4fe 53 – Trust
A flicker of light bothered her sleep and, with a grumble, she slowly opened her eyes and tried to make out where she was. She was comfortably laying in her bed, someone in her back and, in her blurry confusion, wondered for a moment if it wasn’t Rosa. She snuggled to them and closed her eyes again, feeling too good to want to get up. A loud grumble tickled her ears and she realized the arms holding her were more rough than the ones she was used to but, rather than feel shocked and try to get away, she found herself smiling warmly and wanting to stay there all day. She couldn’t help but love this warmth.
He moved a little and sighed in her neck, slowly taking the realization of where he was, she guessed. She surprised herself to wonder where he was used to sleep usually, and, she realized, maybe she didn’t know much about him either.
-You really sleep with this thing?
She tried to move away to see what he was looking at, but he obviously thought otherwise, holding her tight enough that she would have a hard time escaping. Not really feeling like it anyway, she didn’t struggle long and heard him snicker.
-I meant that awful doll.
-But you’re the one who gave it to me…
-Well, yeah, but…
There was an awkward silent for a moment and she pictured him blushing and probably swearing in his mind.
-What happened to your fingers?
-Well, you’re wearing bandages and all… Did you cut yourself?
-Oh… No, that’s not it…
Another pause, and she could feel him waiting for some sort of answer without really wanting to push further and ask it himself. She gripped his sleeve a bit.
-Would you… Would you think I was lying if I told you I don’t come from here?
-I know that already, you just suddenly appeared a few years ago. You come from another village, right?
-No, I don’t.
She clung to him more tightly, suddenly glad she couldn’t see his face right now, yet thankful to still be held.
-I come from another world. I’ve never seen any other town than this one here.
He didn’t react, listening closely to what she had to say. He didn’t seem to judge, nor did he seem to believe she was lying; her only guess was that he waited to hear the whole of her story before he could make up his own opinion. It was a wild guess because, for some reason, she realized she had a much harder time reading into Greg than she had in anyone else. She frowned, concentrated in trying to connect to him, but still, no matter how much she tried, all she could find was a wall.
-R-right… Well, you see… Where I come from, people don’t have these kind of ears and tails. Our ears are very small, and the same colour as our skin. When I first came here, I actually had a hard time moving them at all, and often got my tail injured from dragging it on the ground.
She wasn’t really sure why, but for some reason she started telling him everything. She started telling him about her world, about how it would work out. She tried to explain to him how magic worked out, and how emotions had a much bigger impact over there than they had here. She found out how hard it is to explain a concept to someone who has never heard of anything like it and, trying to grasp examples, she found herself feeling ridiculous and silly. He didn’t say a single word, though, brushing her arm’s skin with his big, rough fingers as she went on and on.
She went on about how, over there, they had more advanced things, things such as cars and, trying to explain them to him the same way she had explained them to Rosa years before, she was surprised to be interrupted and learn that they did exist here as well. She tried to tell him that the other girl had told him otherwise, to which he had responded that she had probably never seen one. They were owned only by the richest. That explanation made since and, considering that the girl didn’t even know how to read, she wasn’t surprised that she had never even heard of it.
She told him about how for as long as she could remember, she would always hang out with Mage. No matter how much she tried to remember how they had met, she couldn’t; as if they had been introduced to each other as babies. She guessed her family must have had really close ties to the royal family somehow, considering that they would always hang out even though they had a difference in status. She told him about silly things, such as how she enjoyed wearing the dresses, how people would always tell her how natural she looked in them, and how she loved messing up with the guards. He seemed to be paying close attention to her tale, more than she had ever expected anyone to give.
Her parents would always allow her to run off to see her friend and nobody in the castle had ever seemed to mind her. But as soon as it was dark outside, she would go back home; these were the rules. Her mother would always tell her that if she was at the castle during the night, a beast would come and swoop her up. Whenever she asked more details, however, she was always told a description of the beast, how it had long and sharp teeth, deep murderous purple eyes with the slightest hint of red and a skin darker than black.
