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Dust Trails: of Earth, Chapter Eleven

 

12-13-16 02:16 AM
Eirinn is Offline
Link | ID: 1319414 | 3607 Words

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My apologies for the length of this chapter. Also just a reminder: if you would like to be added to the summon list (summons are invisible) just ask.


______________________________________

Chapter Eleven


Trying her best to think of a way around telling Lauren the truth for a bit longer, Sanya stares dumbly at her, looking as guilty as she feels. After struggling for what seems like an eternity to her, Sanya finally manages to regain some semblance of her composure.

"When?" that was what took her so long to think up?

"When you came here." Lauren answers, her face unreadable. "I don't know anything about you from before you got here. You told us some things to hide the truth, but after telling us that you had lied, you never really told us what the truth was except that you weren't from here."

When she came here. Sanya's eyes darken at the thought. That had been a difficult experience for her, one she tries not to think about, and she would rather keep it that way. And to explain it to Lauren she would not only have to think about it, but she would also have to tell her about her past. Neither of those prospects are too appealing, but does she have a choice?

"Did I say something I shouldn't have?" Lauren asks, noticing the look in Sanya's eyes and her hesitation to answer. "It's alright if you'd prefer not to talk about whatever happened."

This is her chance. She can just say she doesn't want to go into all of that, and she's home free. Looking up at Lauren though, she feels guilty. But why? After all, she would be telling the truth if she said she didn't want to think about it. And why should it matter what she had done before? Still, she can't help but feel as though the poor girl has too many things being hidden from her as it is.

"No, you didn't say anything wrong. It just brings back some difficult memories and some ghosts of my past that I try to pretend never existed. But after all of the lies and cover ups, you deserve to know." she didn't mean it the way Lauren thought she did. This girl knew next to nothing about the truth of anything in her life, not just Sanya.

"Okay, well I know you're wanted on Aaron's home planet." wow that still feels so weird to say, and Lauren can't help but wonder for a moment whether she'll ever become accustomed to saying her friends are from another planet. "Does that have something to do with it all?"

"Yeah." Sanya answers simply, her face looking even more sorrowful than before. "You might wanna sit down first." The two women each pull up a chair and sit across the dinner table from one another. "When I was younger, ten years ago to be exact, I was accused of a crime I didn't commit." stopping mid-sentence, Sanya wonders how to word this. Should she be completely transparent about everything, or keep it at that?

Before Sanya can decide, Lauren makes that call for her "What did they accuse you of?"

That set her up nicely - she doesn't have to go into all of the ugly details. Feeling a flood of gratefulness overcome her, she continues "Murder." the gasp that escapes Lauren as she places her hand over her mouth soundly destroys any comfort Sanya had taken from knowing she could save at least a part of the whole truth for later. "More specifically, I was accused of murdering the king of Aaron's home planet, Milarim."

"I'm so sorry to hear that, Sanya. But why did they accuse you of all people?" Lauren asks. Her eyes hold no accusation or doubt, only sympathy.

"There were some people in the royal family that had it in for me. They knew" she pauses for a moment, rethinking her wording "they made up some lies and nobody doubted them. I already had a bad reputation, and they were royalty. Naturally the people believed them over anything I could say. I've been on the run from them ever since."

"Ten years? You couldn't have been more than a preteen. How could they have suspected you of killing a grown man?"

"Uh, well about that" she begins as she looks down at the floor "We don't age the same way Earthlings do."

"We? Do you mean your people, or just" how could she say this? aliens doesn't seem to be the proper way of wording it here "Non Earthlings?" There, that sounded appropriate, or at least she hopes it did. What is the proper etiquette for talking to someone from another planet about their home? Or for talking to them about anything for that matter?

"Us. Different races age differently, but as for myself and Aaron, Milarimans and Deylonians both age fairly similarly, though Deylonians mature physically a little more quickly than Milarimans do."

"How so?"

"Well we each reach maturity physically at a fairly similar rate to Earthlings, with Deylonians reaching maturity at fourteen, and Milarimans being considered mature at sixteen. But from there we both age more slowly than Earthlings."

"Then how, um" how could she say this politely? Are you an old geezer doesn't seem quite appropriate. "You... That is... How..."

"How old am I?" Sanya asks for her, smiling at the girl who reddens and nods silently. "I'm eighty three."

A few moments pass before Lauren realizes that her mouth is literally gaping open. It's her turn to be speechless. This woman doesn't look more than eighteen, twenty at the very most.

Unable to hold back any longer, Sanya breaks into an uncontrollable fit of laughter, and only after she can no longer breathe does the laughing subside. She looks up at Lauren who still looks numb with shock, and she knows she should feel guilty for this, but she doesn't, not in the least. No, this is far too hilarious.

