Whilst I work on adjusting and slowly coming to terms with my newfound situation, Aïdon has been somewhat civil towards me within the past few days.
Be it the slight tilt of his head when we pass by each other in the deserted hallways, a low murmur of greetings which I return wholeheartedly, or the little chit-chat we engage in. Though we aren't the best of friends, since that talk we had in my room, he (at the very least) acknowledges my presence in the mansion – that much I am grateful for.
In the absence of Ula and the shape-shifting Magnus, the following week and half progress in a slow, subsequent manner.
—Shower, eat, sleep. Depending on whichever I feel like doing first.
The boring cycle is repeated continually each day. That is until a significant yet minuscule change occurs and we - being myself and Aïdon- are given something to look forward to each morning.
An invisible chef is hired.
A hearty breakfast fit for soldiers is prepared by God knows who and is served promptly by 7, sometimes extending to the eighth hour. Initially, I am weary of this newfound development. My curiosity pertaining to who cooks the scrumptious delicacies (seeing as I and Aïdon are the only viewable and current residents of the mansion) starts as a little seedling but then flourishes into a shoot which births unanswered questions and further ripens to now failed investigations.
And when I gather the courage to question the man of the house, he simply says that the chef is a bit shy hence his invisibility to the human eye.
Seeing as the dining hours are one of the few times I'm provided a chance of interaction, albeit not with a human, I slowly begin to look forward to such moments. All former traces of uncertainty disregarded and even though such moments are observed in absolute awkward silence.
Afterward, I retire to the confined space I call my room, and with my stomach filled, I spend the entirety of the boring afternoon - excluding the hour due for lunch and dinner - in solitude.
That said, by the fourth day, I'm astounded when I awake to a quiet and peaceful morning and discover the air lacking those mouthwatering aromas which tickle my nostrils and have the worms in my tummy doing backflips.
With a sudden burst of adrenaline– urgency printed in a bold font over my actions, as well as disregarding my less than appealing appearance and the overwhelming dose of drowsiness actively protesting against my intentions, I untangle my legs from the chaotic mess of sheets and roll out of bed. My feet hit the floor with a barely audible thud, chills seeping into my skin as the cool wind of the gentlest gale blows through the open windows.
"Fuck fuck fuck," a string of curses roll off my tongue when my toes harshly come in contact with the foot of the bed and a frown is formed. However, the throbbing pain only lasts mere seconds before it's pushed to the back of my mind and I find myself prying open the door and stumbling down the stairs.
Aïdon is already present upon my arrival.
Still dressed in a pair of loosely fitted sleeping pants which hang low on his hips and pool over his feet and a rumpled navy blue tee. Both hands are held high and rest on his head as though in shock, fingers buried underneath tousled dark curls.
He makes no move to acknowledge me, his slightly slouched frame obstructing my view and simultaneously blocking the passageway. "It's empty," is all he mutters as he lowers his hands to his sides and slowly tilts his head to the ground, a forlorn expression falling over his features as he begins to come to terms with his horrible fate on this fine morning.
Eyes wide like saucers, I take three long strides, gently pressing my palm flat against his bicep - to which he complies and shuffles out of the way, providing enough space for my frazzled head to poke through.
The thuds of my beating heart slow to a stop for a brief moment and my mouth drops at the sight of the somewhat bare surface of the dining table, void of the expected assortment of flavors and culinary edibles made by the hands of a skilled master of arts. The dark mocha hues of the wood and a single plate of fruits stare back at us almost mockingly.
Aïdon sighs, the sound is dejected and brushes past me. He drags his feet like a petulant child and ventures into the dining room, plunking into a chair with another prolonged sigh as he lowers his head to the table.
"No more free food I guess," the words are muffled, disappointment dripping off his tongue.
Sluggishly, I approach the chair opposite his and sit down. I rub my eyes with the back of my palm, pressing my lips together to stifle a tired yawn. Through bleary eyes, I regard the platter of neatly diced fruits laying at the center in place of our usual feast with a mix of distaste and contemplation.
"Did you sleep well last night?" Aïdon asks when he takes note of the way I carry myself, my head swaying and half-shut eyes rimmed red. Pressing my left elbow to the table, I fist my fingers and use my hand as a means to anchor my head.
I shake my head, no.
His gaze is inquisitive, shadowy eyes lit with burning embers narrow and drill a hole into my head, trying to figure me out. I cast my eyes away, shifting in my seat as my fingers begin to trace random patterns on the polished wood.
My attention is drawn to him, however, when he suddenly jumps to his feet, the chair making a screeching sound as it scrapes against the floor, and exits the room, only to return moments later dressed in light blue jeans and a simple t-shirt that fit him snugly.
Once again, I'm reminded of how sinfully attractive he is; lean build with broad shoulders, standing tall at an impressive height and a face beautiful enough to make any woman touch herself, his name on her lips in the dead of night with only the stars and the moon to bear witness.
Fixating a pointed look at me as he strolls over to the door connecting the dining to the living room, he points a finger in my direction and mouths, "stay."
I roll my eyes.
Heeding the call of hunger, I lean over the table and reach for the plate of fruits sitting idly, drawing it closer and popping a diced piece of apple into my mouth. I watch as he rounds the corner and disappears out of sight.
Just to spite him, I cradle the plate to my chest and shift from my position so I'm now leaning against the counter, closer to the stove.
"For fuck's sake!" My body jolts surprised at his outburst.
