Part 1819 – Yes! Raven Returns To The Story! Good For Him.

Robin rolled on his back and closed his eyes.

Isellta’s phantom fingers traced the line of his scar.

“Uhhh…” He tried to grab Isellta’s hand. “Huh!”

He grabbed nothing.

He opened his eyes.

Isellta wasn’t there.

Robin breathed hard and hurting at the sight of his own blurred knuckles. He flipped onto his side and pulled the blanket up to his ear.

His body ached for the touch that it had never known.

Isellta’s fingers gliding down his spine.

Isellta’s fingers loving all over his skin, loving every part of him.

Isellta’s fingers making him whole and perfect again.

Robin growled and flopped onto his back again. He opened his eyes.

And Isellta wasn’t there.

“I’m bein’ so stupid. Stupid idiot me.” He pulled the blanket over his head and kicked the section covering his feet. “I’m gonna see him tonight. As soon as I can leave the weddin’ party, I’ll leave. I’ll run to him and we’ll be together. My ‘sellta and me. I just gotta go to sleep and let tonight come on ’round on its own.”

He closed his eyes one more time.

Besides all that, I ain’t got it as bad as Raven. At least, I know Isellta’s all right. Raven ain’t so sure ’bout Missy.

Robin returned to lying on his right side.

I wonder if he’s e’en sleepin’.

***

Raven found May Rose Farlington sitting in the middle of a stream with a tree frog in her hands. She was whispering secrets to the side of its head. She must have laid down in the water at some point, because her twin braids were as slick as otter fur. Her dress shoes and stockings lay in the sparse grass along the bank.

He frowned. “You are going to ruin your dress.”

“Good. That was my intent.”

“What?”

She kissed the frog on the head and carried him to dry land. Her lemon chiffon-colored dress clung heavy and dripping against her legs.

Raven backed away from her.

She released the frog into the grass. “If I ruin this horribly stupid dress, I will not have to wear it ever again.” 

He shook his head. “Your parents will be furious.”

“I don’t care.” She smiled at him. “Take your shoes off and come splash in the creek with me. The water is wondrously cool.”

“No.” He sat on the ground. “I cannot.”

“Falderal! You are just being a silly sulk.” She grabbed his hands and tried to pull him up.

“My father and I had a discussion.”

“About?”

The frog hopped away.

“About us. About you and me.”

She laughed. “James. There is no such thing as you and me. We are us! Best friends in the whole world. We will grow to be conquerors of the earth and sky! Come! Join me in the creek. Maybe we will find golden ingots.”

Raven felt sick as he remembered his father’s words. “May Rose. Stop.” He held his head a little higher. “My father believes it would be in our best interest if we stop being friends.”

“That is absurd. How does one stop being friends?”

“By respecting society’s expectations. By understanding that there are walls between us. Walls and permanently locked doors that neither of us possesses the keys to unlock.”

“I don’t care about society or locked doors or any such stuff. That is all boring grown-up rubbish and we are not grown ups yet.”

“But it will happen. And when it does, we will no longer be free to go play in creeks. We will no longer be free to be friends.” He heard his father’s voice in his head. “I will be your family’s butler and you will grow into your responsibilities as the Farlington’s oldest daughter. You will marry a man who will bring honor and wealth to you and your family.”

She released his hands. “Rubbish! Do you hear me, James Arden? That is pure rubbish! I am myself.  I refuse to marry some man my parents want me to marry. I will do as I wish and choose my own husband, thank you very much.”

He frowned. “That is not your choice to make.”

“Watch me.” She flipped her two braids over her shoulders and stormed away in her saturated dress and bare feet.

Raven stood. He picked up her abandoned items and followed her.

***

“Miss Farlington.” Raven woke to a crick in his neck. He sat up and tried to rub the pain away.

May Rose.

I have not dreamed of her for so long. How long has it been?

He winced and rubbed harder.

I am uncertain.

I wish I had dreamed of Missy instead.

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