Chapter 19: Trouble
I slept peacefully, even though I went to bed mad at Loki. I rolled over to face the clock on my desk curious to see what time it was. I gave a satisfied groan when I saw that it was eleven thirty in the morning. I had actually gotten to sleep in today! I glanced over to see Loki’s cot empty.
Typical. You can take the man out of Asgard, but you can’t take Asgard out of the man. I knew Loki was an early riser, and usually I was too, so I could do everything I wanted to do. But sleeping in while I visited my mom was something I looked forward to, and I had figured Loki would take advantage of it as well. I guess not.
I stretched and lay in bed, thinking over last night again. I was still ticked about Layla, that was sure. But I wasn’t sure if I was still mad at Loki or not. Part of me said he was telling the truth about what happened between him and Layla, and that he didn’t want anything to do with her. But the other part was still jealous that he didn’t seem to think twice about me.
I sighed unhappily. I wanted Loki to see me as more than just a friend. I wanted Loki to like me the way I liked him. I wanted him all to myself, and as his friend, that wasn’t possible. Because whether I liked it or not, Loki didn’t seem interested. And one day he would find the girl who interested him, and I wouldn’t have the heart to hold him back from happiness. I sighed again, wishing life would for once work in my favour when it came to love. I had never been in love, and I never cared much about love until I met Loki. I had a whole new opinion about love where Loki was involved.
I rolled out of bed, and headed to the bathroom to shower. Starting up the water, I waited for it to heat up, before getting in and lathering up. The hot water helped me think. I decided not to be mad at Loki. I would just have to believe him when he said he didn’t want to see Layla again, and leave it at that. Hanging it over his head was immature and pointless. And he would probably be repelled by me, not attracted, like I wanted, if I nagged him and held grudges.
As I got out of the shower, I still hadn’t seen Loki. He wasn’t in my room when I peeked in. I shrugged, knowing he was either in the living room or in the kitchen. There wasn’t many places he could go, and he couldn’t leave the apartment without me. I changed into a pair of skinny jeans and a scoop neck three quarter length sleeve shirt. Putting on a pair of socks, and pulling my hair into a high ponytail, I went to find breakfast.
I found Loki in the kitchen, going through the cabinets. I stood in the doorway for a few seconds, watching him rummage around, pulling open cupboards and closing them shut again. Call me weird or creepy, but it was fascinating to see Loki do normal, human things. In Asgard, Loki was a prince. Though he was independent, he didn’t have to do things everyone else had to do on earth, like making his own food, doing laundry, or dishes. People did that for him, and watching him actually have to do it himself made me realize how much of his life was set up by royalty.
Even my life was easier than some in Asgard. My father had left me enough money to get by, and I didn’t spend a ton of it. I only used it to pay for my rooms at Asgard, and keeping Frost fed and sheltered. After those expenses I had a lot of money left for personal use. I really didn’t have to work in Asgard, and could pursue my own interests. I had people collect my laundry and prepare my meals. I didn’t have to do much either.
“Are you going to just stand there or will you eventually come aid me in finding something to eat?” Loki turned and snapped at me. For a second I considered telling him to find his own food, but decided against it. I didn’t want to be mad at Loki anymore. I wanted to just forget what happened last night and be happy again.
“You know, you wouldn’t get by here without me.” I shooed him away and opened the cupboard he was about to open, and pulled out some Frosted Flakes. I set it out on the table, and grabbed two bowls, spoons and milk from the fridge. I poured a bowl, and pushed it towards Loki, who had taken a seat and watched me do all that.
“I would learn to live on this strange planet.” Loki sniffed. I motioned for him to taste the cereal. He picked up the spoon and scooped up a few flakes, putting them in his mouth. As he chewed, his face went from skeptical to surprise and pure delight. I was guessing he had never tasted anything so sugary. He dug right into the cereal and I laughed. He was like a child.
“I take it you don’t want milk with that?” He shook his head and kept eating. I shrugged, and poured myself some cereal and milk. I sat across from him and dug in as well. We were quiet, and Loki ate every last bite of his cereal. I heard the cereal box move and I looked up to see him pouring more into his bowl.
“What do you call this delicious sustenance?” He asked, emptying the box. He sure wasn’t crabby when he ate Frosted Flakes. I should make note of that.
“Cereal. Frosted Flakes cereal. And now we will have to go to the store to buy more.” I finished my cereal and drifted off, just staring off into space. I wondered what Loki would be like if he was human. All I could picture was him, with his dark long hair, wearing leather and studs. Would I have liked him just the same? I thought about his piercing eyes, how beautifully green, like gems. No Midgardian eyes were that close to emeralds. And I couldn’t imagine Loki with duller eyes. They simply wouldn’t suit him or his personality.
