[Chapter Twenty One]
Olivia laid on the grass, groaning in pain. She woke up an hour ago wondering what brought her to snap at Rykal the night before. When she stirred awake she realized why she did as painful throbs clenched her lower abdomen. She mentally cursed in anger as she picked herself up, already feeling the warm liquid dampened her thighs. She felt so groggy and weak but decided against going back to sleep; there would be a bigger mess to deal with if she did. Taking out a brewed medicine for headaches, Olivia swallowed down a disgusting clumpy liquid and quickly washed down the taste with a whole bottle of cold water. The vile taste lingered on the surface of her tongue but Olivia thought it was good enough.
The dragon shifter remained quiet and Olivia glanced in his direction. To her surprise, he was still sleeping. Olivia couldn’t blame him, the guy hardly slept unless she was touching him. She didn’t want to wake him so she chose to deal with her body starting the menstruating cycle before tending to his wounds. Her limping had improved as she could walk more normally than before with tolerable throbs. Olivia had been waiting for her cycle to start so she could clean her body. She did so by going right behind the waterfall with her back to the small edge and stripped all her clothes off. One thing she was grateful for, was the enchantment on the cave ended when she passed the waterfall. Behind it, it felt warm enough to strip. Another thing she was grateful for, the horned shaped rocks provided with the additional coverage, so if Olivia couldn’t see out, no one could see in.
The water was cold when it made contact with her skin. She was used to it back at Limrock so it didn’t bother her as much as she washed her grotty hair, feeling the harmony of finally being able to wash. When Olivia felt good about her hair, she moved onto her body. She pulled out a full roll of bandages she stuffed in the pocket of her trousers and unrolled a decent amount before using her teeth to rip it off. Putting the roll to the side, Olivia scrubbed her body with the makeshift sponge. She felt a whole lot better when she washed her lower region, watching the blood drip down her legs. She gently rubbed her bruised back and leg and let the waterfall relax her sore muscles.
The girl couldn’t really complain about the cold water and gave her lower region one last wash before retrieving her bloody underwear and scrubbing it firmly. When she was happy with the cleanness of the clothing, Olivia stepped out of the waterfall to allow herself to dry. She squeezed the water from her hair and grabbed the roll of bandages again. Olivia ripped them with her teeth before placing and tying them around her underwear as a makeshift catcher for the blood to come. After standing there for a few more minutes to dry off, Olivia dressed and climbed back into the cave. Her eyes locked onto a pair of narrowed eyes and Olivia rolled hers.
“I was taking a shower, Rykal. Unless you want to see me naked,”
Rykal cocked his brow at her and the corner of his lips twitched upwards. Olivia narrowed her eyes at him and his smirk grew wider. Olivia grumbled under her breath and went to get the medical sack. She started tending to Rykal’s wounds and oddly enough he was playing with her hair. She tried to no let it bother her as she walked over to scrub the bloody bandages and came back to clean the wounds. Rykal was silent as he played with strands of Olivia’s hair, she watching the great delight it brought him playing with her wet hair. The girl fumed. She pursed her lips and muttered under her breath as she rubbed the lotion over the shoulder wound, noticing his skin beginning to gain colour again.
When his back was next, it was a part where Olivia was glad Rykal couldn’t see her as her cheeks burned with heat each time. She repeated the same routine and once she secured the bandage in place, Rykal turned around. It caught Olivia off guard and she gasped when Rykal pulled her in. His hands rested on her waist as hers were on his bare chest. Sparks fluttered through her hands as her skin touch his and a blush crept up on her cheeks. The girl looked away, too embarrassed and shocked to do anything else.
Rykal chuckled and Olivia glanced at him questionably. Though she didn’t say anything as it was hard to process the dragon shifter’s abrupt actions. Rykal simply looked at her with a twinkle in his eye and a cheeky grin. “Not talking, are we?”
The sound of his voice made her heart flutter and Olivia looked at him in bewilderment. He talked. For the first time in nearly a week, he finally spoke to her.
Rykal arched his brow at her shock. “Are you giving me the silent treatment?”
Olivia blinked at him before narrowing her eyes. “Says you,”
Rykal scoffed. “Do you think I desired to talk to you after your betrayal?”
Olivia’s anger flared and she pushed out of his grip. “Last I checked, I didn’t betray you. I ran away thinking that you would kill me sooner or later,”
Rykal cocked his brow and crossed his arms. “Do you still question whether or not I will?”
Olivia crossed her arms. “Should I question it?”
“I think you still do after your outburst last night,”
Olivia’s brow twitched and she turned her back to him. “You can’t blame me to for not knowing what your intentions are with me,”
“Would you believe me if I told you they were good?”
“Good for who?” the girl muttered.
Olivia’s body shuddered as Rykal’s warm body stood behind her. She crossed her arms tighter as Rykal turned her around. Olivia pressed her lips in a thin line as Rykal grasped her chin and brought it up to his gaze. Olivia couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable under his look. Not in a sense of wanting to move away but more of a sense of feeling embarrassed.
“Do you think I would be holding you like this if my intentions with you are bad?”
“Depends whether or not if you’re trying to deceive me,” Olivia answered, but didn’t actually think he was.
