Southern England, 1555
She smelt slightly like vanilla, and she felt soft underneath his slightly rougher skin. But along with the faint pain of untangling himself from Misty at dawn, came the realisation of what he did to her, crashing down upon a mortified Ash. Violet's words echoed in his head, accusing him of making her beloved sister 'impure' and 'unfit' for the grace and mercy of God. He brushed a piece of hay off her cheek.
Ash groaned under his breath as he tried to cover her up with his coat. He stood up shakily, watching her as she slept, and snuggled closer into the canvasy, brown fabric of his coat. Ash flopped down on the grass a little way away, and squinted against the pink brilliance of the sunrise. Today he'd have to make his way back to Aylesbury, and meet up with his master.
And go off to fight a war.
Misty shot straight upwards with a gasp, her short hair falling messily around her ears, clutching the strange and rough material to her body. In puzzlement, she looked down and around the campsite, and groaned. She knew she should be berating herself, but she couldn't stop herself from smiling in delight as she realised that last night had not been a dream. Violet's going to kill me, she thought, laying back down on the remarkably comfortable pile of hay, and realising that not only couldn't she care less what Violet thought at that moment in time but also… that she could hear her little sister calling her name.
"Hell!"Misty cursed, as she sat up again, shocking herself with her bad language, but at the same time, managing to be pleased. She leapt from the ground, clutching the coat to her as she desperately scanned the area for her clothes. She scooped up and struggled into her under garments, her petticoat and then finally into Duplica's gypsy dress.
"Coming, sister!"she called, as her sister's voice grew more frantic.
Random gypsies wished her a good morning as she wandered towards the main caravan where Violet, Melody, Duplica and Ash were standing, him trying to look as inconspicuous as possible. Her eyes met Ash's over the top of Violet's head, and her breath caught in her throat – she would never have thought her biggest dilemma would be wondering what to say.
Ash looked at her openly, smiling slightly, and obviously oblivious to everyone else. On a sudden whim, she quickly winked at him without anyone noticing and he grinned broadly. She wasn't so lady-like anymore…
"Where have you been, sister?"Violet clucked, disapprovingly. "You look very tired and… rumpled…" There was a snort from Ash that he rather unconvincingly managed to turn into sneeze, and Duplica suddenly looked at him sharply, with one eyebrow raised.
"I… went for a walk to see the dawn,"Misty bluffed, watching Ash snigger to himself with one eye. "I just got a bit lost; there's no need to worry, dear sister." Duplica turned her suspicious gaze over to her, and Misty faltered.
Luckily, before Violet could ask any more questions, Suzie, running by holding a large and squealing piglet in her arms as one would a baby, announced it was time for breakfast. The group made their way amicably over to the large fire where the rest of the camp was assembled; Misty managing to give Ash a loving pinch on the arm without heed from anyone.
"Where are Tracey and May?"Misty asked suddenly, realising she hadn't seen the refugee nun and artist since the previous morning.
"Well they went to search for firewood for yesterday's dinner, and when I sent someone to look for them… let's just say that they were quite happy where they were and didn't want to come back just yet,"Duplica stated bluntly, keeping a careful gaze on the dark haired boy and the red-head sitting beside him. "Busy place those woods, wouldn't you say, friend?"
"I… guess,"Ash mumbled, sweating slightly as he shoved food into his mouth.
"I'm done,"said Misty after a while, climbing to her feet and smiling around at the circle. "I'll go wash up at the stream before we depart."
Misty splashed another cupped-handful of ice-cold water on her face, wanting in a way to wash off the betraying smile that would not abdicate her face. But she couldn't help it – every time he looked at her she could feel his lips on hers, and his hands on her waist.
Ash grabbed her around the waist, and grinned when he felt her jump.
"Shoo,"she answered, flicking some water at him. "I'm busy," she teased. "I'm about to get undressed and bathe."
"It's a bit too late to be shy Milady,"Ash teased back, with another lop-sided grin.
"You crude man. You are no gentleman,"she grinned back, unable to hide her laughter.
"Aw, you love it,"he nuzzled into her ear, his hands roaming up to her bodice.
"I love you,"she grinned, before letting him kiss her full on the lips as his reply.
"You don't regret anything? You will still marry me upon my return?"he tried to joke, but the worry in his voice was evident to her. She smiled.
"I'd marry you now if I could,"she answered, sincerely. He smiled back.
"Then I have something for you."He slipped his hand into his pocket, and Misty would always maintain that she knew what it was before it was in view. Presented to her was a dainty, old-fashioned silver ring. "It was my maternal grandmothers," Ash offered, by way of explanation as to how a mere squire would have such an object. "And now, it belongs to my wife." He smiled wider than she had ever seen as he slipped the ring onto her.
Misty held up the ring finger on her left hand and grinned even wider than before. Ash kissed her lightly on the forehead, suddenly embarrassed.
"Will you be fine when I leave?"Ash asked in a troubled voice. Misty shrugged.
"I just… won't watch you go. You will have to forgive me that, my love. And I'll say goodbye every minute that you are not with me, so that it seems like we're only apart for a short time. Why – do you have to leave right now?"she asked in a panicked voice. Ash smiled as he felt her nails dig into his skin slightly as her hands latched on even tighter to him. He shook his head.
"I'll stay until the next town. There I'll have to hire a horse and make my way back to Aylesbury."Misty frowned.
"You've come awfully out of your way, simpleton,"she reprimanded. Ash grinned down at her from his height advantage of 6-or-so inches.
"It was worth it. Now we'd better get back to camp before everyone comes to find us and sees us in this totally inappropriate position!"Misty raised her eyebrow; he was only holding her loosely around her waist.
"If this is passionate, what was last night then, dear love?"she asked in a sweet voice, making him laugh and press his forehead to hers.
"And you used to be such a lady,"he teased, before she pretend to slap his shoulder and he yelped for show. She grinned.
"Shall we return?"she asked in an equally sweet voice.
Ash survived the hot and dusty journey to Celadonshire on stolen kisses from his future wife. Luckily, the inhabitants of the caravan this time round were still May and Tracey, and a middle-aged, male gypsy who was passed out from the effects of too much ale and wouldn't notice if a horse dropped on him.
"I've never been to Celadonshire,"Misty murmured as she snuggled up closer for him against the dank cold of the caravan. "I've heard it's a beautiful place,,,"
"It's like London,"answered Ash, smiling. "But cleaner."
The two of them sprang apart as assorted calls of 'woah' were followed by the caravan wheels slowly grinding to a halt. The doors flew open, sending harsh daylight flooding into the caravan. It was Violet.
"Sister,"she gasped, from lack of breath. "Come quickly! It's them!"