I close my eyes, when suddenly two hands grab my wrists, stopping my fall.
I look up to see Jabeth, his body slung over the rail from his hips and up. Our eyes lock, and our rapid breaths match.
He looks scared..
In one swift motion, he hauls me up and over the railing where Xavier looks about ready to pass out.
Jerny does too.
I plant my hands on my knee's, looking over the bars to Jerny who has tears in his eyes. He raises his hand and waves at me, and all I can do is smile.
In only a few moments, dark clouds swallow Jerny's figure, the ferry, the blue sky, the Heaven's.. everything.
Jabeth crouches beside me, his gaze searching mine. "What the fuck do you think you're doing?!"
I shake my head, and a small giggle leaves me. I look at Jabeth, out noses inches from each other. He has such big brown eyes.. "Not settling for less."
He scowls at me. "What?"
I feel so many emotions right now, that I feel like I'm going to explode.
Surprise, at seeing Josie instead of the King.
Fear, at watching her leap from the platform and nearly fall to her death.
Anger, at Xavier being the cause of all this.
Confusion, at what is going on.
We take her inside the train to a booth, where she slides in front of me beside of Xavier. I knit my fingers together, still breathing hard. "Explain."
Xavier opens his mouth to speak. "We-"
"It all makes sense now." I nod my head slowly. Very aware I interrupted him. "You came here to meet Josie and the enchanter."
Josie nods, affirming my beliefs.
"Because.." she trails off.
"Nothing.." She looks at Xavier sideways, who gets the memo. Apparently her motives are classified information.
BULLSHIT. FUCKER YOU BETTER TELL ME OR I'LL TOSS YOU OUT THE WINDOW.
"Nothing? Yeah, jumping to a moving train is surely nothing. Can I suggest that you're not even allowed on this train?" I frown my mouth and raise my eyebrows.
Josie mumbles something under her breath.
"Last night when you were drunk, the 'Majesty' you were talking about was her, wasn't it?" I point to my betrothed.
I sigh and run a hand through my hair. "We'll talk about this, when we get home." Reluctantly I look back to Josie. "The second this train stops, I am taking you home."
Her gaze snaps up. "No, you can't!"
"And why not?" I challenge.
"Because.." she searches for an answer, and it's almost amusing. But somehow it comes to her, she even snaps her fingers to prove her point. "The train won't leave for another week. And it's the only way to the border."
Xavier nods vehemently, siding with her. Traitor..
I sigh and lean back, crossing my arms. "Okay, fine. She'll stay for a week, but no more."
Xavier takes my hand and shakes it, while Josie gives me a small, genuine smile-is it warm in here?
"Where will she stay?" Xavier asks, but his suggestion is as plain as day. I turn my head to him, tilted slightly. "Not at your place, that's for sure."
"What about your place?" Josie asks, the one question brings a nice pink blush to her cheeks again. I feel my own grow warm, but I fight it down.. again.
Normally I would think back on all my past secretaries and say no. But she is my fiance, and I can't object she makes me very curious.. I want to know about her. "Um.. I-I'm not sure about-"
"Oh come on, Jabeth! Your Dad wants kids and I wouldn't mind being an uncle." Xavier winks.
I glare in return. I wouldn't let her stay with this fuckboy. She would be safer with me then him, and considering a Risen princess is in Fallen territory, she needs someone who has the ability to protect her.
And, I have that power. But how will I explain this to father? "Fine, she will stay with me in my wing. But you," I point to her, "and I are going to set some ground rules."
She just nodes, still smiling. I don't like how agreeable she's being.
The ride back to the Hell's is long, and Xavier snoozes halfway through it.
Josie stares out the window, an elbow on the table and a hand under her jaw. She's been like that for hours.. I become curious again. "Josie."
My voice is gentle and soft, completely unlike me. But I don't resist it as much as much as I used to around her. She looks to me, with questions in her blue orbs.
"What are you doing?" I talk to her, not as if she's my enemy, or the bane of my existence, or a burden I now have to shoulder. But I talk to her as if she's my acquaintance, or my friend.
'Not settling for less'
I scowl. 'What?'
Curious.. very curious..
She sighs and looks back to the window. "Watching." Her voice too, is softer. Much different than our first encounter. She looks like she's in a dream.
She tighten the corners of her mouth. "The stars.."
The stars.. She likes stars? But I shake my head to myself. That's not necessarily the case. Stars are very pretty, but she can hardly see them through the clouds.
"You like stars," I suggest, "don't you?"
Josie's eyes drop to Xaviers face, his soft snores rippling in the silence. "Yes."
She's such a curious person. I've never known a Risen who sneaks books in libraries, who likes stars and gemstones, heck even a Risen whose willing to jump to their doom just so they can see all these things.
I guess I don't know my fiance that well.
"Why did you.." she trails off, flicking her eyes to mine. I know what she means. Why did you save me?
I honestly don't know the answer to that question. Weeks ago I would've rejoiced that the affliction in my life was gone for good. But I don't hate her as I thought I did, and to be honest..
when I imagined her falling through those clouds to never be seen again, it sparked genuine fear. The idea of Josie James gone from this world is a thought I don't wish to dwell on.
I find an acceptable excuse though. "You're a Crown Princess. I should save you if given the chance.
Its scary how I can't navigate my own emotions. One moment I hate her, the next I fear for her and next thing you know..
Josie keeps her eyes on mine, searching for the excuse or the lie. Or maybe the truth..
Suddenly the train rattles to a stop, and the lights of the Hell's blink a welcome at us. Xavier grumbles as he goes to sit up. "What.. What time is it?"
Josie leans towards the window and looks out, her eyes wide and full of wonder. "Wow.."
Xavier gets his bearings as the train gives it's last whistle for the week. He looks out the window to the city and gives a proud smile to Josie. "Welcome to the Hell's."