“Atlanta, please stay…” He turned to her looking at her, his eyes showed a hint of desperation in them as he spoke. “I promise things won’t change, we’ll stay good friends, and spend pl...
“How much farther till we get there?” Atlanta asked as she sat by the fire. The flames flickered lightly in the cool midnight breeze.
“We should be there tomorrow.” Archie said with a slight sadness in his voice as he stared into the flames. It had only been a few days, but they had been the best days he had lived for a long time. He hadn’t even done anything all that interesting, but for some reason they seemed special to him.
“Are you ok?” Atlanta asked curiously now sitting next to Archie.
“Oh… yea, I’m fine.” Archie said jumping slightly, he hadn’t even noticed her move. She watched him for a while before turning back towards the fire with a very, unsatisfactory, “ok.” Archie watched her out of the corner of his eye, she looked a bit sad as well.
“So, Archie…” she tried after a silence, “What is going to happen after we get there? I mean, you’ll get married of course, but… what about me?”
“You’ll stay won’t you?” he said almost as if her question had been ridiculous. “I mean were friends aren’t we?”
“Yes, of course were friends Archie.” She said softly. She had been acting so different over the last few days; she was no longer the same tough girl she had been. A softer side of herself had developed. “I just wanted to know if you would want me to stick around. I mean you might not get to spend much time with me once your married.”
“Atlanta, please stay…” He turned to her looking at her, his eyes showed a hint of desperation in them as he spoke. “I promise things won’t change, we’ll stay good friends, and spend plenty of time together, you’ll see.”
“Yeah, your right, I was just being silly.” She said quickly as she stood up. “I’m going to just do some quick washing up before bed, after all I’m meeting more royalty tomorrow.” She said smiling awkwardly hurrying away towards the lake.
“Ok, just be careful,” He said after a short hesitation. He watched her as she disappeared behind some bushes. He waited until he could no longer hear her before he turned back towards the fire.
‘Why do I care so much about her safety?’ Archie asked himself angrily. ‘She’s perfectly capable of taking care of herself! I’m turning into some ridiculous, nervous guy.” He kicked the dirt beneath his feet throwing dust into the fire; it seemed to crackle angrily in response before returning to normal.
“There’s something about her,” He said to himself quietly. “She’s done something to me, done something to my head.” He thought as he slumped back against a tree.
‘Or maybe, to your heart,’ A voice in his head spoke up, echoing in his head startling him slightly. “What do you mean, my heart?” she asked out loud. “I don’t…” he trailed off before the voice spoke again.
‘What? Love her? You know you do, you’ve just been ignoring it for these last few days.’
“I have not, and I do not!” he said angrily his voice echoing through the woods. “We’re just friends, she even said so, besides I’m getting married.” He argued stubbornly.
‘You know you want to be more than friends, otherwise you wouldn’t want her around after you marry the girl you DON’T love.” It said smugly. “You can’t expect her to stay there for the rest of her life just because YOU’RE in love with her. It’s not fair to her, and you know it, I know it, I‘m your thoughts Archie, so I know it’s true. If you loved her then you’d let her have her own life. Now, you need to tell her that she doesn’t have to tag along with you, and you better do it now.’ It said firmly. Archie waited for a while thinking to himself before he got up and headed towards the lake.
Atlanta stood in the cold, waist deep water as she washed her hair quietly. The stars were shinning brightly and the moon was full, giving her plenty of light. The entire lake was silent except for the quiet sloshes of water she made as she moved.
‘Why does he want me to stay?’ Atlanta asked herself as she starred across the water at the moons reflection. ‘I don’t want to have to watch him and, that, that girl, get married and have kids.’
“UGH it’s just gross, the thought of it!” she ducked her head underwater with a loud splash. ‘Maybe I should just leave tomorrow…’ she thought as she resurfaced flinging her wet hair back. ‘He’ll forget about me after a while,’ she tried to assure herself.
