I'm extremely sorry it has taken me so long to update this story but a combination of writers block and addictive one shots (marshmallow lambuts to some) it has taken me longer than usual to write this.
I hope you are happy with it. Leave any thoughts for me if you so wish.
Now without further delay I present to you the third chapter of What About The Little Sister.
Chapter 3: Plays and Moonlight
I've found the power draw that Dad was looking for. She is stronger than she knows. And her control is terrible but she has a connection to the water that goes beneath the surface, she has the potential to be great. I should get closer to her now; make her trust me so that dad can study her. But she is guarded, and impulsive. It may be hard for me get close to her. I suppose I have to try.
I'm also rather worried about spending time with her, I don't think she realises how intriguing she is and I could feel myself being drawn into her. My head was sore for days after she dropped that book on me and she apologised to me the day after and then never even looked at me again. I was annoyed at her for not talking to me, I wanted her to talk to me and I don't know why. I had to get out of the house yesterday, Dad had invited round Dr. Reynolds and Lara, who has been getting increasingly annoying. So I decided to go for a walk, I could see the clouds rolling in and it was exactly what I needed.
I had just reached one of the headlands when I felt it; someone was connecting with the rain. I followed it and found myself in a tiny little town: it was Westmare, I hadn't been here before but I knew this was the home of Vinneag and of Alwyn. It was quaint, quiet and rather inconsequential. I followed the trail of the magic up to an old house that had been converted into a shop. It literally smelled of magic in here, it was old and homely and rather fascinating. But the pull of the person creating magick was too strong for me to go roaming around this place. I went through to the kitchen, which was filled with every herb imaginable, and to the back door which was open and filled with magic.
And there she was sitting on the slabs getting soaked through, trying desperately to get a drop to land on her palm, I felt one start to move towards her and then she must have lost her concentration, because all the drops around her basically attacked her. I couldn't help but laugh, it was rather hilarious. She spun around absolutely sodden and looking thoroughly pissed. I also noticed for the first time, she was gorgeous, the thought scared me almost as much as the look on her face.
I sat and talked to her for almost an hour it was strange, it was the first time I had gotten her to talk to me and it was just as I had hoped even though I didn't know what I had hoped it to be. It was nice, calming and not insipid like most other conversations. The worst thing is she is making me question things; I don't like that, I like the way things are right now and I am perfectly happy with my views and don't particularly want to have them questioned, especially by a girl who has never seen anything of the world or had any experiences conductive to a valid opinion. But talking to her was fun, the most fun I have had in a long time. I also have a job to do and she is the subject and if I don't get it done Dad will never trust me again. I was almost late home. As I was leaving I knew I didn't really want to. This girl was dangerous and I had to get to know her.
When I told Dad I found a possibility for him, he told me to investigate further. I felt fear now. I think I was hoping for him to tell me to stay away, that way I had never had to talk to her again. But now I had to and the thought really really worried me.
School had been back for a couple of weeks and something strange had happened. I was talking to Colin; I wasn't shouting at him, wasn't being teased but was actually talking. We didn't talk about anything terribly important and we didn't talk about banalities either. It was a strange mixture of philosophy and rubbish that was entirely satisfying, like a berry swirl after a long walk in the wind. It was entirely nice to walk into English and ramble, I still had the feeling that he looked down upon me sometimes, that I was viewed as an object of rather entertaining amusement. It bothered me, but I couldn't call him on it until I knew for sure that is what he was doing. I probably wouldn't know for sure until years later when he has published his Memoires and I am an intriguing subplot worth mentioning for sheer hilarity's sake.
It also didn't help that he was addictive, his laugh, his silly secret smile, the way his nose scrunched when he disagreed with an opinion or someone got something terribly wrong. The fact that he would twirl a pen in his fingers and doodle on his notebook when he was bored. I held a strange fascination with watching the bones tendons and muscles in his hand while he wrote; it seemed like an essential part of him. That the skin and the blood beneath his right hand was a peek inside him, and it spoke of his ability to do something. But it was his voice that lulled me the most, his accent rougher and smoother than mine. I always had to resist the urge to close my eyes and let myself drown in the rapids of his deep lilting voice. I was constantly gripping on to a tree branch, palms ripped and bloody. While half of my body was being pounded by frozen water begging me to let go and slip into the waves. I had never been like this, never been one of those silly little girls who stare longingly across the ball, or ply wood table, at the object of their affections. I was not going to become one of those girls. I would not doodle his name on my notebook, I would not sit and daydream about him and I will not stare!