Rykal frowned and let her go. Olivia frowned as Rykal walked toward the waterfall. Olivia watched him as he turned and glanced at her. “Olivia, trust me when I say this, the bond that we share prevents me from harming you. And even if I didn’t feel anything toward you, I wouldn’t harm you. My intentions may be foggy to you, but in time you will understand,”
“Does this have something to do with your kind’s traditions?” she asked, hoping to learn something new to quieten the storm in her mind.
Rykal nodded. “They are, but not what you’ve read from those inferior books. They speak nothing but lies.”
Olivia nodded, a little relieved that her main question had been somewhat answered. She had many more questions, but for the time being she allowed her mind to process his words. Rykal nodded at her before jumping from the small edge. Olivia watched him walk around and stretch out his wings and muscles as she got on to putting bruising lotion on her injuries. It had grown slightly less difficult as she rubbed the cool green-tinted cream on her leg first before doing her back.
Once the girl had tended to her own needs, she laid carefully on her back. Breathing in deeply, she exhaled with a sigh of relaxation. Clearing up the vital piece of information really made Olivia feel less afraid of Rykal. Although she knew not to jump into his words too quickly, there was that same part of her that had always felt so relax and at peace when she was around him. She questioned whether or not it had something to do with them sharing a bond. It would be the next question Olivia asked. What exactly did he mean by them sharing a bond? Perhaps, he meant as a friend? That could be the easiest guess.
Olivia frowned and sat up. Guessing things based on Rykal’s answers was never easy, if not impossible until she got another answer just as cryptic as the first. Olivia watched Rykal walk around before he would open his wings and flap them. He lifted himself off the ground and stayed there for a few seconds before landing again. He glanced toward Olivia and Olivia kept watching at him. There was so much more than met the eye with him. It was like he was a whole book waiting for her to pry open and study.
A sigh left her lips and Olivia stood up. Her lower abdomen clenched as she walked to the small edge and carefully climbed down. Her moods were a mess and she didn’t know what to feel, she was tired, yet energized, annoyed, yet fine, sad, yet, happy. It infuriated Olivia as she made her way to the end of the river where the water was frozen. She felt Rykal’s gaze on her but chose to ignore it. The girl was hungry and she wanted to eat. She grabbed two fish and dropped them off where Rykal would normally sit and watch her. She turned around and was about to gather some wood for a fire when Rykal was walking back holding a bundle of sticks.
Olivia blinked at him, confused, and he just shrugged his shoulders. “Do you really think I would allow you to do all the work when you’re on your menstruating cycle?”
Olivia’s face went red with embarrassment and she quickly turned her back to him. The dragon shifter did nothing but laugh as he strode up beside her, giving her a soft nudge with his wing. The girl muttered under her breath, learning her lesson not to underestimate the sensitively of a dragon shifter’s nose.
Olivia turned over her fish over the fire as night fell over them. Rykal sat across from her as he did the same before leaning against the wall, pulling up one of his legs to rest his arm on. Olivia smiled at how carefree he looked despite everything. The smile faded as quickly as it came and she sighed.
“Is something wrong?” asked Rykal.
Olivia didn’t meet his gaze as she felt too guilty. She had realized she never really apologized for her actions. She honestly felt it wasn’t the right time, thinking that he didn’t want to hear it.
“Olivia,” the girl glanced up and Rykal tilted his head. “What’s wrong?”
“Rykal. . .” she began. “I just, I-I just wanted to say how sorry I am for causing you so much trouble. I never meant to get you hurt. I. . . I just want to live a life where I’m not afraid. I want to be free to do my own thing without constantly worrying about doing something wrong and being punished for it,”
Rykal’s eyes grew dark. “Were you punished?”
Olivia nodded her head in shame. “Twice. The scars remind me to never do something without being asked and not speak unless spoken to. It’s the way my life was in Limrock,”
Rykal scolded under his breath and turned his fish over. Olivia stayed quiet. She pulled her knees up underneath her chin and watched the fire. It had been years, maybe almost a decade since she had any sort of actual fun. She fantasized about it, like throwing a snowball at a friend, building a snowman together and giving him a silly name like Olly, and afterward, they’d drink hot cocoa in front of the fire, thinking about throwing snow into her sleeping friend’s face the next morning. A sad smile was brought to the girl’s lips. Observing the fire flicker naturally was mesmerizing. The soft orange hue lit the cave up and shadows danced on the walls.
The smell of cooking fish wafted up to her nose. Olivia reached for hers as steam rose from the meat. She blew on it, not wanting to burn her mouth and set it aside to cool down. She saw Rykal sitting arms crossed with a sour look on his face. The girl frowned and decided it was best to leave it. There was no point asking what was wrong when she knew that telling him briefly about her life sent his mood down to bitterness. Though the scales on his fish were beginning to turn a dark shade of brown and Rykal just took the fish off and threw it near Olivia’s fish. Quickly, the girl stabbed the brown fish with her spike, afraid the grass might catch on fire. She set the blunt end of the spike into the ground and glanced at the dragon shifter.
He only turned his head away. “Lost my appetite,”