Four days had passed before Jin saw Lilly again. The first two days were because he had been swamped by work and didn't have time to wander out to the lake to see if Lilly was there. He had looked out on the balcony, however, and seen the dark form of Edward hunting above the trees. He knew it was Edward by the screech that the bird had sounded when it caught sight of him. He had waved back but the bird only flew on.
The last two days had been full of rain. A soft sprinkling rain had drizzled down the first day and Jin doubted Lilly would be out in fright of ruining her dress or her hair. "Or maybe not." He had wondered. Even though he didn't know Lilly well, he would have put down a bet that she would still go out in the rain. He didn't know how or why he had thought that, but he did. The day after, the rain picked up and rain poured almost all day. Clouds covered the sky in a grey blanket and it wasn't until late that night did the clouds move on and allow the light of the crescent moon to shine through dimly in the night sky.
The next morning, Jin woke early and decided that it was time for him to go for a run around the lake. He didn't know if Lilly would be there, but he didn't care. I just needed to get out into the forest. At the very least he needed to see if there was any damage to the surrounding area from the rain. Pulling on a pair of sweats and a t-shirt was a sweatshirt; he jogged out into the cool morning. Jin wasn't very athletic, but he had kept up a regular exercise schedule that kept him from gaining any weight while he worked for hours in the office. He had also personally pushed for the exercise floor to be built in the company the year before. Efficiency and productivity increased as the employees took advantage of the treadmills and exercise equipment and he had felt proud that his idea had been successful.
This morning, he took a path through the forest that would take him around the lake and up a small ridge that would overlook the area. He had stumbled across the ridge on one of his random explorations during one of his extended stays at the cabin. Jin had cut a path through the forest afterwards that would lead to the ridge so that if he ever had guests, he would know how to find them and show them the area. But he didn't know if he would ever have guests at the cabin. Jin often had woman who would be interested in him for his wealth and prestige, and some would be captivating to him but he had never taken anyone out to the cabin. Anyone else besides his lawyer would feel like an intruder upon his private life and safe haven from the city and stress of work. Jin jogged at a steady pace, listening to the morning song of birds and the life of the forest as he traveled up the hills. He had built up endurance with the regular exercise he had done back at the company so by the time he had reached the top of the ridge he was hardly breathing fast.
The rain had been like a miracle spell on the forest. Everything looked greener than ever and the morning sunshine was like an angel's touch upon the earth. The sky would be blue today and it would be warm.
"Just perfect weather for an outing this afternoon." Jin said aloud. He breathed in the fresh scent of pine, enjoying the feel of nature around him. After a few moments, Jin turned back around and headed back down the trail to head home. He would go back and finish the work he had left unfinished yesterday and then maybe work on the front yard in the afternoon. When the architect had built the house, he had also included a front garden that gave the house a more country feel. The plants were low maintenance, but they still required care every once in a while. However, his plans for a productive morning were dashed when he reached the bottom of the hill and spotted Edward flying just ahead of him. "Lilly." With a spurt of energy, Jin took off after the bird. He ran at a steady pace to avoid trees and keep track of the bird. He didn't recognize the area but he didn't care. He was bound to go exploring the forest one day and would eventually have come around this direction sometime. Jin ran for what seemed like forever and he started breathing hard with the exertion. Finally, Edward came to a stop at a tree branch and perched there for a while. Jin hid behind the trunk of a large pine a few feet away and watched the bird. It sat there for a little while and then suddenly took off again, this time flying to the west. Jin followed carefully and then suddenly stopped to duck behind a tree when he noticed that Edward had disappeared behind a row of bushes. Lying on the forest floor, Jin carefully crept up and peeked through the bushes. In front of him was Lilly and Edward on her arm. The girl was in what looked like a dress made out of leaves and decorated with flowers across the bodice. Another wreath of orange flowers was woven into her hair this time and she sat with her feet dangling in a pool of water.
"It must be a natural spring." Jin thought. Lilly was talking to Edward and stroking him as the bird happily cooed affectionately. Jin watched for another minute and then started to take notice of his surroundings. The area that Edward had led him to was a small clearing with trees surrounding the perimeter and a row of hedges like a barrier. A few bushes held fruit that appeared to be edible and the grass in the clearing was the softest and lushest he had ever seen. Squirrels hopped from branch to branch in the tree cover above and birds merrily chirped as they sang their song. Overall, this was just another oasis in paradise. The suddenly the wind picked up. Edward's head picked up and he screeched a warning. Lilly scrambled to her feet.
"Who's there?" She called. Not wanting to frighten her, Jin raised a hand to indicate where he was and then slowly stood up.
"Uhh… I didn't mean to spy on you." He started. "I only saw Edward flying earlier and followed him here." Lilly's eyes were wide and he could see that she was trying to relax but there was something that was stopping her.
"You shouldn't be here." She said. A chill gripped Jin's heart as she said those words. Her voice didn't even sound like her sweet melodic voice he had come to know and love. It almost felt as if she was treating him as a stranger, and that hurt Jin.
"I didn't mean to intrude on your privacy." Jin apologized quickly and started to back up. Lilly's mouth opened as if she meant to say something but then shut again.
"I don't mean it in a rude manner, Jin. It's just that you're farther out in the forest than I thought you would be." She explained in a gentler but still firm tone. "Can you find your way back?" She asked. Jin looked around and shook his head. He didn't know where he was and he didn't have any devices that would navigate him back to the trail.
"Edward can lead you back then. I have to get back to my home, but I will see you soon, okay?" Lilly seemed worried and maybe even a little scared. Jin hoped it hadn't been because of him. He simply nodded and waved a good bye as Edward took off from her shoulder and flew a few feet ahead of Jin to guide him back. The look of longing on Lilly's face had struck a chord in Jin's heart. She had wanted to tell him something, but didn't know how. Yet. The expression of worry and surprise on her face also flashed in his memory and he suddenly felt guilty for having intruded in her private space. A small thought in the back of his mind itched as if there had been something more than what she had said but Jin felt the pang of sadness hit him in the gut and pushed the idea out of his mind. He would need to thoroughly apologize to her when or if she saw him again.
If. The word rang in Jin's head. Within the time span of a few days, Jin had become too attached to this mysterious stranger. He didn't need emotions now when he'd never been particularly fond of any women before. He needed to leave and go back to his city life. He had over stayed his visit this time. He needed to leave in order to erase that sad expression on Lilly's face. He must leave.