So today I just have to talk to him like a normal person would. Which may be difficult considering that I am not a normal person and never have been. Tana kept on asking me what was wrong. I think she thought I had started reading "I Capture The Castle" again which always makes me all discombobulated and pensive. She almost made me give my copy to Cancer Research. I tackled her before she could even get it out of my room. I had never been more thankful that Hunter had taught me how to fight. She started yelling at me that it really didn't matter if none of them got a happy ending because it was a book and fiction and had no relevance to my life whatsoever so I had no right being mopey-dopey over it. I had to reassure for half an hour and buy her yum-yum's before she was convinced, it really eats into your lunch hour having a hypochondriac friend.
I haven't told her yet that I may have feelings, slight and not at all consequential, for Colin. I know that there is the possibility that she has them also, but the subject has not come up between us again and I am starting to obsess about it. Which isn't good. Because when I obsess I get frantic and slightly unbalances, well slightly more unbalanced, and loose all sight of reality. Which is rather ironic considering that obsessing is really just very deep thinking which all philosophers do and they claim to be able to see the world clearly. So why is it that when I think deeply I get more confused. It's really not fair. Isla says I should start going by what my feelings are telling me to do. The problem with that is I am a Niall and we never have a very good time dealing with our feelings. We prefer to think, to brood and eat ice cream in inhuman amounts when we are conflicted. That is our way and there is not much wrong with it apart from the whole people thinking you're plotting to kill them thing, that's not so good. It's not that we do not have feelings or are not aware of them, but rather our rationality takes over to justify the feelings.
It was Monday, I felt the tingly anticipation all through lunch at getting to see Colin, sit next to him, talk to him for the next two hours solid. Tana asked me three times if she could see my biology homework before I even realised that she had been talking to me. "What is the matter with you lately? You can't seem able to concentrate on anything and you are one of the most focused people I know!" she was right, I couldn't seem to concentrate. In the past couple of weeks I had knocked over around ten glasses of water, without being near them, made the toilet flush of its own accord and turn on all the taps in Biology. My control had been shot because the part of my brain that I reserved for my control had been filled up with a certain member of the male gender, along with the rest of it. I was clinging onto the edge of a cliff grappling for some semblance of control, control that half of my brain didn't really seem to want. This was very very bad. The bell has just gone it would be bad to run to class right?
Walking in to class, my head swivelled in the direction of our table. There he was, already doodling away, his head flicked up when he saw me and he smiled a greeting as I made my way across the class room. His eyes looked tired today, in fact he felt tired as well, depleted somehow. "So did you raise hell on Siobhan for writing on your copy of "The Romance of The Forest." Or did you come up with some duplicitous means of revenge?" he was referring to last week, when I came into glass thundering like a gorgon who just saw her evil beloved and her powers failed her all because when I took out my copy of aforementioned novel I found it covered in the precise scrawl of Siobhan, it was her notes from that nights "Andrew Marr Show". "I found a duplicitous means of revenge. I recorded over her tape of "Question Time" that she hadn't dissected and ranted about yet with the newest episode of whatever show Trinny and Suzanna are doing at the moment." He smirked, but still looked like my words where only half reaching him; "So why Trinny and Suzanna? Why not Topgear, to really rub in the political incorrectness." So he did still have cognitive function, this was good. "Beacuse if I used Topgear she would have known it was me and then she would have retaliated, but with Trinny and Suzanna there are many suspects and all quite capable of forgetting about her tape in the recorder, hence my books are safe from any further graffiti and Anne Radcliffe has been avenged." He looked rather amazed. "You do realise that you could probably match a terrorist for scheming ability." His sense of humour is still intact then, also good. "Why thank you!" I replied. Just then Mr. Purdie came in and started the lesson.
