A/N: I've had this chapter written for a while, but forgot because my laptop had about… 580 MB of free space. Cleared it out, downloaded some things, finished. Well, I've only got about 12GB of space free now, but that's better than not even one. Anyway. Read on.
DISCLAIMER: All original content belongs to C.S Lewis and HarperCollinsPublishers Ltd. This is purely a non-profit take on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
Chapter 10 – What Hurts The Most
Sophie's eyes snapped open.
What woke me up?
She'd been sleeping dreamlessly in the super-soft, four-poster bed until something – and she didn't know what – had suddenly awoken her. Her whole body was on red alert, ears straining to hear the noise that had interrupted her sleep.
Two taps in quick succession. Sophie's eyes flicked towards the direction of the noise.
Of course, the door.
"Yeah? Who is it?" She asked, trying to disguise the sleep in her voice.
"Edmund." The person behind the door answered.
"Oh! One second." She called, throwing back the covers and swinging her legs out of the bed. She'd demanded full pyjamas, like the ones she wore at home, and someone had quickly run up a pair. They were blue satin (of course) and very basic. A long sleeved shirt that was slightly too long in the arms, and a pair of trousers, elasticated at the waist. She shuffled sleepily to the door, and opened it wide.
"Did I wake you up?" Edmund asked, incredulous. Sophie nodded mutely.
"I was pretty tired from last night and the whole day. I never really got much sleep in that stupid castle prison cell, the floor was too hard and cold." She said, walking back into her room. Edmund followed, closing the door behind him.
"And then I was up half the night talking to you, and then I was chasing Aslan. Then there was the coronation, and then the ball. I think I deserved a long sleep, don't you?"
"So you enjoyed yourself last night?" There was a hint of nervousness behind his words, as if he genuinely wanted her to have enjoyed herself.
"Well, all apart from the times I was dancing with Peter!" She laughed, moving towards the dresser to grab her hairbrush. "If I'm honest, I enjoyed the whole night. Compared to how I thought it was going to go, it was great!" She began brushing her hair then looked over at Edmund. She paused mid-brush, suddenly nervous.
"What about you?"
Edmund smiled. "I really enjoyed myself." Then he mock scowled. "Except when you went off and left me."
"Hey!" Sophie waved her hairbrush at him. "That wasn't really my choice. One, Peter just kinda took me, and two, Susan said I had to dance with him anyway."
"Oh yes, did you have a nice gossip about me with my sister?" Edmund said, coming to stand a little way behind her, his face reflected next to hers in the mirror.
Sophie's stroke faltered. "What?"
"When you were talking to Susan, you both kept looking over at me." Edmund grinned, and Sophie swatted him.
"We weren't talking about you really. I was saying about the necklace, and then about Peter. Not gossip!" She adverted her eyes away from his, and carried on brushing her bed head. "There is a difference."
"Well, I guess I wouldn't know that." Edmund was shaking his head.
"Mmm." Sophie put down her hairbrush and, now fully awake, went into the en suite bathroom. She reappeared moments later brushing her teeth.
"You're really leaving your hair like that?" Edmund was perched on the end of her bed, staring up at the ceiling.
She shrugged. "Froo cahersh?"
Edmund blinked. "Pardon?"
Sophie dashed into the bathroom to spit, before calling, "I said, who cares?" Edmund laughed, and got up from the bed. As Sophie finished her teeth, and was quickly washing her face, he wandered out to the balcony doors.
He placed his hands on the golden handles and twisted them. He paused for a moment, before strongly pulling them open in a flurry of thin satin. A cool, sea breeze hit his face and tugged at his hair, while he closed his eyes and breathed deeply. Sea air.
He let go of the doors and made his way across the balcony. There was a little white metal table with two chairs set on it, but he ignored these and made straight for the railings.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" Sophie said, making him jump. He turned his head to smile at her, noticing how her hair was flattened against her head with water.
His brown eyes were sparkling, and seemed a deeper brown than they had been the night before. Sophie gazed into these eyes, lost in them, and lost in thoughts.
Edmund opened his mouth to say something, when a knock at the door interrupted them.
"I'll get it." She said softly, reluctantly tearing her eyes away from his, acutely aware of the fact her cheeks were heating up.
Silently, she padded across the floorboards, and pulled open the door.
"Oh." She said, surprised. Peter turned his head and saw Sophie.
"Good morning to you too!" He laughed, leaning forwards to kiss Sophie's cheek. She froze, unsure of what to do. However, Edmund's cough stopped Peter, who simply whispered something in her ear instead.
