Raven II

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20. I Need to Pack

JAKKO-

The sun was beaming down harshly on my back, and I could feel the sweat as it wrapped around my eyes. It fell in drops from my forehead down to the tip of my nose and onto my hand. I grunted, setting the last piece of wood down.

I sat up and sighed as I stretched my arms up in the air, relieved to have my back straight again. With one last glance at the ground, I jump off the roof of the last shack we had to build.

We ended up staying with them for months, planting trees, vegetables, digging a well and finally building sturdy and reliable homes for them to live in. With a loud thud, I landed on the ground and dust flew up around me.

I wiped my brow, wincing when I rubbed my raw, sunburnt skin. There was a light tap on my shoulder, and I, of course, knew who it was. We haven't really spoken, well, we only spoke about the work that needed to be done. We no longer looked at each other longingly with sneaky smiles, nor slept near each other. And I was thankful for that, I honestly feel as if I could eventually get over her.

I looked down at her, instantly regretting my thought. The sun hit her eyes perfectly, making them glisten as she looked at me. She held out a small bowl toward me, and I could feel my throat ache for the cool water. "Thanks." I mutter, taking the bowl from her hands, our fingers brushing for a second.

The truth is that I ached for her more than I ever did before. It didn't matter how many time I told myself that I was beginning to get over her, it just wasn't true.

Watching her the past months was making everything worse, actually. She was a natural leader, and everyone, even those that hated her parents, fell in love with her so quickly. She became an important part of their lives, making sure they were healthy and comfortable.

The women began to include her in their meetings, teaching her dishes they were finally able to cook again with the help of Thijs and Sarn's garden. We had travelled for days, gathering animals and fruits for them to grow and nurture. Slowly, they were becoming self-sustaining little village. The kids began to smile more, and the adults relaxed more, leaning back as they watched their children play and eat.

"We should be able to head out soon." I mumbled, looking over to the fields, watching as Sarn explained the art of watering and fertilizing the plants.

"Mmhmm." She hummed, though I could hear the sadness in the way it traveled through her throat. I shifted, looking back down at her in time to catch her turning away from me in a hurry.

She had turned so I could barely see her profile, but I still caught the blush that creeped on her cheeks. Small wisps of her hair floated in the air form the wind that blew between us. I looked down at myself and I huffed a small chuckle when I remembered that I had taken off my shirt in the blazing heat.

I grabbed the shirt that I had stuffed in my back pocket and threw it over my head, managing to fit the small, and now empty, bowl through the sleeves as I held it tightly in my hand."Thanks for the water." I mumbled, handing the bowl over to her. She turned back around, taking the bowl from hands and nodding as she bit her bottom lip. "We can head out tomorrow morning." I cleared my throat.

Her lips parted slightly and she lifted her hands with a loud inhale, but she let her shoulders fall, putting away whatever it was she wanted say. I looked at her one last time before deciding that no, I wasn't going to beg her to reveal what her heart was trying to hide from me. I was done begging her for it, for her heart.

I walked away, heading to the small tent I had put together for myself. Thijs, Sarn and Aria had all managed to find families to take them in. I had no intention of creating relationships with these people. We were leaving tomorrow, forever. What was the point?

Besides, I had to get used to living on my own, being on my own. At least for a while. At least until I find someone else to fill the void. I slumped down, taking a sip from the bucket of water that I kept in my tent before stepping out and splashing it over my head.

The nights had began to feel longer, restlessness settling itself in my chest, and I had a feeling tonight would be no different.

"Hey, you hungry?" A small and weak voice made its way to my ears. I looked up from the dirt I was watching intently, a young woman stood before me. Her hair fell and rested around her hips, and a dark red blush looked harsh on her cheeks.

She bit her bottom lip, and held a plate filled to the brim with vegetables and small pieces of meat. I frowned, confused by her sudden approach. I had seen her before, though never spoken nor been alone with her.

A small chuckle left her lips, "I just thought I should bring you this...I b-begged her to let me."

I was taken aback from her comment, and I stood up slowly, trying to piece together what she meant. It wasn't until I looked over her shoulder that I saw Aria looking at us intently. Her eyes widened when my gaze interrupted her and she quickly moved to help the men and women as they set they set the tables to celebrate our last night together.

Aria had prepared the plate for me, not her, whoever she was. I took the plate from her hand, returning my focus to her and grunting her a short thanks. I sat down on the log that laid flat on the floor, I was never one for feasts and did not mind sitting this one out.

She cleared her throat and sat next to me, moving her hair so it sat behind her ears. "So they...they tell me that you'r a King umm back...back where you're from." She began to knead her fingers together as she set her elbows on her knees.

"Yeah." I sighed as I took a bite from the plate. "You don't have to sit here with me."

"Umm, I don't mind." I could hear the smile in her voice, though I kept my focus on the villagers as they ran around to decorate and prepare the plates for serving.

I chewed the food slowly, an uncomfortable pain grew in my chest and stomach. Though I had no idea why, I just wanted her to leave me alone. She wasn't a threat, she wasn't ugly, and she wasn't rude. But for some reason, I didn't want to be around her.

"I'm sure they need your help." I grunted, taking another bite.

"Um yeah." Disappointment dripped form her voice, "Okay." She whispered and she stood up, her footsteps lessening in volume as she shrunk and camouflaged with the villagers.

"Smooth." Thijs appeared from behind me and sat where the woman had just been. "That was nice." He chuckled.

"What do you mean?" I raised a brow, looking over at him.

"She..." He frowned, his eyes traveling my face, "She was trying to talk to you because she like you, moron." He shook his head in disbelief.

I snorted, "Right." My eyes, out of their own accord, without a command from my brain, found Aria and followed her as she moved around.

"Maybe you'll get over Aria by meeting someone knew, but you have let yourself actually talk to other women." My appetite suddenly left me and I dropped the bowl on the ground between my legs.

"I'll do that when we make it back home." I stood up, cracking my neck, "You should join the party." We looked over as the sound of laughter grew form the crowd that seemed to get bigger every time I looked over there. "I need to pack for tomorrow." I grunted, angrily walking away from he sound of happiness.
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