Love at first touch
Love at first sight. It was, without a doubt, the most cliche thing one would ever hear or read about when it came to fairy tales.
"I mean, come on!" A girl hit her forehead and gave an indignant look. "You fell in love with someone at first glance?! What. Is. Wrong. With. You?!" She shook the book, titled 'The Little Mermaid', with both hands in frustration. "I hate fairy tales!"
"It's just a story, dear," A middle-aged woman came into the room and proceeded to sort out dresses on the bed. "And honestly, it's quite romantic. Falling in love at first sight." A dreamy look took over her face. "It was just like that time, when your father and I-"
"Spare me." An eye twitched heavily. The girl threw the book on the table and stood up from the chair she was sitting on. "I have no wish to hear about you and your romantic," She fluttered her eyes mockingly. "Love stories. Gives me the creeps." She further emphasized the point by shivering.
"Now, is that the way to talk to your mother?" The mother frowned.
"Now, is this all really necessary?" The girl mocked back, one hand on the hip while the other gestured to the clothes on the bed.
"We have been over this, Eve." The mother huffed tiredly, as though she had said it a million times. "You have to look your best for your fiancé."
Eve threw her hands up. "Another thing I hate the most after fairy tales; arranged marriages!"
Evelyn Windyn, commonly known as Eve, was in an arranged marriage at a young age of 19.
"Why the, pardon my language, hell am I in an arranged marriage?! This is the 21st century! I thought those things don't exist anymore!"
"I just told you to pardon it."
"It does not matter if it is the 21st century or not." The mother continued, ignoring her daughter's comment. "So long as you are my daughter, this is one of the things you will have to go through. Take it as an experience-"
"Experience." Eve whispered in disbelief.
"-and who knows, you might fall in love at first sight with your fiancé." The mother sighed in remembrance. "That was how your father and I met, you know."
Eve gave a blank gaze. "...This is a dream. It must be." She closed her eyes. "When I open my eyes, I will be on my bed reading those ridiculous fairy tales. All right, one, two and..." She opened her eyes to see her mother raising an eyebrow at her.
Profanities sprouted out involuntarily.
"Young lady!" The mother practically roared at her.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry." The girl lifted her hands in apology, before sighing heavily.
"Get dressed, now." A frilly pink dress was shoved into the girl's hands.
Scratch that earlier statement. This was not a dream -no matter how much Eve wished it was - calling this a dream was just putting it way, way too mildly.
A bloody nightmare would be a better term.
"...Is this really necessary, father?" A young man stood in the middle of the room, wincing at the extravagent statues at the sides.
"Of course it is. Place the vase at the entrance and be careful, I had spent thousands on it." The father told a maid. He then looked at his son. "You should also change your clothes."
Said son looked down at his clothing. "What's wrong with my clothes?"
"Go change into a suit. And put on a bow tie."
"Seriously?" The son had a sudden urge to scream. "Father, it's just a meeting with my...with my..." He could not bring himself to say the next word no matter how hard he tried. "...It's just a normal meeting."
"First impression, Neo. First impression." The father rubbed his chin in thought. "Those curtains are a little plain...what do you think?"
"For lord's sake, stop calling me that. My name is Nyoven. One would think you should know that since you are the one who named me...and what, exactly, do you mean by 'plain'?" Nyoven stared at those bright-red colored curtains, which was decorated with roses and whatnot.
The father nodded as though his son had agreed with him. "I thought so. I will send someone to change these immediately."
Nyoven sighed as his father continued with his need to have everything perfectly placed. He still could not believed that it was really happening, that he was engaged to someone, whom he had not even met!
'You will love her the moment you meet her.' His father always told him whenever he tried to put a stop to this...insanity.
How on earth could you love someone just at the very first meeting? Where was the emotions? Where was the chemistry? For all Nyoven knew, they would ended up hating each other instead. His father definitely watched too much cartoons.
Nyoven slumped dejectedly just as his father finished his final orders.
"And one more thing, Neo,"
"You will need to stay close to me when they arrived." The father further explained when he received a confused blink. "Besides us, there are also other people whom are here to meet with their intended."
