The castle got smaller and smaller as Aishwarya, Kitrinos, Jarren and Estelise rode away. Kitrinos was giddy with her excitement to be traveling with the prince and her dear friend Aishwarya. This was going to be exciting and she knew it would bring more tourists to her town. She loved dancing, nothing was more thrilling to her than her dance with Aishwarya. He seemed just as excited though he didn’t show it much. She only knew because she knew him so well.
He rode with his back straight and a semi serious face. He looked just as handsome as always. She often wondered if he thought she was as beautiful as she felt he was handsome. She had only just noticed how handsome he was two weeks ago. She wnated to bring it up a few times but somthing always happend. Most of the time it was because sombody invited themselves into their conversation. That was the only bad thing about living in such a friendly town, it was hard to talk to people one on one.
Now would be innapropriate since if he wasn’t attracted to her too and thigns got awkward they would be stuck at eachothers side for a few months and the act would suffer. She wanted them to do amazing and have fun so the conversation could wait until they were back home.
Aishwarya glanced at Kitrinos, excited to be on the road with her. He had never thought in a million years they would be getting such an amazing oppurtunity and they were doing it together. “Where are we going first?” He asked Jarren.
“To Lord and Lady Trandafir, they’re part of a royal family. He’s a big fan of anything foreign. Even his wife is from another land.” Jarren answered.
“I’m so nervous.” Kitrinos said.
“You’ll do just fine. Just remember, I’ll be right there beside you.” Aishwarya took her hand for a brief moment and gave it a reassuring squeeze.
“Thank you. I know it’s stupid to be woried, but dancing for our family and friends is way different than dancing for royalty.”
“Sweetheart, from what I’ve seen you are going to kill any performance.” Estelise said with a smile.
“If Lord Trandafir is impressed with your performance he’ll ask you about putting on a show for the city at one of their theatres. Take the oppurtunity, it’ll be a wonderful experience. Don’t worry about buying anything with the money you get, I want you to keep that for yourself. I’ll buy you anything you need.”
“That’s very kind of you Prince Jarren.” Kitrinos said softly.
“Just Jarren and it’s no problem.”
Estelise smiled over at Jarren for being so generous. He noticed and gave her a boyish smile in return. Being outside of the desert was a new experience for both Aishwarya and Kitrinos. Jarren and Estelise who had grown up around all these trees, smells, animals and sounds were paying little mind but Kitrinos was in aw. Every bird chirp sounding amazing, every color vibrant and stunning to her eyes. She forgot her nervousness as she took everything in. She wouldn’t even be upset if somthing attacked because it would give her a chance to fight with a new creature.
A butterfly fluttered so cose to Kitrinos she could have grabbed it but she let it fly by. She felt if you truly loved nature you’d let it be happy and where it belonged. Kitrinos glanced back over at Aishwarya. he still wore his serious face and it almost made her laugh. She could see in his eyes he was enjoying the sights too but he always wore a face that hid any emotion. She wondered if she could ever get him to stop that and just let his face form to whatever he was feeling.
It took a day and a half to arrive at Lord and Lady Trandafirs home. Four servants took their horses to put in their own stalls while another guided them inside to where the lord and lady were sitting. They got up to greet them with hugs and warm welcomes. “What do i owe a visit from the prince?” The Lord asked. “These two are amazing sword dancers and would love to perform for you two. His eyes lit up and he seemed to overflow with excitement. ‘are you ready to do so now or do you need time to ready yourselves?”
“oh no we can do it now. Right Aishwarya?”
“Of course, sit and we will perform.” He and his wife both sat down with Estelise and Jarren. Aishwarya gave Kitrinos a look that was meant to tell her not to be nervous because she was amazing and they could dance better than anyone else together. She smiled back at him then they began their performance. They enraptured their audience as their bodies moved and their swords gracefully seemed to flow through the air. Kitrinos forgot anyone was even watching and just put her all into their debut.
Aishwarya always thought Kitrinos looked so beautiful when she danced, her sword twirling around her as she moved gracefully across the floor. She seemed to move to music only she heard and he couldn’t help, but get pulled in. They finished their dance and bowed. “That was spectacular.” Lord Trandafir said. “Very beautiful.”
