I'm doing something new! It's a series of short, very short, chapters to a cute little story that I'm writing. Each chapter will not go over two and a half pages, around 1500 words or so per chapter. I've already gotten the first four done, but I'm going to post it slowly, to draw it out more. Hope ya like! And see if you can't figure out where the title comes from, hmm?
Amerial curled into the window seat, ignoring the biting cold that seeped through the large pane of transparent glass. His fingers idly traced nonsensical designs into the fog that clouded the window, leaving trails of condensation on his fingers. It was early morning, the sun barely starting to peek over the horizon to glint enticingly through the fogged glass.
Breakfast would be served soon, but Amerial wasn't feeling particularly like going. Brayden would be there, and so would Cwery, the two people he really didn't want to have to deal with at the moment. It was easier to just avoid them, staying in the poorly lit back corner of the library.
He didn't know how to act around either of them, and he hated being confused. Everything had been fine until a few weeks back, when he'd noticed that Cwery seemed to be paying him more attention than usual. He'd thought it nothing, until Brayden had finally snapped. Brayden, it seemed, had a romantic interest in Cwery. But Cwery would hardly give him the time of day, because he was too busy mooning over Amerial.
Amerial had denied any interest in Cwery, but things had been awkward between him and Brayden since. And he couldn't even deal with Cwery anymore, because every time he tried to talk to the other boy, Brayden would get sulky or he would be over-analyzing everything to make sure he wasn't encouraging Cwery.
And so for the past week, he'd been avoiding them both, hoping they would be able to work things out without him around. It hadn't been easy – Brayden's father's keep wasn't that large, and there were few spots Amerial could hide out where he wouldn't be found by anyone. Because it was certain that the two would've noticed his absence, and asked the servants to help find him. And the servants did adore Cwery.
The library corner and the forest were the two places he'd found he could disappear into without being found. He returned to his quarters late and left them early, or he slept in the forest or library. He planned to give the two a few more days before he stopped avoiding them.
The sun was slowly climbing, but he would wait until it was shining right in his eyes before going to the kitchens to sneak something to eat. It looked to be another clear day, so he'd spend most of it outside, skulking about the forest as usual.
The fog on the glass evaporated quickly, as he waited. The grounds outside were slowly coming to life, the servants running about doing their duties as the guards started sparring on the lawn. He smiled as one of the guards slipped on the dew-slicked grass, taking a wooden practice sword to the side of the head.
Finally it was time to sneak off, and he did so as his stomach started to growl irritably, complaining about the fact that he'd slept through dinner last evening. Standing, he straightened his shirt, trying in vain to smooth the wrinkles from it. He could go for a bath and a change of clothes before he left for the forest. There shouldn't be too many people out and about the bathing chambers after his breakfast.
The kitchen was bustling with the cook and her helpers, already preparing for lunch and dinner. The cook was a wonderfully cheerful lady, and she didn't mind giving him leftovers and advice whenever he asked for them. She hadn't thought his avoidance tactic was the best, but she still let him come down for food after the regular meals were done.
Today she'd saved bread and jam, a bit of bacon, and a bit of fruit for him. He settled happily in the out of the way corner and watched in amusement as the kitchen staff bickered with each other. Idly wondering what to do later, he missed the clandestine entrance of Brayden and Cwery, and in fact, didn't notice them until they stood right in front of him, basically pinning him to the corner he was in.
Brayden's dark brown eyes were narrowed in annoyance, his arms crossed in front of his chest as he glared through a curtain of light brown hair. Cwery, on the other hand, looked more hurt than annoyed, his pale blue eyes staring at Amerial with a hint of water in them, framed by curling golden hair.
Amerial stared back guiltily, setting the bread back down on his plate as though it were something he shouldn't be having.
"Amerial." Brayden stated, frowning. "You've got a bit of explaining to do." Cwery nodded emphatically, curls bouncing frantically with his movement.
Sighing dramatically, Amerial stood with his half-finished plate. He scraped the remains of his breakfast into the compost bucket, giving his plate to the washing girl, who smiled sweetly at him before turning back to her task. Brayden was watching him like a hawk the entire time, so there was no chance for escape.
Amerial smiled faintly at that thought – escape, as though he was a criminal. He followed Brayden out of the kitchen's back door, the one that led into the rather large vegetable and herb patch the kitchen girls sometimes tended in their spare time. Brayden led the way to the back wall of the garden, a low hedge that reached to about his chest – just high enough to keep the livestock out.
Brayden sat at the base of the bush, Amerial jumped to sit on top of the bush – though it swayed and was anything but stable as he did so, and Cwery hesitated before sitting facing the two of them.
"So, Amerial, where have you been this past week?" Brayden drawled, his tone overly sarcastic.
"Avoiding you." Amerial stated simply, kicking his feet idly, and causing the bush to sway even more. Brayden swatted at his foot as it came too close to him.
"Why?" Cwery asked quietly, turning sad blue eyes up to survey Amerial.
"Because I was giving the two of you space." Amerial said plainly, as though it was obvious. He could tell Brayden was scowling, as the boy swiped at his errantly kicking feet irritably.
"Space for what?" Brayden snapped, managing to hit Amerial's leg, though the blow wasn't strong enough to knock him off balance.
"Space for you, Cwery, to forget about any romantic inclinations you may have towards me, and space for you, Brayden, to calm down and realize that I'm not going to suddenly take Cwery away and forget about you." Amerial watched dispassionately as Cwery's eyes filled with tears. "I've obviously not given either of you enough time."
Amerial hopped down off the bush and walked over to Cwery, who wouldn't look up at him. "Come with me Cwery." Amerial extended his hand and helped the golden-haired boy to his feet. He led the blonde boy off a distance from the fuming Brayden.
"Cwery. I'm sorry." Amerial regarded his shorter friend sadly. Cwery still wouldn't look at him, focusing on his feet. Amerial gently reached out and tipped Cwery's head up. "Look at me." He said softly as Cwery screwed his eyes shut, tears leaking out to spill down his cheeks.
"Please, Cwery?" He wiped away the tears. Finally Cwery slid his eyes open.
"C-couldn't you just pretend?" Cwery asked, his eyes pleading.
"Oh, Cwery." Amerial frowned sadly. "I can't do that. It wouldn't be fair to you or me. It would only end badly, and then I'd lose you as a friend too. I don't want to lose you, Cwery."
Cwery nodded, tears still falling as he averted his eyes again.
"I would, really I would, if not for two things." Cwery looked back up at him, slightly hopeful. "The first I've already told you – I don't want to lose you as a friend."
"And the second?" Cwery's usually soft voice was slightly thick from tears, and Amerial hid a wince.
"It wouldn't be fair to Brayden." Amerial said quietly. "No, don't look over there. I promised him I wouldn't tell you, but I'm going to break it, for you, okay? Give Brayden a chance. He deserves that much at least."
Cwery stared at him, a bit shocked, but the tears had stopped at least. Amerial grinned.
"Okay now, I'm going to talk to him for a bit, then I'll leave you two alone and you can talk to him then." Amerial said, fishing his handkerchief out of his pocket. "Now you clean yourself up, and don't come over until I'm leaving, okay?"
Cwery nodded, taking the handkerchief. Then he surged forward and hugged Amerial tightly. "Thank you, 'mare."
"Don't mention it, Cwery." Amerial smiled, returning the hug.