Bodin was a few years older than me, but painfully shy. I met him when we were still young. He looked stiff as a board and hardly said a word.
I wasn’t having that.
“Who are you?” I demanded in my tinging youthful voice.
“Bo? Or Din?” I teased.
“Bo…din.” He chewed his lip and shifted nervously.
“Well, Din,” I caught his hand. “Let’s go play.”
“I don’t care.” I drug him behind me. Taking him to a chessboard.
“Do you know how to play?” I pulled out a chair.
He gave me a long look. “N-no…”
So I spent the next several months teaching him how. Until he substantially improved. Though I always still won.
His father and mine were close friends so he was around a lot. A fact which I didn’t mind as I often found things to mentor the meek boy in.
When I was about fourteen and he was technically a young man learning the trader’s market his father had flourished in, he kept sending me long looks across the banquet table during dinner.
I pulled him aside afterwards tugging him by the sleeve. “What’s wrong with you, Din? You’re acting weird.”
“We should wed, Belle.”
I scoffed. “I’m not marrying you, Din!”
“Why not?” His brows drew together.
“We’re friends. It’d be weird.”
“Not that weird…”
“Stop it, Din.”
“Why don’t you at least think about it?” His voice sounded a bit harsh.
“No!” I flounced off in a huff. He watched me go. His brown eyes narrowing.
It wasn’t the last time he mentioned it.
He mentions it a lot.
Over the years it had increased in frequency.
Finally angry one day, I turned on him at the ball. “You only want to wed me because I’m the only woman that you can speak to.”
“Are you, Belle?” His voice lowered and there was anger written over his face.
He lifted his chin. His jaw ticking. He liked to do that because he was already over a foot taller than me and I thought he liked to feel taller when he was irritated with me.
“Would you just go get me another punch.” I shoved the glass at him. “Lord Vice is next on my dance card.”
His cheeks sucked in and he gave me a hard look but walked off stiffly to do as I’d asked.
I blew a breath.
“Was he asking again?” My friend Sara Lance leaned over to ask.
“Yes. He’s always asking.” I groaned.
“He’s a fine one. You’d do well to consider it.”
“He’s my friend.”
“Even better.” Sara proclaimed.
“No. I want more.”
“Like what?” She tilted her head chidingly. Before tossing her arms and saying dramatically. “Like a man to write you grand sonnets and fall at your feet worshipping your fine face and figure?”
“I don’t say it like that.”