“Let me see…where did this all start? Hmm…Sorry about this, I’ve never been really good at keeping track of the events in my own life.” I kind of chuckle at my own shortcomings.
“Why am I not surprised?” He says with that sneaky grin of his…it makes him look even more like a pirate. Well minus the bad teeth…he has very nice teeth, and nice hair, it’s long, but not too long and shiny, and then, of course, that puffy shirt... Oh yeah, I have to continue the story.
“Ok, well that town back there is the same one I grew up in. Nothing exciting usually happens there, it’s very peaceful. I first met these friends while doing some volunteer work. Don’t give me that look, I was volunteering because I wanted to, not to make up some wrongdoing. I swear! I was a good kid, I still am.” I hate that look, why doesn’t he believe me? I mean sure, we’re technically criminals now, but, ok he’s staring at me again, time to get out of your head, Rina!
“Where was I again? Oh yeah, so we did some volunteering stuff as a group, like cleaning up the roads, or entertaining the elderly, that sort of thing. My mom made me join when I was little so I would have some friends, I’ve never been really good at choosing my own friends, I am a terrible judge of character.”
“Thanks.” I can sense his sarcasm and glare at him.
“So it’s been quite a few years that we’ve known each other, and then there was some ceremony going on in that building that we were volunteering to help out with.”
He interrupts, “You don’t even know what you were helping out with?”
“Not really, like I said, I’ve never paid much attention to what events were going on in my life. I was just asked to help out with setting stuff up for some conference or meeting or whatever. Anyway, so there were all these guards there, so I think it must have been pretty important because normally the King’s guards aren’t there.”
“He’s not a King yet, he’s still a Prince.”
“Oh, whatever. The King’s Guard sounds more official than ‘The Prince’s Guard’.” I say this mostly to win the argument, I don’t know why he makes me feel so competitive.
“Well it’s still called the King’s Guard, but you said King’s guards, not the King’s Guard,” He states with a smug look on his face.
“Do you want me to tell you what happened or not?” I may have said that a little too forcefully.
“Do you want me to turn you all in or not?”
I reply “Grrr….” And slump back down, my stupid thick and unruly brown hair falling into my face. “Fine, So I was off setting up the tables and snacks, and someone bumped into the cookie tray and then they all shifted so I had to fix them and get them back in the same perfect order they were in before, I’m a little O.C.D. with stuff like that. And that’s when all six of them came running in. They looked really scared and panicky. I asked them what happened, but they mumbled something about Chrissy, (she’s the short but pretty red head), and a guard and then Lynn, (the lanky blonde one with blue eyes, Erica’s the blonde one with brown eyes…) and Stef, (the brunette who’s following them around all the time), came to help her and then there was a scramble of six against one and they don’t know if the guard is alive or not because no one wanted to get that close to him. Besides, to ask someone would have been suicide since you know how the guards are: beat first, ask never.”
“So they could have killed a guard?” His eyes widen, I guess he knew how bad that is in this world.
“Could have I guess, but I didn’t want to stick around to see what happened, so we went outside and I found some of the horses and led them into the woods.”
“What you are telling me is, a guard is probably dead, and your only involvement is helping the criminals escape. Why didn’t you turn them in?”
“They are my friends.” I can’t believe he’s even suggesting I turn them in.
“They broke the law, and you don’t even know the whole story.”
“So what, they are still my friends.”
“You are on the run for your life, and you don’t even know why! Don’t you see a problem here? Did you even THINK?!” he raises his voice, but it still stays that deep tone, just less…what’s the word...melodious I guess you could call it, he’d be really good at telling bedtime stories.
“Sure I did, after we were running, I realized I couldn’t really lead them in the woods, I wouldn’t know where to go, and then we found you.”
He just glares at me for a moment, like I have three heads. “So, because you made a mistake, you drag me, some random, innocent stranger, to help you navigate the woods away from the guards. For all you knew I was with them!”
“I knew you weren’t with them, or that innocent.”
“Because I was wearing a puffy shirt?”
Even though I know he’s mocking me I still have to respond with a childish “Yup!”
“You’re insane.” At this point, he walks away to prepare for his shift tonight. And that’s how all of this started.