If Loki was human, he would probably have been a starving artist, or a scholar. He was passionate about knowledge, language, and art. Hours spent in his library learning, it bordered on compulsive and obsessive. His intense passion for his desire made me wonder how passionate he was in bed…
Did I really just think that? I could have smacked my forehead in embarrassment, but that would’ve had Loki asking questions. It’s a good thing he can’t read my thoughts anymore. The only thing Loki loved as passionately as knowledge was his horse, Tempest. Which made sense, since horses were like cars. And guys love cars.
When I came out of my reverie, Loki was staring back at me expectantly. I stared back, smiling. “Are you going to answer my question, or just stare at me with that silly smile on your face?” Loki asked me. I guess he was still crabby in the morning.
“I’m sorry Loki, I wasn’t paying much attention. Can you repeat your question?” I said, trying to smooth the situation over, cooling my temper. No more yelling at Loki.
“I asked if you wanted to go outside. It is getting quite stuffy in this abode.” Loki leaned back in his chair, staring at me expectantly again. I sighed.
“I guess. We have to go get more Frosted Flakes anyways.” I got up, put the bowls in the sink and threw out the empty cereal box. Loki got up, and I realized that yet again I would have to dig some clothes out for him. Leaving him standing in the kitchen, I went to find my father’s box and dug out a pair of jeans, and a black V-neck shirt. It would have to do. I tossed them to Loki, who had at some point come to see what I was doing. “Go bathe and change. Then we can go.” He nodded, going into the bathroom and locking the door.
I pushed the box back into the linen closet with my foot, and decided to read more of my book my mom got me. I hadn’t had any time to start reading it yet, with yesterday being devoted to studying magic. I grabbed the volume from the shelf in the living room, where my mom stored it for the time being. Cracking it open and taking a seat, I became immersed in the story. The Prose Edda was not only a great story book, but a work of literary art. It also gave me a lot of insight to what the people thought of Odin, Loki and Thor, how they were depicted.
Now I could see why Loki would be so amused, since the Gods here were portrayed in very predictable, classic roles. It was exactly like a fairy tale: the heroes always won, the villains lost. A fair maiden was either rescued or won over in love. The only pages I didn’t look forward to were Ragnarok. I had heard they could get gruesome, and it saddened me to think about the end of Asgard, the Realm Eternal. Places like that don’t just go away in stories.
I was starting to miss Asgard a bit too. I missed Sif and the Warriors Three too. I missed Frost, and riding, training and fighting. I missed dining with my friends at the end of the day. I missed my room, my dresses, and the library.
As much as I had missed my mom, and as much as I loved her, Asgard was becoming my home. I had things that mattered to me there as well as here. I was tied to both worlds, both sides of my blood. I wasn’t ready to forget Midgard and leave it all behind, but I couldn’t deny that my life was in Asgard now. I had moved on to a place that I belonged, moved on to somewhere no one here could go, a place I could call my own. And the people who had mattered in my life had moved on as well, and that was okay.
I heard the bathroom door creak open and put my book down, waiting for Loki to get out here so we could go. It was nearing two in the afternoon, and we needed to be back by five so that I could meet James. Loki strutted out into the living room, obviously liking the feel of the jeans and V-neck. The jeans were dark, and fit him well in the legs, but hung a little low in the hip area. He looked incredibly good, like a male model. He probably knew it.
“What do you call this material?” He asked, feeling the jeans.
“Jean.” I said simply, not getting up from my seat, but admiring him as he looked at the jeans.
“Interesting. It seems very durable. A little rustic, but tight and form fitting. I like them.” He grinned. “Though I must admit they do no justice to my leather attire.”
I got up from the couch, smirking. Always a prince. “Let’s go Your Majesty.”
Loki raised an eyebrow, before walking towards the door. I followed him, pulling on my favourite heeled boots and grabbing my light weight black winter coat. I turned to let my mom know where we were going when I saw that Loki didn’t have any shoes, socks or a coat to wear. Damn.
“Stay here.” I said, turning and jogging to my mom’s room. She was laying on her bed, reading a book. “I need shoes and a jacket for Loki. We’re going to get more Frosted Flakes.”
“I might have something in the back of my closet.” My mom said thoughtfully, before turning back to her book. I opened the door to her closet and pushed the first rack out of the way to see the back of the closet. Old, ratty jeans and sweaters, shirts and sweatshirts covered in paint, and old shoes were what I found. I almost gave up hope when the shine of a material caught my eye. I reached for it, pulling out a dark leather jacket. Loki will definitely love this. I thought with a smile.
