5 👣 The Feels

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Ece has the worst poker face ever. And it works in Tayana's favor.

"Ece? Is something wrong?" She asked. However, it isn't coated with concern, but with the satisfaction of unfolding Ece's covers up. "What's that you're looking at?"

Hasty scruffs echo within the room as Ece stuffs the paper into the journal, her stare blank. She doesn't notice that she's putting the journal on the desk and not within.

The journal that has all the answers to Tayana's questions about her recovery.

"N-Nothing." Ece blinks twice and averts her vision from the polished room to the bustling evening environment through the uncurtained window. "I'm just worried about Raiden, I think."

She's keeping something concealed from the world, even from Tayana, who dislikes hidden secrets and unanswered questions.

Tayana has done researches of how Ece's magical power appears. And how it healed her from the infection. But no blunt answers have surfaced yet.

Tayana purses her lips, blocking a grin from making its way out. She's had a terrible encounter with Raiden, but this assumption about Ece just makes this day even more interesting.

Her lust for knowledge and information seems to double themselves after her isolation within the Intensive Care Unit for six months.

"But she saved your life! You should've been grateful!" Her angelic part speaks.

"No. She must've done something bad. Who knows what will happen to Raiden if she's that stubborn with whatever she's up to?" And here's the nosy Hades in her speaking.

And there's Raiden, stuck between their secrets and affairs.

She'll unveil Ece's secrets so she'll regret not trusting Tayana when they used to share everything. And she must save Raiden from Ece's scheme, assuming there is one.

The sight of Ece's disturbed actions calms her. At least Ece won't sneak out of bed tonight with Tayana currently being fully alert.

"I...I think...it's dinner time, right?"

Tayana offers the sweetest smile she's got, the one laced with saccharine and fructose. "Sure. What's for tonight?"

"How about yesterday's roasted duck? I-I can reheat it." Poor girl. How Tayana flips her control like an omelet.

"Sure, I don't mind. It's better than the hospital's cold porridge."

Ece sways to the kitchen with lack of bones within her movements. Tayana's watchful eyes lift from her darkened phone's screen, back and forth to the distracted figure in the kitchen and to the journal bound on her desk.

"Meet my sister. Hadassah, this is Tayana. Tayana, meet Hadassah." Hungary smiled as she introduced her older sister to Tayana. However, seeing Tayana's uncertain glances towards Hadassah, Hungary leaned closer, "She's not that weird, she's a forensic scientist at CSI."

The journal carries an air of darkness. Though there aren't any padlocks guarding it, not everyone gains access for the journal. Her bet is, only someone with the onyx—in this case, Ece—is allowed.

"Ece? Is your jewel still with you?"

Her heart bounces on a trampoline as Ece's back stiffens, and the frozen roasted duck drops an army of cool water on her bare feet. "Uh, yeah. Why do you ask?"

"Just curious." She's careful to not mention the journal.

A beep blip from her phone and her screen blinks alive with a notification she's been waiting for. "What's wrong, Tayana? Keep in mind that false alarms to the officials may result in severe penalties."

Tayana's bony fingers type in a typhoon's speed, "Keep an eye on Rescuing Refugees."

👣

Tayana's never one to pay much attention to her phone before. It always lies discarded beside her as she's trapped in a maze of thoughts. Or stored within her pocket whenever she's engaged in a conversation.

Until today. She types more excited than ever. She messages people sometimes, but unless it's something important, like an achievement, she won't bother to do so.

Ece's uneasiness grows larger at Tayana's observant habit. More than once has she noticed Tayana's sideways glance at her.

It's as if Tayana's known something she doesn't.

Once, before they got this close, Tayana treated her for fruity ice creams thrice a week. Shortly after, she went to the Netherlands, visiting her parents. And after her return months later, she still behaved the same.

Does her transforming attitudes have something to do with her disease? Are her suspicions, slyness, and snarky tackles results of the cursed disease? Or...?

The oven's ding pulls Ece from the thoughtful fog surrounding her head. She quickly grabs Tayana's mittens and snaps the oven's door open, yanking the foiled tray of greased duck.

She's longing to continuously inhale its meaty scent. And dig upon its golden surface.

"Dinner's ready!" Ece exhales, sounding less aggravated than she was.

But no reply's returned.

Ece dares herself to search for Tayana's whereabouts and almost leaps out of her skin.

Tayana's still on the bed, phone in hand. But her gaze's fixing on Ece. Along with Cheshire Cat's grin. Add it with the unsynced gestures of her craning neck and still arms. A knowing look communicates itself through her expression.

"T-Tayana?"

The latter chuckles, releasing half the fear nesting within Ece's heart. How Tayana looks like the frozen duck earlier.

"Nothing, Ece. I was just wondering, maybe we can have some quality time together. Like we used to before I was hospitalized." Her grin remains, though her eyes portray an emotion Ece unable to translate.

"We've had it since I picked you up from the hospital three days ago."

"I was wondering for a different kind. Hanging out. Not here, but outside."

"So, what's on your mind?"

Tayana scrambles off the bed, leaving wrinkles on the sheets. Ece's insides flip like a carom the more the distance shortens between them.

"I'm thinking of tomorrow night, Bestia Affamata. Any plans that time?"

That's when the flames begin licking over Ece's face. Inserting ashes into her lungs and blackens her heart. It's when the heat rouses her brain.

Sourcing from two words: tomorrow night.

What has Tayana done while she isn't looking?

👣

A/N: Hope this doesn't look like a filler/bridge chapter. And hopefully, it can clear some occurring confusions.

Thanks a lot for your support! I'm seriously beyond pleased. Didn't expect to finally meet people like you folks XD

And don't mind to point out things, as usual. Any feedback is welcomed.

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