“Thank you.” Aishwarya and Kitrinos said as one.
“Jarren, I take it you are in charge of these two.”
“Yes, they are my responsibility until I return them home.”
“Would you consider letting them put on a show for three days at one of the theatres?”
“That is up to them.”
Kitrinos felt her heart beating frantically in her chest. Aishwarya could tell she was nervous and grabbed her hand then spoke. “We would love nothing more than to perform for the people of this city. We will need a musician though since our friends could not come with us.”
“Fantastic, I will send my steward to find you the best there is.”
“Sir, if I may make another request, I would like the musician to be a street performer like us. It’s true there are many good musicians in high society, but none of them can compare to a street musician who must actually work for his or her money.”
“Very well, a street performer it is. Does gender matter?”
“Gender does not make the musician.”
“good, I will get right on it. Jarren, I will have you informed the moment I find musicians. Will you be guests in my home? If you do not wish it I know the very best Inn to stay at here.” Jarren knew the man would most likely take it as an insult if they didn’t stay so he gave them guests room in his large, luxurious home. In the desert they had small, simple homes. Just enough to live in and be comfortable so this too was amazing to Aishwarya and Kitrinos. They thought it was a bit over lavish but they were aware their taste was simpler than most. After they were all settled in Jarren asked “is there anything you two will need?”
“No, we’re set as long as they provide us with music” Aishwarya answered. Jarren fished money out of his pocket. Why don’t we go our seperate ways and explore for a time. I think it’ll be fun. You and Kitrinos can walk around together while Estelise and I walk around together. Jarren asked to get to know Estelise more one on one and work towards winning her heart. Aishwarya smiled “thank you, that sounds fun”
“good, we’ll all meet back here at dinner” They walked out, one set taking the left and the other taking the right. “this is such a sweet thing you’re doing for those two Jarren.” Estelise said. Jarren smiled “it’s fun to travel and I will get to know you better”
“what do you want to know about me?”
“Anything you want to share”
“there’s a million things I could share, pick one”
“Hmm, do you have siblings?”
“Nope, only child.”
“You know that’s the same for me so do you like being an only child”
“I don’t like or dislike it.”
“What do you like best about our land?”
She laughed. “Do you really have to ask that question? I thought it was obvious. You are by far my favorite thing.” She smiled up at him. “Well, it’s either you or that cake your cook makes.”
He laughed and pulled her into a tight hug. “I definitely like you more than cake.”
Aishwarya and Kitrinos walked aimlessly through town, just enjoying the new sights and sounds. The smell of baked goods hit their noses, making Kitrinos’ stomach growl. “Why didn’t you say you were hungry?” Aishwarya asked.
“I’m sorry, I just got caught up in all of this stuff.” She answered with a warm smile that took his breath away.
He cleared his throat and took her hand. “Come on, I’m buying you something to eat.” She blushed as he pulled her down the street to the bakery that was emitting those delicious smells. They walked up to the large display and he was happy to see they had her favorited spiced muffins. He asked for two and paid for them then handed her one. “Eat up.” He ordered softly as they headed back out onto the busy street.
“Thank you, even though you didn’t have to.”
“Of course I did, your health is very important to me. Always tell me when you need something and I’ll gladly get it.”
She smiled, feeling happy to the very core of herself. Aishwarya kept her hand. He held it firmly in his hoping she wouldn’t pull it away. As they explored they stumbled upon another performer. He was a magician and putting on a show for everyone that wanted to watch. “Lets watch him” Kitrinos said in a asking tone. “alright” They stood at the edge of the crowd and watched as the magician put on an amazing show. He would make snow flurries appear, shoot off firework type spells and even creature what looked like creatures in the sky. His performance absolutely enthralled Kitrinos, enabling Aishwarya to gaze dreamily at her as boys seem to always do when the woman they hold their affection for isn’t paying them any attention.
She felt his gaze and turned towards him. Their eyes met and they just stood there. He blushed when h realized she was looking back “sorry Kitrinos”
“Don’t be sorry, do I have somthing on my face?”
“No, of course not. I just am getting spacey i guess. All that traveling. I’m not used to it”
“we should go back to where we are staying then so you can rest.”
