Constellations Over Us – Book 1 – Chapter 3

Constellations Over Us – Book 1 – Chapter 3

How many days had it been by now? Two? Seven? Eighteen? Time blurred itself for Reese, not caring to reach into his mind as he sunk into the pits of confusion and despair. Unfamiliar places, strange sounds in the night… the one thing that remained truly consistent was Glais, who brought him food and water and met him every evening so that they could talk. He’d been wary of the pale fae at first, but Glais wasn’t so bad once he’d gotten to know him. Sure, Reese thought his teeth and eyes and weird horse-man anatomy were a little creepy, but his personality was pleasant enough.

When Glais had first brought him something to eat, he’d been terrified. The conversation had gone something like “Won’t eating these trap me in here forever?”

“Oh, no, don’t worry! That’s only if you thank me.”

“If I thank you? I thought that was only because it would lead me to owing you a favor.”

“It’s a bad idea for a lot of reasons. My uncle says the realm itself will hear you and decide to lock you in if you thank someone for the food.”

“The realm can hear?”

He’d never answered that question or elaborated on it, just changed the subject and brought up some random thing like the weather or Reese’s hobbies while they snacked on fruits and little strips of meat together. Reese saw him as less focused than a caffeinated squirrel, albeit charmingly so.

Now, he sat in his verdant shelter, curled up with a copy of a book on the history of armor and weaponry – one of the many books Glais had been willing to lend him, and something he insisted Reese should read because he himself had already read it hundreds of times over. It was made just like the books back home (albeit with some more natural materials), but the title and illustrations were clearly original. Just one of many peeks I’m getting into the rich culture here, he supposed. It sort of surprised him that the fae were so weirdly human at times, though ‘surprise’ probably wasn’t the right word for it. No, no, something else…

He probably would’ve found the right word if Glais hadn’t so loudly interrupted his reading.

“Reese! Reeeeese! I brought supper!”After waiting through countless hours of boring lectures on how not to use a sword (he hadn’t meant to hit the butler, really!), Glais was finally able to prance back to Reese, basket full of food and some new reading material in hand. His heart nearly skipped a beat when his eyes caught the shape of the human crawling out of the makeshift den, muddy and disheveled but still as sharp as he’d been when they’d met. Ruby met moss in a brief lock of eyes, but not for long. Reese made a beeline for the food and nearly knocked Glais over like an excited hound.

“Where have you been?!”

Glais barely sidestepped the surprisingly strong human, setting down the books and food and backing up like he was taming a wild animal, keeping his hands where the other could see them. “Sorry, sorry. I got held up by some pretty embarrassing stuff and had to sit through a lecture before I could get to you. It’s my bad.”

Reese scrunched up his nose, sending butterflies all through Glais’ stomach, and tilted his head to one side like a curious puppy. “What’d you do this time?” he asked. It didn’t take a rocket scientist to realize Glais was a bit of a troublemaker.

“Accidentally whacked one of the butlers with a sword.”

“How does that even happen?! Did they die? Do you even know how to use a sword?”

The barrage of questions made Glais smile for two reasons. One, it offered him the chance to linger awhile while the pair conversed and two, it gave him the opportunity to brag about getting to use a sword, which he was pretty sure would impress Reese. Humans didn’t use swords often anymore, right? So maybe meeting someone who knew how to wield one would be considered cool.

Why do you worry so much about what he thinks, anyways? asked a voice in Glais’ head that sounded an awful lot like his sister. Quickly, he booted her out. Reese is cool. That’s why.

Coming back to reality, Glais did his best to sit cross-legged on the mossy ground across from Reese, pushing the basket of books and food over to him. “Well, I was practicing out back with one of my swords – I named it Magpie, by the way – when I realized it was time to come in for lunch. So I ran over and opened the door, trying to sheathe Magpie in the process, but the new butler was right there and I accidentally hit him in the knee. It’s just a wee bruise, I think, but I had to sit through a lecture, so that’s why your food’s late.”

Reese giggled, doubling over slightly. “That reminds me of the time I hit a classmate behind the knees with a stick in kindergarten, though that one was intentional. She fell over and broke her nose on the blacktop.”