I got down on my knees to look for a pair of shoes for Loki, trying to find something that would match the jacket. I ended up finding a pair of black male ankle boots, matching perfectly with the jacket. Getting up and thanking my mom, I jogged back into the living room and handed the jacket and shoes to Loki, and went to the linen closet once more to dig out some socks. I finally found some and by the time I got back to the door, Loki was wearing the jacket, looking in the mirror on the door of the coat closet. I laughed as he turned and looked at himself from behind. I tossed him the socks, and pointed to his feet when he looked confused as to where they went.
Once Loki was ready to go, I hollered a goodbye to my mom, grabbed my purse from the coat closet and headed down the stairs to the ground floor. Our apartment was on the third floor, so it wasn’t too bad. While walking, I pulled out my phone and turned it on.
It was weird using a phone, since Asgard didn’t have them. I checked my texts, which were all from Lana. I felt a little bad that she was in the dark about what I was up to and where I went, but I didn’t want to make her feel left out. I know she dreamed as Asgard like I had.
I shoved my phone back into my purse and walked ahead of Loki, leading the way. Surprisingly, it was a nice day. There was still snow on the ground and it was cold, but the sun was out and shining. “The sun is not as bright here.” Loki commented as we made our way to the main streets of the city. I watched as he took in the buildings, old and new, made of brown and red brick. That was something Asgard didn’t have. He made comments here or there, asking about certain buildings, watching in amazement as cars drove by, asking more about them. It was nice to be able to teach Loki something for once. We got to the main streets of the city, with little shops announcing Boxing Day sales. Loki would stop and look through the store windows, looking at the electronics. He was amazed yet unimpressed all at once.
When we finally got to the supermarket, I had to drag him to the cereal aisle to distract him from the bakery sweets the store had on display at the front and the candy as well. He was like a little kid, wanting to try and taste anything. “We can go somewhere else for those things. I know I place that sells them way cheaper.” I promised him, grabbing the box of Frosted Flakes.
“As long as I may taste something sweet. I have been deprived of such things for quite some time.” He followed me to the self-checkout, telling me about how his mother banned him and Thor from sweets since they were children because that was all they would eat.
“I’m sure you were quite deprived. You poor thing.” I laughed. We left the store, the cereal in a plastic bag.
Walking out of the store, I turned left, knowing just where to go for the absolute best baked goods: The Italian bakery down the street. It had the very best cannolis, pastries and cakes the world could buy. “Come on.” I said to him, opening the door. “If you want something sweet, this is the best place to go.” I sat him down at one of the booths with our cereal and went up to the counter, asking the girl for a few of my favourites. She happily obliged, though I saw her looking around me occasionally to look at Loki, who was staring thoughtfully out the window. I turned back to look at him while she put the pastries on a plate. I knew Loki was amazing to look at, and even though I could see him clearer than mortals could, I could still marvel at his looks.
Loki was the kind of guy no Midgardian could deny being attracted to. He was a perfect male specimen. His smooth, pale skin was flawless, like stone. His face could have been carved from stone as well; high cheek bones, finely structured nose, thin moulded lips. His dark hair went just past his earlobes, slicked back. You could see through the opening of the jack and V-necked shirt that he was molded and muscles, his shoulders were broad, his hips narrow, his legs long and his movement simple and graceful. But, no Midgardian could see that much detail in his appearance. They were too blinded by his stunning good looks, that they could barely distinguish one feature from another. They were stunned by his perfection. And I couldn’t help but stare as well.
The girl put the plate down and front of me. “$22.85 please.” She said. I gave her three tens and waited for the change. Suddenly, as she was extending her hand to give me my change, her head whipped around to the back of the shop, past the shelves of bread they kept behind the counter. I heard some whispers and a few people hitting each other.
“Ow! Hey, I wanna look at her too!”
“Shut up dude! She wants a real man. Not a bakery boy.”
“Man, she can’t be from around here. Wonder what her ass looks like?”
“Hey! Quiet back there! Get to work!” The counter girl shouted to the, putting her hands on her hips. I heard them scramble back to their work. “Sorry about that. They work in the back for a reason.” She said apologetically handing me my change.
“Don’t worry about it.” I shook my head, picking up the plate and bringing it over to Loki, who was done with staring out the window and was looking at me intently. When I moved out of his line of vision he was still staring ahead, annoyance and distaste on his face. “What are you looking at?” I said, trying to move myself to see exactly where he was seeing.
