Run From the King

Chapter 11

Tess followed along behind the dark, tall, young man. His voice comforted her. She hadn't heard a lot of voices other than Klaus' for what felt like ages.

She healed herself just enough to fix her broken bones but she did not have enough energy to heal the aches and sores marked all over her body. The walk up from the cell took the last of her strength.

By the time they reached the car, she saw little dots obstructing her vision. She squinted and held her head for a moment before her knees began to buckle.

Leo had been listening to Tess' steps as she trailed along behind him. When her steps had halted, he turned to see Tess closing her eyes and start tilting over.

"Hey! Woah, woah.."

With his long arms he wrapped one around her backside and effortlessly slid his other arm under her knees, lifting her up in his arms.

"It's okay. I've got you."

Her eyes were shut now. She was vulnerable in his arms. She felt so weak and too easy to hold.

He saw her breathing slowly and watched her pouted lips open enough to get air in and out. His eyes lingered on those lips for a while before he heard a rumble in the clouds miles away.

'The stormy drive would be cause for a tricky route back to King Gilbert's Kingdom,' he thought.

Leo looked down at the pale young girl in his arms.

"I've got you."

He reassured the unconscious girl before walking over to the car. He had the door open for the back seat but shut it. Instead, he set Tess inside the passenger seat and buckled her in. Moving her body to sit somewhat comfortably. He was gentle with her, and moved her hair from her face before resting her head against the head rest.

He shut the car door and walked over to the drivers side and looked back over at Tess. She was a mess. But there was something about her that intrigued Leo.

The thunder crashed some distance away. The storm was gaining land.

Leo locked the doors and decided to take a risk and drive through town. The drive would be hours. He wanted to make sure Tess would be okay and get her something to eat.

As he drove down towards town. The rain started to tap on the windshield. Slowly at first, but as soon as he made it to town, the rain poured down on them. Tess lay undisturbed by the storm. Which only left Leo more concerned. He barely made out an eatery though the window. He stopped the car in the empty road and looked at Tess.

"I'll be right back."

She probably couldn't hear him. Yet, he still spoke to the motionless girl.

He stepped out of the car and locked the door behind him. He was immediately soaked in rainwater.


He muttered as he rushed inside the eatery. A young, red headed waitress in the empty restaurant smiled eagerly at him.

"Hi! I'm Anka, will you be dining in with us today? Heck of a storm out there!"

Leo smiles at the young girl,

"Actually, I have to head into the storm. Have an important delivery."

"That's a shame! Getting real cold out there."

She glances out the window.

"Have a long drive ahead."

He notes before pulling out the menu.

Anka takes the menu from Leo.

"The pot pie is fresh, and my dad, I mean, the baker, made fresh bread this morning."

She chuckles to herself.

Leo nods,

"Sounds perfect."

"Great! I'll have the load sliced for you."

She says excitedly before running to the kitchen doors. He noticed a basket of rolled up knitted clothes. Taped to the basket was a note:

Knitted blankets and sweaters~10 Silvers Each.

Leo looked through some of them and found a small red sweater that would fit Tess' small frame. He grabbed a blue knit blanket and set them both on the counter. Just as he did so, Anka came through the kitchen door with a deep paper bag that looked much more than just chicken pot pie. She set the heavy bag on the counter.

"My mum added a few things you might like."

She smiled at the young man, noticing the sweater and blanket.

She giggled,

"I think we have a bigger size in there somewhere."

Leo glances down at the small red sweater and smiles,

"Oh, no. This isn't for me."

The young red head nods.

"Makes sense. But really, you should grab one, you're soaked."

She nods at the pool of water Leo left on the ground.

"Maybe you're right.."

Leo ruffles through the basket and finds a green sweater big enough for his broad shoulders.


The red head says as he places the sweater on the counter. Leo then peeks into the brown bad and widens his eyes.

"Wow. that's definitely not just bread and pot pie."

Anka shrugs,

"My mom said it would go to waste. The storm's really bad, no one will likely be making a trip to town today. Please enjoy and drive safe."

"You're family is very generous. Thank you, Anka."

Leo pulls out his wallet,

"So, how much will that be for today."

"25 silvers, sir."

Anka begins to bag the sweaters and blanket to make sure they didn't get wet outside.

Leo pulls a gold coin from his back pocket.

One gold coin accounted for 100 silvers. Gold was rare in this kingdom but Leo's family had an abundance of it. His father's reputation had gained his family a tremendous wealth.

Anka's eyes widened.

"Oh, no. We can't take that."

"Nonsense. Thank you for everything Anka."

Leo left the coin on the table top as he walked out the door with the bags.

"Thank you sir!" Anka watched as he left and held the gold coin in her hand. She smiled wife before running to the kitchen to tell her parents the good news.

