Silence was the only answer. The earl seemed to be hypnotized by the blue kite swirling in the strong winds. Or maybe he was thinking about something insightful.
She let him be. Her goals, to surprise him, make him think about her, and try touching him were met for today. Although more was always better, she wouldn't rush it and wait for opportunities. She didn't forget about Jack and Pete, but she could still ask later. The silence now was somewhat comfortable.
Combing through her hair with her fingers, she watched him as he slowly got acquainted to how to control the kite, letting it fly here and there and from time to time perform a looping.
After a while she stepped over to him, reaching for the rope. "My turn."
He pulled away, uttering a cold: "No."
"What? But it's my kite!", she protested. She wanted to let him experience using the kite first, but of course she wanted to play with it, too.
"You gave it to me, so it's mine now." Before she could get angry, he added: "You can win it back, though."
Knitting her brows, she grumbled: "I shouldn't have to. I made it with my own two hands, you know."
He shrugged as if to say 'your choice', and looked up at the kite again, letting it perform a spiral down, before shooting up again.
Watching him playing with her toy made her want to stuck out her tongue at him in annoyance but she controlled it. Doing it would've let her look like a child in his eyes again. Let's resolve this peacefully. "What do you want?"
A short pause, maybe due to suprise. Katherine herself was nearly surprised by her fast yielding.
"I don't know. Think of something yourself." Now, what would that strange head of hers cook out? He was looking forward to the surprise. Besides, making her pensive and raising her will to win would lessen the instances where he needed to deal with her short temper, hopefully. Well, her temper was amusing, too, but it could get irritating after some time. Especially the red cheeks.
His thoughts drifted to the scene near the fountain, when she'd pressed herself against the bush. She'd been so fl.u.s.tered that her cheeks were like gleaming red apples. So sweet that they'd endangered his self-control.
"I don't really have much to offer...", Katherine deliberated, trying to make him spill some ideas but he resumed staring at the sky silently.
His side profile with the strait nose and those slim but soft-looking lips captured her eyes.
What would he want? What were his thoughts? She couldn't read them at all, like he was a blank paper. Or maybe not a blank paper but a fully written letter, packed in an envelope she just couldn't open, regardless of the method. The result was the same. She couldn't think of something he'd want.
The only think he'd showed interest in so far was her magic power but he owned all of that already. What else could it be?
Oh well, if she couldn't find a thing he wanted, maybe she should focus on her own aims again. His demand was like a free pass to do anythink she wanted, wasn't it? She could still say it was his fault because he didn't specify. Jusr the opportunity she waited for.
Hiding a mischievous smile behind her palm, she blinked up at him adorably. "Nathaniel, hold your hand out. I want to give you something."
Slightly suspicious of her but convinced she wouldn't go over board for a simple kite, Nathaniel hesitated shortly before complying. Just what was she about to give him? Did she bring anything besides the kite? He didn't see anything though.
Katherine meanwhile knew she really had nothing to give. That was, nothing materialistic. Staring at the glove, her smile waned. Simultaneously, her cheeks got red. "Could you remove the glove, please?"
Time froze, and so did he. Slowly, pressure excluded from the stiff figure like water from a damaged well. His expression darkened, his brows knitting further and further together. The hand hanging in mid-air balled into a fist before being taken back.
Katherine broke out in cold sweat. Uuuh, that definitely was a 'No'. Hastily, she forced a laugh. "Sorry, sorry, I'll take it as it is!"
Before her courage could leave her, she grabbed his retreating hand, and held on to it firmly. In one swift motion, she pulled it up to her mouth and pressed a single kiss on the leather. Her was heart beating like a drum, ringing in her ears.
Right afterwards, she released his hand, and swiftly retreated a few steps. Although red like a tomato, she shamelessly stated: "See? I gave you my first kiss! It is worth much more than that stupid kite, so give it back to me!"
The earl however was turned into stone, his whole body and mind frozen. Lucky for him though, his other hand had loosened out of shock, and the rope ran through his fingers rapidly as the kite pulled further and further away from the ground.
"Ah!", Katherine cried out in alarm, and ran to his side again, trying to catch the end of the rope slipping through his fingers.
Just in time, she got a hold of it, and strongly pulled the kite back to earth. Occupied with her creation, she didn't realize the impact of her kiss. Nathaniel still stared at the spot she was standing at previously, strong emotions fluctuating in his eyes.
After a moment, his gaze lowered to the glove and color raised into his cheeks but it was so little that no one would notice it, if they hadn't captured that exact moment of change.
Slowly, very slowly, he raised his hand, bringing it in front of his face. Unwillingness and a deep longing were fighting inside him as he stretched his fingers and balled them again.
Repeting that two times, the hand pulled closer to his face until his lips were but centimeters apart from the spot Katherine's lips had touched. As if he wanted to kiss it.
He stilled. The red eyes were burning. A second later, they closed. The hand fell down to his side with a silent sigh. It was impossible.
Turning, he saw Katherine with her back facing him. Melancholy was in the air.
Fulfilling her shameless act, Katherine had been too embarrassed and regretful to look at him further, so she'd tried to ignore him. All her attention had been on the kite, except for her ears. They'd been twitching and trying to listen to every noise he'd made. However, because of the wind she didn't hear anything, making her even more nervous.
With sweaty fingers, she moved the kite in simple figures but the execution was sloppy, far from the skill of her younger years. It wasn't due to the difference in time though.
Why did I do this?, Katherine asked herself in a panic. Why, Why, WHY?! Oh my, I'm such an idiot! He said to not touch him just minutes prior, why didn't I think about that? Why do I always only realize things when it's too late?
But even more embarrassing than the kiss itself were the words afterwards. Did she need to tell him it was her first kiss? And demand something in exchange, too. As if there was a price to a kiss.
Freeing one hand, she rubbed it over her lips. They felt strange.
"If you think it is disgusting, why did you do it in the first place?", an ice-cold voice called from behind, stopping her in-motion.
"I don't think it's dis- "
"Anyway, I'm going.", he interrupted her. Then, his eyes narrowed dangerously, radiating the vibe of an icy beast. "If you try what you did again, it might just kill you. Don't think the patient will stop me."
With one last glare, he turned, leaving Katherine shocked to death behind him.
A bit later, she gulped, then a shudder went through her body. Was this what killing intent felt like? I made a big, big mistake!, she was crying inside. I won't do it again, never do it again! After all, she needed to live to execute her revenge.
Still, how can he be that heartless!, her hurt pride complained. It was my first kiss after all!