"I'm sorry." is what she says, but what she means is I got you good "I was pulling your leg. I'm twenty two."

Lauren stares at her with a blank expression, blinking rapidly as if trying to clear her mind of the confusion about how to react. The silence and the lack of an immediate reaction - for better or worse - that she's come to associate with Lauren makes Sanya uneasy, and if she could take that joke back now, she would. Sanya starts to try apologizing, but before she can, Lauren begins laughing.

"Do you know I bought every word of that?" she says, still laughing.

"Yeah I could tell by the look on your face. That was priceless." Sanya answers, glad that she took it so uncharacteristically well.

After the two women stop laughing, Lauren continues the conversation "So then, back to your story. That made you twelve when they accused you, but you were still a kid, even by Deylonian standards, correct?"

"Yeah." she says, her eyes suddenly taking on a look of sorrow and longing. "I really was."

"But how could they accuse you of something so horrible at such an age? That's like saying a fifteen year old Earthling"

"I know exactly what it's like." Sanya interrupts as she rises to her feet. "I think I'd better head out and make sure Aaron is managing alright out there."

Shocked by Sanya's abrupt dismissal of herself, Lauren too stands up "I'm sorry, Sanya. I didn't realize it was such a painful topic for you. Please, don't leave. We can discuss other matters."

"No, I need the fresh air." she insists as she continues walking toward the door. Grabbing her coat from the rack, she looks down at the floor and without turning to look at Lauren adds "And don't be sorry. You did nothing wrong. I just need to be alone for a little while."

Before Lauren can think of what might be fitting as a reply in this situation, Sanya is long gone. Lauren's thoughts and the closed door before her are all that she has left of this discussion.

What could have happened that could have been so difficult for Sanya? She seems so strong and immovable, Lauren wonders as she grabs a tea and sits back down at the table yet she was so deeply scarred by whatever it was that she couldn't even look me in the eye. What could break a woman so strong as she like that?


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Wiping the sweat from his brow, Aaron looks up to the sky. It's a clear and sunny day, but that doesn't keep it from being cold with all of the snow on the ground refusing to melt, and the temperatures remaining set on staying below the upper twenties.

Looking back down at the field that remains stretched out before him, he tries to encourage himself by noting that this is the beginning of the final stretch of work in the fields for the day. He doesn't mind the work, but being out in temperatures this low for very long can really wear someone down. Not that he feels tired, or feels much of anything at all now that most of his body has grown partially numb.


"You sense it too, don't you?" Sanya's voice calls from behind him.

Without turning he replies "I do, and I think Lauren does too, even though I doubt she realizes what it is exactly that she's feeling."

"Yeah, she seems a bit restless lately." she agrees as she steps up next to him and joins in with the harvesting.

Aaron says nothing, only nods and continues his work. He's avoiding this discussion and where it's going to go soon. He knows exactly why Sanya brought it up to begin with, and he has no intentions of telling Lauren what's going on.

"We need to tell her beforehand." Sanya says, slightly agitated with him and his avoidance of the matter.

"She doesn't need to know yet. She's not ready."

Grabbing his arm she turns him around to face her, and looking at him angrily asks "How much longer are you going to put this off, Aaron? Until it's too late? Until she finds out on her own?" his face shows he's adamant about this, and Sanya becomes even more angry "Oh I know, how about we put it off until it happens and she's dead?"

"Enough, Sanya." Aaron says as he pulls his arm away from her "She doesn't need to know yet. She isn't ready, and you know it."

"She may not be ready, but he is. And you know that." she replies as she backs up a few steps. "And I for one don't want to have her dead corpse on my conscience."

"I won't let that happen to her."

"Right, just like you didn't let it happen to Caitlin." she says as she turns to walk away. She knows she just hit him in the worst place she could have, and she feels guilty for doing it, but she also knows that she's right - Lauren has to know, and she has to know now. All she can hope is that her comment will be able to get through to him finally. That, and that one day he'll forgive her for saying what she just did.

Aaron wants to say something back, but those words hit the sorest of spots in him, and he feels his chest contract and his breath catch. He can't force any words right now. By the time he regains his composure enough to react, Sanya has already left.


Walking toward the house, Sanya wrestles with her thoughts: should she tell Lauren on her own and risk causing even more damage between Lauren and Aaron? The damage from that last surprise he dropped on her still hasn't mended completely, and Sanya fears that if she's the one to tell Lauren it'll be the final blow. Not that she cares much about how it would affect Aaron, sure she likes the guy alright, but he'd be bringing it on himself if that happened. It's Lauren she's worried about. That girl is like the little sister she never had, and she wants nothing more than to protect her.