Loki shook his head. “I was deciding on whether those young men required a lesson for speaking in such a rude manner to a noble woman.” His green eyes glinted.
“Loki, there aren’t any caste systems here. It’s a free country.” I whispered, ducking my head a bit.
“They are beneath you.” His voice was bitter. “Now I see it was definitely necessary that I came to look after you.”
I rolled my eyes. “Why? Because people will wonder what I look like naked?”
“Because they insult you with their idiotic thoughts. They cannot comprehend your beauty. And their uses and desires for it are entirely barbaric. Your beauty is wasted on them, because their only use for it does it no justice in appreciation.” He leaned back in the booth, looking pleased and annoyed all at once. I picked up my jaw from the table, and having nothing to say, bit into a pastry. Loki followed my lead, digging in. I watched his face the whole time. Each time he bit into a pastry, he looked curious and unsure. Then his face would lit up with delight at how good it was, and proceed to scarf the pastry down.
After eating the entire plate of pastries and a couple of bottles of water I bought, we got up and left, fully intending on going home. We had spent nearly the whole afternoon out and about, talking and eating pastries. Besides, in an hour James would be swinging by to pick my mom up. I did up my coat and got up to leave grabbing the cereal, with Loki following close behind.
“What shall we do now?”
I turned to Loki. “Let’s go home. We can order takeout food and decide from there.” I turned back to the door and tugged it open. And I froze on the spot, my spine straightening, my shoulders tensing, my breath catching in my throat. Standing in the doorway, his hand poised, ready to open the door, facing me was the person I didn’t want to see or meet ever again.
It was Garrick.
It was as if time had stopped. We were both standing in the doorway, staring at each other. You could feel the tension building around us. My mind stopped processing what was happening, seizing up and aborting all common sense in my head. I knew I should be moving, getting out of here, doing something, anything. But I was frozen on the spot.
I felt Loki’s cool hand on the small of my back, gently pushing me forward. He must have seen me tense up, and he could probably feel the tension and anxiety shoot up in my system. I began walking, my eyes never leaving Garrick’s face. His dark eyes were boring into mine, his brown hair messy and unkept. I waited for him to make a move, but nothing happened. His just gave me a blank stare the whole time, his eyes never leaving mine. Loki kept his hand on my back the whole time, pushing me out of the shop and walking me a few stores down the street, before I began to walk faster and he had to move to catch up to me.
“Who was that?” Loki asked me, concern in his voice. “I have never seen you react to anyone that way. You must know him.” I didn’t say anything, but hurried along the street faster, looking behind my shoulder to check if we were being followed. Loki grabbed my hand and pulled me to a halt next to him when we reached the end of the street and turned right. “Noelle, who was that? Why are you so anxious to be home?”
“It was him.” I shuddered. I took a deep breath, trying to calm down.
“Who?” Loki asked impatiently. “Who Noelle?” He put his hands on my shoulders, looking me in the eye. I opened my mouth to answer, but no sound was coming out. Loki made an exasperated noise and the next thing I knew, I could feel him probing around my mind, looking for the answer there. And as much as I hated him doing that, it was easier than telling him. We I felt the second presence in my mind leave, I closed my eyes, leaning into Loki, who was now holding me up by my shoulders. I felt his fingers squeeze my shoulders, but from anger or for comfort, who could tell?
“We must get back. You are not safe here.” He said, grabbing my hand and pulling me along the sidewalk. We made it three blocks when all of a sudden we stopped. I hadn’t really been paying attention to where we were going or what was around us, but when I heard Loki’s breath intake, I knew something was up. I rubbed my eyes with my other hand, the bag with the cereal in it on my wrist, and focused, looking forwards. I saw three guys leaning against the wall. They were all wearing dark hoodies, two were smoking cigarettes. They seemed to be waiting for something.
“What?” I whispered to Loki, who began pulling me to cross the street.
“You do not recognise those three men?” He asked me, not looking at me, too concentrated on waiting for the street to be clear of traffic.
“No. Should I?”
He turned to face me. “They are three men who attacked you that fateful night.” His green eyes were grim with worry, his shoulders tense.
“What are they doing here? How do you even know it’s them?” The street had cleared, and Loki began walking across the street. I began to follow, when I felt two arms snake around my waist. I began to scream when I was pulled backwards, my hand slipping from Loki’s.
“Be quiet and I’ll let your boyfriend live.” I heard a gruff voice whisper in my ear.
How did I end up here again? I thought desperately. Garrick pulled me closer to him as Loki turned around to be surrounded by the three guys he recognised earlier.
What do we do now?