The first time she saw him, it was just in passing. A movement so quick she thought it was the trees rustling despite the lack of breeze in the warm summer months. It was strange, though maybe not so much considering she had never taken step into the jungle before this. It was exhilarating, new and she could feel her heart in her throat. The first time she saw him, it was just a glance and something she didn't realise had meaning, something that didn't seem special.
She didn't know what drew her to the jungle. It could not help her business in anyway, apart from the flowers that were blooming there, and the river to the West of the small separate island that allowed her to fish. Since it was summer, she decided it would be nice to have a dip in the water. The most that would see her would be the fish and animals, if there were any.
She pushed her boots off of her feet with her toes, setting her rucksack to the riverbank. She pulled off her bandana, shaking her head to let her hair flow down. She shrugged her short sleeve jacket off, and looked towards the water. Staring back at her, a little to the left of her reflection, was a tanned face with what looked like tattoos in sharp stripes against the cheeks.
She turned around jerkily, eyes wide. She was on her own. She was still, listening intently but all that sounded was the gurgle of the river and the call of exotic birds. She put it down to the heat messing with her head.
She'd fallen asleep the third time in the jungle. It was a week after her second visit, and the weather was even warmer than had been before. She'd had a morning of farming, and tending to the animals, and then an early lunch. After that, she had taken her rucksack and rod, and walked to the jungle.
She fished for an hour or so, and dozed off while waiting for the fish to bite. She came to when she felt gentle touches with rough callused skin against her hands, carefully tugging the piece of fishing equipment from her hands. She stayed still, and felt the rod lain carefully across her lap. There was a quiet rustle of cloth, and she felt the same touch that had pressed to her hands slide across the shape of her cheekbone. When she dared open her eyes five minutes later, there was a fresh fish added to her pile and no sign of the mysterious visitor.
She was determined now. Someone was definitely there in the jungle, and after asking around the island, she realised no one besides herself had taken foot in the jungle. Which meant that someone was there before her, and was watching her.
Because of that, she decided to play the 'nice neighbour' and had even baked a batch of cookies, putting them in a box and wrapping it up neatly. She weren't sure what kind of people live in a jungle, but she was determined to find out. After a half hour she finally sat down, and waited patiently. She didn't call out, she didn't shout, she didn't search.
It took two hours, and her eyelids were starting to droop, her stomach complaining with hunger, when a figure, more of a shadow, detached from the trees. After all this time, all of about four weeks, she finally knew she wasn't crazy or imaging this person. Especially when he smiled at her, and gently touched those rough fingertips to the back of her hand...
Finally, she thought to herself. Finally.
When she finally met this mysterious person, she returned every day after her farm work was completed. Without fail, every day, he would meet her at the other end of the bridge. They talked, but with his broken English, it was a rare occasion when they did. They would spend their time wandering the jungle, eating fruits he picked down and deemed edible, and when the sun was highest, he would leave for a few hours before coming back to silently sit with her at the riverbank as they appreciated each other's company. When the sun began to set, he would walk her as far as the bridge and give her the timid gesture of his fingertips to her arm or hand in a ways of saying goodbye. By the time she reached the end of the bridge and turned to see if he was still standing there, she would be greeted with the silent jungle.
Because of this, she liked to believe they were friends, even if he didn't know the word. To her, it was good enough.
Because of her extended time in the jungle, one of her animals got ill. The others said it was age, yet she knew better. She took one last trip to the bridge, and had the brief joy of watching his face light in happiness with her visit. But she also had the pain of watching the disappointment crossing his face at her telling him she would not be around for a while, someone that she knew was ill. They stayed on adjacent sides of the bridge, facing each other, until she tore herself away and with a stiff back, head hanging low, she walked away. She had to tend to the cow, for near on a week. It turned out the creature was not ill, but just with calf. Within another week, there was a new cow roaming the farm.
She stopped going altogether. She had duties, and her friends had started to worry at the increase of absences that the rancher had started. It wasn't purposeful. She truly forgot and became busy. Added to that, with the coming of the Autumn months, came a bounty of certain crops and led to a time where the animals had to be tended to constantly, the change of weather proving unhealthy in many ways. With the growing, the watering, the harvesting and tending of her animals, her schedule was busy. And adding to that, some others on the island were vying for her hand as more than a friend. Because of this, she was busy. It wasn't her fault she stopped visiting.
Soon after, she felt weird, worn and exhausted, like she didn't know what to do with herself. Every day was monotonous and repetitive; she was doing the same things over and over and over. Something was missing in her. From then on, she stopped eating. She stopped socialising. She wouldn't leave the farm except to buy seeds.
To her, her life felt empty and boring. In her sluggish state, she failed to know what was missing, failed to know what was different. In this state of being oblivious to the world, she found herself at the jungle, standing on the bridge and staring into the expanse of trees. Something was missing, she just didn't know what. As she turned around to walk back towards her farm, there was a rustle, and the brush of fingertips against the inside of elbow, before a hand firmly grasped her arm and tugged her back around.
When her blue eyes met golden, she felt something in her chest clench and then loosen, and before she had time to realise what it was, she was pulled tightly against a solid, warm body. She only paid the barest of attention to the words that he murmured nonsensically to her. All she wanted to know is that when he was with her now, she finally felt whole again.
He had asked, in that broken English of his, why she had left. Why she hadn't returned. This was the second time he had questioned her, eyes on her face, hands clasping her own or her arms, holding her desperately to him. Every time she found that she didn't have the right answer. After the third time she didn't reply he didn't ask any more, simply took peace in her finally being there, as she took peace in his presence.
It was two weeks later that he asked her again, this time tentatively cupping her face in his hands and bringing his head close to hers. It was in this moment, as she watched him, that she let herself smile tenderly, and lifted one of her hands to his, seeing the widening of his eyes at her touch.