“No, you’re having fun”
“I’m tired too. lets go back” She lied for his benefit. It was hard to keep from frowning as she tugged him back. He didn’t feel like resting atall but if he tried to correct what he said before he knew he would just end up shoving his own foot in his mouth. Jarren and Estilise were sitting in a large field of flowers and she rested her head on his shoulder. Jarrens heart beat picked up and he laid his head on hers. “I’m glad to hear I’m your favrite thing..you’re mine you know”
‘i know” she answered and jarren lifted his head ‘you know?”
“I’m not blind or dense by any means. You going to quit being a chicken and ask me out?” his mind went haywire for a few moments “you’d go out with me?”
“Yeah, I didn’t like your attitude before but you’ve shown me you can be a really caring guy. Bonus, you’re handsome. I just wanted to be with a man atleast brave enough to ask out who he wants to be with”
“I would love to be with you if you’d have me” She moved so she was in front of him then gave Jarren a long, slow kiss. “Then you’re mine and I’m yours” Jarren held her close and kissed her head. Estilese just smiled and enjoyed the moment. Now she would just wait for Aishwarya or Kitrinos to confess their love for the other. She always had an eye for such things and could tell those two were in love.
“You rest and I’ll stay next door.” Kitrinos said whe they made it to their rooms.
“I really am fine.” Aishwarya replied.
“You said my health is important to you right, well your’s is important to me too. Please just rest. We both need it after performing today.”
He searched for any way to spend more time with her, not wanting their time alone to end just yet. “Wait, will you stay with me?”
“We used to have sleepovers all the time when we were younger and I always slept better when you were close. So, stay with me and I’ll go to sleep.”
Kitrinos blushed and her heart sped up. “Well, if you really need me then I guess I can stay.”
“Thank you.” He pulled her into his room and excitedly tugged his boots off. Kitrinos pulled hers nervously off and they climbed into bed together. She was so nervous, but let him pull her into his arms anyway. It felt good being this close to him, it was something she always wanted. She rested her head on his chest and was amazed to find his heart was beating just as fast as hers. “Are you comfortable?” He asked.
“Yes, thank you.”
“Good, don’t be afraid to tell me if you need to move.”
“Okay.” She felt herself getting drowsy as she relaxed more and more into him. Her eyelids grew heavy and before she could stop herself she had fallen asleep.
Aishwarya was too happy to rest. He held Kitrinos gently, never wanting dinner to come. He loved the feel of her soft breaths tickling his chest and her warm body fitting so perfectly against his. He made a commitment to himself that he would finally tell her how he felt before they left this city. They would be here three days so that was plenty of time for him to work up the nerve and figure out how he would ask. He would wait and stress about that tonight when he was in his room alone. That was, if he couldn’t convince her to sleep with him again. He was surprised she was willing to do it now since it had been so long. Aishwarya was glad he had so frantically looked for a way to stay near her so that he now knew she would let him hold her while they rested.
When they were beckoned for dinner and had to meet everyone it was an inconvienence for Aishwarya. He would much rather keep cuddling with his love but knew they had to eat. “did you sleep well?” Kitrinos asked as she got off the bed. “Yes, how about you?”
“amazingly.” he smiled, deciding to ask now so he wouldn’t make a fool of himself in front of everybody else ‘well then will you sleep with me tonight aswell? It’s just uncomfortable being away from home and you bring me such comfort. It’s easy to relax with you near” Kitrinos felt warm but no blush appeared “sure” Aishwarya hugged her “thank you, lets go eat with the others” they came down and were given knowing smiles from Jarren and Estelise. More food than five familys could eat was served that night and it all tasted stupendous. When all were full Lord Trandafir said ‘shall we clean this table up and play cards? Maybe you can teach me new card games”
“If we know any you don’t” Aishwarya answered. “name one that you think i migyht not know”
“Oh good, i don’t know it. Teach me” Aishwarya and Kitrinos taught him and his wife then they played until the lord yawned “I have your musical talent. She is an amazing street performer as i hear. I meant to talk about this earlier but would doing a performance at ten tomorrow morning suit you two?”