As usual, Colin and I finished the work early and we started talking in whispers while everyone else finished. I finally asked him if he was okay. He nodded, but it was marred a little by the huge yawn he was trying to stifle.
"Are you sure? Because I have seen corpses with a better blush than you have." I was trying to make a joke of his obvious sleepiness, but he wasn't having it.
"Yes Alwyn! I'm sure, I know if I am alright or not, I'm just tired. And the reason you have seen corpses with more colour is because they put make up on the dead to make them seem alive." Wow, okay so he was snarky when he was tired.
"Well I am sorry for asking." I replied snippily, he had just ruined my good mood, the grumpy arse. Now I couldn't wait to get away from him. If he wasn't going to at least be polite then I had no intention of talking to him. Dammit! I just looked at the clock, still ten minutes left of school. I could be in a huff with him for ten minutes. Just watch and see if he tries to apologise. I won't even acknowledge it. Though no response seemed to be forthcoming, not even a mumbled sorry, he sat sullenly looking straight ahead though blinking a lot, because he was desperately trying not to fall asleep. Hah! Serves him right for snapping! May his insomnia continue for his insolence. Five minutes to go. Just before the bell went and I was free from Mr. Purdie, told us to stop and listen to our homework assignment for next week.
Creative writing tasks have never bothered, in fact they are normally quite fun and entertaining. But this one was to be a collaboration. A play. Four people to a team. Two actors, a writer and a director. I have never wanted to hurt Mr. Purdie before, now I was considering acquainting him with my temper, or my right hook. This impulse only got stronger as he put us into our groups. Mr. Purdie's imagination must have failed him because he basically put two desks together. So that left me with Mr. Cranky next to me and Rachel Manning and her best and slightly dim friend Claire Roth. I have nothing wrong with these girls. They are nice enough and probably would never hurt someone intentionally. But they will also never dazzle someone with their wit and understanding. They sat in front of Colin and I and spun around with very happy looks on their faces, I don't think they were happy to work with me. The bell went and almost everyone jumped up to try and rush out of the door, Mr. Purdie, however, had other ideas. I swear that man is trying to make me hate him. he yelled at us to stop and wait just a couple of minutes. He explained to us that we would have the next four periods of class time to work on this assignment. He stressed to us that this however would not be enough to produce a piece of little if any quality. So he pleaded us to at least work on it outside of school hours, our lunch hours, the three minutes of adverts between Coronation St. and Emmerdale. It didn't take us long to tell him that no one actually watches those soaps anymore, at least no one under the age of thirty five.
"So we should meet then and get this play thing sorted out?" Rachel had blocked both Colin and I's way out of the classroom, obviously she was not getting our hastiness to leave the room and each other. Claire nodded emphatically, showing her enthusiasm. Enthusiasm I suspect that was brought to life by the thought of spending time talking to Colin, wait until she finds out he has decided to become a mime in later life and has begun practising. Not that I can say much ... well because I wasn't saying much. "Well I say tonight and we get it done quickly." Rachel said again not at all upset my our unresponsiveness. "Unfortunately it cannot be at my house since it my mother's book club and she doesn't like any disruptions." Claire nodded again, I was beginning to wonder if she could do any other process of communication. Colin and I both looked a little concerned for her. "We can't have it at mine either," Wow she speaks! "My mother is at her Mothers book club and I'm not allowed people over without supervision." They both looked hopefully towards Colin, I think he should lock his underwear drawer. He however said, "Not Mine." What no explanation sir? I realised then, being pulled out of my inner mocking monologue, that I was the only one left. "We could go to my house. But I would like to apologise beforehand for: excessive pushing of baked goods onto your person, consistent yet sporadic explosions and yells, A lot of blonde hair everywhere and the constant interruptions." They all just looked at me, "Well come on then!" I walked out of the door, calling over my shoulder, "call home as well, you won't be home for dinner."
