"I dont really know much about who she was," said Kieran with a shrug. "She doesn’t like to talk about it, and i can imagine why. but she was, from what little i heard, only nineteen when she died. had a home, a family with her brother. i dont know if she was happy or not though." he honestly didn’t know much about his mother’s past. his father had warned him not to pry in past life matters.
"As for me being strange..well spotted," he said with playful sarcasm before continuing. "Well it isn’t quite that simple. it’s a need.” he stopped himself, biting back elaborating more on why he needed to spread nightmares to more than one child. “It is detrimental to the child if you solely visit them and implant nightmares into only them. it would destroy their psyche and possible cause them to pass in their sleep. so i distribute, and it brings more satisfaction than revisiting the same child night after night.”
He caught sight of the pixie heading their way, and realized again he’d failed to teach her the Unseelie language. oh well. they had a month together. “Besides,” he continued before the pixie reached them, “would you eat the same dish night after night the same way each time?”
the pixie came and Kieran quickly ordered something simple, a more tame meat. “You want the same as last time?” asked Kieran, glancing over to her.
It took Estelle a moment of understanding him, and pondering on his question. “Just something small,” She replied, eyes wondering from him to the other side of the table. The deal she had made was under stupid intentions. And he had a full month to do what he pleased without her being able to run into him and be a bother. Like she could anyway due to that damn deal. She didn’t like how he spoke about what he did. Collected. She kept that and avoided letting her emotions run. Her ears caught the pixie leaving, and she had waited for that to speak.
"For you, maybe. For a long while, I did. Back when I was actually alive. First living on my own, I didn’t have much. The same meal, the same leftovers, and even the same drinks. I didn’t have a choice, unlike the many millions of ones you have." Her lips curved into a quick frown, beginning to actually miss her home. She was never one to be homesick. She moved from place to place so much, though, her cottage was one she had for the longest.
Her head gave a quick shake, pushing a smile through as she looked back to him. “If something is good enough- if it makes you happy with every second you can taste it… The smell and the sight, despite it being the same over and over, well.” She took a deep breath in, a hiccup in her voice rising. “You learn to love what you have and never question it. You don’t look for others when you know this is the best you’ll ever find.”
Estelle didn’t think she’d get the slightest emotional over such things. She was missing home. Everything was perfect there. She refused to regret what was going on. Things happen. Her fingers found themselves wrapped around the pumpkin. She sat it on the table, hearing the little on pop from inside. Don’t make it worry, she told herself. Her head fell to the other side, eyes drifting from him. There was one word she couldn’t get rid of. “..Sorry.”
For a moment he was confused, thinking she was encouraging him to feast off of one child. but that would mean the harm of the child and he knew her better. he could see she was revisiting the past and his face ever so slightly creased at the brow with worry. for the first time Kieran had wished she’d pry him more so that she could be distracted. anything to make that forced smile become true.
He would have told her of similar hardships, but he didn’t want to come across as telling her that her problems arent important. and he didn’t want to revisit. maybe after tonight when he was done running her errand. but first he wanted to put her at ease. suddenly he stood and left the table without a word, brushing past a barmaid and entering the kitchens. he found the pixie and asked her to box their food. she looked confused and he had to explain that they were taking their food to go. eventually she found two boxes to put their food in and gave him the boxes. in return he gave her the coin to pay. the cooks gave him annoyed glances as he left the kitchens, unnerved by his intrusion.
Kieran strode back over to the table and handed her the box of her food. “Here, let’s get out of here. go back home where it’s more comfortable,” he said and took a gulp of his ale before abandoning it on the table. he picked up the bag of clothing, not wanting to lose it, and waited for her to stand.
Estelle hated all of these emotions. More so, she didn’t like ruining this time with him. But when he stood, her stomach tightened. Had she done something wrong? She bit her lip, peering down as the sprite was looking back to her. “I’m not a burden, right?” She questioned, seeing it shake her head. Even the little one looked worried. While she wanted to look back to see where he went, she pushed herself to believe it was non of her concern. He wouldn’t leave her, though. She knew him atleast that well. If anything did happen to her, the women… the crow from earlier would have his head or worse.
Another apology wanted to settle on her lips, but she denied it. Her boots were being rubbed together, holding tight to the pumpkin with her head tilted down. During the time he was away, she had finished her drink. The pit in her stomach soon loosened, and she sank into the chair. Before taking the jack- o -lantern and pulling it close, she began to think of his mother. He never explained what she wanted to know. Was she harsh? Kind? Overbearing? She didn’t see any pictures of either parents in his home. Her shoulders rolled back against the chair, close to sinking lower. She wasn’t sulking, more of just wishing she had kept quiet.
The box that entered her vision snapped her to sitting back up straight, pumpkin still to her chest. She nodded, a small smile crossing her face when he mentioned leaving. If anything, the air on her face would help her. Her hands shifted left and right, putting the box of food onto the table, rotating the pumpkin to where she could hold both, and not forgetting to put his scarf back around her. “Mhm.. ready.” She said, standing and pushing the chair in with her butt. For some reason, she didn’t want to look him in the eye. Everything was beginning to take the newly found joy and turn it around to what she didn’t want.
