COPYRIGHT © 2019 Miu
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, mechanical, electronical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of the Author.
This novel is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and events are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
All pictures and multimedia used are not the author’s work and doesn’t claim any legal rights.
MATURE CONTENT and VULGAR words not suited for young readers below eighteen (18) years old.
“How did you find me, anyway? Don’t tell. I’m sure it’s that Prince’s fault,” Evangeline said, boredom in her tone, propping her head sideways against the car’s window.
It was already four hours that they were traveling, but the cab still had no intention of stopping any second now. They were totally out of the city, with the roads flanked by dense trees and all.
Evangeline was not scared nor worried because deny as she might, she was happy together with Eric.
Eric remained silent throughout. His hand that enveloped her soft fingers on top of the cushioned seat tightened.
Thinking back, he was gambling, for he was not one hundred percent sure if Evangeline really was in Everland. As for why he knew where she lived, it was pure luck and logic. Among the many estates the Royal family-owned, Royal Condominium was the only one solely built in Daniel Richardson’s name.
The cab finally stopped, and Eric paid the fair before he assisted Evangeline out from the car.
“Where are you taking me?” Evangeline asked after Eric led her deeper inside the dense forest.
It was already half an hour that they were walking after the cab drove off, and she was starting to feel impatient from all the silence and walking. Not to mention, it was dark and cold with no light to guide their way except his flashlight.
But of course, she made no effort of pulling her hand from Eric’s hold.
Eric paused, turning to her, he smiled before he raised his hand and pushed away the twigs that were hindering their view.
“It’s a surprise.”
Any complaint from her was clogged in her throat when she saw the surprised he was talking about.
It was a house at the center of all the dense sleeping foliage and trees. It was nothing fancy. In fact, it seemed like a kid built it. Rough wooden planks haphazardly put together to cover everything up, and dirt and rot clung here and there.
Nevertheless, she was fascinated by the shabby hut. Maybe it was due to the lighting and its effect against the wood, giving it a romantic feel, a comfy atmosphere.
She glanced at him, a teasing smile on her face. “Do you own this place?”
Eric scratched the back of his head. “No. I illegally built this hut years ago. And since then, it became my secret retreat. Luckily, it’s still here when I checked.”
As soon as he arrived in Everland, though he wanted nothing but to see her, it was already the dead of the night. Thus, even though he was anxious, excited, and nervous all at once to meet her, he checked this place first. Cleaned it and made sure everything was in order before he went to her immediately after. He didn’t even take a break to sleep nor eat a proper meal!
Evangeline softly laughed, walking closer towards the hut. “Right. You are born here.”
She checked the twinkling lights and found it was light strips, and most were glowing balls bought in the vendors at the side of the street.
As if Eric had read her thoughts, he said, “The place had no electricity, so I had to make do with batteries. I think it should last the entire night.”
Evangeline pushed her uneasy at the mention of no electricity. All kinds of inconveniences raced inside her mind at the sudden revelation. Where will I charge? What about hot water? A heater? What happens if all the batteries run out? Come to think of it, is there even water in this place?
Even so, her mouth clamped tight, didn’t let out a single squeak of complain as she faced Eric with a raised eyebrow, crossing arms, and chin out.
Shaking his head, Eric smiled. He could tell what was running in her head with her expression alone.
“Come on. Let’s go inside. There’s something I want to show you.”
He then led the way forward and climbed the set of stairs. He paused when he noticed she was not moving. Her eyes stuck on the planks he was stepping.
“Don’t worry. It’s safe.” His pupils dilated with eyelids dropping, his voice turning soft and low while he extended his hand at her. Urging her to follow him, which she did, and his entire countenance melted. His smile never left his lips.
“Are my things heavy?” she asked as they climbed, taking her time with each step, forcing her trembling legs forward on the squeaky unstable planks.
Matching her pace, he said simply, “No.” He then briefly peered at her while his hand arranged her backpack on his shoulder.
“Did you plan to go climbing a mountain?” he asked.
“Hmm . . .” she nodded. “Everyone wanted to connect with nature once in a while.”
He pursed his lips, face helpless as he shot her a side glanced. It was a good thing he straightaway booked a flight to her. If he had been indecisive and waited for another hour from meeting her, he feared he might never see her again. He shuddered at the thought and dismissed it from his mind.
But now he was here, he would make sure the irrational idea of climbing a mountain would entirely disappear from her crazy head.
Occupied with his thoughts, Evangeline, on the other hand, glared at the mittens and gloves, hindering the contact of their skin. Consumed with these feelings, she was startled when Eric let go of her hand.
She frowned when he climbed a small ladder. He pushed the small wooden door at the base of the floor, and it opened with a creaking sound.
“Wait here a sec,” he said before he climbed up inside the house.
When he vanished from her sight, she rubbed her hands near her chest, blowing air against it. Every so often, her eyes snapped towards the little sounds deeper in the darkness.
Her head shifted to him, releasing the breath she held. His head peeked at her from above, grinning like a little boy, who was heisting a plot. And not seconds later, her smile mirrored his.
“Come on up. Don’t worry, the ladder is safe.”
Her heart pounded hard against her chest, the more she climbed the ladder. It was not because she was afraid it would snap. Rotting logs, unsteady planks, cobwebs, and bags of dust were the least of her worries at the moment. The thought she and Eric were all alone in the middle of nowhere made her heart thump in a wild frenzy of excitement.
Climbing the ladder, she panted as she went. Not because of the mini-physical activity, but mostly because she needed the extra oxygen to calm her nerves.
She grabbed his hand, and with little effort, he pulled her up. It wasn’t that hard as she expected, and in seconds, she was inside the treehouse, roaming her gaze at her new surroundings.
Wooden planks of walls and floors with a single-window and small table at the side. A large map posted on a wall, a small globe was standing at the side and some pictures of places covered the walls. To complete the overall look, there was an old vintage telescope near the window.
The interior was cleaner than she thought, and for an odd reason, it reminded her of Eric. His smell and appearance. It was like she truly saw him. It was a room, but it felt like she was looking at his heart.
And for a fraction of second –– for a second . . . she thought . . . she could live here together with him.
Pulling her gaze away from her surroundings, she looked at him. There was something in his eyes that was not there before. Something deeper and . . . intimate.
“Welcome to my secret place.” He softly laughed. His laughter lifting the entire room. As he said so, he avoided her eyes, cheeks a little red, not because of the cold.
He walked near the telescope and sat on the floor and looked over at her.
“Come and sit,” he said, patting the space beside him.
She didn’t know what he was trying to do. Nonetheless, she obeyed and sat near him while he concentrated with the telescope.
Glancing at the window, her eyes reflected the stars blanketing the dark. She peered at her wristwatch and shock to know it was only around seven. Just how far away were they from the city?
She turned to him, saw him still busy doing something with his telescope. Staring and staring at him, she gradually lost herself. It was a refreshing feeling looking at him so serious on something other than work and school.
His dark, messy hair appeared darker than night with the warm light from the lamp. Soft shadows blocked some angle of his face, dense lashes dropped a few centimeters, silver irises brighter unlike its usual deep, darker shades of grey . . .
He gazed at her, a smile on his face.
“Take a look.”
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