[This post is from Kailey Astoris’s point of view.]
Kailey’s hands tightened around the mug in her hands as the door behind her opened, carrying with it the sound of soaking rain and moaning wind—the latter sound far more suited to a different season than the end of summer. Of course, the chill to that wind was also unseasonable and she found it worrying her without a conscious reason why.
She didn’t look back to see who’d entered the dining hall. Part of her didn’t want to talk to anyone right now—she wouldn’t have even come indoors if not for the impending storm. At the same time, she hadn’t wanted to cloister herself away in her cottage, either, nor had she wanted to go to her parents.
And so here she was, clutching a mug of tea between her palms from the pot she’d made, again somehow knowing that the arrival of someone else—anyone else—was all but inevitable either in spite of or because of the weather coming in.
At least I saw it coming. Would’ve been nice if Astrid warned me, but who knows where she hared off to today.
A shiver crept down her spine, one she couldn’t quite suppress. I wish something didn’t tell me that it was connected to our visitors and all of—all of the mess that seems like it’s coming.
“You get caught in the rain, too?”
She shook her head in response to the question and for a second, she wished her friend would just go away. The rising storm outside made that an utter impossibility, though. “No. I saw it coming and got inside before it started. What were you out doing?”
Maybe talking to Peril would help.
It wasn’t his real name, but it was all they’d called him since she and Lin were barely ten and he was seven. She couldn’t even remember why anymore. It somehow seemed fitting for the son of Phelan O’Credne and Jacqueline Bell to be named something like that, though—somehow more fitting than the far more formal Bréanainn Cáel O’Credne, which was his given name.
He shrugged as he crossed the room, dripping water from his clothes with every step. She watched him over his shoulder and suppressed the urge to shake her head. Wherever he’d been and whatever he was doing, he was soaked to the skin on his way here, that much was clear. “Does it matter? Is the tea fresh?”
“Yeah,” she said softly, stepping away from the counter so he could get himself some. He didn’t seem to notice how wet he was and for a second, she envied his ability to ignore his physical circumstances. If her clothes had been that wet, the first thing she’d have wanted was to be dry.
“You’re looking at me funny,” he said.
“You’re soaking wet.”
“Yeah.” He shrugged again as he got down a mug and poured. “And if I went back out into the rain to find something dry to wear, I’d just end up wetter on the way and then get wet again on the way back.”
“You wouldn’t have to come back.”
“Mmm, yeah I would,” he said, turning toward her. “I don’t feel like chilling out in my room right now. Seems like a better idea to not be alone.”
“Any particular reason?” she asked, ignoring the fresh chill that ran down her spine.
His blue-eyed gaze seemed to see straight down into her soul. “Do I need one?”
“No,” she said softly. “I guess not.”