I have never seen my house as shabby or a victim of a hard life, but standing in front of it with three practical strangers, I saw it as they would. A rather run down and dilapidated house, with an old broken swing hanging from the front tree and rather strange noises coming from inside. I cringed. Then got really pissed at myself. Why the hell was I embarrassed! This place was my home, it was a little off kilter and quite loud but I loved it and I would be dammed if they were going to mock it. I spun around to the little congregation of people behind me; "Come on," I waved my hand for them to follow me as I headed round to the back garden, "We have to go in the back door because the front door hasn't opened since Cara tried to do a mend a broken arm spell on Isla who broke the swing, and she sealed the door shut instead." Rachel and Claire just looked rather frightened, I forgot that they weren't witches. Well this was going to be interesting for them. Colin was still sullen, he hadn't said a word, the whole bus ride to Westmare, then the walk out to the house. I wondered if he was actually going to speak again. Claire and Rachel had followed me inside, but Colin hovered at the back door. "We won't bite you know, well yet anyway!" he gave me a faint smile and shook his head as if it was waterlogged but stepped inside our kitchen. Aunt Legh was there already cooking tonight's dinner, I sniffed; "Lasagne? Is Gran coming over for dinner?" She shook her head; "No dear, she was over earlier discussing coven things and on her "Italian" heritage, it put me in the mood for pasta." Then she noticed my little study group behind me, "Oh Alwyn! You should have mentioned you were bringing home friends," she swatted me with a tea towel, "We have to write a play for homework. We'll be in the living room if you need me." I went into the hall motioning for the others to follow me. Aunt Legh called after me; "Yell if you want food okay!" I smiled, good old Aunt Legh, "I will!" I called back as I entered the living room.
Our living room had never been redecorated in my life time. We had three threadbare couches which were set out in three quarters of a square. The walls were a faded duck egg blue and the window faced out onto the front garden, with the tree lined drive way in view. I motioned for the rest of them to sit down on the couches, I moved my way around the low wooden table in the middle towards the fireplace to light the hearth. I wasn't kidding about the no central heating thing and in January the house gets cold After a few moments and some wrestling with the lighter the flames came to life. adding some much needed warmth to the room.
Rachel and Claire had occupied one couch, I guess it was safety in numbers. Colin sat on the one that faced the fire, digging through his backpack. It was ridiculous how much I craved to go and sit next to him, to feel close to him. I opted for the empty couch, one because I didn't want to do something crazy like jump him and two because I was still a little mad at him.
"So we should get started." Colin stated. So he was in a hurry then. Rachel and Claire agreed with him, by, wait for it ... nodding! They could put the Churchill dog to shame.
"We should agree on who is doing what. Does anyone have a preference?" I asked, Colin shook his head. But Rachel spoke up, "My Mummy says I am a brilliant actress so it would be only proper that I do that." Okay remember I said she was a nice girl. I'm beginning to think that it was just an example of her brilliant acting skills. "And I also think our play should be romance!" Once again Claire nodded her head, speaking is obviously limited with her. Rachel was actually batting her eyelids at Colin, making her look as if she had something in her eye. Colin had paled, making him now look anaemic. I had to go to the boy's rescue before he got roped into this. "I don't think we should do romance, it always comes out rather mills and boon when amateurs write it and that would just be embarrassing. So we should do something small, like a snippet from real life, a little scene from normality." Colin was the one to nod his head this time and shot me a smile of thanks. I hate the fact that smile made my heart flutter even when I was mad at him but what shocked me most was what he said next; "I think Alwyn should write it, she has definitely read the most books out of is all I think that makes her the most qualified." I had to smile at him then. I did secretly want to write it, but I would never have voiced it aloud. "I would like that, if nobody else would mind?" Everyone agreed that I would be the writer much to my relief. Colin looked at me as I accepted the position, his blue eyes straight into mine. I could feel myself getting lost in the Icy lightness of them. I could imagine myself dancing, staring up into them, see them smiling down at me from a great height and string off into the distance the colours of the sunset reflected. But my mind wasn't making up these fantasies it was more like this was a picture he was trying to show me, he was looking at me with such intensity that I could feel my bones shake with want, my arms actually ached to feel them and my vision was going blurry, I felt the rapids begin to pull in just a little more as he said, "So then all that is left to decide is the other actor and director." I felt the blush set upon my cheeks as I realised that Rachel and Claire were still here, suddenly the room was stifling and I couldn't get enough oxygen into my lungs. "urmm, you guys talk it out I'm just going to go and get us some tea and biscuits?" with my almost non-coherent stammering I ran out of the room and into the kitchen to try and catch my breath. In the hall I could hear the water pipes clunking and groaning, I really hoped that someone was taking a shower and that it wasn't me about to lose control and burst the pipes again!
