Chapter 8: Mom's approval
The Bifrost glowed as I was transported back to earth. I watched the colors around me, swirling and melding together. It was so pretty. I don’t think I’d ever get tired of watching this. It only took seconds, but it felt like hours had passed while I admired them.
I landed on me feet (just barely) and felt the pull of the Bifrost lessen. I looked around, took in my surroundings. Heimdall really is all knowing. I didn’t even have to tell him where to drop me off. He had left me in the perfect spot: My mom’s house.
I called it that because I paid rent here. I haven’t moved out yet, and I had thought about moving out when I finished my schooling, but that might not even happen now. If I was going to stay on Asgard, I would live there.
I looked around the living room. Grey carpet, black couch, and loveseat. Yup, I was definitely in my mom’s living room. “Mom.” I called. It was quiet. She was probably with a client. My mom was a wedding planner, and had a catering business on the side. I think because my parents were never married was the driving force for her to quit being a teacher and do what she does now. My mom was always talking about when I got married. I think when I started going out with Garrick, she hoped we would get married. But I’ve never thought about getting married. I know it’s something a lot of girls my age dream of, finding a guy who loves them and settling down. But I had never really felt that way about any guy.
I sat down on the couch, curling up to nap. The Bifrost really took a lot out of me. If I was going to wait, I might as well sleep.
A few hours later...
“Noelle? Is that you sweetheart?” I could hear my mom’s keys jingling. I stretched, rubbing my face. I must have been asleep for a while.
“Hey mom. How are you?” I stood up. She just looked at me for a few minutes. I looked down, forgetting I was wearing my Asgardian clothing. Then I was being smothered by a hug.
“I knew it!” My mom cried. “I knew it! Some little voice in my head kept telling me so! You were in Asgard!”
“I was…the voice you heard was Heimdall.” I laughed. I had really missed my mom. Even though I didn’t think of her much in Asgard, when I did, I missed her.
She let me go. “Have you seen your father? I would have thought he would come say hello.” I was happy there was no bitterness in my mother. I knew she would always love my father, but they couldn’t be together. I didn’t know why, but that was what they both told me.
I shook my head. “No. The All-father told me he was away. He’s an ambassador.”
My mom nodded. “Well, sit! Tell me about Asgard!” She pulled me down on the couch to sit with her.
Where do I to start? “It’s so beautiful. The palace is exquisite, gold everywhere. The gardens…It’s indescribable. There is nothing like it on earth!”
“That was how your father described it as well. Have you made friends?”
I thought. “I’ve been hanging out with this guy…”
My mom’s eyes light up. Of course. She loved boy talk. “Who is he? Is he cute? What about Garrick? Are you two still fighting?”
Oh yeah. That’s right. Mom doesn’t know about the attack. “Garrick and I…we broke up. I didn’t want to be with him anymore.” I was pretty sure my boyfriend attacking me meant I broke up with him. I didn’t want to tell my mom about being attacked. It would just needlessly stress her out. “Anyways, his name is Loki. He’s a prince of Asgard.”
“Oou, is he? Is he cute?”
I rolled my eyes. “Mom!”
“Oh, don’t ruin all my fun!” She put her hands on her hips. “Now tell me!”
“He’s handsome…” I didn’t know what else to say. I mean, Loki was attractive…but I barely knew him! He was nice to me now, but so was Garrick at first! He could totally change!
“Well, I was glad to hear about this. You’ll have to update me when you can visit again. And to think this was the way to get you to move out!”
“So you’re okay with me living in Asgard? You’ll be alright by yourself?” For the longest time it was me and my mom. Would she be okay?
“Sweety.” She took my hands. “Do you want to be in Asgard?”
“Then stay in Asgard. I know it’s where you want to be. It’s where you belong. And don’t tell me otherwise, because I know you. I’ve been with you each time you quit a club or a sport because you were different, and everyone could tell. Darling, your life is your own now.”
“But you’ll be alone.” My mom didn’t have any family. Her parents had passed away before she met my dad. She did had a twin sister who she hadn’t spoken to in years. For things like thanksgiving, Christmas, or Easter, it was just us. Sometimes her friend, Christi, joined us. Christi was divorced with no kids, and had been friends with my mom since college.
