will not be far behind. No, they won’t waste any time. Adisa was married only a matter of days after her birthday. They were in love though. They didn’t want to wait.

I don’t think Kitane wants to wait either, but not because he’s in love. He’s already waited long enough – too long by some standards. Its past time he’s taken a wife, especially being the son of such a powerful family. He’ll be twenty-two soon, before I turn eighteen. Too bad he couldn’t have chosen another girl to profess his false love for. It would’ve saved us both a ton of trouble.

I spent the majority of the day in that stupid tent. The air-filled cushion I was laying on was comfortable and I dozed off a few times, but sleeping was difficult. The others came in and out of the tent frequently. Most of the time, I pretended to be asleep to avoid talking to anyone.

“Asheni, wake up.” Kitane was the last person I wanted to talk to, but I sat up anyway. “We’re going to eat then go back to that house to discuss the plans. It’ll be sundown in a few hours.”

“I’ll be right out.” No one spoke much while we ate. Part of me just wanted to go home and be done with all of this. The adventuresome part of me was slowly being defeated. Rules and pressure and expectations have a way of doing that.

I hadn’t given up completely though. This is the moment when I promised myself that I would return to this strange place again - maybe not soon, but eventually. Someday I’d be back, but the others won’t be invited that time.


Submitted: March 21, 2010

© Copyright 2023 Erynn Louviaite. All rights reserved.

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jewel09

I just read from the beginning & really enjoyed what I read. I found it quite interesting & I look forward to reading more :)

Tue, March 23rd, 2010 4:28am

Author
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Thanks!

Tue, March 23rd, 2010 8:06am

REDWOLF

I really like this LOL ^^

Tue, March 23rd, 2010 2:46pm

Author
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Thank you.

Tue, March 23rd, 2010 8:21am

Bojabba

This is really good, Im loving it! ^-^

Fri, March 26th, 2010 2:58am

Author
Reply

Yay!

Tue, March 30th, 2010 11:22am

LoveMeNow

Ooh, I get it :)
They're on earth.. obviously!!
I don't like Kitane, no offense. I wouldn't want to marry him.
Can't wait to see where this goes. Update me?

Fri, March 26th, 2010 6:23am

Author
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Haha yeah Charnwood Forest and stuff are actually real places in England - pretty much random choices though. They don't really have anythin to do with the story much. I don't like Kitane either. I'll definitely update you and I'll be over to check out your page as soon as I can.

Tue, March 30th, 2010 11:26am

StarlightVision

Phewww.sorry for taking me so long...
Anyway,i really wanted to say like "OMG,Asheni's back!!!"
This story seems to get better and better going on...Luved it

Sat, March 27th, 2010 12:23pm

Author
Reply

Hey no problem. I always seem to take forever to get to things when people ask. Haha I'm glad you're happy its back!

Tue, March 30th, 2010 11:28am

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