I leaned against the wall in the kitchen trying to stop my knees from shaking as Aunt Legh came rushing over looking concerned. She felt my forehead and asked me if my stomach was sore, I shook my head; "I'm just a little flustered, I'm going to make tea for us would you like a cup?" I hoped she would get the message that I didn't want to talk about the cause of my temperature rise. One of the best things about Aunt Legh is that she understands the need for secrets. I guess she knows what it is like to be a teenage girl and have everyone of your coven know exactly what is going on with you when you are still trying to figure it out for yourself. So she tries to give us all a little privacy, that I am grateful for. I dug out a tea pot and some mugs, along with some biscuits. Maybe the distraction of Chocolate would keep my mind off the distraction of Colin so I could focus on what we were meant to be doing. And not the fact that I wanted him all alone and looking at me like that again.
I went back down the hall precariously balancing the bounty laden tray, I was glad to hear the ominous clunking had ceased. Back in the living room there seemed to be a lot of discussion, Rachel ha her notebook out and was scribbling furiously; Claire was looking over Rachel's shoulder, nodding, she is most definitely going to kill off whatever brain cells she has left. Colin was sitting back on the couch, smiling a little, I knew that smile, that was his "I'm finding this utterly amusing" smile. What had he done? I put the tray on the table, and turned round to give him a very accusing look, he just looked at me with a very innocent look on his face. I was no worried as to what he had done, I had a feeling that this was going to be very bad for me. "Have you decided then?" I asked tentatively. Most people would think that I was worrying about nothing, but I knew how devious he could be and I wasn't going to become another punch line in one of his experiments. Rachel answered me; "Yes we have, Claire will be the other actress and Colin will be our director." Oh, right, okay then, which means I will have to work closely with him while writing the scene. I think my heart just stopped. I grabbed a cup of tea and busied myself with drinking it while I regained my ability to speak. Also trying to force my head away from the imaging's of spending hours alone together, working late, becoming impassioned about our masterpiece. I really need to stop reading drama, it is going to my head.
We spent the next two hours, working out stuff for the scene, basically I took down any requirements they each had. There weren't many, Rachel's only one was that her character be called Freya and always hold an apple. So she also had delusions of grandeur, but that I could work with. No one else had any suggestions so thankfully we had pretty much finished, not, however, soon enough for them to escape before dinner. Aunt Legh came in just as they were Packing up their bags and harangued them into staying for dinner, citing that we had enough food and that it would only go to waste if they didn't say and that would be a travesty because of all the starving people in the world. She really does have the emotional blackmail think down, it's quite impressive. So they were staying for dinner. She sent them into the kitchen where almost everyone else was already seated, and I got sent around the house rustling up three more chairs. I did feel like I was sending little defenceless lambs into a den of perfectly primped lionesses.
Everything seemed okay when I got back, no blood was splattered on the walls, everyone still had a head. So it wasn't too bad ... yet. What did strike me as odd though was that Uncle Beck instead of latching onto Colin, the only other male in the room had surrounded himself with Freya the great and the nodding churchillette. My eyes flicked to Marith, who was sitting next to Colin, her eyes caught mine and gleamed as I silently asked her about her father's situation. "we decided to see how long it would take him to jump and say he would eat his dinner in the living room. I have twenty quid on ten minutes" hmmm interesting bet, I flicked again to Uncle Beck as I sat down, he was clutching his cutlery rather tightly but no mark of distress had yet to appear on his face, he still had a good fifteen minutes in him. "Put me down for twenty on twenty minutes." I told Marith who nodded and then returned her attention to Colin. Who I might add was looking between my cousins and I. He was trying to work out what we were doing. I smiled sweetly, he didn't have to know about our nightly gambles on our patriarchs temper. I spun round to Isla on my left and claimed her concentration so I didn't get sucked into the pool of his eyes for the second time in less than an hour.
