Wordcount: 960 words
Summary: Please note, this is currently a very rough draft. There will be spelling and grammatical errors afoot as well as flat out bad writing, info dumps, plot holes, flat out contradictions, and uneven characterization and pacing. (Content is also subject to constant change as I take an editing chainsaw to the story.)
This Was not The Plan
Aaron finally stopped by two days later, turning up at the door to the girl’s dorm and asking one of the girls at the door if she was in. Boys were not allowed in as a rule, but generally they sent a message ahead to meet up outside as opposed to Aaron’s sheepish knocking and then request for audience.
Which meant he had just worked up the courage to talk to her now and this was a spur of the moment decision.
The other girls knew what was up; there was not much of a way to keep secrets in an all girls environment, not with folks she had known in Two Beaches among the older riders. So there was a pause while the girls stalled for time so that May would have a chance to prepare herself.
Nerves were everything.
“Hi.” She watched the play of emotions on his face. Aaron was never good at hiding things. He had hoped he had heard wrong and there was disappointment and a little bit of anger. Not at her, she hoped, but at the situation.
“I heard you were here.” He did not move from where he was that the door and she shifted her weight nervously. She had not expected a hug or anything, but his body posture was still more reserved than she was used to.
“Yeah.” Because what was there to say to that?
“Why did not you tell me sooner?” And that was anger at her, which was not fair, although she had been hiding from him, technically.
“Because I was not sure if you would be upset.” She was always truthful and direct with those she had close personal relationships with and it did not work too well in most conversations because people were expecting polite lies. It worked well between her and Aaron though.
Thankfully she was more polite with people she did not know, otherwise she’d have a hard time in a customer service position which the bakery was. Her uncle got to be the old grump pastry chef—at least he would have if she had been able to apprentice there. A few more years of playing nice with others would not hurt him, all things considered.
He frowned, “Disappointed yeah, but not upset. I mean, I was upset that you did not come find me first, but I know it’s a little crazy the first few days. I just– it’s easier to get through this with a friend and I thought we were friends, at least.”
Aaron had always been insecure about his ability to earn love, so he tended to view their relationship as more of a friendly partnership than a romantic arrangement. Which she was used to, she had more than enough hopelessly romantic leanings for both of them.
“Yes, I still love you, you idiot, this is just a really big change to our future plans and I was not sure how you would take it. I was worried you would be mad at me for ended up a foxknight since it means we can’t take over the bakery.”
“Oh, yeah.” He rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. “I had not thought of that actually, I was just worried that you were here and you did not tell me you were here and that you did not want to see me anymore.”
“I would not be engage to you if I did not want to see you idiot.”
“So, what happened? I mean, you really are not a rider, I mean you don’t look like, I mean—“
She sighed, before he hurt himself trying to find a polite way to tell her she did not fit any of the rider stereotypes. “It was, unexpected. I don’t think Baron really thought this through.”
“But there’s nothing to think about,” he frowned. “They don’t choose their riders, they are born for us. There is no thinking about it at all.”
Apparently it was a foreign idea that Baron could have consciously picked her, she wondered what the classes would be like– it did not seem to match up with what Baron had told her so far. She had a feeling that the truths she was going to learn in class might not match up to the truths in reality.
Well then, maybe the world needed a foxknight who was also good at making bread. She shrugged. “I am sure there was a reason; we’ll just have to wait and see what that reason turns out to be. Why don’t we go for a walk and you can show me around a bit. We’ve nothing to do until dinner and I have not seen much of the compound.”
Which was a little bit of a fib, she’d been to all of the important places during her in-processing, but she had not gotten much of a chance to see the extras. Plus there was a ring of shops right outside the compound that catered to the foxknights and the normal cavalry that they shared their space with.
“I’d like that.” Aaron smiled and held out an arm as if he was going to escort her to a dance. She laughed and took it and the two of them walked out for a tour.
The other girls in the dorm just shook their heads, wrote the two of them off as very very odd, and went back about their business. There were plenty of foxknights who dated each other, some even married, but for the most part foxknights married people who had a chance to apprentice outside of the army. It was easier to step out into the ‘real’ world with some backup– otherwise they started out ten years behind everyone else.