The monster had no name, and had apparently attacked her when she was a mere child the day she had stepped into its lair one time, back when she was still allowed to sleep over at her friend’s. Every night, he would roam into the basements searching for her, wanting a taste of her blood once more… at least she was always told. She wasn’t sure how much of this was made up, but it had always invoked a great fear in her and she had never really asked any more than this. She laughed a bit, telling him how it was usually the princess who was kidnapped by the dragon in fairy tales.
-That’s a pretty scary story to tell a kid…
-My parents only wanted to protect me.
-If that’s a made up story, then they have one hell of an imagination. Would have been much easier to just tell you some more traditional black mailing shit. Something like no dessert for a week. That’s how it works here, at least.
-Well… I don’t know. You have a point, I guess, but I was too young to remember much details.
-Besides, having to explain that excuse just seems like such a pain. You were bound to get curious and ask questions.
She had never really thought about it this way, but now that he pointed it out, it did seem curious. She tried to ponder over it for a moment.
-Oh, and one more thing. I don’t know much about this Mage person, and pardon me for this, but…
A big shiver ran down her spine and it took her a moment to realize he had grabbed her ear. She was about to complain, but when she turned enough to see his face she noticed how serious his eyes were.
-These, are the ears of a princess.
-Geez! Would everyone stop saying that?
She pushed his hand and she noticed him blush and look away a bit. He sat up, with his back against the wall, one arm on his knee and it didn’t take long for him to be ready to listen again. She, too, replaced herself to face him, one leg neatly folded over the other.
-I’m no princess, there must have been some kind of bug in your system when I got here. This world is weird anyway, I don’t understand it completely yet.
-T-tell me… Why are you here? I mean, why aren’t you in your own world…?
-That’s because… It died. Something ate it up.
She started telling him the tale of her world’s end, just as she had lived it for a second time when she had reread her diary days earlier. She was so lost in her own words and nostalgia that she didn’t see it coming when he grabbed her hand, just as she was getting to the part where she had met Rosa. She felt panic course through her veins and tried to pull it away quickly to hide it, but he was holding it firmly, looking calm.
-Before you go think something stupid, know that I don’t really think you’re lying. You’re always hiding things and it’s suspicious, and there are way too many simple things that seem unknown to you. Your story makes sense. But it’s just… I’ll need time to fully take it in.
There was something else in his eyes, some weird expression she couldn’t make out, some deepness to them… Oh, why was he so hard to read? She felt her own ears flat out on her head, as if to show her annoyance. Was he able to read her…?
-I come from a family that was once well known and had a lot of money.
It was her turn to raise her ears and listen in to his story. She hadn’t really expected him to start talking, but now she was curious.
-My parents are very good at working with small mechanisms, and we had our own clock shop. If you had come here ten years ago, you would read the time on a Sinclair watch. I, too, really enjoyed working with clockworks and every day seemed to be so easy…
-I didn’t know you knew these things.
-But then, one day, a man came to town. He started selling lies to everybody, sullied our family’s name. My father had been cheating on my mother with another woman, and before we even knew it, his story was in the newspaper all over town. Less and less people came by, and even those who did had a scornful look on their face.
He took a break, frowning as he recalled the events.
-That bastard, too, was a clockmaker and when our reputation was filled with doubt, he moved in with his wife and their son and made their own shop. He stole all of our clients and, in the middle of that whole commotion, my father left, leaving my mother, my three sisters and I to fend for ourselves.
He put his hand on his face, hiding a bitter smile.
-I was already hanging out a lot on the streets, and when this came to the ears of the brats, they decided that it was a good idea to outsmart me. I showed the bastards that I was still in charge, but that Nichols just pays them to be on his side. Nobody gives a shit anyway, that kid’s handing out stolen money. I just wish there was something I could do about it…
He stayed like this a moment longer and, as if remembering what he had in mind earlier, grabbed her wrist once again. The same feeling of danger swept over her and she tried to break free, but he wouldn’t let her.
-Now we’re even.
-But there’s one more thing you’ve been hiding and that I’d like to know.
Without waiting for a reaction he pulled on one of the bandages, revealing her blackened fingers. She tried to struggle and go away, feeling desperate.
-Charlotte, what happened to your fingers?