The sound of heavy footfalls approaching the dining room echo and he appears soon after. Pulling out a phone from his back pocket, he clutches it tightly between his fingers as he aggressively taps the screen. My nose scrunches at the force, pitying the poor device who has to bear such torture every day.
I shake my head, "God knows what that poor phone ever did to you."
"Shut it." He presses the phone against his right ear, fingers reaching up to pinch the bridge of his nose as if the action will ease his distress.
I presume the person at the other end of the line picks up because he firmly states; "I'm hungry," like the person is obligated to feed him.
The voice is hushed as the person replies to him, I can tell the reply is not what he wants or expects to hear judging by the vexed look which overcomes his facial expression. "What do you mean 'not your business'? I'm locked in and I'm unable to use my powers."
The person on the other end says a few words, further aggravating Aïdon as the crease between his brows furrow, cheeks swelling with hot air. "Magnus, you can't expect me to–" his words are brought to a pause, drawing the phone away from his ears, he looks at the screen expectantly, muttering a small 'hello.'
There is no response.
Shuffling on my feet as I hum in delight, my teeth break into another piece of the sugar-sweet apple, the sweet juices of a strawberry lingering on my tongue as low crunching sounds resonate.
His eyes are darkened with anger, chest puffed when he swivels on his heels to meet my gaze. Lips tugging to a frown, his eyes roam my face and take in my messy state –sweet juices dribbling down the corners of my lips and the warm cavern of my mouth full to the brim.
He says, "you eat like a pig," a pause, obsidian orbs giving me a quick once-over, "and you look like one too."
My hand freezes in its place inside the flat plate, fingers brushing against the cold ceramic.
Why is he taking out his frustration on me? I literally didn't do anything!
I chew and swallow. "Gee thanks."
"Is it ready yet?"
I resist the urge to growl at him like a wild animal, but at this point, I'm just about willing to tie him to a chair and tape his mouth shut. My left eye twitches as I feel the heat emanating off his body, the smell of his woodsy cologne filling my nostrils when I try to inhale a much-needed breath.
He stands directly behind me, and I do not doubt that if I happen to make any movement in the slightest (perhaps reach to the side for a spoon) that I'd feel him... every solid inch of him.
A part of me wants to though... To use the excuse of needing an extra spoon to press my body against his, a part of me also wonders what he will do, what will happen. That part of me is silly. Instead, I brace myself and shake those thoughts away.
"Give me a second." My voice is strained, laced with an undeniable air of annoyance as I narrow my eyes in concentration. My gaze firmly fixated on the fluffy mixture as I scoop some and let it dribble into the piping bag.
He huffs, "this is taking too long."
Frustration originating from the sticky dough that has refused to behave and is currently sticking to my palms. And from his overwhelming presence leads to my next words, "maybe if you'd help out a bit it wouldn't."
From that moment onwards I work in quiet, gratitude filling me when he takes a couple of steps away from me and stands at a corner. I work fast, oiling the pan and leaving it on low heat for mere seconds before tearing open the piping bag and letting the mixture slowly trickle, a sizzling sound resonating immediately it meets the heated surface.
Closing the pan and giving the dough a minute, I wash my hands, wringing them. Still, tiny droplets of water remain, "I need a-" my words are caught in my throat as I whirl on my heels and bump into his chest.
Eyes the shade of crystal emeralds collide with his obsidian ones, the dulled embers buried deep under the dark abyss that is his irises flare with the threat of setting ablaze the flourishing meadow of greens in my eyes. Being this close; his muscular chest stretching the material of his shirt pressed against my soft body.
His scent envelopes me like a thick, warm blanket. My lips part, lungs greedily expanding and contracting as I inhale a much-needed breath only for his scent to hit me again.
I watch transfixed as his nostrils flare slightly, veiny hands which hang stiffly at his sides clenching to form tight fists as though gathering fragments of his self-control, he blinks. And when those dark lashes rise again to reveal his eyes, the flames have been quenched.
He takes a step back, clasping his hands behind his back as he asks, "you need what?"
"W-wh..." I break our stare, blinking rapidly, "I need a towel." Awkwardly, I raise my wet hands to his line of sight, letting them hang for a moment before dropping them again.
He grins and although it is more of a lopsided smirk. "Bottom drawer on your left."
Minutes later, breakfast is served... and it doesn't look too bad if I say so myself. But Aïdon begs to differ.
"It looks flat," he protests as we dig into the pancake souffles, his lips are stained with honey as he gingerly picks another flattened piece, sinking his teeth into it, "if my memory doesn't fail me, I remember these being fluffy. It's possible that you didn't whisk the eggs properly."
"I'm not the one who doesn't have enough milk and vinegar in their house." I retort, my pride unwilling to admit to my faults.
Brows pinching together, he shoves the last bit of the pancake trapped between his fingertips in my direction, "I told you, I've been too busy to keep track of minor things like that."
"Sure you have."
He ignores me and rises to his feet, movements fluid like moving water, the plate balanced in his palm as he nears the sink.
A sudden thought crosses my mind and I can't help but ask through my mouthful; "shouldn't you be on your way to work right now?"
"Apparently, I've been suspended."
a lil bit longer than usual. Y'all I spent hours on this, I kept deleting scenes and dialogues cos in my head they didn't feel rIgHT idk
The scene where Aïdon tells Ren that she looks and eats like a pig is inspired by my family LMAO.