Leo quickly rushed to the car and closed the door behind him. He turned to Tess and she still lay unmoving.

"Oh, come on, Tess.."

He said her name like he said it a million times. He smiles at the way it sounded.


He wondered what it was short for..or if it was her full name. Suddenly, a loud crash of thunder strikes and shakes the car.


The smell of delicious food fills the car as Tess hears her name and tries to move her head. It felt so heavy. Like moving bricks. Leo watched her struggle. He quickly ruffled through the bag pulling out the packages. Pot pie, potato and ham soup, a small thermos with some kind of warm drink and a small bag of cookies along with a glass bottle of milk.


Leo smiles. He then turns back to Tess.


He quickly grabs the container of soup and sets it aside.

He watches Tess cautiously as she stirs in her seat.

She turns her head to face him and she looks at him confused.

Where was she? Who was this guy? His eyes were like warm honey. God, she was hungry. Her head pounded making her close her eyes. The pitter patter og rain drops were so loud. Her hands were so cold.

Leo then grabbed the soup and opened the container, the aroma of hearty potato and roasted ham filled the car. Tess' stomach growls loudly.

Leo carefully reaches for Tess'.

Cradling her cold cheek in his hand, he helps her lips to a spoon full of soup.

He poured the warm soup down her mouth and tilted her head back to help her drink it.

"That's it."

He encourages her as he watches her swallow and quickly scoops another spoonful.

After the third spoonful, her eyes opened and caught Leo off guard. She suddenly grabbed onto his hand that had been holding the soup and pulled it closer to her lips. He would've been startled had he not felt her hands.

They were like ice. So small. So cold, and frail. As if the ice from her hands had travelled through him he felt a holt with her touch. Leo let go of the soup container for Tess to raise it up and drink it. He watched her gulp the soup for a long time.

She finally pulled the container from her lips and Leo chuckled at a ring of creamy potato around her cheeks and the bridge of her nose.


He peeked into the bag and pulled a slice of load and patted her face with a piece of bread where the soup had smeared. He then ate the bread.

"That tastes as good as it smells."

Tess blushes, realizing she had taken food from another person and basically guzzled it down. She didn't know why, but Leo eating from her lips, even with the bread felt intimate and..different. No one had ever touched her like that. Or fed her properly in so long.

"Oh, I'm...I'm sorry. I just."

"No, it's okay."

Leo chuckles,

"I'm teasing you."

He chews and swallows the rest of the bread as Tess peeks in the bag, avoiding his eyes. Soon, her memory starts coming back to her.

"Where are we?"

"We're in town. Picked up some food then got stuck in a storm."

Leo shrugs as he looks around the windows. The rain fell so hard and fast everything outside just looked foggy and dark.

Tess spots a thermos of warm liquid. She immediately pulls it out and looks over at Leo.

"Go on."

Her permits,

"Eat up. We've got a long drive."

He pulls the car out of the parking spot and onto the road.

Tess opens the thermos to warm tea with milk and honey. It smelled so comforting and sweet. She smiled and took a sip from the thermos. Leo squinted as he tried to maneuver from the road. They needed to get through the forest, and make it to the countryside by morning.

"Man oh man is he pissed."

Muttered Leo as he leaned forward, turning on the brights.


Leo glances over at Tess before shaking his head.

"No one, never mind."


Leo doesn't answer, instead focusing on the road.

She doesn't question his silence. Thankful he even brought her all this food. She curls her legs in the chair, indian style and places the thermos in between her legs, securing it as she ruffles through the bag. She grabs one pot pie and places it in her lap.

"This is massive."

Her eyes twinkle in delight as she opens the lid off the pie container. Leo reaches into the bag and sticks a fork in the middle of the pie.

"Have at it."

He puts his hands back on the wheel as he turns out of town towards the road to the forest. This was a lonely road as much of the towns' roads were.

When the Prince was upset, so was the world. In this way, everyone had been affected by the Prince. Before Eliza had left, their kingdom enjoyed plentiful sun and good harvest. Even the waves from the seas were calm and peaceful.

The last three years were hard. The rain sometimes would pour for days, flooding crops, keeping people indoors, hurting local businesses.

The waves from the seas crashed so hard, the ships were torn apart. Sometimes there were good days. But many more bad than good.

Eliza was public enemy number 1. But her number 2, Tess, was equally despised. Leo heard stories of the girl interrogated by the Prince. The Witch who had been accused of murdering the Princess.

"..this is so good."

Tess chuckled as she catches a glimpse of herself in the side mirror.

She doesn't care. She was treated less than human for so long. She was grateful for so much food.

When they finally enter the woods the trees help hold up the downpour. It's lighter now but only slightly. The darkness of the woods makes the silence in the care very noticeable.

"Thank you..for the food."