Little sister? Where had that come from? She's not sure, but she can't deny the truth in it either. Lauren has become the closest thing to real family that she's ever known, and Sanya wants to help her and care for her in any way that she can. Breaking news like that to her and only being able to say that Aaron didn't see a need to tell her would break Lauren's heart along with any little bit of trust she has left for him. To destroy her friendship with Aaron would crush Lauren, and Sanya can't bear to think of hurting her like that.

As she reaches the house she looks up at it and pictures Lauren in there cooking away, and she decides to turn and walk to their house instead. "I'll give you one more day, Aaron." she thinks aloud "One more day. Make good use of it. Please."


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


As he puts the final load of crops away in the shed and closes the door, Aaron looks off in the direction of his house. Sanya was right, Lauren needs to know. He could do his best to protect her, but he couldn't guarantee his success. It might not be the ideal time to tell her given the recent events around here, but it's the best chance they'll have.


After he reaches the house and puts his tools away, he opens the front door and hears Lauren and Sanya talking in the kitchen. Oh no, did she come here and tell Lauren herself? Why hadn't he thought of that possibility? Has he been that distracted lately?

Taking a deep breath he walks into the kitchen and waits for one of the women to say something about it. Instead he's greeted by a warm smile and friendly greeting from Lauren, and a straight face that bears a hint of anger at him from Sanya. She hadn't told Lauren yet.

"Dinner's almost finished, why don't you go ahead and get ready. I should have it on the table by the time you get back down." Lauren says with her trademark polite smile as she turns back to the stove, and Aaron feels a twinge of guilt for what he's been hiding from her for so long.

With Lauren facing away from him, Sanya casts another scornful glance, but her expression quickly turns to one of confusion as he mouths what looks like "Thank you" to her before heading upstairs.


As they sit down to dinner the usual pointless chatter begins just like always, and all too soon for Aaron's liking they've finished the meal. He knows the time has to come for this talk, and it has to be tonight, but that doesn't mean he's looking forward to it. He prays she's ready, and that she doesn't hold it against him for not telling her sooner.

Putting their dishes away they all grab a cup of tea and head to the front room to spend the rest of their early evening relaxing together. It's easily Aaron's favorite part of the day usually, and the others seem to feel the same judging by the laughter and smiles that always fill their chats.

Looking up at the clock, Sanya rises to her feet "It's getting late. I'd best head home and try to get some sleep. I couldn't rest last night at all."

"Really?" Lauren asks as she too rises to her feet "I thought you were asleep when I got up this morning."

"No, I slept for a few hours but woke up around three o'clock and just sat up and stared out my window until I finally went outside and found you two sitting out there."

"Three? That's right around the same time that I started having my nightmare. I kept waking up so I finally decided to just give up and get out of bed."

"Your nightmare?" Sanya asks. Something sounded odd between the singularity of the word nightmare and the owning of it as hers. "You mean you kept having the same one?"

Nodding, Lauren answers "Mmhmm. I did indeed. In fact I've been having this same nightmare for quite some time now."

"Wow. What happens in this nightmare, Lauren?" Aaron asks as he gets up from his recliner.

"Well I'm standing in this field full of tall grass that comes at least to my waist. I'm running from something, but I can't see what it is. I keep running for a while until I finally trip and fall to the ground. Then I turn over to look at it, but there's nothing there at first. Then after a while it begins to materialize before me and take the form of a man. It raises some sort of sword or something and brings it down to strike me as I scream for my mother." she explains, opting to leave out the part about calling for Aaron as well.

"That's terrible, Lauren." Sanya says as she casts a quick and knowing glance at Aaron who does the same to her.

"Yes, but perhaps even more odd is that..." Lauren stops short. She had started to mention what she saw after she was stabbed, but fears they might think her silly.

"Is what?" Aaron asks.

"It's nothing. Just a silly dream." she answers as she looks down and blushes, wishing she hadn't even mentioned it.

"There's nothing to be ashamed about, whatever it is." Sanya offers with a reassuring smile. "We're all friends here. We won't think you're weird or silly."

"Well" Lauren says, beginning to reconsider telling them.

"Well I mean, no more silly than we already think you are." Sanya adds with a teasing smile.

Laughing softly, Lauren gives in. "Okay, well when that man stabbed me" she pauses after the words. It all turned out well in the end, but the memory is still an unpleasant one. "I saw myself in the same place as in the nightmare, but nothing was chasing me. Instead I saw my mother. She told me that some things had happened recently that I didn't understand, and that more were about to happen, but that I shouldn't be afraid."

The silence that follows is inspired by the weight of the words and what they mean to Aaron and Sanya, but Lauren, unaware of what they're thinking, can't help but feel self-conscious about it.