"...We are sharing the same room?"
"You think that all these decorations were for fun?" The father raised an eyebrow. "This room is big enough to hold a hundred people. All the other parents are friends of mine. I have gathered all of them here so their own child could meet their future bride or groom. It's also a gathering for old times' sake. I have not seen some of them in years." He smiled nostalgically.
"Wonderful." The sarcasm must have been lost as his father nodded in agreement.
"So, just a few ground rules. First, stay close to me. Second, be polite. Third-"
Nyoven rolled his blue eyes up to the ceiling, letting his father's voice droned on and on and on.
"...Remember to chew with your mouth close. Fifth..." Eve's mother waved a finger around as she talked on.
Eve propped her head with a hand, eyes staring blankly at the passing scenery as the car drove to their destination.
Someone, please put me out of this misery...
"Are you listening, Eve?"
"Yes, mother." The younger female stared at her own reflection on the car's window. Maroon eyes, almost red, stared straight back. She then sighed and looked away from the window, only to find her mother pursing her lips at her. "Yes?"
"Eve," It was her mother's turn to sigh. "You do know that we, your father and I, are doing this for your own good, right? You managed not to have a single boyfriend for so long, and it worries us. You need to have a stable family."
"Normally, parents would be glad if their child's focused on their studies and not on relationships." Eve said dryly. "Besides, I'm only 19, way too young to even think about having a family of my own! Since when does an arranged marriage lead to a stable family anyways?"
"I'm not worried about your studies since you are doing well in them, and education is not everything. Also, you are old enough." Eve's mother dismissed the argument with a wave of a hand. "This young man you are engaged to, is the son of your father's best friend. Their family are rather wealthy and are very respectable. I have no doubt that a stable relationship and family is what he will bring you. So, please be on your best behaviour when you meet them?"
"Oh gods..." Eve averted her eyes from the pleading look her mother was giving her.
"You might even meet some friends while we are there."
Eve absorbed the information and looked back at her mother, who smiled at having caught her daughter's attention.
"There will also be other people around your age meeting with their fiancé or fiancée. So...please?"
A smile then surfaced.
"Of course, mother. I will be good."
"Good!" The mother clapped her hands and relaxed, glad to have her daughter's cooperation. In doing so, she missed the smile morphing into a smirk, along with a whisper.
~At a mansion~
An eye was twitching non-stop. A long breath was taken in and-
"What you meant, was that you will be good...at escaping! EVELYN WINDYN!"
That shout had reached its intended recipient, whom merely stuck out a tongue and went on her merry way.
Eve's mother stood at the center of the room, huffing out after yelling out her frustration the moment she noticed her daughter's disappearance upon reaching the place. She should have known better. Her daughter had taken advantage of the information she had given. Her chances of finding her was slim to none, due to the crowd that was there.
Rubbing her temple, the mother came to an embarrassing realization of the attention she had gathered. Wide-eyed gazes were locked on her. She could even hear some of the women whispered to each other while casting non-too-subtle looks.
Straining out a smile, the mother placed a hand over her mouth and laughed awkwardly, slowly slipping away from her position.
"Oh ho ho ho ho..."
Eve hummed to herself as she explored the mansion, eyes lighting up in awe at how big it was. Along the way, she saw two people, around her age, standing beside each other awkwardly while their parents conversed on with no care.
Shaking her head, she turned and headed outside.
She missed the way the young couple had glanced at each other, smiling shyly.
Nyoven found himself in a weird predicament. He had actually wanted to take a small walk to calm himself before the inevitable meeting. However...
Nyoven panicked a little when the girl slipped before eventually regaining her footing and continued making her way up the tree. Yes, a tree. There was a girl climbing up a tree at the very garden his family owned, and he had no idea whether he should stop the girl or not. In the end, he ended up watching the girl as she finally reached a branch, giving a small cheer at her own success.
He could not help but gave a chuckle at the rather childish scene.
It was a bad move though.
The girl, having heard his laugh, quickly shifted from her position and looked at him. That fast movement caused her to lose her balance and fell over the branch. "Ahhh!"
