Despite the awkward sleeping position, Aashe slept more deeply than she had in quite some time. The subtle sounds of Corwin's breathing, the slight shifts of movement, there was something calming about them. As she drifted into the world of dreams, she was aware of the peace as though it were a palpable thing, settled around her like a blanket, held in place by the feeling of his fingers laced in hers.
"Turn it on!" The Girl yelled out from underneath the speeder. She was laid back on a levitating mechanics creeper, tapping her foot in time to the music playing in the garage. To her left, she could hear someone walking to the door. He stepped a foot up into the speeder, and hit the ignition. The Girl had all of five seconds to realize that something was wrong before she ended up with a face full of coolant.
From where she was, she could reach one of the kill switches in the engine without even having to see it. Which was a good thing... considering she couldn't open her eyes. She put her hand between some of the motors and gears, and yanked down on some wires, breaking their connection temporarily with the casing. The speeder turned off obediently. The Girl pushed herself out from under the speeder, and patted the floor with her hand until she found a nearby towel to wipe her face clean.
She had expected raucous laughter. The coolant was a opalescent white and generally garnered comments of a questionable nature when it got on her face. The silence was, therefore, odd. As she got her face cleared of the coolant, she looked up and realized the boys were all looking at something behind her. She had a sinking feeling she knew what it was...
She stood, and looked over the top of the speeder. Yep, suspicions confirmed...
"Father." She said, darkly. The look on his face was less than pleased. The boys glanced at her and then looked back to him, as if trying to decide who the more dangerous of the two would be.
"You will come home, this instant." He told her. The tone of his voice made her bristle with indignation. She was only 17, she knew logically that she would inevitably end up following his orders. Rebellion rose in her chest.
"The speeder is still broken." She said, trying to sound off handed. "I can't come home until it's fixed."
His eyes flashed with barely contained anger. He was too well bred a man to start screaming at her, but the urge to do so was there, washing off him like a wild fire.
"We have dinner plans this evening, and you are in no state to meet guests. You will accompany me, and I will hear no argument to the contrary."
"To hell with your dinner plans." She said, trying to sound like the guys. Her father gritted his teeth, barely containing some sort of retribution for her comment. Behind her, she heard one of them utter a low whistle. "Your guests won't miss me."
"Au contraire." Her father said, his expression changing too quickly. Triumph... "This is your engagement dinner. You are meeting your fiance tonight."
"Holy shit." One of the guys behind her said.
"Fiance... you're forcing me into an arranged marriage?!" She yelled in shock.
"Someone needs to be able to get reigns on you." Her father came around the speeder and held a hand out to her. He was going to make her acquiesce to him. He wasn't the type to grab her and drag her out... no, it was far more degrading to request her hand, and take her gracefully.
She simply stared at him. She couldn't believe what she was hearing. She took in a breath, ready for defiance, squaring her shoulders back and trying to make herself taller than she was. That was when she realized that the others had backed away from him. Him... not her. The act of realizing that the boys wouldn't... or perhaps more accurately couldn't... save her from his wrath deflated her. She reached out, taking his hand, and tossing the towel she still held back to one of the guys.
They watched her as she walked out, seeming to understand but not comprehend her cage. Her father's grip was firm on her fingers as he pulled her toward his transport shuttle.
"You are never to show me such flagrant disrespect again. You are my daughter, and you will act with decorum." He informed her with low hiss. She elected not to respond to him, knowing her silence would anger him more than anything else she could do. Betrothed... they were forcing her into a marriage... Her heart broke. Getting married would put her at the center of a media circus, her parents would see to that. She'd have hell breaking free.
Add to that, she knew the Manor like the back of her hand. She had the items she needed stashed all over the Manor, in strategic places, having planned her flight from the Manor down to the last detail. She was still more than a year away from being ready... and if she knew her parents, they'd have her married right after she turned 18... giving her four months.
She felt something on her shoulder, a gentle push..
"“Miss, I hate to wake you but I need to run a couple of tests on Mr. Havens.”
She looked at her father. Mr. Havens? Who...
Aashe's eyes opened. For a moment she was incredibly confused. The dream was fresh in her mind, and she was momentarily petrified that she was waking up in the Manor. As she stirred though, she felt her fingers pull gently on Corwin's. Seeing him, she realized where she was. In that moment, even the pain from the wound in her back was pleasant. It proved that she had made it...
In a lot of ways, her life felt like the dream. She'd had some unbelievable adventures. She was almost afraid that if she went back to sleep, she'd find herself having been trapped in the world she left behind.
"Can I stay...?" She asked, glancing up at the nurse.
Dreams of Memories
Blog entry posted by CoyoteLovely, May 6, 2012.