Piece in Our Time

Chapter Seven

Eva had been thinking about the kiss and Asmunds words for weeks. He had not spoken to her since, but she could feel his eyes on her back occasionally. She felt his eyes are on her when she ate with the other women, when she was left alone long enough to take a short walk through the dense woods they camped near often enough, and even when she retired for bed. It was a constant heat on her back that not even the warmest of fires could compare too. It was not unpleasant but sometimes it made Eva feel uneasy. She was not sure she liked being constantly watched by him, or anyone for that matter. But she could feel something different in his gaze when they would catch each other’s eye from across the camp. His face was always blank, but in his eyes lay a longing she could not put a name too.

Eva had taken a moment one night to study his features, studying him she realized for the 1940’s from which she came he would not be considered handsome by any means. He was surely not someone she had ever thought in a million years she would catch herself warming up inside too. His features were hard, the lines in his face came from scowling most of the time, he hardly ever smiled. His pale skin was riddled with scars from battle and the harsh life of traveling constantly. He looked tired, but somehow always seemed to press on. The scar on his eye made him look more defined and the danger that he protruded gave Eva a set of shivers that rolled all the way from the base of her neck to her pink toes. He was not the most charming of men. often she could not understand him, and his large body caused him to clunk around, his heavy handmade boots leaving deep footprints in the snow beneath their feet, but Eva would sometimes catch herself fantasizing about lying in his large arms at night, her thin fingers twisted and twirled in his fiery red locks, their fur coats pulled up to their chins.

When Eva caught herself lost in her fantasies she would instantly cast her gaze away, just in time to catch herself in one of his bottomless gazes, it was always like being lost at sea, she could feel herself floating in the dense water on her back, free and alive, relaxed because she knew he wouldn't let her drowned, for moments before she looked away and dug herself into any particular job she was needed by the women to do. Eva would help wash the clothes down by the rivers they camped by, or cook food when the men were away hunting or scouting. She had not yet figured out where exactly they were traveling too, but she knew it was somewhere important because she would often hear the men in intense conversations. She never understood what they were saying but it often was reason for argument and more than not one of the men would leave stomping from the camp, only to return when the smell of meats and drink wafted through the air signaling the time to eat.

The sounds of the forest and terrain around them had become soothing to Eva after a couple of days, now that they were in the company of more men and women she felt more safe and slept soundly most nights. Every now and then the dream of her brother would weave its way into her slumber and she would wake up in a fit of tears and her heart beating out of her chest. Those were the nights she would sneak from her tent and settle down near the fire, comfortable with the feeling of eyes on her back, making sure she was not going to leave or that no one or nothing would steal her away. He never talked to her at this time; somehow he knew she needed to be left to herself. Eva was glad that he could sense this, because she was not sure she’d know what to say if he came up to her again.

This particular night Eva found herself next to the fire rather early in the night. Everyone had gone to bed only hours ago, and instead of a dream waking her Eva discovered that she could not get to sleep. She tossed and turned, pulled her furs over her head and even tried lying on the ground, but nothing seemed to help, this night the sounds of a distant owl cooing in the trees seemed to only annoy Eva and not sooth her like normal. She felt like something was missing, there was warmth she could not seem to reach and thought maybe tonight was especially cold and she could not get warm enough.

So there she sat, in front of the fire, a blanket of furs wrapped around her thin frame, Eva had put on only a few extra pounds since they had contacted their camp a month ago. It was not much, but Eva could feel the difference. Eva had gotten used to the dresses she now wore, and the lack of makeup and special perfumes, but she could never get used to the scenery. Every time they moved Eva was amazed. The land was beautiful, blankets of snow where ever they went, followed by a sky that went from clear blue as if the ocean were above her, to a blackness she could not describe. Stars often scattered the sky and Eva did not realize how she had never taken time to look at them until now. How wonderful they were, and women of the camp would tell her of gods and great men who were now stars in the sky watching over them, keeping them safe.

The fire was slowly dying and Eva still felt as if something were missing. She could not feel the warmth at her back that came from Asmunds gaze, and slowly she turned to look behind her only to find nothing but empty night. Eva had to stop herself from feeling disappointed, surely Asmund could feel tired at some point and want to rest. But a laughter beyond the trees startled Eva, it broke the nigh time silence, a silence that was only often broken by rustling trees and the scampering of nocturnal creatures brave enough to travel the snow and icy wind.

Her curiosity prevailed her and Eva stood, clutching the blanket closer to her body as she slowly and as quietly as possible moved towards the laughter still coming through the trees across from the camps fire. Eva’s heart was not pounding she was sure she was going to find a young man and women fumbling around in the woods late at night, harmlessly petting each other, careful to not step on a branch, or in a pile of long ago fallen leaves that had died months before, Eva crept deeper into the trees.When Eva laid eyes upon Asmund, his strong arms that she had fantasized about cuddling in like a school girl, wrapped around the thicker frame of a young women with long red hair and sea green eyes, his lips at her pale neck, her hands on his backside, Eva had to stop her from throwing up, the scene before her was terror, his armor was scattered on the ground at their feet, her dress was pulled up to her hips, Eva could see the goose bumps on her skin, as Asmunds hands skimmed across her thighs only to disappear between them. She instantly turned and placed her back against a tree and looked up at the stars, at the gods and great men looking down at her, probably laughing at her embarrassment.

