Chapter 1: Aftermath

I sat staring out at the ocean's pace from my steps as my chin rested in my hands gently. The smell of the summer ocean air was cast against my tan skin as it kissed it gently, and a frown resting on my features as I sat thinking about the events that had occurred today. It had been a long hard road, about two and a half years worth of my time on this island. I had worked hard to befriend every person, every animal just to revive the Harvest Goddess Tree. I know that I should have felt happier but deep down I was saddened by all this. I had worked hard all this time, I had originally come here to start my life over and do something different, but I got curious, it's not a good habit of mine, but I did. I wanted to help revive the island and make it a great place again, and I did. I was happy but… I was also alone as I stared out at the ocean. I had seen marriages between my many friends I saw their kids… I saw their happiness and I was jealous of them because I had spent all my time not focusing on that.

"I suppose it's what I get for being nice… now I get to be alone…" I murmured in a low tone as I took a sip of milk. The sun was setting below the ocean's surface as one of my cows gave a long moo. "Okay… okay time for bed guys, it's been a long day." I smiled slightly brushing my brown hair from my face as I stood. I always did get along better with animals then I did with people… go figure.

After the animals were all put away, I stood in my purple spring/summer clothes I had gotten about a year ago now looking out at the sunset again. It was beautiful… and I longed to enjoy it with someone… but not tonight, tonight I would get into my soft white double bed and sleep alone.

I had been haunted by this same dream for a while now as I stood walking slowly in a dark land looking all around with a confused gaze seeking out something I didn't know about, looking restlessly into the darkness for this… thing that I couldn't find. Suddenly I would feel a pair of warm arms wrap around me gently giving me a bear hug from behind, but… when I'd turn around to with a joyous smile on my features… I'd always wake up…
I sat straight up breathing heavily as I looked around, I wasn't scared or anything but my heart would always race as I waited to see who it was behind me.

"THIS IS RIDICULOUS!" I screamed in a loud tone as I beat my fist against the mattress before laying back down and giving a defeated sigh as I ran my hands through my brown hair sighing softly as I glanced at the wall clock groaning as it chimed 2:30 am. "Goddess help me… this isn't fair." I murmured gently closing my eyes in an attempt to drift off to sleep.

I was groggy eyed the next day as I made my way to the mines. Thankfully I had finished my chores before being tired really sunk in, I had stopped to grab some wakeup medicine from Jin but it hadn't taken effect yet as I gave a yawn trudging towards Ganache Mine. It was a good day to do it, I just wish I was more awake. With my hammer slung over my shoulder I walked giving a loud yawn as I went making my way past Ramsey's Blacksmith. As I went I felt my small frame run into another bigger frame. "Oof!" I grunted looking up as I blinked my eyes only to be met with Owen looking down at me curiously.

"Hey Jewels carful there, don't go losing your mind while carrying that thing." He looked down at me with a smile as I blinked my eyes up at him. That ridiculous nickname he had given me always made me smile. I wasn't sure how he got Jewels out of Juliet but I didn't let it bother me actually it was cute at times.

"Yeah no worries Owen, just a little tired right now. I didn't sleep so well. But still the day goes on right?" I gave a shrug of my shoulders and issued a slight smile his way as he tilted his head looking down at me.

"That's no good, as your friend I can't let you go down into the mines like that it's not safe and you could get hurt." He chided gently as I gave a small groan and looked at him as he crossed his arms over his chest. Owen was so ridiculously stubborn sometimes that it got to me.

"Oh common it's not like I'm going to hurt myself or anything! I'm a very observant person Owen!" I tried to keep myself calm as my frustrated tone emerged. I drew back however as he looked at me with his calm and serene gaze. For whatever reason he always unnerved me with that look he was casting my way. I had a strange feeling there was something deeper just below the surface. "Erm…" I stuttered slightly looking for something to say before giving a slight sigh and frowning slightly angry as I started towards Praline Forest before freezing as I felt a strong hand gently grip my wrist causing me to turn as I blinked with wide eyes at him.