Tess puts the fork down and lets the hot pie warm her lap. She leans back, full and satisfied. Leo nods and stays quiet for a moment before he notices her shiver. Then, remembering the sweaters and blanket,

"Oh, check this bag."

He reaches for the bag that had managed to make it to the backseat.

Leo hands her the bag and watches as she opens it carefully.

"Oh, oh my..Is this for me?"

Her eyes look up at Leo hopeful. He nods,

"Of course."

He smiles warmly at her and glances at the sweater she held. It was the green one.

"Oh-that ones.."

He pauses before continuing. She looks over at him waiting.

"Uhm..never mind. I didn't know if you'd like red or green. There's two in there."

"Really? You didn't have to.."

Tess pulls out a red sweater much more fitting of her frame. It was obvious this one was probably meant for her. She blushes as she puts the green sweater aside.

"I love the red. Thank you."

"Oh, no. No."

He moved the sweater back over to her.

"Please. It'll probably be more comfortable than wearing those tattered clothes. Besides, it'll probably fit like a dress for you."

He joked.

"You're so kind..Not like the others. Everyone in this land wants me dead. But you bought me food and clothes."

Leo stays silent and continues rolling slowly along the forest trail. Tess watches him..waiting for his reply.

She notices his stern jaw. The way it clenched when he avoided her question. Those warm honey eyes..

"I'm Leo by the way."

"I'm Tess."

Leo smiles to himself. He liked hearing the sound of her name.


He repeated to himself.


"You should change. It'll help you stay warm."

He glances at her,

"I can pull over if you want. Walk away if you want some privacy."

"You'd leave me alone with the car?"

"I don't think you'd leave me."

He says with a smirk.

"Are you always this trusting?

"Not always."

He says simply.

"Then why now?"

He stays silent, his jaw clenched again, Tess notes.

She rolls her eyes and turns to the sweater. She pulls her tattered dress with spots of dried blood off of her and opened the window, tossing it out.

She say next to Leo now. Naked. He knew it without looking over.


Tess interjects,

"We don't have to pull over."


Leo swallows hard. A lot of things were happening that he wasn't prepared for. The car suddenly felt very warm despite the damp cold wet clothes over him.

Tess slips the green sweater over her and thankfully it draped over her enough to make it just above her knees.

The knitting was thick, warm and soft. Tess loved it. It even had a turtle neck she unrolled over her head to keep her ears warm. When Leo glances over he couldn't help but laugh.

"Haha! That's hilarious. You look like a martian."

Leo chuckles as Tess starts to join along after looking in the mirror.

"It's been so long since I've laughed."

Tess takes the blanket out before hearing Leo's stomach grumble.

"You're hungry. We should pull over."

"No, I can't. I don't want us stuck in the forest. We''ve got to keep going-atleast till we hit country side."

Leo flashes the brights as they round a tight turn. The rain still poured in the darkness.

"How long till we get to the countryside?


Leo answers. His stomach grumbles again.

Tess pulls the blanket over her and reaches for the pot pie. She takes a spoonful and raises it to Leo's face.

"Feeding me? You're going to try feeding me?"

He chuckled.

Tess didn't move her hand.

"You fed me when I couldn't."

She was right, and Leo knew it. He obliged and opened his mouth as she fed him. She pulled the blanket around her waist and leaned in close to Leo to help better feed him. He nearly finished the rest of the pie. Tess was even impressed with his appetite.

She then put aside the rest of the pot pie and curled her legs up to her seat. She reached for the thermos and took a sip of the delicious warm drink. She raised the thermos to Leo, he took the drink thankfully and sipped the milky tea.

Tess yawned and Leo asked for the red sweater. She handed it to him and he rolled it up in his fist before handing it back to her.


He explained.

"Thank you."

Tess smiled taking the balled up sweater. She leaned her chair to go al the way back readying herself to sleep.

"You can heal now too. If you want."

Leo says without looking away from the narrow road. It was so dark out now. He couldn't see anything other than what his lights shone directly on.

"You'd let me heal?"

"Why do you think I fed you?"

He chuckled to himself.

"But. Are you sure? Don't you want me weak?"

Tess was more than confused. Why was he so kind to her? Why would he let her; a witch, a believed-to-be traitor, newly-released prisoner heal? Obviously getting fed would give her strength to heal but she didn't push her limits. The guard was kind to her, she didn't want to give him reason to be afraid of her.

"Please, go ahead." He encouraged.

Tess nodded and laid on her side before wrapping her arms over herself again. She starts to speak incantations to herself. Leo stays quiet and respects her space despite their close quarters.

He glances over at her every now and then admiring her glow. When she's done healing she falls right to sleep, her beautiful angelic glow slowly dissipating.

Leo smiles as he notices her hold the warm thermos close to her chest. He pulls the blanket over her some more as they continue through.