I stood by the lake’s shore, the water barely touching my small feet. I watched as the warm breeze blew and the flower petals danced with their current. The crickets played their lullaby, but I knew well that I wasn’t going to be able to sleep when I returned home.
“Where are your shoes?” Ismael’s voice came from behind me.
I turned around to face him, taking a few steps back so that I didn’t feel like I was breaking my neck trying to speak to him. “They were suffocating my feet,” I replied, “So I took them off.”
“I see,” he replied, taking off his own shoes and rolling up his pants to his knees.
“You’re wrinkling them!” I laughed as he continued to walk closer to the water.
“I’m not too worried about it,” he said smiling at me.
“Lily is going to kill you.” We burst into laughter, knowing it was true because she specifically told him not to wrinkle his pants as he unpacked after he arrived here.
“Oh, I have something for you.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a heart necklace that was carved from stone and held together with twine. It was simple but still beautiful.
“You’re really trying to win me over in one night, aren’t you?” I chuckled.
“Of course I am,” he confirmed, placing the necklace around my neck and securing it.
“We should be heading back, it’s getting late,” I say, slipping on my shoes as he did the same.
We proceeded back to the willow and saw that everything had been cleaned up. We climbed into the carriage, but instead of making Ismael sit across from me, I let him sit beside me. I rested my head on his strong, broad shoulder and before I knew it I was asleep.
It’s been a couple of days since the start of Ehtele’ mele and Ismael has been trying his hardest to convince me that we're supposed to be together. He's given me flowers, made my meals, which he's an excellent cook, and has taken me on many walks in the moonlight. I'll admit that he's a romantic and knows how to grab a girl's attention, so I'll give him points for that.
"How much longer are you going to make him do all of that?" Lily asked while we took a stroll through town.
"Make him do what?" I asked her, innocently.
"You're making him do everything in his power to win your affections when you and I both know he's already won them," she pointed out, coming to a halt in front of the dress store.
"I just don't want to get hurt again," I tell her, frowning.
She gave me a sympathetic look. "I understand, Ellie, but trust me when I say that he isn't like Vulmar. He'll take care of you. He'll lift you up when you're down, and he'll be there to protect you if you need him to. I've never seen him this happy with someone before, just give him a chance."
"Fine," I said before entering the dress shop. The second the two of us walk into the building, we see Ismael walking around the store, looking at some dresses that are way too big for my tiny body. Out of the corner of my eye, I see a royal blue dress. I turned around to get a better view of it and noticed that it had a matching cloak with it.
I walked over to the dress to look at the details, which is what I always do when I looked at clothes. Then came the price tag. Please don't be expensive. My heart dropped when I saw that it was 50 gold pieces. I mean, it was rightly priced, but that's still expensive! I let out a sigh and walked away from the dress and towards the door, feeling his piercing amber eyes moving from me to the dress. Don't you dare! But the sentence never left my mouth as I stepped out into the warm air with Lily trailing behind me.
"He got it, didn't he," I said, flatly.
"Umm." She quickly glanced behind us then turned back to me.
"Well?" I asked, looking at her.
"I don't know, I couldn't see anything," she replied. Liar. I remained silent as we walked the rest of the way back to the house.
The second we arrived, I unlocked the door and sat the keys on the kitchen counter, and took a bite of a red delicious in a rather aggressive manner.
"What did that apple do to you?" Lily asked, hanging up her satchel by the door.
"Nothing, it's your annoying best friend," I replied with a mouthful of apple.
"He's just doing what every guy is doing around this time of year; he's trying to win your affections," Lily said, pouring a glass of milk.
"Not every guy is after me," I pointed out.
"You know what I mean," Lily said, "Just let him-"
"He's already won me over, Lily!" I shout, slamming my fist on the counter.
"Then let him know that!" She shouted back, "Otherwise, he's going to continue buying you things and going to extreme lengths to impress you."
I didn't say anything, I just stared at her.
"The week is almost over, so make up your mind before another woman flings herself at him," Lily said, sternly before swiping the apple out of my hand and putting the milk away.
Just then, the front door swung open, and Ismael walked in with a box and I knew exactly what he bought. Lily looked between the two of us as an awkward silence filled the kitchen. Ismael placed the box on the table and furrowed his eyebrows.
"Why do I sense tension between you two?"
I bit my lip nervously and looked down at the wooden floor. I mean, how could I flat out tell him that I felt the same way he does after he's spent so much money on me? I don't like it when people spend money on me in general, and the fact that he's doing it to win me over, when he already had before this week makes me feel even worse.
"I'm going to let you two talk and fix," he gestures to Lily and me, "whatever is going on here." He picks up the box and sauntered up to his room.
After hearing the door close, I let out a long sigh of relief. Lily tilted her head towards the stairs, hinting that I should go upstairs. I furrowed my eyebrows to fake being confused, but that just made her roll her eyes and dragged me upstairs, practically tossing me in front of his bedroom door. I glared at her and all she did was point at his door before descending down the stairs again.
I grumble to myself as I stood in front of the place that I really didn't want to be right now. After a minute or so, I decided to go to my room and see if he placed the box on my bed. As I entered my room, there it was sitting on my bed like clockwork. I opened the box and took out the dress and the cloak that came with it.
If I'm going to vomit my feelings to him, might as well do it wearing something that he bought for me.
I changed out of what I was originally wearing and slipped into the beautiful dress. I put on my flats and some jewelry and fixed my hair. When I was done, I looked at myself in the mirror and frowned. Even though I look beautiful, I didn't feel like I was.
I shook the negative thought out of my head and proceeded to leave my room. When I was back in front of his room, I took a deep breath and knocked on his door. I heard the weight leave his mattress and heavy footsteps approaching the door. When it opened, he was looking at me with surprise written all over his face.
"Hey, Ellie, how can I help you?" He greeted with a warm smile.
"I need to talk to you," I replied, reluctantly looking into his eyes. He stepped aside and allowed me to enter the room, closing the door behind me.