Act II: Scene II
Chantelle yawned, hiding her head beneath the sheets to block out the sun that poured in through the window. A chill ran down her spine as she recalled the dream from the night before. This one had been far more intimate. She didn’t even know if the person in the dream was Marceline, but the red hair suggested it. Her face flushed at the implications. Why would her mind come up with something like that? She couldn’t possibly have been interested in Marceline, could she? Her mind did not answer.
She climbed out of bed, dressing quickly in a T-shirt, black thigh highs, and her jean overall shorts. No one here would mind her exposed legs, but she wasn’t too keen on showing off her mechanical leg.
A knock came at the door just as she managed to get her hair reasonably done. It had not wanted to cooperate. “Yes?”
“Can I come in?” Marceline’s voice carried well, though it was obvious she hadn’t shouted.
“Sure,” Chantelle replied, glancing at the door to check if it was unlocked. It was.
Marceline pushed her way in, looking around briefly before meeting Chantelle’s gaze with a bright smile. “Don’t you look cute.”
Chantelle frowned, turning back to the vanity and slapping on a bit of blush so she didn’t look so tired. “These are just casual clothes, nothing nice.”
“You’re the one who makes it look cute.” Marceline sat on the bed, swinging her bare feet. She was dressed in shorts and a black hoodie, which emphasized how pale she was. “I’m still in my lazy clothes.”
Chantelle shrugged. “So you always wear suits?”
Chantelle grabbed a red lipstick, carefully coloring her lips. That would be enough for the day. She moved to her bag, picking up the scanner out of habit.
“What’s that?” Marceline leaned over for a better view.
“A scanner to check the functions of my synthetic limbs.” She pulled it from the bag. No use in hiding it now. Marceline didn’t care that she was a Cyborg anyways. She sat on the bed, inserting the plug into the slot on her wrist.
Marceline watched with interest as she scanned it, then her leg. “So you just scan them one at a time?”
“Yes. I have another port at the base of my skull, but I usually skip it.”
Marceline’s thin lips curled into a frown. “Skip it? What if something goes wrong?”
“It never has.” The concern on Marceline’s face told her it would be difficult to get out of this. She held the plug out to Marceline. “Can you get it for me?”
Marceline took the cord, gently lifting up her hair to get to the port. A shiver went down Chantelle’s spine as the other girl’s fingers brushed her skin. It passed as soon as she pulled away. The scan took a few moments with nothing to report but a slightly elevated heart rate.
“That’s good.” Marceline stood, offering Chantelle her hand. “Why don’t we go eat?”
Breakfast was quite delicious. Eggs, bacon, and pancakes. Her mother had always insisted on porridge or oatmeal and fruit for breakfast. Arthur sat at the end of the table, with Eliza on his right and Liem on his left. She hadn’t noticed it before, but Liem was several shades darker than the others, being somewhat tan.
“Shall we go riding?” Marceline asked, having cleared her plate for a second time, as she reached for the bacon. “Have you ever ridden before?” She lightly tapped Chantelle’s foot with her own from across the table.
“Only side saddle or pillion. Mother was certain I would fall off. I would love to join you.”
Arthur chuckled at this, giving her another warm smile. “Rather strict, isn’t she?” Chantelle simply nodded.
She’d begun to notice something as the meal went on. It wasn’t just Marceline’s gaze that left her with chills, but that of Eliza and Arthur as well, though not as strongly. Curiously Liem did not have the same effect, though he glanced at her far less often from his seat just beside her. Perhaps she just wasn’t used to being watched and Liem hadn’t gazed at her enough for her to notice.
“I’ll get a blanket for you and then you can borrow Eliza’s boots and ride in what you’ve got on. I’ll need to change real quick.”
Chantelle decided to wait for her in the upstairs library. The room was packed with books, just like the library on the lower floor. Chairs were placed here and there for readers among the shelves. She glanced them over briefly, then headed out to the balcony. The yard was enormous, especially compared to the cozy home. She could see paths leading into the forest area and what she thought was the stable in the distance. The yard almost felt larger than the one back home.
“Going into town again?” Chantelle peeked over the balcony to see Arthur and Liem talking. Liem was dressed for travel in trousers, a vest, and a long coat.
Liem nodded in reply to Arthur’s question. “Someone has to buy groceries. I’ll be back within the hour.”
Arthur frowned and even from where she was she could hear the whining in his voice. “Can’t I go?” So he really wasn’t serious.
“You have business matters to discuss with Eliza. Stop whining.” His tone was harsh, but his expression softened slightly. “You can come next time.” He leaned towards Arthur to plant a brief kiss on the other man’s lips.
Chantelle hurried from the balcony, moving towards the library door. Marceline had just come in and was watching her with wide eyes. “Did you see a ghost or something?”
Chantelle shook her head. “It’s nothing.” She tried to push the memory away, but instead she kept being greeted by the image of that kiss, but with entirely different pairs of lips.