“I’m fine with that” Kitrinos answered then Aishwarya said “if shes fine I am”
“Fantastic. I’ll see you at the Lirmer Theatre in the morning to introduce you to the musician.”
“Thank you sir.” They both said then headed upstairs.
“I have to get my bag so I can change.” Kitrinos said softly and he went ahead and went into his room and changed into his night pants. She tapped on his door and he told her to come in. She sat her bag next to his then dug in it until she found her nightgown and went into the bathroom. She quickly changed and walked shyly back out. If she had known she would be sleeping with Aishwarya she would have packed something longer.
“Wow.” He couldn’t help but say and wished he hadn’t. She covered her face and froze, her heart leaping nervously in her chest. “I’m sorry Kitrinos, it’s just I’ve never seen you in something so girly. Well not since we were little anyway.”
“It’s okay, I just don’t have anything else to wear.”
“Come on, lets get covered up then you won’t be so embarrassed.” He got in bed and she quickly followed, glad when the blankets covered her. She buried her face in the covers, hating how nervous she was. “Is that better?”
“A little, but you’ve already seen me. Don’t tel any of your guy friends when we get home.”
“I would never do that. I don’t want to embarrass you. It’ll be our little secret.” He pulled the covers away from her face and tipped her head back so she was looking at him. “I have to be honest with you though, you are absolutely the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. Never forget that.”
“Okay, thank you.” He smiled and let her reposition her head. She felt better knowing he thought she was beautiful and hadn’t laughed at her shyness. They relaxed into each others warmth and were soon fast asleep.
A maid woke them once again when they needed to get ready “you take the bathroom first” Aishwarya insisted. “alright, I’ll be fast” She got off of him, grabbed her clothes then took a quick shower since her hair was dirty from traveling. When she was dry she tugged on her clothen then walked out. She took a quick study of Aishwaryas chest as he passed her to shower. His shower was just as fast. They went down to breakfast then made their way to the theatre. Aishwarya, feeling bold after her reaction to him calling her beautiful took Kitrinos’s hand. She smiled and an I love you nearly escaped her lips. She scolded herself, she needed to wait until after this trip so things wouldn’t be awkward while they performed.
Lord Trandafir was standing next to a short, pink haird girl. Her eyes were bright green and her smile seemed tilted somehow “she will be playing music for you two. I hear nothing but rave reviews. Sashi they are Kitrinos and Aishwarya, Kitrinos and Aishwarya this is Sashi.”
“Nice to meet you” They all said at about the same time. Lord Trandafir smiled “already in perfect sync. Do you three want to practice before the real thing?”
“do you?” Aishwarya asked Sashi “yeah” Sashi moved to the side of the stage while Aishwarya and Kitrinos took the center. Sashi began to play as they began to dance. Her music went so well with them you would have thought they had been practicing together for years. This performance was even better than the one they displayed at Lord Trandafir home. He sat wide eyed in an awed state at the show. When they stoppe dhe clapped loudly “amazing! Breath taking even! you three go perfectly together!”
They were all very excited and both Aishwarya and Kitrinos couldn’t help but be amazed at Sashi’s talent. They talked excitedly with her until they heard the sound of people coming in. Kitrinos peeked out and instantly became nervous again. There were so many people. “Stop it.” Aishwarya said as he pulled her back. “You’re making yourself nervous.”
“I’m sorry, I’m so worried I’m shaking. What if I mess up?” She replied, her voice cracking.
He thought of a way to make her feel better. “I have an idea. Close your eyes.”
“Just trust me and do it.” She closed her eyes and he pressed her hand against his chest. “Feel my heartbeat.” He said softly and she focused on the slow, steady rhythm beneath her palm. “Now feel yours.” Her own was the exact opposite, frantic and out of control. “Take my heartbeat and make it your own. Breathe deeply and slow it down so it matches mine.” The inhaled together then exhaled. She willed her heart to calm down and soon it was beating in perfect synch with his. “Better?”
“Yes, much better.” She opened her eyes and he smiled down at her, the expression making her blush and goosebumps crawl over her skin. For a moment they got lost in each others eyes and the whole world seemed to drop away.
“You two ready?” Sashi asked, jolted them back into reality.
