• Kelly J Massey

Short Story Part 9

Not a word was said through breakfast. It seemed we needed to digest both our food and everything that transpired between us and Cyrus. I slowed my eating since anxiety could cause me to cram food into my mouth. I didn’t need to feel overstuffed and anxious, especially around Nimbus.

I glanced to the side and caught him looking at me. I gave him a little smile which he returned before glancing back down to his food. Is this how it usually goes? I’d never had any interest in anyone back at home. Maybe I couldn’t actually read him like I thought I could. He is fae after all. Maybe this was their way of being friendly and I read too much into it.

“You’re overthinking again,” his voice broke through the stillness.

“Wha—”

He laughed. “I can see it on your face. Your furrowed brow, your hand on your forehead trying to keep your mind from spinning outward. You’re overthinking whatever it is you’re thinking about. Care to share? It might ease the burden.”

I flushed. Sharing with Nimbus would ease the burden, but he might also think me stupid and leave. “I—I don’t know enough to know what to say.”

“I doubt that, but we’ll just get through this journey together and figure out what happens from there.”

I looked at him for a long moment wondering if maybe we were on the same page. He held my gaze without flinching, without probing, just being there in the moment with me. My introspection turned to my body as I realized how tense I held my posture. I dropped my gaze and focused on rolling my shoulders up and around before rotating my wrists. They already felt stiff from yesterday’s venture through the chasm and facing the catfish from hell. I didn’t need to add any extra strain to my body.

Nimbus rose and began to pack up our camp. I made to stand but before I could he held out his hands to me. I took them and he pulled me to my feet. Another long moment past as our fingertips touched and we held each other’s gaze without saying anything. He grinned before letting my hands drop and went to work rolling up his bedroll. I turned and did the same, fighting to keep my fluttering stomach and pounding heart in check while an internal battle raged.

Stop it. He’s just being nice.

But isn’t he being more than nice? I thought back to what he had said about getting through this journey first. It made sense. It didn’t mean my brain would turn off though.




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