“Why would you do that?! Yikes, Reese,” Glais replied with a chuckle, crossing his arms over his stomach.

“Listen, Suzie sucked, okay? She took my apple slices, she got what was coming to her!”

“You’re ruthless!”

They laughed until their ribs began to hurt, then settled down with giggles and began eating. Glais had already consumed his dinner, but he occasionally stole a piece of venison or a slice of pear as they talked. There was something about the way their hands brushed when they reached to grab things at the same time that sent sparks through the air.

“I wish I could go outside more often,” Glais admitted after a few minutes of relative silence, save for the birds in the trees and the wind through the leaves. “My albinism makes me so vulnerable to sunlight that I have to wear, like, twenty enchantments before I can go outside, otherwise I might burn up. Not to mention the contact lenses. Those things suck.”

“You need contacts?” Reese asked, doing the head tilt thing that Glais liked so much.

“Yeah. My eyesight’s pretty bad without ‘em. Can’t see more than a few yards in front of me. Apparently lack of melanin affects my eyesight or something. Been like this since I was a colt, but it doesn’t seem to be getting any worse.”

“I like them. Your eyes, I mean. They’re very striking, easy to recognize.”

“Thank you.”

Reese straightened up for a moment, startling Glais when he did. He was about to ask the human what was wrong, when Reese spoke.

“Glais, you just thanked me. Doesn’t that mean you’ve signed yourself into a favor?”

His tone wasn’t one of shaky pride like it had been when he’d gotten Glais’ name for the first time, but rather one of gentle, caring concern. He was right, of course. By thanking Reese, he’d signed himself into a favor for the human. Those were the rules.

“Aye, I did,” he replied after a moment of thinking, tail twitching across the moss. “What can I do for you?”

Reese lightly tapped his chin, deep in thought for a heartbeat or two. “Do you guys have dessert here?”

“Uhh… Yeah? Is that what you want?”

“Yeah! Do you guys have pwdin eva here? It’s a dessert made up of cream and apples and flour and some lemon. My grandmother used to make one to die for! It’s okay if you can’t make it though, I’ll take just about anything sweet at this point.”

Glais held out a hand to still him, biting back hysterical laughter. “Of course I know what pwdin eva is! They sell it at every tavern and restaurant the whole land over.”

“You guys have restaurants?!”

“Is that a surprise?”

“Yeah! Yeah, as a matter of fact, it is!”

Reese made Glais’ ribs ache from all the laughter. His eyes watered and wheezes wracked through him, an uncannily large smile on his face. The words were right on the tip of his tongue. I love…

No. No, he was not going to do that. Bad Glais. What would his uncle and aunt think? For stars’ sake, they’d lost his however-many-greats grandfather to humans long, long ago at the start of the war, way before they were gods. This was just his very secret human friend who was going to leave the realm one day and go back to wherever humans came from. Reese was as lovely as flowers in the summer, and just as fleeting, too. Attachment to someone he’d found in the woods wasn’t very befitting of his noble blood, either. And yet, when Reese finished eating and flopped over in the moss next to him, Glais couldn’t deny his desire to preserve the moment for all time. To stay there beneath the trees for eternity, watching as the fireflies slowly began to twinkle like a million little lights from the trees.

“Do you think one day you could show me more of this place? Like, is it all trees, or are there other things, too?”

Glais smiled softly at the question, reaching his arms up behind his head and settling back down. “Oh, absolutely. We have moors and lakes and mountains and massive cities. Cliffs and oceans and meadows and swamps, plus all kinds of flora and fauna. There’s so many things to see here, I’ll definitely find a way to show you more someday.”

“That would be amazing.”

“It absolutely is. One day, I’ll take you to see whatever you want. Provided my parents approve, of course.”

For the first time in the eight days that they’d known each other, Reese gently laced his fingers between Glais’ claws, putting his auburn-topped head against the faerie’s shoulder. His verdant green eyes fluttered shut just as Glais’ met them, but the content in them was still undeniable, even under the lids. Slowly, a smile spread across the human’s lips. So softly, barely audible…

“Being here isn’t so bad when I’m with you.”

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