“Yes, of course.” Aishwarya let go of her hand and she couldn’t help but feel a little sad. “Remember Kitrinos I’m right here beside you.”
They walked out on stage the looked over an anticipating crowd. Kitrnos took a deep breath, using the calm Aishwarya had washed over her. Sashis music started and soon they began their dance. Their bodies swayed and swords flew as they moved along with them. They got a few gasps but aside from that the crowd was soundless during their performance. When it ended they recieved a standing ovation. Kitrinos couldn’t believe it but Aishwarya knew they were that good. They were amazing at anything together. He took her hand and they bowed. A body guard that worked for Lord Trandafir settled down the crowd then told them these two would be performing today and two days following. They all seemed excited, especially when they were promised another performance around three pm.
This time Aishwarya and Kitrinos weren’t asked but they were happy to do it. They walked off stage and were soon greeted by hugs from Jarren and Estelise “how was the first performance?” Estelise asked. Kitrinos answered “I was really nervous at first but Aishwarya helped me calm down”
“Well you obviously had no reason to be nervous. That was amazing” Estelise praised. “I think we should celebrate with some ice cream.” Jaarren suggested. They walked to the local ice cream shop and Jarren paid for whatever everyone wanted. They sat down eating happily and talking. Not only about their performance but they were talking about the trip so far. Aishwarya and Kitrinos were excited for Jarren and Estelise when they found out they were dating. They finished up their icecream and decided to go their seperate ways again until the next show came around.
“I swear if that boy doesn’t tell Kitrinos how he feels I might have to punch him in the gut.” Estelise said as she walked hand and hand with Jarren down to the large lake and onto the docks.
“Believe it or not my dearest Estelise, but most men become terrified when faced with the idea of being rejected by the woman they love.”
“Men are stupid.”
“Yes they are, very stupid.” He agreed and they both laughed as they pulled off their boots and dangled their feet in the water.
Kitrinos’s heart was still beating excitedly with the adrenaline she had been feeling. She was actually jittery and couldn’t wait for the second performance. “You seem really happy.” Aishwarya said.
“I am thanks to you. You made the performance worth while. If you hadn’t been there I would have choked.”
“I don’t think that’s true, I think you would have done just fine.”
She shook her head. “Without you there I wouldn’t have been able to dance. You make me feel brave, like I could do anything.”
“That’s because I honestly believe that you can.” His smile was contagious and before long they were grinning at each other happily. “We should find a quiet place to rest for a little bit.”
“Where did you have in mind?”
“I thought I saw an orchard on the way into town. I’m sure the owner won’t mind us taking a nap as long as we don’t take any fruit.”
“ok, lets go” They walked hand in hand to the orchard then settled down under a tree. Aishwarya excitedly laid down and opened his arms. Kitrinos smiled then nervously laid on his chest. “you never want to rest this much at home. Are you ok? Not getting sick right?” Aishwarya blushed and decided to be honest “I..I get to hold you this way..” She lifted up “you like holding me?” He took in and let out a deep breath of air then sat back up with her. “yes, I love you and have for awhile. I promised myself I’d tell you before we left this town so i guess now is as good of a time as any to tell you how I feel. If you don’t love me too then I hope you’ll still perform with me and be my friend. I would hate to ruin everything but I can’t hide my feelings forever”
When Kitrinos mind actually had his words processed she kissed him. It was a wordless reciprocation of his feelings that he understood loud and clear. He kissed her back, loving this feeling more than he thought he would. He loved the way her lips moved against his and didn’t want it to stop. She decided to put words to her answer when she pulled back “I love you too. I’ve tried to tell you a few times but people would interrupt me back at home.” He rubbed her cheek “I thought so but I also thought that may be wishful thinking. I’m glad I made myself tell you.”
“Me too” She kissed him again and he smiled against her lips. They were on cloud nine and nothing could touch them. Everything was exciting in this moment. They were finally together, had a long trip of beautiful sights and interesting new places all while sharing a big part of their peoples culture. This was turning out to be the greatest trip in their lives and it had only just started. They both felt indebted to Jarren for bringing them. When Jarren became king they would have nothing but respect for their ruler and do anything for him that he needed.
~ The End