It’s been three days since the market incident. I’ve been ignoring Jayce and I try to avoid him at all costs. Other than that, I try to help Aziel out with whatever I can help with. May it be tending the chickens or their mini farm, with which I have zero knowledge and experience with. Today, I volunteered to harvest the eggs from the chickens because how bad can it be?
First, this coop smells like . Second, it turns out that in order to get ONE egg, those damn chickens must peck you aggressively first. Aziel took note to never let me near the chicken coop again, because I was ready to burn their coop and make a feast out of them. I swear, I felt like they laughed at me after only harvesting 2 eggs before giving up. Fine. It’s not like it’s pleasant to be there. Before leaving their coop, I flipped them my middle finger, and the chicken had the audacity to fake attack me. Not that I flinched and jumped a few feet away, causing me to fall on a horse’s while the chickens cackle. That would be pathetic…
Aziel tried to contain his laughter, and I can only give him a glare. He swallowed hard and left to get some things. As I was waiting for him to return, I can’t help but shudder every second because of the horse in my hair. I can feel a tingling sensation on the spot on my head where the is located. It feels warm. The germs are probably making its way to the pores of my scalp and go inside my bloodstream. HOLY , I CAN’T TAKE THIS ANY LONGER. I started pacing around, trying to ignore the on my head. As I was about to burst, thankfully, Aziel came back with some towel, a blanket, extra clothes, and a basket filled with limes and a jar.
We made our way to the river where the current is not that fast but enough to carry you away if you don’t hold your ground. We walked until we reached a medium-sized rock at the edge of the river. It’s about the height of my knees on the land.
“Stay in front of the stone, love. It's to avoid being carried away by the river’s current,” I nodded at his words before removing my shoes. I dipped myself in the river and boy it went up to my waist. It was cold as , but it’s nothing I can’t take. I’m used to cold showers since we don’t have heaters at home. The stone served as my wall to prevent me from flowing with the current. The current’s looks are not as weak as I thought it would be, but it was stronger than what I expected as it pushes me to the rock with a little force. Aziel handed me the basket with the sliced limes and the jar that was filled with salt.
“Use them on your hair. It will help remedy the smell,” while I was busy with trying to remove the smell from my hair with the salt and lime, Aziel looks constipated. He continued to fidget in his place while avoiding to look at my direction. I rolled my eyes at his actions. Clearly, he wanted to say something.
“Come on. Spill it,” I said as I continue to lime and salt my hair while looking at him.
“S-spill what out? To what reason should I spill something you’re asking for?” he stuttered, while still avoiding my direction.
“First off, I didn’t mean for you to literally spill something, dummy. It’s clear as day that you wanted to say something. And why are you avoiding my eyes?” I questioned him as he dodged my wanted eye contact.
“O-ok. First off,” he said, mimicking my tone. “With your current state, you can as well be .” My eyes grew large when the realization hit me like a truck. I was wearing his WHITE tunic, and it hugged my body because of the water. I got insecure for a bit, worrying that my fat belly was showing. Good thing that it was below the water. I panicked for a while when I realized I had no bra, but then the third realization hit that I placed a band around my almost non-existent ies. I rolled my eyes at his overreaction, forgetting that this was the old era and they were conservative as . I chucked some water in his direction, to which he acted like he was hit with a sword instead.
“Second. It’s not my intention to intrude or anything. However, what happened between you and my little brother? Why were you trying your very best to avoid him these days?” the tension between Jayce and I was thick that there’s no doubt Aziel also felt it. I was giving him the silent treatment because that’s what I’m good at. I let out a deep sigh at this and stopped doing whatever I was doing at my hair. It’s not like I can freely diss his little brother in front of him, right? I’m just their guest, and I really had the audacity to treat my ‘saviors’ like this. He probably noticed my hesitation and gave me a reassuring smile.
“Come here. I’ll wash your hair for you,” I reluctantly walked near him and turned around. He gathered my hair and pushed my head under the water out of spite, for I’m acting like an ungrateful .
He was gentle with handling my hair and could salt and lime the actual spot. He stopped for a while to rinse my hair. Based on what I’m hearing, it seems like he’s reaching out for something from the basket.
“Between you and me, please do not mention to Jayce this.” I turned my head around to give him a curious look. He was holding a block of something.
“Wait. Is that soap?!” it appalled me with the fact that soap exists here!
“U-uh yes? H-how did you know? This could be a block of cheese, you know,” He panicked mildly.
“Don’t worry. Your secret’s safe with me. I really thought that there are no soaps here,” I shrugged and turned around again.