“Oh what am I kidding myself,” she said throwing her hands up, flinging water droplets into the air. “He might forget about me, but I won’t… I’ve never had a friend like him, let alone a friend… I can’t just give that up. Even if they’re getting married.’ She thought with a sigh.
Archie parted the bushes and came to the shore of the beach. He looked around for a second before he spotted Atlanta, her bare back turned to him. He let out a small sigh. ‘She looks like she could be a water nymph,’ he thought as he watched, entranced by her. He loved how the moonlight reflected of her body so beautifully she almost seemed to shimmer.
‘Wait! What am I thinking?!’ he yelled inside his head causing him to jump back. ‘How could I think of her that way…’ he thought, disgusted with himself. ‘Maybe I have just been pretending I didn’t feel anything for her after all.’ He looked up at her again. ‘Leave it too me to fall in love with a girl when I’m engaged to another.’ He said with a bit of a chuckle. ‘I wish I could have just one night with her, not as friends but, as something more…. But she would never feel the same about me.’ He said to himself sadly as he turned back towards the camp, stumbling on something large and bulky he landed heavily on the ground with a thud.
Atlanta whipped round quickly crouching down in the water covering herself. “Who’s there?” she said loudly, trying not to sound nervous, as she began to back away into the deeper water. She watched as the figure stood up slowly with a groan, the bright moonlight reveling his face.
“Archie!” she yelled loudly across the water in anger, her cheeks flushing scarlet. “How dare you sneak down here!? You knew I was washing! I swear, if you were spying on me I’ll hit you so hard you’ll still have the bruises as an old man!”
“I’m sorry! Atlanta, I was just, just-“ He was cut off as he stared at Atlanta his mouth slightly open with surprise
“Just what Archie!?” she continued angrily before she realized he wasn’t looking at her, he was looking at something behind her. She turned to see that she had gone farther back than she had realized, and was now standing 5 meters from a pair of small, black eyes, peeking out from below the water.
“Atlanta,” Archie said calmly almost whispering to her from across the water. “Just back away slowly, I’m right behind you.” He reassured her as he started to wade into the water.
Atlanta slowly began to back away from the creature, she suspected it was likely something that could swim much faster than she could. She could hear Archie behind her getting closer to her, the water sloshing around him. She could see the shore getting closer in the corner of her eye. She could also see the creature begin to drift closer to her. She walked backwards for what felt like eternity before Archie spoke again.
“Atlanta, it’s ok, you’re nearly to the shore,” he said pulling a dagger from his belt. He was only in to his waist but he could already feel the water weigh his clothes down. He hoped he wouldn’t have to fight this thing, whatever it was. He saw Atlanta edge closer to him, she was almost in his reach. Without a second thought he reached for her shoulder and pulled her behind his body, hiding her from the sight of the creature.
“Atlanta,” He said steadily, holding his knife out towards the beast’s eyes. “Take my shirt right now, and head to the shore.” He said firmly, pulling his shirt it of as quickly as he could, tearing it slightly. She took it, quickly covering herself and began to hurry quietly to the shore, never taking her eyes of Archie, who was still standing in the water with his blade out.
As soon as he heard her reach safety he too began to edge his way out of the water, never breaking eye contact with the creature.
“Archie, be careful.” She whispered softly, as she stood there watching him.
“I will,” he assured her confidently, shortly before he stumbled backwards into the water, landing with a large splash, the blade flying from his hand. The creature sprung at him, taking advantage of the opportunity, bearing its large teeth at him.
Archie fumbled for his dagger desperately, as he scrambled back onto his feet trying to get away. The beast snapped ferociously at his legs as he leapt back, his heavy clothes slowing him down causing him to almost fall again. He was almost to the shore when the beast leapt forward again sinking its teeth into his foot. Archie cried in pain as he fell landing just a few feet away from Atlanta.