"Anyway, like I said it's just a silly dream." Lauren breaks the silence as she turns to head for the kitchen.

"No, no it's not silly at all." Aaron assures her.

"No, it makes perfect sense." Sanya puts in, trying both to comfort Lauren and to prod Aaron to speak up already.

"Do you really think so?" Lauren asks as she turns back to face them. "I couldn't make any sense out of it. What could possibly be more confusing to me than what I had already learned about" she pauses and reddens a bit "about you two. N-No offense. I don't mean that badly."

"None taken." Aaron answers "It's a legitimate question. You couldn't have been more shocked if we'd told you Santa Claus was real."

"You mean he's not?" Sanya asks, and the look on her face makes Aaron wonder if she's actually being serious.

"Yes well, I suppose you're right. Even so, I wish that I could find a more proper way of saying such things. I do not wish to offend either of you."

"You won't, don't worry about that." Aaron assures her again.

"Good." Lauren says with a smile and slight nod. "Well I'd better be off. I'm exhausted. Hopefully I can sleep tonight."

"Yeah, me too." Sanya says as she heads to the kitchen behind Lauren. "Say Lauren, do you think you could wash my cup for me this once?"

"This once?" Lauren says with a mock laugh "I washed it out last time too."

"Oh good, so then one more time won't hurt, right?"

"Oh you're impossible, Sanya." she giggles "Of course I can wash it out for you" she pauses for effect "again."

Sanya laughs as she hands her cup to Lauren and turns to leave. "Thanks Lauren." then as she passes Aaron she gives him a look that lets him know what he'd already suspected - she was giving him a chance to speak with Lauren alone.

Looking back at her he mutters a reply "Coward." Why does she always leave when the hard part is about to begin?

"Look who's talking." she replies just loud enough for him to hear her as she shuts the door behind herself.

Oh that woman. She does what she does for the right reasons, but she can really get under his skin sometimes.

Turning to look in the kitchen, Aaron sees Lauren putting away her cup and picking Sanya's up. He continues watching as she washes it and puts it away just as she had done with her own. As she turns toward the front room she seems mildly surprised that Aaron is just standing there watching her.

"Is something the matter?" she asks, sounding a little uncomfortable.

"No, no nothing's wrong." he replies quickly, but thinking better of his answer, he adds "Actually yes there is."


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(edited by Eirinn on 12-27-16 02:15 AM)     Post Rating: 3   Liked By: Lexatom, Mynamescox44, TheReaper7290,

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Things are starting to get interesting ^^

I'm really intrigued to see what it is exactly Aaron and Sanya know that they feel the need to tell Lauren before it endangers her life. I wonder if it has anything to do with the stone and / or Rylan. I'm assuming her coming into contact with the stone is what healed her a couple chapters ago, so I'm wondering if her doing that is going to have some kind of negative consequences.

I'm thinking Rylan may play a part in that because of Sanya's line "She may not be ready, but he is," (or maybe she just means Prince Kovlar's pursuit of her in general, or whatever his name was lol) meaning he might be the type to use any means necessary to get the job done, and could use her to his advantage for leverage as a hostage or something. I mean I'd at least consider that option if I was in his shoes lol. With the abilities they have, I wouldn't be surprised if they already knew he was coming, or even exactly when he'd show up.

Again, this is probably just wishful thinking, but the reason I said something about Rylan turning from foe to friend is mainly because of Lauren. I could see her being the type to show him mercy, regardless of what he may do, and Aaron / Sanya doing it for her at first (kind of like how Aaron spared the guy who attacked her / Caitlin). I mean he doesn't seem to care for the people he works for, and doesn't seem like he has much to leave behind if he quit on them. I'm not getting my hopes up on this playing out like that though

Ok, I'll stop yammering on about every little detail I've been reading into now XD
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Mynamescox44 : Interesting theories. It's great seeing what others think might be going on in the story. The secret has been building up for quite some time now and hinted at a few times along the way, though honestly there are a few things that could be considered red herrings in there as well.

Kudos on remembering prince Kovlar's name. That was actually a big problem in the production speed of this chapter: I couldn't come up with a good name for the guy. lol


Also, sorry about taking so long with this one. Between this, the Japanese lessons, my articles, and real life stuff, I don't have as much time as I did before for writing on this. It's not stopping, but it might not be posted as frequently as it was before. I'll be shooting for once a week, but we'll see.
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No worries man. If anything once a week would be perfect if you have the time. Gives me extra time to re-read the chapters since it's easier to catch the small details when you're not entranced with the story while reading it for the first time

I feel your pain on the being busy thing. I've been doing a lot of the prerequisites to start a new job soon, so within the next week or so I'll probably be in the same boat (Which is why I haven't been replying to these as much as I would've liked.)
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