We were sitting in the snow at the park. Even though it was below freezing, I was sweating under my winter jacket. Ben was sititng next to me, still brushing snow from his golden hair from when I threw a direct ariel snowball right at him. It was no use to try to fight against me. I was the snowball fight Queen.
"Here, you missed a bit," I said brushing out the snow he had missed. He grinned at me and pulled me into a tight hug, kissing the top of my head. This was the pattern we had gotten into. There was no doubt between us or in our relationship. Everyone knew we were an item, and nobody tried to take that away from us anymore. It was like the two of us were intertwined- if one of us was in pain, so was the other. If one of us was in a good mood, the other one, no matter what kind of mood, would turn happy.
And being Ben's girlfriend always made me happy. In fact, I couldn't remember the last time I had cried, other than joyful tears, that is.
"I love you," he whispered in my ear.
"I love you too," I whispered back. We both smiled and looked up as a new layer of snow began to fall above our heads. Ben was suddenly standing up, taking a defensive position in front of me.
"Who is it?" I asked, taking a step back with him so that my back was touching a tree. In the past couple of weeks, Ben had been visited by some strange friends. He didn't know who they were, but he assumed they were friends with his father.
"I don't know," he growled. He flexed his hands, and I hoped this didn't turn into a fight. It hadn't so far, but there were some times when it had been close. A shadow emerged from behind a tree about 15 feet from us, and Ben adjusted so he was between me and the stranger. But the dark figure didn't flinch at Ben's reaction. Instead, he bowed deeply and said in a low, strong voice,
"My leige." He stepped out of the shadows, his face coming into full view. My mouth dropped at his appearance.
"Mr. Galls! Wha-why haven't you been in school?" I asked in wonder. His face- oh, his face. It was young again. All signs of old age had been erased, and his eyes were a bright amber, brighter than I had ever seen them before.
"I went back, Jenn." He hesitated, looking between me and Ben, then finally spoke. "That's probably why you notice the difference in my er- appearance. When we're too far away from the water for long periods of time, our physical features get older. I wasn't allowed to go back because Martha and I were watching you. You know all about this, right?"
I nodded my head numbly, shocked. Because from behind the big tree emerged another shadow, creeping up behind Mr. Galls. I pranced over and Martha swept me up into her arms.
"I've missed you! You were the only one other than Ben and Mr. Galls who would talk to me at school!" I exclaimed, and she hugged me tighter.
"Haha, you would miss me," she laughed and squeezed me once before letting me loose. Then she looked at Ben sadly.
"But I'm afraid we're not here for a heartfelt reunion." Ben switched into his Princely attitude.
"What's wrong?" Martha looked to Mr. Galls, and he answered to Ben.
"The King has been informed of a coup forming inside of the kingdom. It hasn't been set in motion yet, but the castle was already infiltrated," he explained nervously. Ben was frowning, his eyebrows forming a "v". He looked down to the grass, thinking hard. Then his eyes flickered to mine before he nodded his head once.
"Jenn," he started, walking over to me and taking my hands in his. "Listen, I think I need to go back." My breath caught sharply. He was saying that he needed to leave me again.
"I'll come with you." But he shook his head, his hair flopping about. I gazed into his eyes, looking for a sign of hesitation, but found none. "Please," I mouthed. But his eyes were hard, he had already made his decision. Martha stepped forward.
"I can stay here, keep a watch over her," she held out her hand to me.
"No! I can take care of myself." Ben glared at me.
"You better not come down there, Jenn. You are simply not allowed too. Can I trust you to stay here?" I glared right back at him, my eyes icy. After taking in my expression, he turned softer.
"I can't bear to lose you, you understand that, right?" I almost choked up, my eyes tearing.
"I can't lose you either, Ben," I insisted, holding his hands tighter. We stared at each other for one more moment, then his serious face turned playful.
"You won't." I smiled shyly, but it was deceiving. I couldn't trust his words, for even he didn't know his future. He dropped out hands and kissed my cheek, then gestured to Me. Galls and Martha and the three of the sauntered off. Martha gave me a sympathetic look and Mr. Galla just nodded his head once in my direction, and they were gone. Just like like that.