Dinner went off pretty much without a hitch or any major catastrophes. Uncle Beck did jump up and rush out of room at which moment Siobhan whipped out her watch and declared it twenty minutes from the beginning of dinner. All new comers looked slightly confused, Aunt Legh was shaking her head; "I wish you girls would stop making a profit on your fathers temper, it's hardly a very nice thing to do." She was smiling however, and the berating was only half hearted. After that the conversation circled around our various schemes to annoy my uncle. We were all in fits of laughter as Marith recreated his face when we changed the butter to margarine and he thought Aunt Legh was trying to get him to lose weight again. Even Colin couldn't maintain his usual quiet snigger and burst out a loud bark of a laugh, like the one I heard when he found me soaked and pissed at Aife's. I was horrified to realise that the sound made my skin erupt in a plethora of happy Goosebumps. After we had finished, Isla and I got up to clear the table, it was our night. I was pleasantly surprised when Colin jumped up and started to help us; "It's alright I said Isla and I can handle it we are seasoned experts with the fairy liquid and greeny besides you will give my Aunt Legh ideas that men can actually do the washing up and then my Uncle will come and hunt you down and string you up for eating into his daily mail time." He smiled and conceded his handful of plates over to me. Aunt Legh was busy serving up The Trifle for desert. While Rachel complained about calories and Claire nodded, we all stopped talking, stunned. No one in the history of the world has ever refused The Trifle, its thick custard, clotted cream, delicious strawberry jelly and raspberries hidden throughout. The Trifle is sacrosanct, The Trifle is a god and if you refuse The Trifle you shall be smited by black belt warriors of the pudding gods. You don't mess with them. Aunt Legh looked like she was on the verge of tears: "Oh ... well if you don't want any I'm sure the others won't mind a little bit more." Now that is just not nice, and you do not make Aunt Legh cry while we are here. I was the only one to speak up "No Aunt Legh they can try a bit. A few extra calories isn't going to do them any harm." I threw a murderous look towards them, both mutely agreed. I went back to the washing up and smirked when I heard Claire exclaim; "OH MY GOD THIS IS FANTASTIC!" Ahh the power of The Trifle, it can even move mute nodder's to emphatic exclamation.
Rachel had called her father to come and pick her up, which was good because I don't think I could resist the temptation of walking along a dark headland with her and not giving her a slight nudge over the cliff. The downside however was that it meant I had to walk with Colin, alone, all the way back to the village. My heart was hammering out the soundtrack to Mamma Mia against my ribcage. With Colin loaded up with leftovers and a thousand invitations to come again, we headed out into the night.
For the first while we walked in silence, neither quite knowing what to say to the other. It wasn't uncomfortable or strained, rather more like each was getting their breath back after a long run. Collecting their thoughts. It was a rare clear night, the moon hung out over the sea casting a silver guild on the water and sand, the waves where hushed and not a breath of wind stirred the leaves on the headland. Alwyn couldn't help but extend her senses to feel the calm around her, so unusual for here that is normal brimful with energy that nothing can stay still, but tonight it was all still the same strong energy lay still and straight, for once knowing exactly what it was and bounding on to the next stage. It would be lovely if it could be like this all the time. Alwyn took a deep breath smelling the salt, earth and woods around, and let the feeling build up in her stomach that made her feel secure and at peace, and like a sleepy five year old who wanted to be read a story and have her hair smoothed as she fell asleep.