“Archie!” she screamed in terror as the creature began to drag him back into the water. She quickly grabbed his arm, pulling him back with all her might. She looked around desperately for the fallen dagger, but it wasn’t anywhere in sight. She could hear Archie wince as the beast clenched his leg tighter. She spotted her bag lying next to her; She suspected it was what Archie had tripped on earlier. Grabbing it tightly, she pulled it towards her. Just as she felt her feet begin to slip out from underneath her, she flung the bag up over her and down upon the creature’s head, sending water up everywhere around them. The beast cried out in surprise and released Archie’s foot from its grip. Atlanta pulled him up, away from the water. The creature took one last snap at their heels as the both ran towards the safety of their camp.
“Is your foot alright?” Atlanta asked gently as she tried to peel away his shoes without hurting him.
“Yes, it’s not too badly hurt, I was lucky the leather in my boots was so thick, it barely hurts.” He said with a grin that quickly turned to a wince as she pulled of the shoe.
“You sure are lucky,” she sighed in relief. “The bite marks aren’t bad at all,” she smiled as she bandaged his wound as best she could in the dim light of their dying fire.
“I was lucky you saved my sorry butt when you did, otherwise I would have been creature chow.” He said with a grin, his eyes bright again.
“Well you did save me as well, twice as a matter of fact. I guess I still owe you one more.” She replied, a hint of something off in her voice.
“No Atlanta,” he said, looking down at the ground. “You don’t owe me anything anymore, I’ve been a pretty lousy friend today. But I’m going to make up for it. I promise.” He looked up at her making eye contact for only a second before looking away slightly ashamed.
“Archie... if this is about me yelling at you for scaring me, it’s ok. Really” she placed her hand on his shoulder trying to comfort him.
“Oh great! I had forgotten about that,” he said turning away from her. “What I was talking about was when I asked you to stay. I don’t have any right to make you stick around, especially when you’ve got your own life.” He glared at the ground angrily his eyes stung as his thoughts echoed in his head, ‘a life without me.’
“Archie, like it or not, you’re my friend, my best friend even, you’re part of my life now, I can’t just ignore you once you get married.” Her chest felt heavy with sadness. She paused watching him for a response. His face looked torn between something, and it hurt her to see him sad.
“I’m your best friend?” He asked quietly, turning to look into her eyes. A sparkle of hope danced in his grey eyes.
“Yes, you really are Archie, now, please get some rest. You’ve got a big day ahead of you tomorrow…” she tried to sound cheerful as she patted him on the back.
“What are you going to do? All your things are gone in the lake…” He was suddenly aware of the fact that she was barely wearing anything. His torn shirt was wet and clung to her slim body, barely covering her, not leaving much to his imagination. He blushed brightly, embarrassed for thinking about her like that.
Atlanta looked down at herself, she was a mess, still dripping wet from the lake, and now she had no clothes to speak of, or a sleeping bag… looked up at Archie who quickly turned away looking very embarrassed. Had he been looking at her? She blushed feverishly before looking around the camp. The fire was almost out; it’s red embers still glowing lightly. She suddenly realized how cold she was as a breeze blew past her, chilling her to the bone.
The moment he saw her shiver Archie instinctively took is sleeping bag and wrapped her in it. “I’ll go without tonight, we’ll figure out clothing arrangements tomorrow, ok?” he said as he watched her curl up inside the blankets by the fire. He sat there watching her for what must have been an hour waiting for her to fall asleep. Her back was turned to him, but he knew she wasn’t asleep. Something was wrong, he thought quietly getting up. He crouched down next to her and gently brushed her cheek.
She was ice cold.
Going to leave you hanging finally, gosh this has to be the longest chapter I’ve ever done. Hope it’s finally long enough….
Also for all you Theresa fans out there, I like her too, so I’m not intending for my Archie and Atlanta to totally hate her. Her and Jay are coming soon… likely not the next chapter but the one after, I have to have a little more fun with these two first.
Any feedback on this would be good, I haven’t written in ages because of school, but I should have more time now because of the summer. Hope my writing isn’t too bad.
Hope you enjoyed,
Till next Chapter, (which might be very soon)