“Hun, I’ll be fine. Christi has been bugging me to go out to a bar or something. I might get back into the dating scene.” She shrugged, smiling.
I really underestimated my mom’s independence. My mom never dated after my father had to leave us (as far as I knew). Christi was a huge cougar and had always tried to get my mom to go out with her, but my mom always told her she couldn’t for some reason or another. “Wow. Mom, I-”
“Noelle, it’s my job as your mom to take care of you. And it was my favourite job of all. But you’re an adult now. You don’t need me like you did before. You have your life to live.” My mom had sacrificed her social life, career opportunities and time to finish raising me. And it took me all this time to notice it.
“I should probably be getting back soon.” I said, looking at the time. Odin would be waiting for my answer. And I knew it now. But was there really any doubt?
“Alright sweety. When you see your father, tell him I say hello.”
I smiled. “I will mom. I hope he comes home soon. They’ve sent word to him telling him of my arrival.”
“He’ll see you Noelle.” My mom said in a grave voice. “Your father always keeps his promises.”
“Bye mom. I’ll visit when I can.” I hugged her.
“Good luck my dear.” She said into my hair. We separated.
I looked up. “Heimdall, open the bridge.”
“Did you enjoy your visit to earth, my lady?” Heimdall greeted me as I walked through the golden entrance almost wiping out. Geez, this is something to get used to. Riding the Bifrost was much easier than landing.
“I did, thank you Heimdall.” I walked out of the golden dome to see a horse waiting for me. Well, this could be a problem. I had ridden here with a guard, sharing a horse. I could probably figure out how to ride a horse, but my biggest fear was getting thrown. One wrong move and I could be back in the healing room.
“I thought you would require a ride back.” Loki came up behind me.
“Where did you come from?” How did he kept doing that?
“I am the master of magic, Lady Noelle. I intend to travel in style.” He winked at me. Wait a sec. He winked at me? Back to being flirty?
I crossed my arms over my chest. “Alright then. How did you know of my return?” A guard hadn’t been waiting for me, because I doubted Odin had even heard of my return. How did Loki know?
He put his hands up, shrugging. “Master of magic.”
I rolled my eyes. “Fine, don’t tell me.”
He chuckled, smirking at me. “Ou, that was a Midgardian gesture if I have ever seen one.”
I refrained from rolling my eyes again so he wouldn’t make fun of me. “How are we to return to the palace? There is only one horse.” I would have to learn to ride. Soon.
“By horse.” He walked up to the horse, patting its nose. “He is friendly, do not be afraid.” I approached the horse slowly. I had never petted a horse. I lifted my hand to pat his nose like Loki did, still moving slowly. When I reached the soft peach fuzz of his nose and he didn’t bite me, I continued petting him. It was very cool, I had to admit. He was a black stallion, with a gold saddle and bridle.
“What is his name?” I asked softly, not to spook the horse. I had seen on TV that they spook easily.
“Tempest.” Loki answered me, pulling an apple out of his vest, feeding the horse.
“I want to feed him.” I said excitedly.
“When we get back. He will get greedy if we give him more now, and be in a foul mood if we do not give him any when we get back.” Loki gestured to me to get on.
I just looked at him. How the hell do I get on this thing? “You know I can’t ride. What makes you think I know how to mount a horse?”
He smirked. “Put your left foot into the stirrup. I will help you up.” I did as he said, and braced myself on the horse, my one hand grasping the saddle. Again, I was basing all this off of movies. “Good. Now push yourself up and swing your right leg over into the other stirrup.” I did so and almost made it, when my grip on the saddle slipped and was falling backwards. I panicked for about four seconds before I felt someone spread their hands on my lower back, and some of my bottom. “I have you.” Loki reassured me. “Pull yourself up and I will boost you.” I readjusted my grip and pulled while he pushed me up onto the horse again. This time my foot found the stirrup and I hugged the horse tight, staying low.
Well that was an experience. I got on a horse, almost fell off, a guy, who I had to admit was attractive, caught me and I got back on. I think I’ve done a lot for today. “Thank you.”