“And what will you do with a block of cheese with my hair?” I scoffed while raising a brow. Not that he can see it, but it adds to the feels. He cleared his throat before he lathered my hair with his secret soap. I closed my eyes as I feel relaxed. I feel really sleepy, especially when people play with my hair. That’s why I love salons. It’s like paying them to play with my hair, added with a disappointing haircut too.
If I’m reading too much of his actions, I probably shouldn’t relax much since he also did this for me to be more comfortable telling him what happened the other day. Or he likes me and probably wants to marry me. Joke ½.
“I only heard his side of the story. Though, he deeply apologizes,” Ah. So, it’s the first option. What a pity, it wasn’t the latter. I only let out a sigh, partly for my deflated ego. I told him my side of the story, but still careful with my own opinions. It’s what put me in that situation in the first place anyway.
“Jayce… He does things with pure intentions… Although he still needs to learn how to do it without hurting others. Which reminds me of the time that he pushed a kid half his size so that he can get the last pastry at the store. He did that because he remembered it was my favorite cookie,” he continued to massage my scalp as I chuckled at the story. I can relate to Jayce. With food, we’re all equals. You’re not special. I think I would’ve done the same thing, if I’m brave enough to do it.
Another deep sigh escaped me because of the relaxation I’m feeling and from understanding Jayce’s side. He’s two years younger than me. Of course, he’s still (kinda) immature and almost lacks social cues. Another reason for that sigh is because I understand him and I’m frustrated because I can’t get mad at him SINCE I UNDERSTOOD HIS SIDE. So, you just end up frustrated from getting frustrated over a misunderstanding and acting the wrong way. Now being mad without hearing his side just adds up to this frustration. I can’t even be mad now that I heard his reason and his usual actions. I don’t want rational explanations. I wanted to get mad! It’s easier that way.
In the end, I have to it up and be the bigger person who I should be. Sometimes, it really do be tempting to be petty. Most of the time, I fall into that temptation. However, that’s not what I need right now to survive in this place. So much for “I wanted something new and challenging in my life.” And this is what I get. I didn’t mean to have THAT ‘Life and Death’ kind of change.
After he was done rinsing off all the soap, he helped me out of the river and lead me to a thick tree. He cornered me at the tree and unveiled the blanket. His actions confused me while he was barely looking at me.
“It’s best if you change clothes here. Though the walk from here seems short, it will be long enough for you to catch a cold… I-I won’t l-look!” He stuttered, while his ears went red. He was taller than me, making him a good hiding place. Since I’m a midget, my height stops at his chest. Let me remind you, I’m 4 feet, 8 inches tall and he’s… tall. Of course, everything is tall for me!
My body grew stiff as I looked at him as if he grew two heads. It is cold. He mentioned earlier that winter is coming and it will snow any time now. There are a lot of reasons why I disagree with his idea. I am insecure with my body. We are not close enough for me to strip in front of him, even if there’s a barrier between us. I am fat. He’s a guy (still a stranger at that). I feel ugly. Did I mention that I’m insecure with my body?
“Can I just wrap this around me until, you know, I reach a closed space?” I asked meekly. My voice getting softer by the minute. I mean, how would you act if a stranger asks you to dress in front of him? Before my mind went to the dirty path (with which it did, but I’ll ignore that), I looked away and avoided his gaze.
“I apologize for my boldness. However, we don’t have enough blankets to keep the three of us warm for the night and this blanket is hard to dry. Good heavens! I must sound eager for you to strip off! I promise, I-I meant good! I d-don’t want to offend you! I promise you; I'm a good boy! I help the elderly when they’re in need. U-uh, I-I always make sure to meet Jayce’s needs while growing up. Uhh.. I-I d-don’t steal! I-I really am a good boy!” and he continued to ramble about his good deeds, stuttered while defending himself that he’s not a . Being the push-over that I am and the inability to say ‘No’ with these kinds of situations that involve the other being emotional, I agreed to his idea.
“J-just look away! And close your eyes!” he nodded vigorously, agreeing passionately to prove his innocence, and held the blanket high above his head. Once I made sure that there are no spaces for peeking, I changed my clothes fast. This is awkward for me. My inner self is screaming. I didn’t let myself be exposed for too long. As soon as a skin shows out, I quickly put on some clothes.
“I-I’m done.” My voice is soft and feels constricted. This happens when I get really shy or I don’t know how to act like a normal person. He lowered the blanket slowly and once I was revealed, we locked eyes for a second before looking away. We avoided gazes the whole time we walked back to their house. There’s awkward tension between us and it doesn’t help that there are occasional glances and skin contact since the path is bumpy with a lot of ing stray branches. Being the clumsy I am, it was inevitable for me to