Continued from ‘Healer‘
A curl drags at the woman’s lips. “Yes, Julian. Surprised?” She quirks an eyebrow at me.
“Yes,” I breathe and stare up at the ceiling. I can’t even envision Julian healing people. He’s so gruff and aggressive. How could he possibly have the patience and understanding to be a healer?
“You shouldn’t be.” Kalla is the one speaking this time. She stands in the door of the tent, her arms crossed over her chest as she looks down at me.
Heat flushes my cheeks and my arms instinctively cover my torso.
“Kalla,” the woman sighs. “I thought I told you to wait outside.” She grabs my arms and pins them to my side.
Kalla ignores her mother and wanders over to me where she kneels in the same place as before. Tension holds her shoulders. Her fingers curl in her lap and her eyes stare down at them like she’s embarrassed about something. “Julian is the one who saved you.”
“Huh?” I’m so confused that I barely notice the tapping across my chest when it resumes.
The blonde girl sighs. “When Aric attacked you, he released a spark into your body. A big one.” Emotion swells in her eyes and she inhales like she’s trying to push it away. “I should’ve saved you. I should’ve drawn the electricity from your body, but…” Her head turns away from me, shame glowing in her cheeks.
“You need to trust yourself, Kalla,” her mother coos. “You are stronger than you think. You are brave. You have the skill. You just need to trust yourself.”
Kalla shakes her head. “I can’t do it,” she whispers. “I can’t risk…” Her eyes find mine where I lay on the ground. “I can’t risk screwing up.”
Confusion draws my eyebrows together. “Screwing up?”
The tapping halts across my chest. “If Kalla were to… ‘screw up’ when drawing the lightning out of your body, she could kill you.”
My head snaps to her mother, shocked by the information.
“But Kalla knows how to do it. I’ve seen her do it before.”
“One time,” Kalla corrects with a shake of her head. “And you know what happened.”
The woman reaches across me to grab her daughter’s hand. “He doesn’t blame you for that, Kalla.”
Kalla jerks away from her touch. “He doesn’t have to,” she retorts. In a huff, she stands and strides towards the door.
“Kalla, I still need to heal you.”
“Heal me later. I’m not in the mood.”
“It’ll leave a scar,” her mother warns.
The woman’s shoulders settle and her eyes sadden.
In the following silence, I glance at my chest. It’s completely healed. “How did you-?!”
A sorrowful smile tugs on her lips. “I told you I’m a healer. Now, go get some rest.”
“But Kalla,” I whisper, rising to a seated position.
“She’ll… be fine.” Even as she says it, something lingers behind her words. Worry?
“Thank you,” I offer and climb to my feet.
“You’re very welcome,” the woman returns, her smile small and weak.
Maybe I shouldn’t do what I’m about to do. The Gods only know it’s stupid to follow a woman when she’s raging with emotion, but this emotion isn’t rage. It’s something else and something tells me I should be there.
I race out of the building and catch a glimpse of blonde hair sliding around one of the other buildings. Rushing after it, I just barely manage to keep up with Kalla. She’s running now. There’s no other way to explain her ability to stay ahead of me when I’m running after her.
Rounding another building, the area opens up around me. Kalla races into the open expanse of land encircling the camp. She looks like she’s running into the middle of nowhere and while my better judgment tells me not to follow, I do.
Thankfully, she doesn’t run very far. Some distance away, cloaked in the darkness of the night, is a valley. The ground dips down and sprouts with waist-high grass.
Splashing water sounds ahead of me and I continue towards it, wondering if it could be Kalla. And praying it isn’t something else.
Upon nearing the water, though, I realize it is Kalla. Her blonde hair streaks under the surface as she swims through the moonlit pool. For a moment I watch her until I realize how creepy that is.
I glance away. Then, I look back when she surfaces. My weight shifts between feet, unsure of whether or not I should follow her. Perhaps I should just leave. Maybe she needs to be alone. Yet, before I can, her voice calls out to me.
My attention drops to her and my hand rubs the back of my neck. “Uh… Hi, Kalla.”
“What’re you doing out here?” She swims a little closer until she can stand on the bottom of the pond.
“I was…” I halt before trying again. “Well, you see, I just…” Nope. Not really sure what I’m doing out here. No idea, really. I just… followed. Like a complete and total creep. “I’ll just go.” Turning from her, I start back towards camp.
“You’ll get lost on your own,” she calls after me, her tone casual and not demeaning.
She’s right. I wasn’t paying the slightest bit of attention where we were going when I raced after her. I probably should have. I probably shouldn’t have followed at all.
Settling back onto my heels, I glance over my shoulder at her. “What’re you doing out here, Kalla?”
“Swimming.” Her head tips to the side, the moonlight gleaming off her blonde hair.
“That’s not what I meant.” I sigh. Though, I don’t ask her to explain. I have a feeling I know what’s going through her head based on her being in the water. I used to do the same thing back home. When my mind was too full, I’d swim. the water would silence the world, my thoughts, everything.
“Are you gonna join me or just stand shirtless in the grass?” A smile tugs on her lips and my attention snaps down to my bare torso.
Once more embarrassment flushes my cheeks and my arms try to hide the naked skin from her.
She giggles. “I’m not sure why you’re hiding,” she calls to me.
I meet her gaze. From here, her blue eyes seem to twinkle like stars in the night sky.
“You’re actually kind of hot.” Without waiting for me to respond, she vanishes under the water, leaving me to dwell on her bold compliment. It only makes my cheeks burn hotter.