I wake up before Kiela, the fire had burned low in the fireplace. I build the flames back up, wanting food to be ready for Kiela to help with the massive hangover she’ll be waking up with. I put eggs and salted deer meat on a skillet over the fire to slow cook. The meat releases a soft sizzling sound as it starts to warm.
Glancing around the room once I’m finished, noting Kiela’s still sleeping form before heading towards the bathroom for a quick shower. The warm water relaxes muscles I didn’t realize were so tense. I guess having another living creature under my roof is more of a stress on my life then I first thought. However, I still find myself hopeful that Kiela stays around long enough for me to get used to it. She seems like a fascinating woman, and the reasoning behind the way she acts has piqued my curiosity. Her history, the wounds, and scars the mark her body are also intriguing.
It’s not just interest that wants me to keep her around. The person I witnessed last night might have been inebriated, but she was also a decent person, just sad and lonely. I recognized myself in her eyes; in the way she had curled in on herself, the feeling of hatred and betrayal from her parents. It was almost unbearable to see her so small and broken, poorly attempting to cover it up with giggling. I want to get to know that Kiela if she’ll let me.
At the same time, I know I can’t keep her around. I am the son of death. My father follows my every footstep. I don’t desire to risk her getting punished because I don’t want to live alone right now.
The water turned just as cold my thoughts as the hot water runs out. With a heavy sigh, I feel the stress sink back into my shoulders. Shutting off the water and step out once I’ve come up with a plan on how to proceed. I would nurse Kiela get back on her feet. Then I would ask her to leave and forget this place.
Looking around the small wood room while dring off, I get a sinking feeling in my stomach that I forgot something before hopping in the shower. I inwardly cringe when I remember that I didn’t grab a set of clean clothes. I run my hand down my face as I glare at myself in the mirror. Meeting my annoyed brown eye and shaggy damp hair, my refection sighs before a look of resignation comes across the face. It could be that bad, right? Kiela was probably still asleep, I’d run out there then come right back to the safety of my steam-filled bathroom. Wrapping the towel around my waist, I slowly opened the open.
I was immediately greeted by a string of groggily muttered cursed. I hang my head, of course, she’s awake. Maybe I could play this off. I fill my lungs with air, walking back into the room as confidently as possible. Forcing myself to walk instead of running like I wanted to.
Kiela’s sitting up on my bed, her head cradled in her hands. I could help it as my eyes travel down her petite body, still wrapped up in my jacket like an oversized blanket around her shoulders. Her hair was in a messily pile on top of her head, falling down in unkempt curls around her squinting eyes. It was strangely cute, and I had to fight the smile that tried to crawl into my face.
“Kiela, your awake, I was hoping you would sleep longer. “I say honestly.
She whimpers, hearing my voice, rubs her temples with her fingers tips. “Quiet damn it...” she hisses demandingly.
I nod not bothering to talk because no words could help her, only hydration and time. With that thought, I bring her a glass of water. Kiela takes it and mutters a soft thanks before drinking the whole thing in one go. I take the time to grab a set of clothes and disappearing into the bathroom again.
Coming back, I whisper, aware of the volume of my voice. “I made food if you want some.”
Kiela nods slightly, slowly swinging her legs to the side of the bed to get up. Her face twisted in discomfort with her movements were slow and deliberate. It was painful to watch, so bad that I put on hands up to stop her.
“Just stay there.” I waved her back down onto the mattress, before grabbing her a plate of food.
Walking back to her and handing over the plate, I smile. “You’re welcome, Kiela.” Confusion spreads across her features, and the smile fades slightly from my face. I should have expected her not to remember a thing. “what do you remember from last night?”
Her eyebrows knit together as if she struggles to remember. Then her eyes go wide as the glass slips from her hand, her face taking on a red shade for some reason.
My eyes prickle as I glance down at the shattered glass Just long enough for it to reform with the water inside it. Then my golden eyes study Kiela’s form.
Kiela hastily rips off my jacket from its place around. Her wings spurt from her back, flap for a half-second before enveloping her in their inky feathers, effectively hiding her face.
I lean down, picking up the discharged jacket, hooking it over my shoulder with one finger. I can hear the worry thick in my voice. “Kiela...? Are you ok?”
She peeks through her feathers at me. Her face is still flushed, and I’m concerned that the alcohol from the previous night might be attempting to make its way back up. “Are you sick?” She shakes her hand, and I continue to press, “what’s wrong?”
