Chapter 8- Life Changing Annoyance
Finally, I could relax and get some peace and quiet. It had been an interesting day. I had spent most of the time worrying Serena might have told someone and they were going to come in here after me. All I knew was if somebody dared step foot into my home, I would cut them limb from limb with my knife.
I had not left my room all day for fear that when I got back, I would return to people going through my stuff and waiting to kill me for stealing food, clothes, water... I did not know the reaction people would have towards me. Especially considering my face. I liked the patch, but my eye was the part of my body I vowed to never let anyone see. Even if I someday managed to let someone get close to me, (God, Forbid!) they would never see my eye.
I shed my jacket and laid it on the couch. I unbuttoned all the buttons of my shirt and grabbed my rag. I filled a bowl with water and went back to my couch and began nursing my stab wound. I thought for sure it was going to take forever to heal, and most likely not correct. The laceration stung as I washed it. I thought it might be getting infected. But there was nothing I could do. I could not go out and seek treatment and have them put me on record. Besides, I could not pay them. I had no money.
It was then I heard creaking. I realized the outside door was opening. Serena had broken her promise! They were going to kill me! I threw down my rag and grabbed my knife and stood against the wall at the edge of the stairs, so as not to be seen. My heart pounded as I prepared to attack. I felt a pang of anger at her for breaking her promise and telling. I heard footsteps getting closer... and closer... then someone came off the last step and I pushed them down onto the couch and raised the knife to kill my attacker.
"Please! Tuxedo Mask! Stop! It’s me, Serena! I am not going to hurt you!" I looked at her and let my breath out. I set the knife down, starting to let my adrenaline drop to its normal level. I wasn't threatened, but I was furious.
"What are you doing here!?" I yelled, probably more harshly than I had intended. I did not want to terrify her, but she did not deserve to be treated with kindness for scaring me to death and barging in unannounced.
"I-I was worried about you... Your arm, I mean. Yes, well I felt I should help you since you helped me, and I - uh brought you some medicine and real bandages. Now you won't have to worry about it getting i-infected."
She was stuttering from fright. Or was she lying? Were there a bunch of people behind her waiting for her to lure me out. I was skeptical of her truthfulness. I did not want to go up and shut the door for fear of a raid. Yet, I had to explain to her she could not just come over uninvited.
"Go shut the door and come back. I need to speak with you," I ordered gruffly, communicating to her I was still angry she had come again without notice. Serena shot up from the couch and went to the stairs. Her feet made a clicking sound as she walked on the stone floor in her heels. She was having some difficulty walking. I had scared her more than I thought.
She turned to me and asked, "How do I close it?"
"You'll see a torch holder on the wall near the top of the steps. Press the button inside the holder and it will close."
She ascended the stairs. I took the opportunity to glance through her bag. I picked it up and opened the zipper and found iodine, pain killers, and bandages. Maybe she was telling the truth? And in that case, I had a good chance of getting this cut to heal better. I was not sure how to go about dealing with Serena. What could I say or do to make her not come back here again, without scaring her to death? She most certainly could not be permitted to just show up uninvited. Well Tux, you probably put an end to that the minute you threw her on the couch and almost stabbed her to death.
I heard the door shut. Then the sound of her light footsteps sailing down the stairs. She had removed the heels apparently. She must be light as a feather. She hardly makes a sound.
Serena appeared at the bottom of the staircase, shoes in hand. She set them down by the foot of the stairs. I had long since reclosed her bag and I was now facing her, half turned on the couch. She looked at me and smiled, but then diverted her eyes and said, "I am sorry for barging in on you again."
I looked at her. She was playing with the bracelet on her wrist, tugging at it and rolling the beads across her skin. I could tell she was upset and a little scared. "I just wanted to help you. That wound could get worse. See, I brought you some medicine and bandages for it."
She came over to me and sat down next to me on the couch. She pulled her bag onto her lap and began taking out the bandages, pain killers, and the iodine. She began telling me what each was for as if I were two. I didn't seem to catch much she said though. For the first time, I looked at her. I mean really looked at her. She was by far the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. But it wasn't only her physical appearance. Her body just seemed to radiate goodness, kindness, and innocence. In all the books I have read and all the plays I have seen, all the conversations I overheard, and everyone I had ever encountered from a distance, I had never heard of someone who was or who could be so pure of heart. Either she was as pure as I took her to be, or she was the best actress I had ever seen.
"So would you like me to?" Serena asked. It was only then I realized she had been talking to me about the medicine the whole time and now was looking at me in my one good eye.
