How do I have time to make jewelry, write, AND study for school?
Heck if I know.
I tossed my friend the pitchfork and went to grab the antiquated shovel. With stellar teamwork, we finished the job before we could finish the rest of the song. Aaron dumped the last wheelbarrow full of manure; I reclaimed the pitchfork and followed him.
Planting the tines of the instrument in the dirt, I held onto the wooden handle and swung lightly away from it. “I’m going to play with the prince!” I announced in a happy sing-song voice. “He’s having a birthday party and I get to go!”
Aaron grunted. “I heard about that,” he said, setting the back two wheels down with a bang.
“There will be honey mead!” I sang. “And sucket candy or even succade! And I will have a new dress to wear and I will go and I will dance and I will eat all of the pastries! And it will be the most wonderful day!”
Aaron was just looking at me, his face solemn. “Are you serious? You really want to go to the Prince’s Picking a Wife Party? To be considered for the part?”
I smiled, flattered that he thought that I was a serious candidate. “Nope. I want to go to the party so that I can make myself sick on éclairs and hob-nob with royalty. If I snag a dance with the prince,” I shrugged, “That’s all gravy.”
“What if you catch his eye, Eleni? What if he decides that he wants you? You’re going into the lion’s den thinking of wine and chocolates with no thought about the fact that there’s a lion in there!”
“He’s a prince, Aaron. A human. He’s not going to eat me.”
Aaron’s lush mouth pulled together in a decidedly attractive pout. “Do you like him?” he demanded.
A lone butterfly winged into my chest. He’s jealous! I thought. The idea made me smile all the more. “I’m not afraid he’ll eat me up,” I said, grinning a little inanely.
“Maybe you should be.”
“Maybe you should keep me occupied that night, then,” I suggested, letting my grin become provocative and pressing myself towards him.
Gently, Aaron extricated himself from my sudden nearness. “Eleni,” he said, his voice soft, careful.
I felt cold where his body had been touching mine moments before. Cold and rebuffed. I shook my head like a horse bothered by a fly. So he was jealous but he wasn’t going to do anything about it. What was his problem?
“You know the prince is an a—“ he checked himself. Swearing in front of me now would only add to my annoyance. Aaron knew that. “A donkey,” he amended.
“A donkey and a lion, is he?” I scoffed. “So what if he is? I guess I can go dance with a donkeylion for a night, a night of cream puffs and free champagne. Right? ‘Cuz I’m nobody’s girl. Right?”
I was punished for this with a sullen silence.
A flame of anger flared into being within my heart. “Are you going to tell me I can’t go?” My voice was low, the threat there nearly tangible.
“What? Eleni, no. Don’t be stupid. I’m not going to tell you that you can’t do anything, got it? But I will tell you that you shouldn’t go, and you know it.”
Hands balled into fists, I felt my skin sparking with rage. “And you tell me just why I shouldn’t go, Aaron. Why shouldn’t I have a night of no worries, of dancing and drink and happiness? Is it because you don’t want me to be happy without you?”
“It’s because I want you to be happy!” he argued. I saw the muscles in his jaw clench and contract. He was mad, too. Tough.
“Do you?” My voice leapt an octave. “Do you really know what you want? Maybe you should think about that first, Aaron, before you try and help me figure out what will make me happy, alright?”
His eyes shone with some deep emotion that I couldn’t fathom. I saw frustration, and that I knew. I saw it taut along the muscles in his neck, still jumping in his jaw. But there was something else, too, and this something else slowly drained the fight from him until he stood, shoulders bowed. Limp. Defeated. Impotent.
I felt a sneer curl my lip. I knew that it was bad form, but I couldn’t stop myself. “I guess I’ll see you later then,” I dismissed him. “Maybe after the party.”
Silent, he turned and walked away.
I was all geared up for more yelling. I wasn’t expecting Aaron to give up that easily. It took me a couple of hours of violently wrenching weed roots from the ground to work off the rest of my pent up aggression.