He really is a funny guy, whether or not anyone else sees it is their problem, they just need to stop staring so much and relax, yeah sure he has dark brown hair, darker than mine, and green eyes that are more hazel than green. And he seems strong…I didn’t really pay that much attention. When we met, though, I was so convinced he was the person to help us, even if the other girls don’t quite trust him. We were riding the horses through the woods, trying to escape the guards that were already chasing us, and I remembered some of the trails from a dream I had had, although methods like those aren’t the most convincing arguments. We managed to gain some time by taking a shortcut but that was the extent of my knowledge, I knew if we were going to continue, and at this point we had to, we would need more than just luck that I had had a dream of the route we needed to take. That’s when he showed up. Coincidence, I think not!
He was riding on a horse, I don’t even know what direction he came from, but since he wasn’t wearing the guard’s uniform, I took it as a sign that he wasn’t one of them. He seemed to be familiar with the area as well as riding a horse. And to top things off, he had on a white puffy pirate-like shirt. That’s when I knew we could trust him. I should probably reiterate that I am normally an awful judge of character, but that’s only most of the time, and usually there’s some messed up version of logic in there somewhere. This I just knew, no logic involved. After all, if he was wearing a puffy shirt, he must be like a pirate, an outlaw like us. But it was white, so he must be a good outlaw. So I rode up to him and asked him to help us out.
He looked really surprised that I was talking to him and asking for help, so I explained that we didn’t know the woods very well and that the guards were chasing us and we needed help, and reiterated my request. The girls were signaling me to come back, that I had said too much, that it was dangerous, it was quite comical. But to everyone’s surprise, except mine, of course, he agreed to help us, and he led us away from the guards at a speed that was not comfortable to anyone.
That night we were sitting by a campfire trying to eat the fish the puffy-shirted man had caught. I hate fish, they creep me out, but I guess that’s why he had me sit there while he cleaned and gutted it out. He kept laughing at me and my reactions…so I got kind of upset and left for a bit, where the rest of my friends cornered me and questioned me about the stranger. How did I know he was safe? Was I sure? Did I just fall for the fact that he was a handsome man riding a horse? Etc. And I tried to explain it was all because of the puffy shirt. Unfortunately, that’s the part he walked in on.
“Are you seriously saying that you trust me solely on my shirt?”
“Uh…yeah, actually,” I said with my childish grin.
He looked puzzled but continued questioning me. “What is it about my shirt that you trust?”
“Well, it’s a puffy white shirt…like a pirate’s”
“Since when are pirates trustworthy?”
“Well, we’re now outlaws, and pirates are outlaws, and so…”
“THAT DOESN’T MEAN IT’S SAFE TO TRUST THEM!” Lynn yelled, she has never had a problem voicing her opinion, and loudly at that.
“shhh” the rest of us tried to calm her down since we don’t want to give our position away.
“She’s right, though, for all you know, I plan to kill all of you, or turn you all in, or lead you to a trap or worse,” He smirks as he cleans off the knife on the grass.
I can’t help but let out a little giggle, “Nah… you wouldn’t do that,” I say with a shoulder shrug, “otherwise you wouldn’t be wearing a puffy shirt.”
Now he looks just plain confused, but he starts laughing anyway, “So if I wasn’t wearing this shirt, you wouldn’t trust me?”
I stare at him for a while and finally agree with myself that the correct answer is “Exactly.” And everyone stares at me like I just sprouted wings.
“And here I was thinking you just wanted to find some way to get my attention and ask me out.” He starts to walk away towards the fire.
“What?!!! Where did you get that idea?!!” I almost forgot myself and start half-yelling at him. But we all follow him anyway.
“What else was I supposed to think? Normal people don’t ask for help from strangers solely because of the shirt they are wearing. Oh, and dinner’s ready.”
“Well nobody said I was normal.” HA! I won that one. And no one is going to disagree to that.
While lost in my thoughts of my memories, I feel my hair ruffled and I jump up. “You’re still up? You really should try to get some sleep before your shift.” He walks behind me laughing as he goes into his sleeping area. It’s been at least a week, and he still won’t tell us his name. Which I’ll admit is suspicious, but he still has the puffy shirt, so he can’t be all that bad.