"Would I like you to do what?"
"Clean out the cut."
"Well, since you're here, and I have been fairly unsuccessful myself, why not?" My shirt already unbuttoned, I slid it off and turned my back to her so she could see better. I heard her small intake of breath as I took off my shirt. I almost laughed outright at her innocence. I did not think even royalty sheltered their children this much! I saw her reach for cloth in her bag and pour some bottled water on it. She patted so gently, I hardly knew she was there. Then she reached for the iodine bottle. She poured some on a separate rag.
"This shall sting. Do you need a rag or pillow to grip?"
"I'll be finem" I growled. Imagine! She thought that a guy like me couldn't…
"AHHH!" I screamed. It burned and stung so badly I got tears in my eyes.
"It is alright. It will only last a minute."
Yes, Princess, but a minute in pain may as well be an eternity. She blew on my wound and the stinging stopped. I turned to her angrily.
"Why didn't you warn me?" I demanded. Then remembering she did I turned again and grumbled, "Never mind."
She giggled. It was the most contagious laughter. I could hardly keep from smiling myself. How did she do that?
"Do you do this often, Princess?" I asked. I was trying to poke fun at her. But having little experience in this area, I doubt if that is how it came across.
"Normally the nurse would care for wounds like this. But since I am the only one who knows that you are here, and not a ghost, it was rather up to me." She stopped. "Tuxedo Mask?"
"How long have you lived here?"
"Close to nine or ten years by now."
"Well then, how old are you?"
"I don't know exactly how old I am. I would guess eighteen or nineteen."
"You don't know? Didn't your parents tell you?"
I paused. It took everything in me to keep from yelling at her for asking questions, especially ones about my parents who I figured abused me and that's why I ran away. "I don't know."
"Why not?" All the while she had been bandaging me up and with her now done, I turned to her.
"Princess, with all due respect, I would prefer if the line of questioning came to an end." There. I was nice but I wanted to rip out her throat. She was quiet now.
She looked away but then spoke, "I wanted to thank you once again for saving my life. I am certain that if you had not come along when you did, I would be dead."
"I am glad I was able to help you, Princess," I replied.
"Please, call me Serena."
"Alright, Serena." I put my back against the couch now. I laid my feet on the coffee table in front of me. I figured I had better ask her something before she started trying to converse. "So how do you like being the Princess of the whole universe?"
Lame question but I guess conversation eluded my grasp. It was not as easy as it seemed as she looked puzzled. She thought a moment and then replied, "I am not sure how to answer the question. Up until now, my life has been spotless. Nothing has really ever gone wrong for me. I basically live to ice skate. Ever since I was a child, I loved picking flowers from the garden and then throwing them on the ice and leaving trails and designs."
She blushed. "Oh how silly I must sound to you!" she said nervously.
Yeah, you do. "No. Not at all. You are simply different from most people who I've heard of."
Serena appeared intrigued by this and cocked her head to one side and then asked, "How so?"
"Well, I have not had much human interaction. But from the ones I have and from studying history, literature, and psychology, humans, for the most part, are violent creatures who put themselves above all else. Just look at the way we slaughter each other in wars and with the murderers, and criminals out for their own personal gain. You, however, seem to be exactly the opposite. You are the type of person that more people should be."
I congratulated myself. I had paid her a great compliment even though I figured she was different on the inside than she appeared to be. After all, she was royalty. But I was intrigued by the fact she had humbled herself and came to help me. A lowly commoner.
Now I was almost to the point where I wanted to learn more about her. How was is it she was raised with everything handed to her and she still found herself able to talk to someone like me? She seemed thrilled with this compliment. She looked at me and said, "When can I see you again?"
I glanced at the clock. We had been talking for almost four hours. She had to be getting home. I was about to say “Never come here again,” but looking into those blue eyes, I couldn't say no to her. She looked so excited and hopeful. I couldn't take the happiness out of her eyes, and risk her mother questioning her. Besides, I had to oblige her so she wouldn't tell anyone I was here.
"How about tomorrow? Same time?" At least she had been smart enough to come under the cover of darkness.
Serena lit up. "Oh yes! I shall see you then. I hope the pain killers work. Try them. It will help you sleep. Goodbye!"
She got into her shoes and raced up the stairs. She was out the door faster than I had ever seen anybody go. She just had such a glow. I figured she wanted to go before I changed my mind. I laughed. As she closed the door I got up from my couch, walked to my bed, and fell asleep.