As I woke up to the foresty smells of my surroundings, my immediate thought was that I was camping. I opened my eyes to a blue sky lined with trees, inhaled earthy soil, and rolled over to see myself next to Jakob Grimm.
Oh yeah. I had been a witness to murder and cannibalism, a servant to a mistress from hell, and Rapunzel for a day and rescued by the adorable man next to me, who was currently squirming and muttering in his sleep.
Not exactly a typical camping trip for me, but considering how my life had been going this summer...yeah, I'd say that's pretty normal for me.
I was now wide-awake and grinning. I tried to sit up in a flash, but was sorer than usual from sleeping on the ground. At my groan Jake jerked and slowly opened his eyes.
I could practically see the memories from last night going through his head. His eyes darted to me as if hardly daring to believe I was real. Embarrassed, I gave him a shy smile and mustered a charming "'Sup?"
He seemed to try to sit up quickly just as I had, but groaned at the soreness in his muscles. Guilt struck me as I recalled his insistence on giving me his sleeping pack for the night.
"Uh, sorry...'bout the..." I stammered over my words as he stretched and yawned in probably the adorablest way I had ever seen it done.
He blinked at me blearily with his glasses-less eyes. "No no, it's fine," he said quickly, catching on to what I meant. "See? I'm fine." He jumped up to prove his point but lurched over, grimacing. "Owww..."
I got up too, wanting to help but not knowing how. I managed to slur out a few more apologies as he began the stretching routine I recognized from the movie...you know, I don't think I was ever really going to get over the weirdness of my dryer...
When Jake stopped, he was standing much too close--at first I felt a rush at the thought that he was trying to hug me, but then I sheepishly remembered his busted glasses. Feeling like a dumbass, I stepped back a bit, as much as I didn't really want to. Heh.
"Did you have a good sleep?" Jake asked, his adorable voice cracking as he squinted at me, half his face scrunched up.
I tried not to giggle. What was it with me being so girlish lately? Damn his cuteness..."Yeah," I said lamely. "It was...uh...yeah." I felt my face redden.
"Yeah," he repeated, his face coloring a bit too. This only made me even more embarrased--yet giddy. I let out that giggle I had been trying to supress and swore under my breath, earning a quizzical look--well, squint--from Jake.
It appeared my giggle had been enough to wake Will up. "What the hell--" he muttered as he rolled over. Then he, like Jake, stared at me as if fully remembering the events of the night before. "Fat Christ," he said simply, then dropped back down with a dejected sigh.
Jake whipped around to face him, scandalized. "Will, she's standing right here!" he stage-whispered incredulously.
Will turned his head to give Jake a sardonic look that he couldn't see. "Are you confirming her existence or defending her?" he asked dryly, causing Jake to blush again.
"Sorry," he mumbled, turning back to me. "He's a little--"
"Tired of all this gallivanting around," Jake said loudly, getting up with the apparently guaranteed groan and stretching. "And now we have someone else to worry about. Joy."
So his mood hadn't improved since last night. Great. "I won't be any trouble," I told him, not really knowing what better to way to put it than that. I didn't know what they were doing specifically, right? It wasn't like I could assure him that I'd sit on the sidelines while they banished a witch or something, but I had to convince him to let me travel with them--this was just too great an opportunity to pass up!
"Of course you won't," Will said brightly, standing up and beginning to pack his things. "We're dropping you off at the next town we reach. Isn't that right, Jake?"
Jake and I both exploded into protests, mine insisting that maybe I could help them with whatever it was they were doing, his self-consciously but stubbornly informing him that I was important.
Will sighed and rolled his eyes at our twin tirades. "Alright, enough!" he shouted over us. "I've got enough of a headache already."
"Then I'll be quiet as a mouse!" I said, putting empasis by gesturing fiercely. Will glared at me, and I realized the time for fighting was over. "Sorry," I mumbled, clasping my hands behind my back.
"Look, I know we can't just leave you here in the forest," Will reasoned, pinching the bridge of his nose and squeezing his eyes shut in exasperation. "So I don't really have a problem with you coming with us...for now," he added as both mine and Jake's faces brightened momentarily.
"What if before we get to the town, I prove to you that I'm an invaluable asset?" I asked, grinning winningly as if I had just made him an offer he couldn't refuse.
Will just looked at me dryly, unimpressed. "Darling, to do that you'd have to impress the famous Brothers Grimm, hunters of evil," he stated, smirking slightly as if he had beaten me.
"Well, I think Jake's already impressed," I said bluntly. Jake, who had been rubbing the back of his neck uncomfortably at Will's not-entirely-true description of them, let out a sheepish "Huh? No! I mean, well..." I grinned at him, amused by his demeanor, and he trailed off into silence, a lopsided grin coming to his face.
"Disgusting," Will muttered. "Fine, girl, you travel with us. If, for some unthinkable reason, we find you beneficial to us--" the expression on his face showed just how unlikely he considered that to be--"you can stay with us past the next town. Though by the way..." he frowned and paused in his act of saddling up his horse. "Why exactly is it that you want so desperately to travel with us?"
"Uhh..." I said stupidly as I searched my mind for a viable explanation. "'Cause...I'm y'all's biggest fan?" I gave a goofy grin that I hoped looked endearing, shrugging a bit.
"What's 'y'all'?" Jake asked curiously.
"Probably some foreign jargon," Will said contemptously. I was about to get on him for bashing Texas but then figured it wouldn't help my case any--besides, did Texas even exist yet? Damn my history ignorance!
"Alright, I don't really care," Will was saying, jerking me out of my thoughts about Texas. "It's not like you'll be with us for long anyway."
I frowned. "Why, where's the next town?" I asked suspiciously.
"A few days away. Bremen," Jake piped up. I wondered why he hadn't been speaking much lately, but then the name of the town sparked something in the back of my mind.
"Bremen..." I said thoughtfully, furrowing my brow. "Do, like...musicians play there or something? Or is it...no...hmm..."
Will stared at me as if I were insane. Jake kinda did too, I noticed.
I jerked my head up at this realization. "Wow, I'm not helping myself stay, huh?" I offered with a too-hearty laugh. Seeing their weirded-out faces, I sighed and dropped the act. "Just ignore me, I'm a freak," I muttered, mostly to myself. From the future."No kidding," Will said dryly. Jake, however, looked a bit cautious but otherwise intrigued. The familiar giddy feeling returned, for which I was grateful. My thoughts were preoccupied with how the hell I would earn my stay with them. I was too excited by their presence to want to leave! Plus, my previous experiences had proven that when I was with "main characters," as it were, I had some pretty exciting adventures. Of course, I had been through a lot here before meeting the brothers, but still...not being with them in their world just seemed wrong.
To say the least...I got my adventure, all right!