"Good morning, brother." He said, nodding his head.
Edmund raised an eyebrow. "'Morning."
"I didn't mean to interrupt anything." Peter added hurriedly, catching sight of Sophie's flushed cheeks and tangled hair, plus Edmund's dancing eyes.
"I didn't know that you two… uh… yeah." He quickly grabbed the door, and pulled it shut.
Both Sophie and Edmund waited a few seconds, before erupting into laughter.
"He thought we were…!"
"He must've thought I stayed the night or something."
Edmund raised an eyebrow at her. "Why is that so ridiculous?"
Sophie struggled to control her laughter. "Because you're you… and it's, it's me, and we're us and…" Sophie's inability to stop laughing caused her to cut herself off.
Edmund raised both eyebrows, and sat on the edge of the bed.
"What's up?" Sophie coughed a couple of times, then grinned.
"What's so funny about us being together?"
"Everything!" Sophie chuckled softly. "I mean, it's me and you! C'mon! It's just..." Sophie tailed off, seeing Edmund's face. He looked almost hurt.
"What? What's wrong?" Sophie asked, putting her head on one side.
"Nuh-Nothing." Edmund shook his head, and then slid off the edge of the bed.
"I suppose it is funny, the idea of us being together." He sighed, and then launched into a very fake laugh. However, Sophie didn't notice this, and thought he genuinely found it funny.
But... Compared to his previous behaviour... I'm confused! Sophie thought. Change the subject, that all ways works.
"I feel like going down to the beach today." Sophie said, turning her body towards the balcony doors and sighing.
"Huh?" Edmund said, startled by the sudden subject change. "Why?"
Sophie shrugged. "Have you seen the weather? And I just want to relax. It feels like years since I got here, not about a week. It's mad, and I want some down time." She said, walking slowly out onto the balcony and leaning her hands on the rails. She sighed, letting the cool breeze brush over her face, cooling her warm cheeks. She closed her eyes and smiled contentedly. She leaned forwards on the rails, stretching up on to her toes, lifting one foot off the ground. The wind caught her hair and played with it, tossing the loose strands about, and curling it into her face.
Edmund watched, amused. He was once worried she might tip off the edge, but her control seemed steady so he was fine with it. Slowly, he came up to stand beside her, inhaling deeply and tasting the salt air on his tongue.
"You can taste the sea from here." Edmund said quietly, placing his elbows on the railings.
"Mmmm." Sophie replied, opening one eye to look at him. "Shhh. Listen."
She lowered herself back down, and cupped one ear in her hand. The two stood in silence, and gradually different sounds came to them on the wind. The gentle crashing of the waves, the sweet singing voices of the mer-people and the faint cry of a seagull.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?" Sophie sighed, turning her head towards Edmund and opening her eyes.
"It is." He answered softly, eyes never leaving her face.
"When's breakfast?" She asked, turning around to lean her back against the rails.
"Uh, I don't know. I think one of the Dryads are supposed to get us." Edmund looked towards the door, then out to the sea. "It looks like its about 10, so probably any minute now." He nodded at Sophie, before saying, "So you probably should get dressed."
"Oh!" Sophie said, grabbing the bottom of her top, "I'd forgotten I wasn't dressed. I wonder if I've got to wear one of those dippy dresses again..." She muttered as she walked into the room.
Edmund chuckled, and turned back out to face the sea, sighing. He folded his arms, and leant them on the rails, putting one foot backwards to balance him.
Sophie flung open the wardrobe doors, and gazed in dismay at all the dresses there.
"Urgh... I don't like dresses!" She muttered, flicking through them. After much grumbling, she finally settled on a dark blue velvet number, with a square neckline, puffy shoulder sleeves that fell to the floor. It was a plain dress, so Sophie should've been able to get into it easily. She grabbed some underwear and disappeared into the bathroom.
She dressed quickly, and then realised that she couldn't do the dress up. Crap... She thought. What do I do now?
"Uhm... Edmund?" She called tentatively.
"Yeah?" He answered, stepping back into the room and looking around to try and spot her.
"I need help." Her voice came from the bathroom, and Edmund's eyes widened.
"I can't do this stupid dress up. I knew there was a reason I hated them." She moaned, frowning. She shuffled into the room, arms folded beneath her chest to keep the dress from falling down. She turned around, and looked at Edmund over her shoulder.
"Will you do it up for me?" She asked.