"Thank you for dinner," Colin's quiet voice snapped her out of the lull she had gone into. "Your family are lovely, a little insane, but so happy." I smiled and looked over my shoulder at the house behind us, you could still see the faint glow of the lights. "I don't think I have ever laughed so much in my life, at my house it's just Dad and I and we normally talk about his research." For the first time I felt sorry for him, he didn't have the large family I had, or a Coven that felt like family. He just had him and his Dad. "Is it lonely, just the two of you?" I asked softly. "We have Nettie as well, our housekeeper, more like our guardian angel. She makes sure that we eat and have clean clothes and actually realise that there is a world outside of the study. She's a fantastic cook though I have to say your Aunt may be able to rival her in the kitchen.." I stared at him disbelievingly, no one was as good as my Aunt. But he just smiled at me and carried on; "But dinner's are never like that, Nettie refuses to eat at the same table as us, she has old fashioned ideas about employee/employer interaction, but never gives a second thought to chewing one of us out when she feels we are being stubborn or ridiculous. But there is hardly ever any laughter, it's always intellectual conversation." He sounded bitter at that. "I wouldn't mind a bit of intellectual conversation once in a while, or a little bit of quiet. Normally our house is so full of people you can't think straight let alone come forth with your views on the world." He began to speak again; "You all know each other inside out, it's nice to watch you all bicker and mock each other. But you can tell you all love each other and god help the person who decides to hurt one of you." I nodded; "We all ready have contingency plans for when it happens and we believe we have planned the perfect the murder." He snorted, "And, may I ask what it is?" I shook my head; "Sorry but if I tell you then not only will I have to kill you but I will then spontaneously combust and burn to my death." He looked at me with soft eyes and whispered, "Well we wouldn't want that now would we." I couldn't breathe, my heart had stopped, in fact I think that every working function in my body had ceased. I was a blob. And he was so close. With his big warm body, and that heart achingly gentle look in his eyes. If I didn't look away I was going to faint. I spun around and kept on heading down the trail, willing my heart to start again and hoping that I didn't just ruin the only time he would look at me like that. I didn't look round to check that he was still following me, I could feel him and hear his clumsy steps on the ground.
We didn't talk again until we reached the village. Which was desolate and most of the houses in darkness. I lead him to the bus stop. "You don't have to wait with me you know." He said as I sat down on the worn bench, "It's okay. I don't mind staying and I'll probably go up and visit Tana after." He nodded and sat down next to me. I hadn't realised it was a cold night before, I began to shiver and wish I had picked up my gloves. I was also extremely aware of him sitting quite close next to me, I could practically feel his skin next to mine, which was ridiculous because we where both wearing many layers. But I couldn't repress the shudder that ripped though my spine.
What happened next shocked me even more, he reached his arm around me and pulled me snug into his side. I was in heaven (Or at least the wiccan equivalent) , I was going to die. He began to tell me off; "You should have put on a hat, a scarf maybe, you know these things invented to keep you from dying of pneumonia, while you freeze your arse off needlessly on a bus stop." His hand started to rub up and down my back trying to warm me up, the sensation however only caused me to shiver more, but I noticed the bear pale skin on his hand. So I flicked my eyes to his neck, he wasn't wearing any either! "You aren't wearing them. What's going to save you from catching it." I said rather huffily, to be honest I was surprised it came out in English and not gibberish. He just snorted at me; "I grew up in the highlands, this is summer weather for me, I wouldn't be cold even if I was in my underwear." He just had to say that didn't he, and cause any improvement I had made in control in proximity to him fly out the window with my sense of reason. I had no problems with the cold now, I felt my entire body heat up but he still kept me close. "What time is the next bus at anyway?" he asked me, I checked the time on my phone in my pocket, it was half past eight, "The next one is in fifteen minutes." I replied. He looked around; "Is there no where else we can wait, you're going to catch a cold." I shook my head; "Sorry, the only place would be Temptations and it closes at eight o'clock on a Monday. Anyway I'm not that cold anymore." He snorted; "Yeah that's just the fever setting in." He scoffed, but he pulled me closer, I swear if I got any closer to him I was going to have a heart attack. But my hands acted against the better judgement of my head and they slid around his waist, I felt his muscles contract at the contact, but his other arm came down around me so that I was cocooned in them. His hand came up to stroke my hair. My heart was now beating wildly, but everything else was calm. I felt the same thing I had on the headland earlier, the same sense of peace but with the added thrill of being close to Colin. I was dreading the bus coming and breaking this up. Whatever this was.
"Alwyn? Is that you there girl?" Colin and I shot apart in shock, I looked up and found old Mr. Dunn standing there, his white beard crusted with frost and his telescope under his arm. "Yes Mr. Dunn, it's me." I jumped up from the bench to face him.