“Don’t mention it.” He was probably laughing at me. “Now move forward.”
What? I just did all that work to get up here, now he wants me to move? “Why?”
“Because I am riding with you?”
It took me a second to process that. “Um. Okay then.” I shifted forward, moving my feet out of the stirrups. Unfortunately for me, I had to sit up and let the horse go to do this. I felt the saddle shift a bit when Loki put his foot into the stirrup. His hand came up in front of me to grip the saddle and he pulled himself up directly behind me.
He reached around me to grab the reins. “You may move back a bit now if you wish.” He said softly, his face directly next to mine. I backed up a bit, and I felt my face heat up. Yup, I’m blushing. Lovely. I wondered if he noticed how close we were at that moment. My back was practically against his chest, and our legs were close, fitting together, his arms around me.
Loki clicked his tongue and we were off. We didn’t speak the whole way, but when he felt me relax against him he pushed the horse to go faster. I think he guessed I liked going fast. Or he read my mind, I didn’t know. I got to sit and enjoy the ride, unlike I had with the guard. With the guard I had sat behind me, holding on to him. There was a sense of urgency when he took me to the Bifrost. But riding back to the palace now, it felt like a relaxing ride. Maybe it was because I was with Loki, whom I knew.
When we got to the stables, Loki dismounted first, then helped me down, catching me when I almost fell again. “Why did you have me sit in front?” I asked when he shooed the stable boy away and led Tempest to his stall. I followed him.
“I thought you would like to see the sights will we rode. And I could keep an eye on you. If you sat behind me and somehow slipped, I would not be able to catch you, now would I?” He handed me an apple to feed Tempest. I held it out in my palm and put the apple under the beast’s mouth. He sniffed it before munching into it, eating it whole. It was actually very cool to watch.
“Thank you for taking me back to the palace. I appreciate it.” I moved on the other stalls. There was a brown horse in the one next to Tempest. “Is this one friendly?” I asked Loki.
“It depends who pets him. His name is Storm. He is Thor’s horse. Quite a temper, that one.” I refrained from petting him. I didn’t want him biting me. “Come. The All-father is waiting.”
We left down to the palace halls. Unlike Thor, Loki did not offer to escort me. I felt a little discouraged by this. Come on Noelle. It’s just a guy. Plenty of them out there.
When we got to the throne room, the doors opened automatically for us. Loki and I glanced at each other before entering. We walked side by side until I stopped to kneel to Odin, and Loki kept going to stand on the staircase. I caught Thor glaring at Loki, and him smirking back at him.
“You have come to a decision?” The All-father asked, staring down me. I nodded.
“I wish to stay here in Asgard.” I looked up to Odin to gauge his reaction. I wanted to make sure I was wanted here. I didn’t want to be someone’s responsibility. He didn’t look surprised by my decision.
“Then, my dear, I welcome you to Asgard.” He smiled. “You shall have a beginners training in combat, like all Asgardian ladies must complete. Should you wish to continue in arms, you may do so. You shall also need to attend lessons for Asgardian history and lore. They will not take much of your time. All your father’s belongings are yours. It seems he had expected to be away during the time of your coming here, and has arranged his affairs as such.”
I nodded, and Frigga came forward. “Welcome to Asgard, child.” She had a beautiful, warm smile. It was motherly and compassionate. I could see why she was a good queen, like the healers said. She had a way about her. You liked her the minute you met her. “I shall take you to your rooms, come with me.” I turned and thanked the All-father. He nodded in return, with a smile to his wife.
I walked with Frigga as she talked to me about Asgard, the things I could do, certain laws to abide by. Not two minutes later did the throne room doors open again with Loki and Thor speed walking down the hall, arguing.
“I shall escort her brother-” Thor was cut off.
“No brother, I shall escort her. She is much more familiar with me-”
“I have already escorted her to the library before.”
“But she is more comfortable with my presence-”
Frigga turned to them. “You may both escort us to Lady Noelle’s chambers.” She ended the fight right there. I tried to hide my smile. She was a tough lady. She smiled and shook her head at me, and I could tell what she was thinking: Boys.
