This is my first short story for Anne Cohen’s website. 🙂 It is a little different than the rest of my fiction.
The cabinet door gave a little squeak as it closed.
James had been quiet the whole way back to the cabin, and although the silence was uncomfortable, I felt like there was nothing I could say to break it.
We prepared a soup for lunch out of dehydrated potato soup mix, kidney beans, and chicken broth that was going to expire in a few months. I stirred the contents in a small pot on the stove as James sat at the kitchen table and stared out the window. His expression was resolutely serious.
He looked deep in thought and I hesitated to break the trance he held with the scenery outside the window to tell him lunch was ready. I quietly announced that food was ready as I set the spoon down on the decorative holder in the middle of the stove and James nodded in acknowledgment. He rose, bracing himself with his hands as he went.
I set aside two bowls and spoons on the counter and turned to face him as he walked over to me.
“Thank you.” His voice was deep and clear as he stood in front of me, his eyes meeting mine.
“You are welcome.” I forced an uneasy smile in reply, “You okay?”
“Yeah,” He picked up his bowl and spoon, “Just thinking.”
“That’s dangerous.” I winked at him.
“Are you ready for this?” James asked nervously.
I nodded silently, positioning my hand to open the document to the first page. My thoughts raced as I wondered what we’d learn from these documents. Had Silen told us the truth? What if he hadn’t told us everything? I still had so many questions…
A loud noise from outside startled us, causing me to drop the paper.
James jumped up and bolted for the door to investigate the noise. Had someone found us already? I followed behind him with worry, stopping at the doorsteps as he circled around the house.
The sound of metal clanking pierced the cold day from the side of the cabin and I heard James laugh heartily.
He emerged with a large metal trash can in hand, firmly holding the lid in place on top. I gave him a quizzical look, thankful that, from the looks of it, the noise seemed to be benign.
“I found lunch!” He teased as he cracked the lid open to reveal a scrawny looking raccoon, “Looks like he got himself stuck.”
“Eww!” I threw my hands in the air and let out a cry as I took in the raccoon’s matted hair and dark eyes, “I’m not eating that!”
“Why not?” James retorted, “It’s only fair! After all, I ate your macaroni…”
“Hey!” I said as I indignantly crossed my arms.
He grinned and started to open the lid further, pointing it in my direction.
“You wouldn’t dare.” I narrowed my eyes at him.
Our cheese covered dishes rattled in the sink as James ran water into them after dinner.
“Ready for bed?” He asked, turning to me with a sleepy smile.
I stretched my arms out behind my back and yawned, nodding as I took a step to be at his side.
We walked towards the bedroom, making sure that the front door was locked and the blinds were closed along the way.
The floor boards creaked as we opened the bedroom door and I laid eyes on the bedroom for the first time.
I shifted nervously as I caught a glimpse of a sign above the bed that read “Always kiss me goodnight”.
James sensed my nervousness and laughed.
“Don’t worry Princess, I’m not going to try to put the moves on you.” He winked at me, trying to hide a half-smirk that tugged at his lips.
“They look happy!” I said cheerfully.
“They were in love.” James affirmed, taking a step towards me to look at the pictures himself.
“That was his fiance,” James added as stood behind me, “I heard a lot about her.”
“Was?” I asked sadly, “Did they break up?”
James was quiet for a moment and a spun around after several seconds of silence to check if he was still there.
He stood with his head hung and his body crumpled to the floor. I could see through his strands of hair that he was crying.
“Are you okay?” My voice was filled with concern as I knelt in front of him, gently pushed his hair back and held his head up.
Read More: Macaroni and Cheese
My heart pounded in my chest as I listened to his panting. Although he was worn out, he caught up to me and reached out, grabbing onto the sleeve of the shirt he’d given me.
I giggled as we tumbled down to the ground, rolling onto our backs. We drew in air, synchronizing our breathing. His bare chest rose and fell with each breath.
“You’ve gotten faster!” He glowed with admiration.
“I’ve had lots of practice.” I bit my lip.
“Oh, you don’t have to tell me.” He replied with a laugh.
“Aw Princess,” He teased, motioning to my shirt, “You’re no fun.”
“Not a chance.” I shook my head at him, covering my chest with my arms defiantly.
“It’s only fair.” He sulked, his lower body sinking further into the water.
“In. Your. Dreams.” I leaned forward, letting the words slowly roll off my tongue.
He dove into the water, giving me a playful look before he submerged.
I took a step back, unsure of what he was planning.
His arms swept my legs from under me and I found myself wrapped up against his chest.
“Pretty sure this isn’t what people mean when they talk about sweeping a girl off her feet.” I said sarcastically as I watched the droplets of water fall off his eyelashes.
“We should be there by nightfall.” He answered, glancing in my direction.
His eyes lingered on me a split second longer than necessary.
“Cool.” I replied shyly, unsure how to interpret the look he’d given me.
“Will there be more food there?” I joked with him.
“I sure hope so.” He winked, “Otherwise we’ll have to go fishing!”
I raised an eyebrow at him, “Since we don’t have bait, I guess we’ll have to use your toes.”
Read More: Reflection
“Do you believe a word he said?” James asked as he held the door open for me, ushering me outside in front of him.
“I don’t know.” I admitted, feeling a rush of weakness spread through my body.
James gestured for me to sit on the grass as we stopped for a rest. My wings quickly disappeared into my shoulders as I slowly crouched to the ground.
“I guess,” I hung my head and motion to where my wings had been, “I don’t have as much control over this as I had hoped.”
“Still,” James spoke as he wiped the blood off of his throwing stars, “You had a pretty good bluff going on in there, especially considering you were still recovering from those drugs.”
Read More: In Your Eyes