Title: Everything’s Different
Writing Prompt/Inspiration: Another scene for my really big idea. Takes place after “The Sahar House”, but before “Celestial Gold”. I’m not entirely sure what the story wanting to be told here is, so I’m just writing scenes as they come to me, hoping that eventually I can find the plot and piece together the scenes. This is the conclusion of the scene that picks up from “Everything’s Different, part 1” , “Everything’s Different, part 2”, “Everything’s Different, part 3“ and “Everything’s Different, part 4“. This part of the scene is told from Seth’s point of view.
* * *
His meal was growing cold in front of him, but he could care less. All he could think of was that Noa was upstairs in his room. Noa, his “little sister”. They hadn’t seen each other in years, but the ease at how quickly they had picked up where things had left off was comforting.
And then she had told him about Arctic.
He refused to believe that Arctic, who was more of a father to Noa than her own father had been, had abandoned Noa. Something was wrong. When Noa had told him about Arctic and then Braeden, Seth had made up his mind. He would take Noa home, give her a place to stay and then he would go out in search of either Arctic or her uncle, Isaac.
He’d also hunt down Braeden and kill him for what he tried to do to Noa.
She’d been through too much already. Arctic had taken her away to get away from the people hunting her. She didn’t need to keep looking over her shoulder wondering if Braeden was there too.
But Noa had different plans, like traipsing through Chernobog as though it were a field of daisies. Surprisingly, Seth had found himself agreeing to escort her. Not that he really had a choice. Noa was thick-headed enough to try to make the trip to Lagrima on her own.
Seth came out of his reverie as Rona, the chambermaid, tapped him on the shoulder.
“I believe your, ah, guest is bathed. Jessica’s picked up her belongings. They’ll be cleaned and pressed by morning.”
“Relax, Rona,” Seth said with a smile as he finished his ale and stood up. “She’s my sister.”
He left Rona sputtering apologies as he walked toward the stairs and up to his room. He didn’t blame Rona for her thoughts. He knew what it looked like, a young man taking a young girl into his room with no chaperone. If it were any other girl but Noa, Seth would have just purchased another room. But with Arctic gone and no one to watch her, Seth wanted to be positive that Noa would be safe.
As Seth entered the room silently, everything changed.
Noa was leaning against the side of the window, the lamp light flickering across her bare legs. His shirt stopped above her knees, and Seth wished for a moment he had given her a smaller, shorter shirt. Standing so close to the window as she was, the moonlight poured in, kissing her midnight hair. Seth could make out the silhouette of her curves underneath his white tunic.
He wondered when she had gotten those curves.
Seth immediately scolded himself and coughed to let Noa know he was in the room. When she turned, he forced his eyes to focus on her face, but not before he caught a glimpse of her breasts just barely visible from beneath his shirt.
“I thought you’d be in bed,” he answered, struggling to look anywhere but the perfect form in his tunic.
Noa smiled and sat on the bed. Seth’s eyes lowered when Noa’s slim thighs peaked out from beneath the tunic as she walked and sat on the bed. Seth found himself grateful that they were going to bed. He looked away from Noa to the floorboards, expecting to see a bed pallet.
“Oh,” Noa said sleepily. “The lady with the auburn hair, Roma?”
“Rona,” Seth corrected, gritting his teeth as Noa stretched her arms over head, causing the tunic to lift a few tantalizing inches.
“Her. She said there were no available pallets. Something about the snow and people sleeping in the bar room.”
Seth muttered under his breath in frustration, “Figures.” He sat on the chair and pulled off his boots. “No matter. I’ll just sleep in the chair.”
“Are you sure?” Noa asked. “We could share the bed; it looks big enough.”
As tempting as the invitation was, Seth shook his head. “That wouldn’t be very proper, Noa. You’re only sixteen.”
“Well, it wasn’t very proper of me to be travelling alone to begin with,” she interjected. “Besides, it’s not as though any improper will happen between us, Seth. You’re my brother, remember?”
Seth shook his head again, “No, Noa. I will be fine on the chair. I’ve slept in worse places.”
He didn’t know how to tell her that he would never think of her as a sister again. He blew out the lamp on the table and heard Noa sigh as she settled herself in the bed.
“Goodnight, Seth,” she murmured beneath another sleepy yawn.
“Night, Noa,” he answered, gazing at the beautiful young woman in his bed.
He felt like a fool for not taking her offer to lay in the same bed. She didn’t see him as anything more than a brother. And even though Seth hungered for Noa in ways he had never imagined before, she wasn’t his to have. Her path was different.
Everything was different.