What Happened After

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"Can I come?"

"For the last time. I told you no." We were outside the small house, which in the early morning light didn't look as small as I originally thought.

"But, Ollllyyyy!" Esme was trying to convince Oliver to let her go into town with us. I was impressed that he wasn't budging.

"Stop calling me that." Oliver was getting the wagon ready and making sure Plato was hitched properly before leaving.

I was standing off to the side with sleep still enveloping its sweet arms around me. I was rough. That much I can tell you. My hair was knotted, my breath stunk, I was hungry once again, and my clothes were crusty from being worn one too many days in a row.

"Look Esme, I'll be back before noon and I'll even bring you one of those pastries you like." He ruffled her hair as he walked past her.

She swatted his hand away and scrunched her nose. Once he turned she stuck her tongue out behind his back. I snorted at the sight.

Oliver heard my snort and glanced up. He took one look at my reddened face, from the effort to hold down my laughs, and spun around so quick that Esme didn't even have time to put her tongue back where it belonged.

My laughs burst forth and my body doubled as Oliver shouted, "Oi! You little bugger." He lunged for her but this time, unlike last night, she was quick enough. She danced away and continued to tease and taunt him as she raced to the front of the house.

"You butt! Why're you so slow?"

She jumped over the single porch step and flung the door open. She looked back for a split second, "Don't forget sweets, I want loads of them." She sent him a cheeky grin before disappearing behind the door and into the house.

He stood there for a second, contemplating, thinking if he should go in and discipline his sister or just brush aside her unbecoming behavior.

 Some of my chuckles managed to escape as he let out a deep sigh, tugged on the tips of his hair, and turned away from the house. His eyes slid up to meet mine, which I knew were shining with my barely contained laughter.

He shook his head before nodding towards the wagon, "Get in." His voice was gruff and even though he was less than amiable I didn't hesitate a single moment before happily hopping onto the front bench.

A second later I could feel the wagon sag to the side from his added weight as he pulled his body up and beside me. He twisted back and grabbed something before turning forward once again.

"Here." He shoved a neatly folded blanket onto my lap. The last of my chuckles died down as I smoothed my hands over the coarse material. "It's cold." His explanation was short and his eyes were trained forward as he picked up the reins.

"Thank you." My voice came out as a whisper as I gently unfolded the blanket and smoothed it over my legs. It wasn't very big in size and the edges were uneven, but the gesture, for some odd reason, touched something inside me and warmed my insides more than the blanket ever could.

He flicked his wrists and made a small clucking sound and we were off. The ride was mostly silent. He wasn't much of a talker and the small attempts I made at conversation were brushed off. It was obvious that he didn't want to talk.

So, we settled into a comfortable silence for most of the ride. It wasn't until about an hour into that he chose to speak to me, and it was only to ask where I wanted to be dropped off.

"Umm." I had no idea where. I had no money so an inn or hotel or whatever they have here was out of the question. My stomach grumbled, audible in the brief lull of the conversation. I wanted food, but with the before-mentioned problem, that seemed unlikely. "Do you know where I can find work?"

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