Once we were in the carriage, we made our way through the village, closer to the celebration. There were hearts everywhere, on houses, businesses, streamers; it was a beautiful sight to see. The music became louder, and I could hear laughter and friendly conversation. Once we arrived at the festival, I saw a man standing outside as if waiting for someone.
“That’s him!” Lily screeched with excitement. The carriage came to a halt, and the young man opened the door, offering to help her out of the carriage. Once she was out, Ismael followed, helping me out of the carriage.
“And who might you be?” I asked the stranger with a sweet smile.
“Fenro,” he replied with a polite smile. He had long, umber brown hair with hazel eyes and had a similar build to Ismael, but not as handsome.
“Nice to meet you; I’m Ismael,” Ismael greeted. Once Fenro had a good look at Ismael, his eyes widened, and he bowed his head respectfully.
“It is an honor to be in your presence,” he said as he made eye contact with my date once again.
“Oh, there’s no need for that,” Ismael said politely, “I’m just a regular elf around here.” Fenro nodded.
“Well, I think it’s time that we start celebrating!” Lily said, dragging Fenro in a random direction, causing Ismael and I to chuckle.
Ismael offered his arm with a smile. “Shall we?”
I nodded and rested my pale fingers on the inside of his elbow. The two of us walked in the opposite direction of Lily and Fenro and saw many couples dancing and singing as the music played. There was food and drinks on a table on the north side of the square. Rose petals decorated the streets and drifted in the air with the evening breeze as they were kicked in the air while elves moved their feet.
“Would you like to dance?” Ismael asked charmingly.
“I’d love to,” I softly replied.
He guided me to an open spot in the street and spun me around slowly. The two of us swayed to the music, so naturally, that one would think that I was experienced when I’m not. He twirled me around ever so gently before swaying to the music once again.
I could practically feel the daggers that the single elf women were throwing at me, but all it did was make me smirk. How did I get so lucky? An elf of high respect chose me, a common faen elf, to accompany him to this festival.
No, he doesn’t just want me to accompany him to this festival; he wants whatever this is to be permanent. But I don’t know if I’m ready for that, considering my relationship history.
“What are you thinking about?” Ismael asked, looking down at me.
“Nothing,” I replied.
“You can’t lie to me, Elianna,” he said, gently lifting my chin so that I’m staring straight into his eyes. “What’s bothering you?”
“I prefer not to talk about it here,” I said, looking away from him.
“Very well, let’s go somewhere quieter,” he said, guiding me to the carriage that we came in.
“What about Lily?”
“I’m sure that Fenro can take care of her,” he reassured me. I stepped into the carriage with him following close behind me. After closing the door, we took off into the night.
As we road on the bumpy dirt road, the wind blew in my hair. I gazed out the window and watched as the lake gradually came into view. A wide smile formed on my face as I recalled the memories of the last time that we were here.
The carriage came to a halt, and to my surprise, there was more than just a lake waiting for us. The lake glistened under the moonlight like it did every night, but there was something different this time. There was a blanket covered with food surrounded by lanterns and a bottle of wine and two glasses sitting by a picnic basket. It was a romantic sight to behold.
“What is all of this?” I asked, giving Ismael a confused expression.
“Our celebration of Ehtele’ mele," he replied, guiding me over to the willow tree.
"You knew that I wasn't going to want to be in a crowded place for very long?" I questioned.
"I thought you would, but Lily knew better and had this prepared just in case," he admitted.
"She knows me well."
"Indeed she does," he replied. He guided me over to the willow tree, letting go of my hand so that I could sit down. I picked up a strawberry and started nibbling on it to calm my nerves while he poured a glass of wine for each of us.
"So, what's bothering you?" Ismael asked once again, giving me my glass of wine.
"I just have a gut feeling, and I'm not sure how I feel about it," I replied.
"And that gut feeling is?"
"That you're in whatever this is for the long run," I answered, gesturing to both of us. "And I don't know how I feel about it, yet."
"Well, you're right about me being in this for the long run, but I don't understand why you aren't sure of yourself." He took a sip out of his glass before grabbing some food.
"Have you seen my record for relationships?" I asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Vulmar is a selfish idiotic boy, he is not a man," he stated flatly, "Unlike him, I appreciate who and what I have in my life, with the exception of my family fortune."
"You don't like coming from a rich family?"
"Absolutely not, and stop changing the subject," he answered and we both chuckle.
"I just don't want to get hurt again," I said, twirling my hair nervously.
"I understand, but that won't happen, Sweetheart, I promise," he reassured me, making me blush.
"You're going to have to try harder to win me over by the end of the week," I challenged, standing up and walking over to the lake.
"Oh, I will, and I guarantee you that I will win you over before the end of the week," he mumbled, accepting my challenge.