“Do you remember what I said last night?” She mumbles.
I nod my head, stupidly, “Yeah, I wasn’t drunk. Do you remember?”
She nods, the pink coloring of her cheeks deepening to a concerning shade. Females... I don’t understand them. Well more like living things, I don’t honestly understand them in general. Dropping the concern about her coloration, I take the opportunity to bring up something she had mentioned in her drunken state.
“What is it that you don’t want me to know, my lady?”
She disappears behind her wings again, practically shrieking at me. “why are you so damn dense!”
I put my hands up in self-defense, “Sorry, I don’t deal with living people out here in the middle of a forest.” I try to explain, probably failing miserably. But at least it’s enough to get Kiela to sigh and appearing from behind her wings. The good one folding neatly behind her back, while the broken one rests against the fur-lined mattress of the bed. Her face was still red, and frustration seems to pull her lips down at the corners. She takes the food I gave her and starts chewing on it haphazardly, her gaze never once meeting mine.
My eyes linger to watch her hopelessly trying to figure out what’s wrong with her. I was coming up with nothing that explains why she was suddenly acting so differently compared to yesterday when she nearly bites my head off. Or last night when she was carelessly wasted. Now she’s quiet and gentle.
She finishes the food, setting the empty plate beside her. “thank you. It was tasty.”
“No problem, my lady.” I smile, feeling my eyes finally fading back into their usual soft brown. Holding my hand out towards the plate, I offer to put it up.
She gives it to me, our hands brush against each other, and the red color on her cheek deeps. My eyes widen as the plate slips from my hands and smashing on impact. I figure out that I’m the reason behind her blushing, and the thought shakes me to the core.
“You... you don’t hate me... do you?” I stammer slowly.
Kiela slumps back onto the bed s covering her face with her hands. That was the only answer I really need for a large number of puzzle pieces to fall into place.
“O-oh..?” I stammer smartly. Kiela rolls over onto her stomach with a groan. Burying her face in the pillow. I can’t help the chuckle that escapes my lips. I couldn’t believe the turn of events; one minute, I swear she would have enjoyed gutting me; the next, she’s all red-faced and embarrassed. It was one of those moments I was so confused I found it funny.
I wasn’t specifically in control of myself either when I spoke my thoughts out loud. “I didn’t imagine this would happen.”
She growled softly into the bed, her words coming out muffled. “Don’t laugh at me!”
“Sorry, my lady.” I say through my laughter before I got hold of myself, “I’ve already told you, I am not good with those in the overworld.” I gently run my hand over Kiela’s hair. She recoils at my touch, and I immediately retract my hand. Muttering a soft apology, not even sure she heard me
Leaning down for the plate, putting it back together before placing it in the sink. The good news it distracts me, giving me an escape from on own awkwardness. Bad news, it was extremely short-lived, and then I’m stuck trying to figure out what to do with my hands.
“What are you doing?” Kiela asks. I hear her shift in the bed, but I keep my back to her.
I wince internally, speaking once again without thinking first. “Umm... trying not to be awkward..?”
“Ah...” was Kiela response.
I struggle to come up with something to make everything less uncomfortable, stumbling over my words slightly. “Maybe... I should... umm leave....”
“You don’t have to...” Came Kiela’s quick answer, though her voice fades out towards the end.
I glance over my shoulder at her. Kiela’s wings are gone now, retracted back to everywhere she put them. Her eyes stare into my back like shes excepting me to do something. I just don’t know what.
Confused, I take a step towards Kiela. “hey... what’s wrong...?”
Kiela clenches her eyes, gently shaking her head, then I realize she’s not shaking her head. Her whole body was trembling. “Nothing. Leave if you want.”
I sigh, moving over to her frightened frame. “Why do you keep doing that? You have nothing to lose by telling me.”
She shrugs, “don’t think your special. I push everyone away.”
Her words cut deeper than they should have. I strive to keep the pain out of my voice as I reason with her. “I am, though. This is the place you went to when you were drunk. I was the one that saved your life, and I was the one that was here for you.
Kiela gawks at me for a while, then she mumbles, “Stupid, smart, hot, guy.”
It’s not the response I was looking for, but I’ll take it over Kiela, forcing me away or being scared.
So I went with it, smirking at her jokingly. “You are wearing most of my clothes.” She glares at me, but I can tell I managed to get her to relax. So keeping the same playful tone, I wink at her. “Well, my lady, spill.”