Eva said nothing, only walked slowly back to camp, this time less cautious about where she stepped and into her tent where she lay down and began a dreamless sleep until the morning came. Eva ignored the eyes on her back, and did her best to avoid his eye contact. She did not see the girl from the night before and instead buried herself in helping Hara with any work around the camp, they were to pick up and leave tomorrow so they had begun packing up all the foods and tools they would not need till they reached another camp site. Eva pushed all fantasies and longing away, she no longer cared for his features or to cuddle in his arms. She simply ignored his presence.
Asmund had spoken to her that night weeks ago as if he had been longing after her for years, as if a want and need had boiled in his chest and stewed. His kiss was remarkably soft for a man with such a rough exterior, and now Eva knew he was a fraud. It was simply an act to get her into the forest at night, to giggle and paw like a hormone sick teenager. She refused, and when the day came to ride to the next camp, she simply asked Galmr if she could ride next to him.

Eva ignored the frustrated look from Asmund she could feel on her, and with the help of another man from camp, his hands where thick and strong like Asmunds but the touch was much different, it did not send a shock wave down her body, it did nothing but give her satisfaction in knowing that Asmund was watching and seething, soon she was on her horse and ready to ride.

Eva talked to no one on the two days trip to another site. She ate in silence, she washed in silence, unless Hara came to her with a question of what was bothering her, to which Eva would reply “Just a bit tired , I haven’t been sleeping very well, as soon as we set camp I’m sure I’ll feel better. “ Hara was not easily fooled, but would leave the lass to sulk in her own self-pity, as she referred to it, either way. Asmund had twice asked Galmr to switch horses with him, but to Eva’s luck Galmr was unnaturally attached to his beast and would not budge, a horse given to him by a woman he had once met years ago with a name he would not reveal. A beautiful horse with a black and brown mane, he was a very calm animal and if you fed him a few carrots he considered you his best friend.

Finally the day to set up a new camp came, and Eva jumped from her horse with ease, dusting off the skirt of her dress, when she picked her head back up she came face to face with a large heavy chest, clad in silver. Asmund had somehow managed to sneak up on her once again. She was never sure how one minute he was loud and tromping around and the next he was as silent as a church mouse. Without a word he gripped Eva’s arm like a vice and pulled her off into the tree line. She did not struggle; it was pointless any wrong move and her arm could snap into a million pieces. She simply went limp and forced him to haul all of her light weight away from their camp members.
She only stood up straight when she was pushed against a tree, and her arms were held above her head. She did not meet his gaze, she feared if she did all of her fantasies that she had pushed away would come back, and that would be counterproductive in ignoring him. “Missti einn minn” his voice was thick and Eva’s knees went weak. She could feel his calloused hands around her smooth skin, and his red hair brushed against her cheek as he leaned in closer to her. “Missti einn minn” Eva did not respond, she did not even want to know what he was saying. The sound of his voice was possessive and his grip only tightened as she kept her gaze down.

Finally with an accent hard to understand, he spoke in a language she knew “You are Mine Eva, I told you that. “ He spoke slowly as he always did and his breath was much needed, warmth against her ear. She felt his lips moving against her skin and shiver racked her body once more. Eva shook her head and said “No.” as softly as she could and as bravely as she could. She needed to sound strong or else he would laugh in her face. Asmund only chuckled huskily in her ear and pulled away, one rough hand was on her flushed cheek now, his thumb tracing the thin line of her lips. “Missti einn minn, from now on you are to ride alongside me. “

With that sentence Eva knew that he was calling her by a name, he was staking a claim on her by giving her a title only he could call her, and Eva was not yet sure how she felt about this knew found knowledge. All thoughts were erased from her mind as his lips were on hers once again, covering them, shielding them from the chill in the air, His own lips moved against hers so smoothly it was as if they were here own, and then he and his lips were gone and Eva was left leaning against a tree in the snowy wood.

It took a few minutes for her to gather herself before she could return to camp, and when she did the horses had already been emptied of their packages and loads and were now happily munching on carrots and greens they had managed to store away. A fire in the middle of camp had been started and the women were already busy preparing the first meal of the day, while half of the men set up tents and the other half prepared for the hunt. Asmund at the lead of the hunters was speaking to them loudly and pointing in the direction they would be hunting. She captured his eyes and this time could not look away, he let her drowned.

When the food was prepared and everyone sat around the fire, telling stories of a long ago time, and laughing at each other’s embarrassments Eva sat comfortable next to Hara and a group of older women. She had grown fond of these people she traveled with and they had eventually grown fond of her as well. The women would help he with her hair and dress, and teach her how to prepare certain meals, when they asked why she did not know such things Eva would simply reply with “Well when I got lost I hit my head and I must have just forgotten some things.” This would appease them for a time; she could tell the group was still curious about her and where she could have come from.

As everyone sat quietly discussing parts of their lives and origins, the fire had been given more wood and the sun had begun to set, the air had grown colder, one by one people would trot off to bed, desperate to get warm. Eva turned to Hara. “Hara, what does Missti einn minn mean?” Eva spoke slowly as to not mistake her words and Hara simply turned to her with no particular air of emotion, and said “It means” lost one of mine”.”
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I'm sorry it's not as long as you all would like it to be. I just really needed to update. Now that I am back home and I can get back into my groove.
I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and HAPPY NEW YEAR!