The grass was soft over by the bird-bath and pond, I pulled myself up with a huff, then paced for a moment before throwing myself down again. My father had left nearly half an hour ago with another delivery for Lord Danite Flight, she was normally here by now.
Out of the corner of my eye, I caught the flash of her cloak whipping through the trees. Literally vaulting myself from my lying position on the ground to my feet, I ran back to forge, and grabbed the first sword I saw- it hardly needed any refining, but I wasn't going to be caught lying around, seemingly waiting for her... no, that'd be far to desperate.
I knew it was coming the moment I heard the soft patter of her feet on the stone floor of the forge. Soft hands wrapped over my face, covering my eyes- she smelled so pretty.
"Guess who?" She chimed sweetly.
"You shouldn't be here," I laughed back at her.
"I said guess who, Aaron." she said, retracting her arms, and folding them across her chest, bottom lip sticking out in a pout.
"Well," I thought about it a second, I shouldn't have- but stirring her was too fun. "I would have said Jessica, you know, but she doesn't smell quite so terrible." I laughed again, and winked at her. Unfortunately, she missed the joke.
"Aaron!" she said, hurt coming through clear in her voice, then almost in an undertone saying: "How dare you say someone else smells better?"
"Oh! Right, sorry m'lady!" I pulled my best attempt at a bow, that the royal gents so often performed, and watched the tears retreat back into the depths of her eyes, and a smile begin to break through.
"Come on, Carlie." I said, smiling my best smile. "I'm just teasing."
"Yeah," she admitted weakly. "But why Jessica?"
Damn good question actually, but before I could think out some clever answer to avoid this mess waiting to happen, I was honest. "I- Uh- I don't know... first name that came to my head?"
Bad move, Jessica was the daughter of the towns Baker, a real beauty with flowing red hair, and brilliant green eyes that sucked every other lad in the town in. Which was unfortunate for everyone really, because she only had eyes for Aaron, and Aaron only had eyes for-
"Why?" Carlie complained, kicking the dirt of the Forges floor around with her shoe. "Has she been visiting the forge with those damn nut-filled brownies again?" He couldn't help his eyes darting to the bowl resting on the bench just behind her, filled with 'those damn nut-filled brownies'.
"No?" I lied. Probably the weakest lie I've ever told. I might have well been wearing a face coated in the brownies. I tried the smile again, as she turned slowly around, her eyes resting on the bowl of brownies. The smile wasn't working today, the bore of her eyes into me was deadly.
Tenderly, I edged my way around her, stretching out awkwardly to pick up the bowl. I laughed nervously, before vainly attempting to gulp down my fear. Timidly as a Blacksmith's son could, I extended the bowl out towards her.
"You should try one Carlie..." I was surprised she couldn't hear the thunder of my adrenaline filled heart through my chest. "They're actually kinda good." How is it someone half my size could inspire so much fear?
"I'd rather not." She said blankly, before turning her back, and stepping away.
"Wait!" I jumped forward and grabbed her arm, spinning her back to face me. "Carlie-" I put the bowl back down on the bench. Her stare hadn't eased up. I winced some on the inside, before with a flick of my wrist flipping the bowl end up off of the bench, sending the brownies aflight all over the forge.
"Jessica?" I asked. "Come on Carlie, you're my best friend." I reached out, and tugged on her arm softly. "Come on, where do you want to go today? Woods? Creek? Name it. I'll take you there."
Next thing, her body collided into mine, her small frame shaking with her sobs. "Oh Aaron, I thought I was losing you too."
"Hey," I crooned into the silky mess that was her auburn hair. "Hey, Hey, Hey. Whatdya mean? I'm not going anywhere."
"Isaac's started courting," she continued to sob into my leather blacksmiths apron, "I- I don't want him to, but if I stop him that would be selfish."
I never understood how the Royals could operate like that- forcing themselves to choose between love and family, always so proper and- and Carlie needed me now, and this was not the time to be thinking about the flaws of Aire's noble families.
"Is he?" I asked, more for something to say. "Hey, Yeah, You can't stop him, but hey, you'll always have me." I said, cringing with how hollow the words sounded for the depth of emotion behind them. "Best buds, right?" I grinned at her, reminding her of a childhood pact.
She wiped away her tears, and looked back at me with her gorgeous pale blue eyes. "Always." She whispers. Now, the hug earlier had caught me by surprise, but when she lent up and kissed me lightly on the cheek, a million thoughts and feelings assaulted me at once.
I found myself leaning back down towards her, to return the kiss- but caught myself in time. "Always." I beam back down at her. "
"Now come on," I gesture vaguely up the sweeping hills to the Flight's mansion, where my dad had taken his delivery earlier. "They'll be up there for hours, chatting, drinking, training- I reckon we have enough time to go fishing. Remember?" I continue excitedly. "We said we'd do it as soon as we got the chance, I finished the rods just the other day. Whadya think?"
"Yeah, only cause you told me stories of how your father use to take you!" she said back, a glint in her eye. "Sure you still remember how?" she snipped, her voice full of sarcasm.
I mimic the scowl she'd offered me earlier, "Yes. I remember how." I return, "Do you even know what a fish is, Your highness?"
She stepped back and proudly put her hands on her hips. "I had fish last night!" she announced.
"Oh really?" I ask, "And what did it look like?"
"Uh..." Her face crinkles up in deep thought. "Shut up!" She finally exclaims.
"Come on!" I laugh, "I've left them in the walls of my room." I grab her arm, and the two of us run out of the forge back toward the house.
This was going to be a great day.