For a moment, he wondered why he had agreed to this. Why he had offered it, even. He glared at the bakery in front of his eyes for a long moment, as if that was going to accomplish anything. Maybe he should just leave. Maybe he should go back to his old habits of not giving a fuck.
Yet there he stood, staring at the rocks of the wall. The rocks, because when he had dared look through the glass earlier, he had seen no one. But he didn’t want to be seen, so maybe it was a good thing. Frustration kept piling up every second now and, since he kept it inside as he stared at the stupid wall, he let out a long demented yell and screamed it out. Many people around gave him terrified looks and he almost wanted to grab a nearby pipe and beat them up until they made no more noise. A kid holding a small balloon stared at him in shocked silence.
-What do you want, shrimp? Get lost.
She flinched at the rudeness of his voice and she must have had some sort of spasm in her hand too, because the little purple thing flew away. Her eyes fixed the sky, tears filled her eyes and she let out a long, heartbroken wail. Goddamn kids. He wanted to give her a kick. She reminded him of Rosa. He should definitely give her a good kick so she’d run away and be out of earshot. Yet there she stood, rivers falling down on her cheeks.
-Shut up! Would you stop?!
He was about to raise his foot and give her a good one when he felt a good thug on his ear. Pain coursed through his head more than anything.
-Ow, ow, ow, this fucking hurts what’s the big idea, damn it?!
-How dare you harass a poor child, don’t you have any shame?
He stopped cold when he realized who had spoken. Charlotte was still pulling tightly on his ear, making sure he’d feel nothing but pain. Her eyes were glaring at him and felt like needles of ice. Wait. Why the hell was he intimidated by this fancy chick?
-What are you doing here? If you don’t have anything to buy, then go away and stop scaring my customers!
He grabbed her wrist firmly and sure enough she let go of his ear. But he didn’t let go of her. Her arm was so small compared to his and he felt he could break her with the slightest grip. He wondered if she had any muscle at all. He frowned. She had a coat on her shoulders and a scarf around her neck.
-Where are you going?
-I’m going to fetch Rosa.
-Don’t give me that shit again!
-You don’t get it! The nobles got her!
-I do get it, doll face, she escaped.
They stood there, glaring at each other for a long time, almost growling as he squeezed her wrist more. She must have at least felt some pain, but her eyes were filled with nothing but cold determination and he couldn’t help but feel an ounce of respect. He sighed and let her go.
-You’ll get in real trouble one day, you know that? Pretty ladies like you need to stay indoors where the sun won’t burn their skin.
-Where is she?
-And what will the nobles think of a fancy lady looking around in dirty hideouts? Definitely suspicious.
-So she’s somewhere dirty.
-Did you listen to what I said?!
He looked at her with unbelieving eyes. She was walking away, walking towards where she thought would be a dirty place. What the fuck was wrong with this girl’s mind?! She’d lead them right to her. He ran after her and grabbed her shoulder roughly, turning her around.
-Hey, smart ass! Where do you think you’re going?!
-Do I have to answer the same question a second time?
-What, you want every fancy coat in the city finding her? You should just let her hide till they leave and then she’ll come back home.
-It’s not only a matter of bringing her back.
-What is it, then?
-I’m angry at her.
He stared at her in awe for a few seconds before it was too much to take in and he couldn’t help but laugh. She glared at him, but she looked nothing intimidating anymore. He could see her cheeks redden under her freckles from embarrassment and it only made her look cute. She was unbelievable.
-What’s so funny?
-Won’t you marry me?
She looked at him wide-eyed and stepped back a moment. Realizing what he had just said, he too grew hot and quickly looked away, scratching his head. Why had he said that? This wasn’t what he was here for! Oh great, he was going to get dumped for sure. And why wasn’t she saying anything? Why did she just keep on staring at him, unbelieving? How annoying could she be?
-Don’t you think we should at least get to know each other first…? I mean, aren’t you skipping steps there?
-What kind of steps?
He looked at her, puzzled. She seemed to have something on her mind, and while he certainly knew what getting to know each other meant, he also felt this wasn’t what she meant.
-Well, you know, a guy will usually ask a girl to date first, not asking her to marry him right up front.
What was she saying? What was this… ‘date’ thing? He would have asked if she meant a date like on the calendar, but he didn’t want to sound stupid. Surely she had to be playing with his mind, yet there she was, looking serious. She either had an incredible poker face, or she didn’t know how these things worked at all. He wasn’t sure which one it was. He sighed in annoyance.
-Look, if you’re not planning on taking on my offer why don’t you just reject it and be done with it? I hate girls who play with others.
-What are you even talking about?
-I don’t know where you come from, but as far as I know when we’re about your age, people usually get married. Not some stupid date, whatever that is, game.
-So you were being serious…?
-Of course I was serious! I just told you, I hate little shits who play with other people’s hearts.
She stared at him for a moment and now he was certain that was she completely clueless about this. Oh, just great. Maybe he should give up on her. After all, she was bound to get someone interested in her sooner or later, but so far she didn’t seem to have any luck, seeing as she had no ring on her fingers. Did he have to explain how things worked to her on top of it?
-Did you live in a hole all these years? Aren’t your parents married, at least?
-My parents are long dead, and I don’t come from this city.
She had this pained expression on her face and she suddenly looked very confused and lost. She looked like she was about to cry. He sighed again, trying to let his frustration out with little success. Alright. Time to be patient. Whatever that meant.
-Alright then, listen closely. I don’t know how you’ve been raised, or shit about you. But the way it works is when you’re of age, which you are, by the way, you get married. Then you start building off a family. Little girls always dream of this shit.
-I know what marriage is, thanks. Only in my world…
He lifted a brow at her. In her what? Had she lost in her mind? Oh, why did he even bother. He hadn’t even come here to tell her this to begin with. Now he regretted more every second to have proposed to her on an impulse.
-I mean, where I come from… people go out together before they get married. Some of them never even do. And…
She was looking down now and speaking nonsense. Greaaaaat.
-Look, just forget it. I’m leaving. Don’t get in trouble. Forget I said anything. Bye.
He was about to leave pretty damn good, but she had grabbed his sleeve before he had a chance to. What now?!
-I can’t just say yes like that. I… I have a lot of things to think about first.
-I told you, don’t sweat it. You’re annoying.
She seemed like she was about to say something else, as she opened her mouth multiple times to close it every time without making a single sound, her eyes staring everywhere. He could feel his frustrating set back in again and, impatient, he snapped again.
-What is it?!
-Will I what.
-Come see me?
He looked at her in the eye for a moment, irritated. She held his sight this time and she was frowning, looking just about ready to punch him if she refused. He snickered.
-We’ll see whether or not you get in trouble, princess.