Secret of the Tenei Star Chapter 4
Not a Dream
Gremio's jaw dropped, and he quickly released the girl's arm from his hold. He then backed away, face turning red once again.
"It's okay, it's okay," she told him, chuckling. Reaching up, she rubbed her arm, continuing to stare at him. "I shouldn't have sneaked up on you like that."
Gremio only gazed at her, not knowing what to say. She was just so beautiful.
Emily moved her hand upward and tucked a few scarlet strands of her shoulder-length hair behind her ear. She giggled again. "So, um, what are you doing out here anyway?" she asked him.
"Um, I might ask you the same," Gremio retorted. Truly a miracle. The first reply that didn't involve stuttering.
"Just taking a walk," she answered him casually.
"Oh, okay," Gremio said in monotone, his eyes still locked on her.
Emily cleared her throat as she continued with the small talk. "So, um. . ." she started. "Have a good time?"
"Heh, guess so," he answered. "Um, I mean. . .hey wait, what did you mean?"
"Well, at your house a couple of days ago, I. . .guess."
"Yeah. . ." Gremio responded, looking down. "I should've asked if you were doing something. I didn't mean to just put you on the spot like that."
Emily shook her head. "Well, I wasn't exactly doing anything," she said. "So it was no bother. Oh, and Teo was right."
"About what?" asked Gremio, confused.
"About you being an excellent cook," she replied, her smile returning. "I have no complaints."
"Oh, um," he mumbled, surprised at her words. "Th-thank you, Emily."
"No problem," she said to him. It was silent for a while as the girl observed her surroundings. Biting her lower lip in thought, she grasped a hold of another topic. "I also notice that, uh, you take care of Teo's son as well?"
Gremio nodded. "Yeah, I do. Well, Pahn watches over him sometimes too, but primarily I look after the Young Master. It's my job."
"Oh," Emily responded, appearing to find the fact interesting. "I see you take your job seriously."
Gremio managed a tiny smile. "Ha. I get teased by Master Teo that I should loosen up. . .but maybe he's right," he sighed. "Oh, and, um, sorry if Master Teo gave you the third degree during supper. He tends to do that to newcomers."
Emily shook her head. "It's all right," she told him, folding her arms. "I don't mind it at all. I don't get to talk much now anyway. . .except for when I make deliveries. It was actually refreshing to have a normal conversation with another human being. . ."
"Oh. . ." Gremio looked at her, something other than a red hue on his face. Concern. "Haven't you made any friends here so far?"
She shook her head again. "Not really. I mean, sure there are a lot of nice people here, but. . ."
"I just haven't met anybody I wanted to get to know better," she answered him despondently. Then, her tone changed. "I mean, nobody, that is, until now. . ." Those verdant eyes burned into Gremio's for a moment, then suddenly, she turned away shyly.
"What is it?" Gremio asked. "S-something wrong?"
Emily shook her head, the light failing to conceal the redness on her cheeks. "Nothing," she replied softly. "I just, I. . .nevermind."
Gremio's expression softened as he gazed at her yet again. He couldn't take his eyes off her. Even in the pale light, she was lovely. The beams from the street lamp revealed a few golden highlights through the perfect texture of her auburn hair. All Gremio wanted to do was run a hand through those soft red strands. As he stared at her ever so intensely, he could imagine himself kissing her.
Emily lifted her head and almost gasped at Gremio, whose eyes were piercing into hers. She blushed again. "Um, wh-what is it?" she asked nervously.
"You're so pretty," Gremio said, his eyes still locked on her. Then, realizing what he had just said, he clamped a hand over his mouth in embarrassment. "Oh, I didn't. . .I mean. . ."
"Oh, I. . ." Emily started, her mouth open. "N-no, it's okay."
The boy moved his hand down, his face still growing warm. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have-it's just that ever since I met you, I can't get you out of my mind. . .agh! I, I mean. . ."
Emily seemed just as stunned as ever. "Oh, Gremio, I. . ."
Gremio turned with his back to her, feeling he'd done enough damage for one night. "Argh, stupid!" he cursed himself aloud. "I shouldn't have said anything. I feel foolish."
As the long, uncomfortable moment passed, Gremio could imagine her shooting daggers into his back for even telling her anything at all. But then, something strange happened.
"Hee hee hee." The giggle escaped the girl's lips.
Gremio whirled around, casting her a strange look. "What's so funny?" he demanded of her.
She looked away again. "Um, I. . ."
Gremio raised an eyebrow at her. "What? What is it?" he asked again, his voice rising as he placed his hands on his hips.
"Um, I don't know, I just-" she began, feeling a bit foolish herself. Then, finally, she found the courage to tell him exactly what was on her mind.
"I-it's funny 'cause. . .well. . .I can't get you off my mind either."
Now it was Gremio's turn to be shocked. "You-?"
She nodded, her cheeks turning an even deeper shade of crimson. "I-I don't. . .I mean," she stammered. After a moment's wait, she got it together before continuing. "It's just that, well, when I first saw you, um, I don't. . .know. Something about you just. . .mesmerized me."
A look beyond sheer confusion plastered itself all over Gremio's face. "Me?!" he exclaimed, his tone screaming disbelief. He let out a snicker. "I'm sorry, but what could you ever find mesmerizing about me?"
"Well," Emily started, moving closer to him. She shrugged, her smile broadening. "I can't really explain. I know that I like you. . .at least, I think I do. . .and, um, that I like being around you. . ."
Gremio only looked back at her, completely speechless.
"You're so cute," Emily giggled. "Maybe that's what it is." Her smile faded, then she looked off to the side to let out a groan. "Argh, I'm no good at this."
"I think you are." His voice came out dream-like.
"What?" Emily asked, turning her gaze back to Gremio.
"E-Emily, I th-think that-" Gremio stammered quietly in his oneiric state, reaching up to brush a hand gently across her cheek. He gazed into her eyes as if in a trance until he realized what he was doing. "Oh-oh geez," he mumbled, wide-eyed, as he started to move his arm away. "I'm sorry. I. . .I. . ."
"No, don't be," Emily told him softly, quickly taking a hold of his raised wrist. With her smile turning modest, she took a moment to look into Gremio's face. Afterward, she released her hold of him. Gremio relaxed, and then he lightly touched her face again.
A soft breeze passed about the two as they slowly moved into each other. The couple shivered as they started to kiss, though it didn't appear to be due from the gentle winds. Remaining that way for a moment, Emily moved her arms around Gremio.
Slowly pulling away, Emily opened her eyes to look at Gremio once again. Her lips parted as if to speak, but all that came out of her mouth was a string of indistinguishable syllables.
"S-so now what?" Gremio asked softly.
Emily's expression finally relaxed, and she smiled once more. Letting out a blissful sigh, she wrapped her arms around him again and placed her head on his shoulder.
"Now. . .we take it one step at a time."
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