Chapter 13 - Rose

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The wind travels around me as Snow goes faster and I tighten my clutch on Ethan's tunic, fearing to fall to the ground on such speed. I can feel Ethan's warm breath on the side of my face as I lean closer to his strong shoulders, my back on his left arm.

I stumble around every time we ride on uneven ground and I try to stiffen myself but no such luck. The only thing I can do is stay my hands on his tunic and feel his steady heartbeat through the layer of fabric. Each beat of his heart relaxes me from not knowing where he is taking me. Ethan likes to surprise people. Or at least me.

The horse eventually gets slower into a slow trot and I loosen my grip on his tunic, knowing I made creases on it but my head is still laid onto his shoulder like a pillow. I feel the bits of snow on my hair and don't bother to sweep it off. I'm too comfortable in Ethan's arms and his shoulders are strong but soft too when I laid my head onto it.

The feeling of security envelops me, though I can't see anything except for dark figures tinted in blue but the warmth from Ethan is enough for me. Snow's hooves trot almost soundlessly on the white blanket, giving the air a calm feeling as Ethan and I sit in peaceful silence.

I suddenly feel warm air hovering on my forehead and I take comfort in it, knowing it's Ethan's. It gets closer and I eventually feel a pair of lips landing on my forehead and it stays there. Colors rising up to my face, my heart beats faster and I hesitantly bring my head up as if I can look at him. " Ethan? " I ask in a soft voice.

The lips don't move from its place.

" Ethan? " I say, louder now. Maybe he didn't hear me the first time.

I feel Ethan drawing back but the warm breath is still there. My heart beats faster and I fear he might hear it as he hooks a couple of stray strands of my hair to the back of my ear. " You're so adorable when you blush, " he says, with a light chuckle.

My mouth opens as I feel my face reddening even more and I grit my teeth together, attempting to stop it. Ethan laughs even harder and receives a punch in his stomach from me. He winces but is still laughing as I lift my head from his shoulder and bringing my weight from him.

" Arse, " I whisper under my breath but loud enough for him to hear and even without looking I can see that grin of his.

We didn't say anything after that. His gesture confuses me and sends something running inside me. This is the second time he kissed me, the first time on the cheeks and both times he did it as if it's a joke. The silence doesn't seem to be so peaceful now as I shift uncomfortably.

I try to keep quiet but there is a question that ran through my head through the day. " Ethan, who did you kiss today? "

I can feel his look on me. " My aunt, " he answers with a calm voice.

A wave of relief rushes to me and I breathe out a sigh. The thought of Ethan kissing someone as a lover somewhat stings me and I don't know why. He probably has a betrothed and will marry her in a few years time. I wonder what his betrothed may look like if he has any. She must be very beautiful, kind, elegant. A lady in a gown dancing on the polished marble floors in the castle with Ethan. Laughing with him, stealing glances and kisses. The thought clenches my heart.

Snow suddenly stops and I hear a few shuffling before I lose Ethan's warmth, indicating he is off the horse. I hear a sigh and I touch around like a blind person, not knowing what to do.

Something catches my hands from fluttering around and pull me down from the horse. I feel back the warmth I lost on my hand as my feet firmly lands on the soft snow and I hear Ethan says, " We're here. "

He pulls the fabric from my eyes and it drops to the ground. My eyes sting and I cover it with the back of my hand from the sudden light. It's still the night, where was the light coming from?

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