The sun was now a lingering orb descending, close to blush the sky in shades of pink, orange, and yellow. Aimee stood in the alleyway next to the blacksmith shop, breathing in and out, and tightening her hands on the bag’s ears. She couldn’t do this, never had she been looking for a guy before. Clatter, hammering, and sizzling of metal told Aimee that probably Christian was busy, too busy to receive her. Dejected, she turned around to leave, and stopped when she was face to face with Christian.
“Hi Aimee,” he smiled. “What a surprise to see you here.” He set the bucket of water he was carrying and walked to her.
His presence felt so strong and endearing, almost as if she wanted to reach out for him, however she remained put. “Hi Christian,” she managed to stammer. “I did some shopping today, food.”
“Ahh, I see,” Christian’s gaze lingered in the bags of vegetables and meat she was holding. “Where’s Adela, I thought she always came with you.”
Adela again. Aimee looked pleadingly at Christian, could it be that he was mesmerized by Adela too? “She said she wanted to stay home, she’s doing something for dad,” Aimee said resentfully.
Christian noticed the change of tone in Aimee’s voice. “Is that why you look so broken inside, because of Adela?”
Aimee blushed in mortification, “no, of course not. I’m happy that she’s with us and free. I just… I cannot get the notion that we’re competing against each other out of my head. I know it’s wrong to feel this way, but, I cannot help it. She is better than me in many respects, and I think I’m envious of her.” Tears started prickling her eyes again and she hated herself for that. “I just wish she was gone sooner, I was happier when we were only the three of us.” Aimee dropped her head and refused to lift it up when Christian tucked a finger under her chin. She shook her head, allowing some tears to roll. She had never once cried, not since her mother’s death. She had to be strong, for both his father and brother. “I think I have to go.” She walked around him and started walking back to the road.
“Wait Aimee,” Christian reached out for her and grabbed her wrist. “Don’t go just yet; I have something to show you. I think it will cheer you up.”
Aimee’s heart cried in surprise; she quickly blinked back the streams of tears and wiped her face with her free forearm. “What is it?” she said, turning to Christian, hoping he couldn’t see her tear-stained face with the sun so low.
Christian smiled that attractive smile inherent to him, “come.” He guided her down the alleyway and into the open field.
Aimee had never been around these areas, mostly because it freaked her out to find what was beyond the Market. She could only picture stretches of barren land before reaching the river, just as she had seen while in the Chaser high up in the air. The soft, green turf beneath her feet was something unexpected and the exotic bundles of flowers that strived to grow in these lands were interesting and appealing to the eye. It wasn’t a barren land, as seen from above; it was an extensive piece of green life.
However, Christian didn’t stop, instead he quickened his step. Soon, they reached a body of water, not large enough to be a lake. The sun was sinking behind the buildings, casting them in shadows of glow. The pond’s water was starting to shine on its own, reflecting the lights from the dying sunlight and growing moonlight. The stars’ radiance glittered on the water’s surface.
Aimee gasped in delight and whispered. “A place where the stars are close enough to touch.” She dropped her shopping bags and walked closer to the brim of grass, the soft ripples of the water swayed peacefully with the wind. The tall grass and cattails bended harmoniously with nature, and her spirits bend too. She didn’t feel anger or resentment anymore; it was internal peace, a marvel of the soul encountering the beauty of nature. The stars winked at her from the reflection in the water, showing her stories of ancient times. She sat on the soft grass, bending her legs and hugging them close to her chest.
There was a single standing weeping willow tree, with half its roots plunged in the water and the other half in the ground. The long slender leaves blew with the wind, creating pattern of rhythmic dance. The bark and branches were gnarled with age, extending far over the pond and the grass, sheltering them.
Christian sat beside her, regarding the view with fondness. “This is my favorite spot ever since I came to the Northern Territories. Whenever I felt sad or that I didn’t belong here, I would run out here and contemplate the stars, the moon, and the lights. It made me feel that I was in the sky, floating beside them.”
Aimee turned to look at Christian, the growing darkness made his eyes a brighter hue. “When was that? How did it happen?”
Christian sighed, “I came to live with Rathor this summer.”
“You’ve only been here for three months?” Aimee asked.
Christian nodded. “I still feel like I don’t belong here. But every day, that feeling dims. Your brother was very supportive during my first months, Rathor introduced us. He would come by every now and then to invite me to fence with him or explore the Market. He would tell me all about flying the skies with his father and I envied him. However, those feelings quickly disappeared the next day when he came by for a visit. He is my friend, I cannot envy him anything, just wish him happiness.”