The walk continued, with both Loki and Thor walking beside me, and Frigga walking ahead. It was kind of awkward, because they both kept trying to start a conversation with me, only to be cut off by the other one doing the same thing. When we got to where we were supposed to be going, Loki had already offered to teach me magic and horseback riding, while Thor had offered to help me with combat and arms, as well as introduce me to his friends.
I would have a busy few days, because I agreed to do all of them. It seemed pretty odd, but I was interested in what they both offered to help me with. I wanted to learn magic, but I wanted to learn to fight too. Why not do both?
Frigga stopped at a door. We were in the outer section of the palace, where the nobles slept. “Your father already had a room prepared for you. He had anticipated your needs as well. You have a horse waiting in the stables, and plenty of gold at your disposal. Should you need anything you may purchase it in the city. Should you need any aid-” She looked at Loki and Thor “And you may with these two, or have any concerns, please come see me.” Frigga smiled and left us, giving me a key.
I looked at it, flipping it in my hands. “Are you going to open the door or not?” Loki tapped his foot impatiently.
“Brother, do not rush her.” Thor scolded Loki, who sent him a dirty look. I laughed at them. They were both so funny. It was entertaining to watch them bicker over stupid things. I turned and put the key in the keyhole, and opened the door. And what I say blew my mind.
I walked into a circular room with gold walls. There was a canopy bed with green silk coverings, and the bed had royal purple silk covers. My two favourite colours. There was a lounge chaise with a small bookshelf near a tall window with gold curtains. My father must have designed the room, or at least had a hand in designing it. What gave it away was the closet. I hated wardrobes, and I remembered telling my father. Instead of a wardrobe, there was a closet, covered by a gold tapestry. I practically sprinted to it and pushed the tapestry aside. All the dresses I had worn while I was here and quite a few more were in here. All my size. There was a few more pairs of gladiator sandals, some flats and some heels, in gold, silver and bronze too. And there was also some female armour and a pair of black steel toe boots. Near the closet, there was a vanity, with some plain jewelry.
He had anticipated my needs to the T.
“I have never seen a green canopy with purple sheets.” Thor remarked. I turned to see them both looking around my room in awe.
I smiled and shrugged. “Those are my favourite colours.”
“Why don’t you have a wardrobe?” Loki asked, and seemed to be looking around for one.
“I have a closet instead.” Seeing both their faces, I laughed, and began to explain. “I hate wardrobes. They are so bulky and take up too much space. On earth, we have what we call a closet.” I showed them. “It takes up less space.”
“You even have a bathing chamber. Few nobles can afford that. Most must use the public ones in the palace.” Thor remarked. I looked over to see another doorway covered with a gold tapestry. There was a small tub and a spout for water. My father had really outdone himself. I was glad he included the bathing chamber. I would have hated to have had to use the public ones. Not to mention confused.
“I think the Lady Noelle wishes to be left alone to enjoy her new chambers.” Loki suggested to Thor. He agreed and they bid me goodnight, both of them reaching for my hand to kiss it. I blushed both times, but it was Loki’s kiss that stirred something in my stomach. Butterflies?
Once alone, I slipped my sandals off and jumped on the bed. It was so comfortable! I felt like I was at a really fancy hotel. I laid back and looked around the room. I decided that next time I went to earth, I would bring back some of my favourite books to put on the book shelf. Maybe mom would knit me a blanket for the lounge chair, which I would love to curl up on and read. I got off the bed and approached the window, pulling the curtains aside. I had a perfect view of Asgard. I could see the city, lit up and glowing and I could see the Bifrost and the waters. There was a cushioned seat at the window, and I sat, watching the sun go down.
It was then that I realised: I was extremely hungry. I hadn’t eaten since the healers fed me breakfast this morning! I slipped on my sandals and decided to go down to the feasting hall. The sundial on the bedside table facing the window showed it to be time for supper. I smiled at the fact that the sundial was on the bedside table. My father seemed to have been trying to combine some elements from my bedroom on earth and some Asgardian elements. Melded together. Like me.
I left my room and closed the door, locking it. This would be like living in my own home. I remembered my way to the feasting hall and decided to go. I might as well meet new people. Who knows? Maybe Thor would be down there and would make good on his offer to introduce me.