Gerard takes Rose to play in the snow.
"Uhm, Rose?" Gerard shifted on the floor, sprawling out on his back. "When does the action start?"
I rolled my eyes, adjusting the book in my hands. "One of the greatest of royal preserves was Sherwood and Barnesdale forests near the two towns of Nottingham and Barnesdale. Here for some years dwelt one Hugh Fitzooth as Head Forester--"
"Rose?" He moaned. "Action?"
"The story just began, Gerard."
"So, what? What do you want me to do?"
"Skip to it." He shook his head, raising his eyebrows, as if he had just suggested the most obvious thing.
He smirked as he lifted his arms to stretch. At his movement, his shirt slid up and over his stomach, exposing the marble-like porcelain skin. I could feel my face heat up as memories of yesterday flooded my mind.
I shook my head and gripped the book, closing it. "You want action, Gerard?"
"Action. Do you still want me to skip to it?"
He cocked his head to the side, probably trying to figure out how to interpret my wording. When he figured he understood, he nodded. "Yeah. I said so, didn't I?"
"Fine." I grinned.
He laid his head back down on the floor, staring at the ceiling. I pulled my arm back and flung the book at his midsection; I hit my target successfully. He sat up quickly with an 'Oof' and clutched his stomach, glaring over at me. I broke out in hysterics when he sucked in a huge gasp of air, holding it in his cheeks for a minute before letting it out.
"Think that's funny, do ya?" He stalked over to me and placed his hands on either side of the armrests. Slowly, he tipped the chair back towards the floor. I stopped breathing when my hair hit the floor with a nearly inaudible thud. His eyes poured into mine, questioningly, until he sighed, placing the chair back on all four legs. He growled, curling his fists. "I'm sorry."
I watched as he walked over to the wall, leaning against it. He covered his face with his hands so his loud breathing would be muffled -- It didn't really help much. I didn't mean to upset him. I just had a fear of falling and, even though I knew he wouldn't, I couldn't help but feel scared.
"Gerard?" I whispered. "Are you--"
"Stop." He held out his hand, palm up. He pinched the bridge of his nose roughly, turning away from me.
"Just stay where you are, Rose."
"Are you upset with me?"
"Are you angry?"
"No," He snapped. "You didn't do anything."
"Then why are you--"
"Just shut up, Rose!" He shook his head as he slumped back against the wall with an aggravated sigh. He glanced at the ceiling quickly before mumbling, "I'm sorry."
"It's alright." I murmured. "I shouldn't have pushed you--"
"That's not what I meant."
"Then, why are you apologizing to me?"
He pushed himself off the wall and walked over to me, letting his head fall on my shoulder. He wrapped his arms around my waist, letting them skim lightly against my back. "I'm a jackass, aren't I?"
"Well," I nodded. "Most of the time."
He laughed against my shoulder. "I don't deserve to keep you."
"Keep me?" I scoffed. "I could leave any time I wanted."
"Oh, really?" He asked, arching an eyebrow. "Let's see you try, then."
I narrowed my eyes, stepping back a few feet. I made it about five feet from the door when I felt something curl around my wrist, tugging me back into a hard surface. I could feel his cool breath wash over my neck and shivered.
"It's not that easy, sugar." He murmured. He gripped my shoulders and spun me around to face him. Looking into my eyes, he smiled, toying with a stray curl hanging loosely by my face. "I want to show you something today."
"Show me what?"
He grinned. "It's a surprise."
"Can I have a hint?"
"Nope." He glanced over to the window and smiled. Snow was clouding the view outside and it looked like it wouldn't be letting up for a bit. He ran out the Library door and returned a few seconds later with one very thick coat.
I was about to ask where his was when he slipped this one onto my shoulders but quickly rethought it. "What are we doing?"
"Going outside." He smirked as he took my hand, leading me down the hallway and out the front door.
The view outside was breathtaking. Snow covered the treetops and the ground. The river that ran along the woods was nearly frozen and the pond in their front yard was solid ice. Icicles hung from the branches of the trees and glistened like diamonds in the sunlight.
"It's beautiful." I whispered.
"Yeah," He took my hand and led me over to a bench in front of the pond. He made sure I was seated before he trotted over behind the big oak tree, disappearing from my view. I waited patiently for three minutes before I started worrying.
"Gerard?" I called. "Gerard, this isn't funny!" Still, nothing. "Gerard? Where are y... Oh!" A snowball came in contact with my face, cramming bits of snow up my nose and into my mouth. Standing by the tree, holding his stomach and laughing, was Gerard. "Oh, you are in so much trouble." I laughed.
His eyes widened as I took off after him, scooping up snow in my hands. He ducked behind the tree, dodging my throw. We continued to toss our snow grenades at each other throughout the afternoon. Every now and then we would give up and make snow angels, but, that only lasted until someone got bored and smashed snow on the other's face.
Unknown to us, though, were four pairs of watchful eyes, looking down at us from the second story balcony.
Ray's smile widened as he watched Gerard pull Rose down into a snow pile. "It's happening pretty quick, isn't it?"
"Yeah," Mikey nodded. "Too soon, maybe."
"What do you mean?" asked Bob.
"Look at them." Mikey sighed. "He's falling for her."
"And that's a bad thing... Because? That's what we need, isn't it?" Bob quirked an eyebrow, turning to face Mikey.
"Yeah, but that's not what they need."
"What do you mean?"
Frank frowned. "Why do you think? Rose will be all alone."
Mikey sighed. "She'll be heartbroken by the time she realizes."
"Fuck," Bob shook his head. "So, what do we do?"
"There's nothing we can do, Bob. We just have to wait and see what happens."
The boys grew quiet as they turned their attention back towards the two down below. Unsuspecting and unknowing; She was blissfully unaware of their biggest secret. The one that would kill Gerard to reveal.
Frank bit his bottom lip, observing the small girl. "Rose Petal can never know. I won't let her get hurt like that."
"And what about when we're gone, Frank? How are you going to protect her then? Huh?" Mikey snapped.
Frank shook his head. His voice was almost too low to hear. "I can't."
A/N - The story Rose is reading, if you remember from the last chapter, is Robin Hood. I quoted the original story by J. Walker McSpadden so I cannot claim that part of the story. As for the rest, well, it does belong to me. I hope you enjoyed this chapter. Nothing much happens in this one, but we get a good look at what Rose's father is doing in town in the next update. Remember from the movie? And Rose's interest in town? Interesting. And if I could make Frank any of the original characters from the movie, it would be Chip. He's just too sweet! Anyway, thank you all so much for reviewing for me on the last chapter. It meant a lot to me. Thanks for reading and, please, don't forget to R&R for me! xoxo - Esther Rose.
P.S. - If I don't update beforehand, I'd like to say Happy Fourth Of July to you all! I hope you all enjoy your weekend.