Before his mind could even processed what happened, Nyoven's legs were already doing the thinking as they rushed forward, just in time to catch the girl before she could hit the ground.
Eve peeked out when there was no pain. Confused, she blinked a couple of times and looked up.
Blue met red.
Eve shifted her eyes at the weird situation. "You...can let go of me now."
"Huh?" Nyoven jerked, realizing that he was still carrying the girl, bridal style. "Oh! Right." He quickly set her down, moving his hands behind his back, feeling the awkwardness.
"Well...thanks for saving me." Eve tilted her head. "Even though you are the one who caused the incident in the first place."
That was rather blunt. Nyoven could only bow his head in apology, not knowing what else to say.
"You are also forced into this...thing?" Eve gestured a hand towards the mansion.
"...You could say that."
The female shrugged. "Want to come with me? Let's drag this out as long as we can before we had to meet with our 'intended'." She quoted with her hands.
Nyoven stared at her for a while. Glancing towards the mansion, he figured he could wait for a while longer to meet with his fiancée. He turned back to the girl with a soft smile.
"No way! Surely you must have at least played it once?"
The two of them were sitting near a riverbank, just having a normal conversation when Eve decided that it was too boring and proposed a game.
Nyoven scratched his head. "I'm afraid not. I do not even know that such a game exist."
"It's not really a game...I suppose you could call it a game...but it was merely to pass time when I was a child...so it's a game, I guess. I am not making any sense, am I?"
"Not at all."
"Don't agree so wholeheartedly! And don't laugh!" Eve tried to make an angry face, but it only made Nyoven laugh even more.
Nyoven shook his head and tried to contain his laughter. He did not know what was it about this girl, but for some reason, he felt that he could be really open with her and not worry about being rejected.
Ah. If only my fiancée was-
Nyoven jerked his laughter to a stop, shocked at the train of his thoughts. Did he really just-
"But really though, you have not played skipping stones before or games similar to it?"
The male redirected his attention on his companion. "Not that I could think of." He stood up from the ground and brushed away lingering grass off his pants. "How do you play?"
Eve picked up a stone and got into a stance. Aiming a few times towards the river, she shot the stone towards it. The both of them watched as the stone skipped across the river five times before sinking to the bottom with a 'plop'.
"The aim of the game is to see how many times your stone bounces before it sinks." Eve picked up another stone and tossed it to him. "Your turn!"
Fumbling a few times with the thrown stone, a faint blush appeared at the giggle Eve made from his clumsiness. Rubbing his head, Nyoven turned towards the river and threw his stone.
It sunk the moment it hit the water.
Eve laughed while Nyoven shrugged at his failure.
"There's a tactic to it. Here, let me show you." Eve grabbed another stone and placed it on Nyoven's right hand. "See, you have to hold it sideways and-"
A tingle shot to her nerves when the tips of her finger touched Nyoven's hand. Gasping, she snatched her hand back and cradled it, looking at it in shocked-surprise. Peering through her bangs, she saw Nyoven looking stunned as well, rubbing his fingers as though he had been shocked as well.
Silence came as they tried to figure out what had happened.
Nyoven cleared his throat, "So, I just throw it sideways?"
"Y-Yes. Go ahead."
Nyoven aimed and threw it. This time, the stone bounced twice before sinking.
"You did it! Not bad on your second try!" Eve grinned and looked back at Nyoven. Her grin faltered at the intense gaze Nyoven had.
"...Yes. Thank you." He smiled.
The girl started to feel a little warm around her cheeks. "N-no problem!"
They stood there without saying another word. Out of the corner of his eyes, Nyoven could see the girl beside him fidgeting, fiddling with her fingers. He looked down at his own hand, rubbing a thumb on each of his fingers. The sensation that occurred earlier burned deeply into his mind. Clenching his hand into a loose fist, Nyoven took a deep breath and reached his other hand to the side.
Eve was still trying to contemplate about what had happened when a hand came into view and gently pressed against her right hand. Her eyes were spellbound on the hand as it wrapped around hers and held it up. A sharp inhale caused her to turn her head to the owner of that hand.