She sighs, but I know I’ve won, “I don’t like being alone...”
That doesn’t clear anything up, in fact, that just confuses me more. Every time I’m near Kiela, she gets all fluster and never looking at me. If anything that statement makes me more confused, than the idea that it might just be me, comes to mind that makes her that way sets in. “Ok. so it’s just being around me makes you uncomfortable?” She doesn’t answer; instead, she chooses to look away from me. “What do you want me to do?”
“Ok,” I nod, pulling over a chair. Turning it backward before I sit in it, across from my arms over the back of the chair. “So, tell me about yourself?”
She seems hesitant to respond but willing at the same time. “What do you want to know?”
I take a sharp breath to keep the excitement out of my voice. I was thrilled that Kiela was least entertaining the idea of talking to me. “Anything you’re will share.”
She appears to think for a while but coming up with nothing. After a minute or so, I decide to play nice and get her a hand. “Where are you from?”
“I don’t actually know that...” her face falls and looks sad. “my parents both abandoned me” my heart reaches out to her, I understand the feeling of abandonment.
I won’t let one lousy question stop us from enjoying each other’s company. With a polite nod, I smile. “Favorite color ?”
I flash my eyes at her, “gold.”
She smiles, it lights up her eyes and makes her nearly the prettiest thing I have ever seen. Her voice is sweet like honey, “it’s a pretty color.”
I lower my head towards her,” thank you. You have a lovely smile, my lady.” Kiela blushes again for some reason and looks away. Being the gentleman I am, seeing her embarrassment, I change the subject. “how are you feeling?”
“Good. Thank you so much for your help.”
“You’re welcome, my lady.”
She looks back up at me with a smile. “So, do you have a favorite animal?”
I couldn’t help but laugh at myself with my own answer. “ocelot. You?”
That makes me chuckle, listening to the set up to the perfect joke, and being the person I am, I can hold my tongue. “Explains the wings,” she nods her head. “Well, you, my lady, are quite the raven.” Well, I guess I couldn’t keep all the comments to myself.
She laughs softly, finally looks back at me. “How so?”
Instead of answering, I let her watch my eyes roam over her body. Slowly they make their way back up to her eyes. The soft brown color is one of her most attractive features, second only to her smile. She blushes hard under my attention, subconsciously wrapping her arms around her body like she was ashamed of it.
“Stop that. You’re fine.” I scold lighthearted.
She blinks at me, puzzled, “Stop what?”
“Hiding like you’re not a drop-dead gorgeous female. Like your ashamed of a body, many would kill for.”
She looks surprised by my answer. She just gapes at me like she expects me to take it back. It only adds to her shock when she sees I have no intention of retracting my statement. Overall leaving her flustered and not knowing how to respond.
Slowly a warm smile dances across her lip. It brightens up her whole face, making her look the happiest I had ever seen her. She blinks at me through long eyelashes as she spoke softly. “Thank you.”
Warmth spread through my chest at her smile, and I couldn’t help but return it. “You’re welcome, my lady.”
She shifts on the bed, hesitantly leaning forward. I watch her move curiously, not running away as her face comes closer to mine. Then her lips brush against my cheek, lighting flitted across my skin. Leaving a pleasant feeling behind in its wake. I blink at her, stunned by her action, and I feel heat flush my cheeks. She pulls away and giggles at me. I watch her lips move, but I don’t really know what she says, my brain was a bit fried.
“...um...” I state smartly. Amusement glints in her eyes as she takes in my dazed self.
I blink a few times, trying to cover up my daze, shaking my head a few times. “You said something?”
She giggles the sound clean and gentle like glass tapping against crystal. “Nope!” She pops the p at the end.
We share a comfortable silence, one were we smile at each other than glances away. The peace between us is surreal, like that spent on a quiet night with friends you’ve known for years. I could get used to this, and at the same time, it scares me beyond anything. I can’t help but feel myself getting attached to this woman even though I know our time is limited.
The last time I left like this, it was a couple of thousand years ago. I had my previous chosen back then, it had been the happiest I had ever been. I had loved her completely and promised to spend the rest of all time with her. I feel my heart twinge in pain as I remember how I had lost everything in one day. It was a dull throb that I had to live with every day of my life. But this time, it was the same pain, it left different somehow. I look around at Kiela, and then it hits me like a train going full speed. She’s my chosen.