"Well what the blazin' hell are doing out on a night like this, you'll catch yer death!" he exclaimed, his old eyes finally focused on Colin behind me.
I rushed to explain. "Colin is the director and I'm the writer and we have to do a scene and then there was The Trifle and the moon and he has to get the bus home so that would be why we are here, at the bus stop, waiting for a bus."
I don't think Mr. Dunn really heard me because he started to speak to Colin. "You lad, come here!" Colin's wary eyes flicked to mine but I nodded for him to do as he is told. He stood up beside me, he towered over both Mr. Dunn and I. "Tall lad isn't he!" he pointed to Colin but spoke to me, "And what exactly is your name boy?" I cringed, this was going to be all around town by tomorrow, I could practically feel the curtain twitching around us.
"Colin Nairn Sir." He responded ducking his head, I don't think I had ever seen him embarrassed before. Mr Dunn's eyes lit up, "Scottish are you?" his hard tone had now melted into delight, I groaned inwardly as I remembered his slight obsession with Scotland. It had started with a trip up there to see his daughter and I think they pumped him full of so much whiskey that he had the best time of his life. "Fabulous place, I'll tell you, me daughter is up there with her husband and what not, a jock, you know and they have such a nice place. I went up there a year ago or so and they took me to all the castles and to Loch Ness, I didn't see the monster mind you, but I suppose she is shy, what with all the tourists." I could see Colin looking rather scared and I stifled my laugh quickly; "and we went to this lovely restaurant, I cannae remember the name o' it but it was a lovely place, food was fantastic and I even tried haggis, which wasn't at all as horrible as some people make it out to be and I have never met nicer people all so chatty and with a brilliant sense of humour. Mind you they would have to have to be able to wear a kilt, I can't imagine how cold those things would be." Colin now looked incredulous, I couldn't blame him, Mr. Dunn is always interesting to talk to. Quickly I jumped in; "Did you see anything good tonight through Tallulah, Mr. Dunn?" Tallulah is his telescope, he likes to name things, his bike is called Frederick. He turned his attention to me; "I was up on the hill there having a look too see if I could Jupiter, now I'm sure I caught a little glimpse of her, or at least I did of the people sitting on her rings." Did I mention that he was a bit screwy? "they where orange you and had hair not unlike yours, me girl" he motioned towards my head.
"Did they, well when you figure out how to contact them can you ask them how they get it so shiny all the time, because I have trouble with that." Colin looked at me like I had just declared I was actually a dragon and was about to fly away with them on my back and take them into dragon land.
"I shall indeed. Not to worry, I'm quite close now to perfecting my Transmolcicfuser, so I shouldn't be too far off, I just need some more sticky tape but would you believe that the people in Tesco won't sell me anymore, just because I got a little stuck in the soup aisle. You would think I had done something wrong!"
"Of course not Mr. Dunn, I just don't think they liked your idea of the personal basket but I'm sure if you test drive the idea in Asda through at Upper Lowe they will accept it. Asda has always been more open minded, remember when they brought in the world food's aisle."
"Oh yes, what a good idea me girl. She a smart one this one, but she can dance like her mother," he informed Colin, I looked away, I hated it when people compared me to my mother. It annoyed me because I had no idea what she was like, so I couldn't tell if they were just being nice or actually meant it.
Mr. Dunn's attention soon turned back to me, "I'll need to come up and see your Uncle, I have very important news to discuss with him. it has to do with the sprites I saw the other day and I fear for our spring gardens, pesky little buggers you know, always wanting to make a garden pretty with no heed to the scientific placement of plants, my garden always ends up in a mess. My mint always strangles my rosemary. I think I have almost got the spell to keep them away perfected, but I need another person's eye on it to make sure I haven't missed anything."
The bus came around the corner at that point and I quickly waved it down. "Well that would be your bus lad, it was nice talking to you and you had better take care of that girl or we'll all be after you!" These where Mr. Dunn's last words as he headed to his house. I felt my cheeks burn with embarrassment. "I'll see you at school." That was all he said. My embarrassment increased ten-fold. I gave him a small wave as the bus left. I stood there reeling in shock, not able to move. Quickly I turned on my heel and sprinted towards Tana's house.