Novena could not help the sharp intake of breath he had took. It was only a simple hand to hand contact, though the tingles that shot from his hand to his spine were anything but simple. Turning his head, he was met with wide red eyes.
...If only this girl was his-
A large bell ringing snapped the both of them out of their daze. They quickly separated.
Nyoven cleared his throat once again, "It's almost time for me to..." He nodded towards the mansion.
"Y-Yes. Me as well."
"I..." Nyoven paused, rubbing his head unsurely. "I guess this is where we part ways?"
A slow nod was his only response.
He sighed good-naturedly and smiled. "Thank you for teaching me how to play stone skipping. Goodbye."
"Bye..." Eve whispered, eyes following Nyoven until he was out of sight.
She glanced at her hand. Clenching and unclenching it, she dropped it to her side and sighed dejectedly.
I wish that my fiancé was...
"Ow!" Eve rubbed her forehead. "What was that for?!"
"For leaving me all alone and causing me to embarrass myself." Eve's mother led her daughter through the crowd. "You said you would be good!"
Eve snorted softly, "Yes, only when meeting with my fiancé. You never said anything about before the meeting."
The glare that came could have melted a metal rod.
The mother huffed. "Anyways, let us meet your fiancé. There you are, dear." The mother lovingly hugged a man, who was standing at a corner waiting for them.
"Did the two of you had a hard time getting here?" The man asked, pressing a kiss to the mother's temple.
"It was fine." The mother smiled wryly.
"You will love the man you are going to meet, Eve." The man winked. "He's a good man."
Eve merely blew out a puff of air. Looking around, all she could see was young couples meeting with each other, some with resigned looks, while others had a tense atmosphere around them. She looked down at her hand. The memory of the feeling when her hand had touched his was playing at the back of her mind.
She bit her lip, eyes saddened.
"They are coming."
Eve closed her eyes for a brief second and opened them.
It was time to face the music.
"Remember your manners, Neo." His father told him.
"Treat your fiancée well, son." The father totally ignored his son's pleads and patted his shoulder. "And don't make me a grandfather too soon."
"Dear lords, father..." A hand covered the face in mortification.
"I see them. Are you ready?"
No, would be the answer. But there was no way he could say that. The image of the girl he had met earlier flashed before his eyes. He shook it away, heart longing to feel that sensation when they had touched each other's hand.
"Nice to see you, old friend!"
"Nice to see you as well." Nyoven's father shook hand with the one whom had called out to him.
Nyoven straightened his back and looked around, trying to find the woman he would be spending the rest of his life with.
His eyes widened.
"This is my wife and daughter." Eve's father gestured towards them.
The mother smiled in greeting.
However, Eve had her eyes on her soon-to-be fiancé.
Red met blue.
The parents continued to converse, pretending not to notice how their child was ogling one another.
Slowly, Nyoven's shocked expressed faded away and an elated look took over. Seeing that, Eve ducked her head to hide the smile forming on her lips.
"So, what was this about love at first sight being impossible? Fairy tales does hold some truth, don't they?" Eve's mother teased her daughter, her tone was full of smugness.
Eve raised an eyebrow, "This only confirms it. Fairy tales are nothing but full of lies."
"What?" Her mother was taken aback.
"Let me introduce you to my son." Nyoven's father barely managed to say his sentence as the said son walked forward and stood in front of Eve.
He held out a hand and gave a soft smile, "Nyoven. Nyoven Ravron. May I ask for your name, beautiful one?"
Eve's mother swoon at the side at the endearment, while the younger female blushed. The fathers nodded in satisfaction.
It was not love at first sight.
Eve shyly tucked a lock of blond hair over her ear. "Eve. Evelyn Windyn." She reached out a hand.
"Eve..." Nyoven tested the name. "It's a pleasure to meet you."
"Y-You as well."
Their hands made contact and both shivered at the electric feeling occurring all over their bodies. As their parents talked on, the young couple were in a world of their own. Through the rest of the day, their hands never separated.
Nyoven gave a grin.
Eve let out a small laugh.
It was definitely not love at first sight.
It was love at first touch.