Kieran gave her a small smile and led her out, his hand gently pressed against her lower back as they headed for the door. he nudged it open with his shoulder and stepped out onto the cobblestone. once outside he spoke to her again, looking down at her sideways. “I figured we could talk better back at my place,” he explained, sounding apologetic for abruptly making them leave. his hand left her back and held the box, not wanting to be invasive with his touch. “Less people, less noisy. always better.” he wouldn’t let on that he just wanted to spend alone time with her. he didn’t mind hearing her talk and just wanted to be home with her. he didn’t want to think about going out and dealing with Manny or Nightlight. he just wanted to make her smile and hear her stories. there was a comfort in both, even if some things she said made him remember.
He decided to take her hand this time, and floated up. he led her back to his place. soaring up high he looked over at her again. was she upset with him? had he already said something rude or distasteful? he wasn’t certain and so he decided he’d find out at the house. the wind howling around them was no place to try and discuss feelings.
Eventually they made it back to his place and he opened the front door, stepping comfortably into the dark entrance hall. he made his way over to the kitchen and opened his box of food. it was somehow still warm despite the flight over and so he dumped it onto a plate. not really caring for neatness, more on how his stomach growled, the prince fished out a fork from the drawer and wandered over to the sitting room. he stepped up to the fireplace and, closing his eyes, he snapped his fingers. a spark flicked from the snap and into the waiting dry wood piled inside the hearth. it burst into spirit flame, and Kieran turned away before opening his eyes again. a small trick he’d learned from his mother. he then sat down on the rug in front of the fire, his back turned to the light, and began to eat his food. he was letting Estelle settle in and do her thing until she wanted to join him.
Estelle balanced everything well enough as she began to walk, glancing at his feet at he put his hand to her back. Being outside was better. It was much better than the eatery. They both knew this. Her feet hit the cobblestone in a skip, more than ready to leave. His voice hinted things, but she brushed it off with a shake of her head. “No no. Thank you. It’s much better without others.” She shrugged as she paused. “Quality time I guess.” Her own voice was a bit off, unsure of herself. The reminder of home sickness was settling in her stomach. At this point, she was unsure if she wanted her meal. Looking to the pumpkin, she saw the sprite get more comfortable, yet curious to the movement. A small smile held her face, growing as he took her hand. Lucky enough, it was easy to shift the jack -o- lantern onto the box. Her hands were easily growing cold, the trip back planning to be harsh on the open sections of skin.
At first in the air, she was fine. The further out they got, the more wobbly she was. Still, it was hard to look at him directly. She wanted to be angry, but couldn’t put her heart to agreeing with her mind. The wind against her open face and ears proved horrid. She slowed down, hiding in back of Kieran so that the wind wouldn’t be too direct. But down through the trees and the hole, she couldn’t wait to be back inside. Go figure she wanted to leave warmth so badly, only to want it more. Letting him go first, she whispered things to the sprite about later in the evening. While she closed the door, she heard him finding his spot in the other room.
Unlike before, she removed her shoes and sat the scarf down on a chair next to the door. Any outdoor clothing was removed. With both hands now able to carry each of the objects, she headed into the kitchen. It was much brighter than she expected, but the extra warmth in the fireplace grabbed her attention. The hunger didn’t come back. She’d wait til after he left and she had to clean her mess from earlier. Keep busy, atleast. She was a bit uneased about not eating, hoping he wouldn’t worry. Sitting the box of food on the counter, she placed the pumpkin closer to the fireplace. There wasn’t a way she’d leave it alone in the back. Glancing over, she saw him turned away. Even she couldn’t help but hide a small laugh about it. Slowly, she moved onto the carpet and sat next to him, facing the fire. Her legs stretched out enough for her toes to feel the warmth. To say anything? She’d wait for him. Butterflies or something rolled around in her stomach and chest. It was more than being home sick. She’d deal with those later in the days, hopefully.
"If you want to ask more questions i’m fine with answering," said Kieran after a moment of silence while he ate. his words were honest, though his stomach twisted a bit at the thought of dumping his past on her. but he had to remind himself that her past wasn’t a skip through the park, and to be quite honest worse than his. at least he had family. family that would kill for him, and have tried before. "I guess i was just a bit put off by everyone around us. didn’t feel like a safe place to share." that was half a lie, but he didn’t want Estelle to think it was her fault.
he stayed where he was while she sat next to him. he enjoyed her closeness, the comfort of having someone sit nearby fearlessly. that’s what it was right? she actually wanted to be near him, and not tolerate him because she was afraid and trapped with him? the insecure thought struck unexpectedly and he forced it away angrily. no that couldn’t be true. if it was then she wouldn’t be trying to open up to him, and have him open in return. she wouldn’t have allowed him to bed her earlier, or he certainly hoped so. he didn’t like that idea, not one bit and found the whole notion harder to shake.
His eyes watched the shadows dancing across the wall opposite the fire. his own shadow was twisting and flickering, a massive black monster threatening to swallow the other darting shades of darkness cast by the fire. it reminded him of the old Greek “Allegory of the Cave”, and he briefly smiled at the random relation. pushing ancient allegories aside he took another bite of the food, trying to think of what to say next to break the silence. but before he could delve into considerations, he noticed she didn’t have her plate. he frowned slightly, and turned to face the same way she was, ignoring the blaze of the spirit fire.
"You haven’t had much to eat all day," he noted casually, not trying to sound overbearingly concerned. "And now you dont want your dinner?" he paused, looking her over and trying to seek one one hint of what she was feeling. "Something’s bothering you." It wasn’t a question.