As she leaned to press her forehead to his, moving her free hand to his cheek, she simply told him that he didn't need to know what had happened and that she would rather forget because it would never happen again.
Ever since their reunion, she made sure to go to the jungle whenever she could. It wasn't as frequent as she would have liked, nor how frequent as he wanted. Given the choice, he would demand she stayed. However, she had her duties, as he had his. No matter what though, no matter how many days later it would be before she saw him again, she always reassured him.
When he expressed fear of her leaving him once more, she took hold of his hands and solemnly promised that now they were together, she wouldn't leave him. She had made that mistake the first time. It wouldn't happen again.
They were together now. It was all that mattered.
No matter what she said, she couldn't assure him that she wouldn't go again. When she came to visit him in the late morning or early afternoon after finishing her farm work, she would see him pacing against his side of the bridge, tense and unnaturally stiff as he waited for her.
Whenever she crossed to his side, he would envelop her in the tightest of hugs. Sometimes he would even meet her halfway across the bridge, making odd steps at the feel of his feet touching the firm and roughly textured wood. But he would always, always hug her.
Every time he let her go to lead her into the jungle, she felt a sense of loss. It was then she knew that she wanted the relationship they had to be everlasting, whether or not it stayed just platonic.
One afternoon, on her walk to the jungle, she passed by another denizen of the island, a bright and cheerful fisherman who decided to walk with her. When he noticed the fishing rod that she had slung to her backpack, he politely inquired where she was going to fish and she happily told him of the river within the jungle where she had found some fine fish.
This piqued the fisherman's interest and he asked her to stay as he quickly jogged back to his house. When he returned, he had a fishing rod in his own hand, smiling widely. When he caught up and asked what she was fishing for, she felt herself blush and she simply told him she wanted to get some good quality fish and give them to a friend. She didn't realise the man beside her gained a sheepish, almost embarrassed look, figuring it was he since he had a liking of fish.
As soon as the crossed the bridge to jungle, she knew something was wrong. He wasn't there. As she gained a puzzled look the man beside her asked what was wrong. Before she managed to reply, she was grabbed by the elbow and dragged around so she was facing a tanned back.
He was trembling and saying unintelligible things as he waved his free arm about, his other hand still securely locked onto the young woman behind him. The fisherman was both confused and worried, trying to peer around the man in front of him to see how the woman was when a strong hand grabbed him by the collar of his shirt and shoved him back. One word was clear in all of this. Territory.
She searched the jungle for almost an hour that day, when she realised she couldn't find him anywhere. The hut that was his home was devoid of life, of both him and his father figure. She was worried, there was no denying it, even as she rubbed the bruise on the inside of her elbow that he had caused the other day with his showing of violence. She didn't care. She didn't mind. She knew it wasn't his fault, and she was fine with it.
When she returned to her farm, tired and dirty, she felt as if that day had been the worst of her life. There was nothing she could do to stop the tears that fell from her eyes and scored tracks against her dirt covered cheeks.
It was some time before she returned again. She knew she had promised that she wouldn't leave him like that again, but the hurt was still raw. When she realised that the pain she was feeling must have been similar to what he had felt when she had left him, she quickly rushed to the jungle after two weeks of absence.
The smile that lit his face almost broke her heart as she saw him because she saw the relief in the way he was stood. It came as a shock as he suddenly ran across the bridge and threw his arms around her tightly, rubbing his face to her hair. It was the first time he had crossed the bridge to her side.
As she wrapped her arms around him in return, she felt him shift his weight slowly, pulling his head away from hers and moving his grip to hold her by the shoulders. As she looked up to him, a question on her lips, he quickly ducked his head down to press his mouth firmly to hers, his eyes on hers as her own widened in shock. This, too, was a first. But the shock didn't stop the warmth that spread through her as he pulled his head away for a moment before going in for another once his breath had been caught.
It had almost been a year now, since she had first seen what she guessed now what had been the original sighting of him. It had been about six weeks since he had first kissed her, and now he took the chance to steal touches and affectionate moments. Brushing his fingertips to her neck, against her ear and then through her hair. Kissing her fingertips, her collarbone, and his favourite, her nose (her nose wrinkled in an expression he couldn't get enough of every time he kissed it).
On the day that was the anniversary of their first visit, when she walked to the bridge, she found him on her side, just sat cross legged on the grass next to the cobblestone path that led to the bridge with his eyes closed. Immediately, she felt worry, quickly jogging forward and dropping to kneel by his side, hands darting around as she thought of what she could do.
In her fussing, he caught her hand, gave her a breathtaking grin, and pressed something soft into her palm. As she glanced down at the blue feather now in her hand, she felt her throat constrict and tears well up in her eyes. When the grin on his face fell, she shook her head and cradled the feather to her chest. It wasn't upset, she told him. It was happiness. She was happy.
The grin quickly returned on his face, wider and brighter than before as he stood, dragging her with him and held her to him in the tightest hug she had ever faced. Not soon after, he peppered her face and anywhere he could generally reach with kisses.
The words he murmured afterwards as his mouth moved to her ear made it feel as if her heart had burst from joy in her chest.
"Chelsea...Shea love you."
She couldn't help but reply, happy tears still falling down her cheeks.
"And Chelsea loves Shea."
So...I know I should be updating the stories I have, but my only access to a writing programme died last September because my laptop's wire broke. Being busy with GCSE's and revision stopped any opportune times for getting a new one. When I had time I ended up playing Harvest Moon a lot...and so my mind churned out this.
Sorry if there's any confusion with the way I wrote this. I didn't want to mention their names until the end...Anyway, I hope you enjoyed and those who are interested, I should hopefully have some more of my older stories updated soon.