Rielle wandered the grounds, a little aimlessly; she disliked being parted from her love. She watched the trees sway gently, heard the rustle of creatures in the undergrowth and felt the sun warm her bare arms. Her heart was ready to explode with the continued joy that was flowing from Felix to it. He had smiled when he saw her picture; he had liked it, she was so sure of that. And his picture… Did it mean that he felt safe around her?

Although the happiness made her light-headed, Rielle couldn’t help but think of the embarrassing statement, Oh no, you're never safe here!’

“Why on Earth did I say that?” she mumbled to herself as she watched a violet-plumed bird alight on the dark red branch of the Sansi tree: the Viasee Bird, a rare bird that was only found in three counties out of the seventeen that made up Semereti. And a perfect model for an image of nature.

Rielle opened her sketchbook and sat back against another Sansi tree to watch as the bird picked at the ruby berries.

She couldn’t help it; whenever she was near Felix, (as well as having her blood pump twice as fast) she had the weird urge to impress him, to say things that she wouldn’t normally, or that she would reserve for her parents' almost understanding company, and, inevitably, unnatural sentences would just slip out, sounding ridiculous. It was the only thing that Rielle hated about her (almost) relationship with Felix: there was far too much awkwardness between the two of them. At first, they had been good friends, but, as Rielle’s passion intensified uncontrollably, the silences between them became more intense, more poignant, and it was eating away at Rielle. She wanted nothing more than to feel at peace with his love and for him to be satisfied with her company.

The sound of a twig breaking startled Rielle. She spun, looking for any person in the forest, but saw no-one amongst the trees. Therefore, she settled back to the drawing, but found that her sudden movement had scared off the Viasee Bird. Rielle shrugged and surveyed the picture; she was quite proud with her moderate sketch, if she said so herself, although a little more colour could be needed, and the bird’s head had not been completed before it had flown off. A little bit of imagination would have to be used.

Rielle had lost all track of time by the time that Felix came looking for her. He carried his own sketchbook under his arm, and observed the sun knowledgeably as he walked.

“It’s getting late, Rielle. We’d better head in before your parents send us our separate ways. But first… May I see your picture?”

Rielle passed her sketchbook over to him as he sat down next to her, open on the page of the beautiful bird. Felix studied every inch of the picture carefully. She could not tell what he was thinking.

“Is this… The Viasee bird?” he finally muttered, tracing a line of the drawing subconsciously with his thumb.

Rielle nodded.

“It flew away before I had the chance to complete the drawing. I sort of…improvised…” she looked down, embarrassed.

“It’s very good. So creative and unusual. Rielle, you have a wonderful imagination.”

“Thanks,” she muttered, still looking to the floor.

“Come on,” Felix said, getting up, but not bothering to give a hand to help Rielle up, “Let’s go back now.”

The thing was, Rielle didn’t want to go back to the mansion. It was dull there and there was nobody but her parents and the old servants to talk to; company which Rielle did not find at all invigorating. Felix, on the other hand, was great company, as his intellect was as great as his strength. If only he had the kindness to share both a little more with her .

“So…” Rielle said as they walked across the grounds back to the house. She was desperate to make conversation with him. “What are we doing tomorrow? Something fun, I hope.”

“Semereti Geography,” Felix said bluntly, “I’ve been tasked by your parents to teach you about the land we live in, and it’s about time that I start making some progress.”

Because he, as the teacher, would always make the rules. And she, as the pupil, had to follow.

The End

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