Edmund felt his cheeks start to heat up as he said, "Uh... Um, I-I I'll try."
He picked up the ties, and then paused. "What do I do?"
"Uhm... How should I explain this...?" Sophie muttered to herself.
"Simply, please!" Edmund said, overhearing her.
"Okay, you need to thread the ends through the little loops the sides, see them."
"Yeah..." Edmund said, hesitantly.
"You have to thread them from the side by my back out, and then cross them over and thread it through the other side. Like lacing up a shoe." Sophie was making hand gestures all through this speech to illustrate what she was saying and help Edmund understand better.
"Oh, and you need to pull it really tight too." She added, as he began attempting lacing it up. "Don't be afraid to hurt me; you won't. Because I'll tell you, and it won't let you lace it up any tighter, got it?"
"Mmm." Edmund said, deep in concentration.
Sophie sighed, turning her head so she was staring straight ahead. He'll never get this, she thought.
Edmund pulled sharply against the ties, yanking Sophie back a little.
"Not that tight!" She yelled, waving an arm behind her back to try and hit him.
"Sorry, sorry!" He muttered, pulling more gently at the ties.
Edmund carried on, this time more carefully. Sophie felt her cheeks starting to heat up as she realised just what was going on.
She could feel the heat of his hands through the material of her dress; she could hear his steady breathing as he concentrated because of the silence in the room. Worse of all, she could almost feel his breath on the back of her neck where she had pulled her hair forwards over one shoulder. Her heart was beating fast and loud, echoing in her ears.
He's so close... She thought, eyes widening. Oh god, oh god, oh god...
Edmund, oblivious to Sophie's internal dilemma for the second time, had by now managed to understand the process and had done the dress up fairly well.
"Hey, you did it!" Sophie exclaimed in surprise, as she felt the final tug at the base of her back.
"I did. How do I tie it off?" He asked, keeping it held tight.
"Tie a bow?" Sophie replied, trying to look over her shoulder to see.
Edmund deftly tied the bow, as that was the sort of thing he knew how to do.
"There!" He let go, and wiped his hands on his trousers. "Quite well done, if I do say so myself." He laughed.
Sophie spun around, letting the dress find its natural place on her. "It is." She said as she came to a stop, the end of the dress still swaying around her bare feet.
"Maybe a bit too tight, but at least if it comes loose it would be okay."
"How about shoes?" Edmund said, eyeing her toes as she walked around the room.
"Oh yes!" Sophie ran quickly to the wardrobe, her feet making a soft pattering sound against the wooden floorboards. She eased the doors opened, and peered inside. Nearly all the shoes were heeled, except for a few little sparkly pumps. Sophie quickly grabbed at a pair of these, saying something about how she didn't want to kill herself. Her hand paused as she was about to grab a pair, and then grabbed several and threw them over her shoulder, hearing them land with a clatter against the floorboards.
All Edmund saw, however, was various pairs of shoes flying out of the cupboard and landing all over the room. He smirked as Sophie punched the wardrobe door when she flung her hand back.
"Which pair should I wear?" She asked, straightening up and looking up.
"I don't know, there isn't really a pair to look at." He replied with a small chuckle and a sweeping hand gesture around the room.
Sophie sighed and quickly collected and assembled the shoes into their pairs.
There were three pairs in total. A sparkly silver pair, that were made completely covered in glitter; a navy blue pair, the same colour as Sophie's dress and with sapphire's studded to the top just over her toes; and a plain velvety black pair that had a silver bow tied to the front.
"Go for the blue pair. They match your dress. You girls like to have matching accessories, right?" Edmund said.
Sophie raised an eyebrow and placed one hand on her hip. "No we don't." She said, slowly. "Not always. But I will go for the blue pair, it's probably best."
So she leant forwards and scooped up the other two pairs, before chucking them haphazardly back into the wardrobe. She slipped her feet into the chosen pair, and smiled at Edmund.
"Come on, Sir King Edmund, let's go and find breakfast." She said, with a small chuckle.
Edmund pretended to frown, then broke out into a playful grin.
"Yes," He said, offering her his arm, "I think that would be a good idea, Queen."
Sophie stuck her tongue out at him and took his arm, laughing.
A/N: I like this. I did have writers block over this entire fic, so I just had to write a fluff chapter and nothing else. It's given me time to get my head around this fic. I went through a period of hating it, so the updates were slow partially because of that. And revision etc. But I'm on 'study leave' now, so all should be okay. Lets just see how it goes.
Livy ~ xx