"Hey, before you go why don't you come in for some coffee or something to wake you up, it's still early." He offered tilting his head as he gave a small smile. I inhaled sharply as I glanced up at Owen, feeling my heart give a hard thud in my chest.

"I… I just stopped by the clinic and got myself some Wake Up Medicine, I don't want to cause any bad effects by drinking coffee…" I responded in what sounded like a timid voice. I was surprised myself by the tone as I looked up at him feeling my cheeks grow slightly red.

"It shouldn't do anything to you. I know Uncle Ramsey's combined them before and he's… well he's himself." Owen gave a light chuckle as he led me inside. I walked with him as the bell over the door jingled slightly. Looking over I saw Chole's orange hair just behind the counter and Ramsey who stood next to her. I smiled brightly to the elder man and bowed gently.

"Good morning sir." I said with a smile in my tone before looking up to Ramsey as he issued a smile back and bowed his head slightly.

"Good morning Juliet, I hope it's treating you well." He spoke in a gruff tone as he turned back to the tools he was working on. "The ax you wanted is just about done."

"Thanks so much, that thing's needed to be fixed up for a while. I appreciate it much." I said casting him a small smile as Owen led me into the kitchen. I sat down putting my hammer up against the wall as I crossed my arms and rested my chin in them looking as Owen moved around the kitchen getting together the coffee.

Soon I found myself sitting across from him gently sipping my coffee in a slightly uneasy way. My first thought was to smack myself. Why on earth was I nervous because of Owen? I glanced up at him only to receive a small smile as I looked back down.

"Just out of curiosity… what are you doing on Friday?" He broke the silence tilting his head curiously at me. I blinked my eyes looking up at him and shrugged.

"Nothing out of the ordinary really… I have chores to do, maybe mining or fishing but nothing different…" I responded before taking a small sip of the coffee

"Did you want to go to the firefly festival with me?" as soon as those words left his mouth I gave a startled snort wincing in pain as the coffee shot up into my nose. Blinking back the tears I looked at him with a dumbfounded gaze.

"Wh-what?" I asked in a meek tone looking at him as I did.

"The Firefly festival… it's on Friday… I just wanted to know if you'd go with me… since you have no big plans or anything…" He looked at me a bit shyly as I swallowed the coffee and grew silent.

"A-alright… I mean I don't know how much fun I'll be… all this hard work sometimes wears me down you know…" I responded in a low tone pushing the coffee away, deciding that I had drank enough for the time being as I felt my hands begin to tremble gently, in all honesty I couldn't be sure if it was from the coffee or from the shock of the question. I guess I had never thought about Owen in a romantic way before… then again I hadn't had time to think about ANYONE in that kind of way before.

"O-okay… then I'll drop by your farm about 6 so we can walk to Caramel Falls together… does that sound like a good plan?" I heard him speak. It sounded like Owen was both excited and nervous about the answer. Looking up I saw the handsome smile on his features and… I couldn't help but smile too before glancing away shyly. Normally I'm not a shy kind of person but I could feel my heart fluttering slightly under his gaze. Looking up at the clock I sighed and then shot him an annoyed look.

"You kept me too long, I won't have time to go to the mines now, and I have too many other errands to run." I spoke in an accusing tone as he looked at me and gave a slight laugh that seemed to fill the entire room.

"Well it looks like my plan to keep you busy so you didn't hurt yourself worked." He cast me a wide grin as he stood and I stood. Walking to the door he paused me with a large but gentle hand. "So Friday at six… right?" he said in a low tone as his brown eyes gazed at me deeply. I swallowed hard and gave a nod.

"Yeah… I'll see you then Owen… thanks." I felt so stupid… but I couldn't think of another way to end the conversation as I walked out the door.

"FINALLY!" Chole's voice came from beyond the door just before I shut it. I found myself issuing a small smile as I chuckled lightly and headed back home to drop off my hammer then take care of those errands.