Someone I Met on a Train Chapter 7

Someone I Met on a Train Chapter 7 Someone I Met on a Train Chapter 7

Status: In Progress

Genre: Romance

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Status: In Progress

Genre: Romance

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Summary

The Journey Continues

Tags

Summary

The Journey Continues

Chapter1 (v.1) - Chapter 7

Author Chapter Note

The Journey Continues

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: February 28, 2017

Reads: 364

A A A | A A A

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: February 28, 2017

A A A

A A A

'Someone I Met on a Train':

 

Chapter 7:

 

Selena and Ernesto were heading back to where the carriages would pick them up and take them back to the train, when they came across a small office in one of the buildings near the market. When they went to investigate, it appeared to be an estate agent. There were a number of photographs of homes, empty stands and other buildings, that were either for sale of to rent in and around the village.

 

While they were having lunch, the two of them had discussed how wonderful it would be to come and live in a place like this. For Ernesto it would be an opportunity to get out of the large city and begin anew, with a life that was less cluttered and more simple. Despite the hardship that Selena had been subject to, she preferred the life she had in the town of Lianthorn to the prospect of living in the crowded impersonal city. The lovers perused through the various pictures, and shared the dream of owning one of the homes in them. At the time, none of the homes really caught their attention, but it did awaken in them a dream of settling down together.

 

Selena and Ernesto hardly spoke, but it was as if both of them knew what the other was thinking. From the very moment they entered Katyr, they had fallen in love with the place, and seeing the property for sale at the estate agency had strengthened their desire. They both knew, however, that there was a lot to do before they could start living their dream. Ernesto had one more semester at art college, and then there was the question of selling the studio that he had inherited when his father died two years ago.

 

During the time that they would be spending in Cathan, Selena would have to find a job somewhere. The problem was, that because she had lived under the shadow of her ex-husband, she had not been able to acquire any skills that would help her in finding any gainful employment. The only thing she had some knowledge of was cooking, and even this was little more than at a basic level. She thought that perhaps she could bake cakes and other delicacies for one of the home-industries in the city. Although this would only give her a small income, it would at least be something.

 

One of her real passions was gardening. Ever since she was a child, she had loved anything that grew. She had established quite a substantial vegetable patch before she married Silas, and although he was against it, he had allowed her to continue with her passion right up until the day she left. This gave her another idea: “If I had enough space, I could grow an herb garden. Perhaps I could find someone, or even a group, that might use them for medicinal purposes. Of course, if we could live in a place like Katyr, I could sell the raw materials myself.” She thought, “Or maybe I can do both, the first in Cathan, depending on how long we stay there, and the second when we get to Katyr.”

 

She suddenly checked herself. Almost without giving it a second thought, she had begun to include Ernesto in her plans, and that despite the fact that they had really only just met. When she booked her journey to Cathan, it was to free herself from an oppressive relationship. And now she had found herself involved with someone else. But then she thought: “This one is different. I know that it's too soon to really tell, but I am sure that he really loves me, and I know that I love him. So the situation is not the same. We chose this relationship. It wasn't forced upon us by anyone else.”

 

Selena was so lost in her thoughts that she hardly noticed just how much time had passed, and would have continued oblivious of the world around her if the buggy that the two of them rode in did not come to a halt, and the driver inform them that they could disembark. When she returned from her inner world, she noticed that Ernesto was looking at her, a slight smile on his face.

 

“Welcome back.” He jested, “You were miles away.”

 

“Sorry.” She apologised rather sheepishly, “Just was kind of lost in my own thoughts.”

 

“No need to be sorry.” Ernesto continued, “Your eyes seem to darken even more. It makes you even more than a little mysterious.” He leaned forward, and kissed her on the lips, whispering: “It's okay, although I would like to have been able to read your thoughts. They obviously were interesting.”

 

Selena laughed, and kissed him back: “Not even worth a penny.” She joked.

 

“Well you could have fooled me.” He replied, “I think we'd better get on with it, or we might miss the train.”

 

They headed back to the railway line, and boarded the train once more. Soon the village of Katyr was behind them. The countryside through which they were travelling was breathtakingly beautiful, with rich farmland, pastures covered with lush green grass and dotted with bright flowers, dense forests, and countless streams and rivers. History records that this was the first region of Yesha that was colonised, and looking at the richness of the land, it was not hard to imagine why.

 

Later, toward evening, heavy clouds began to gather. As they covered the setting sun, bright rays shone through them, illuminating the land below with dappled light. In the darker parts, the trees appeared to have a deep purple hue, and where the fading sun shone, the green foliage looked like it had been coloured using pastels.

 

Selena sat on the chair with her back to the window, her furry cat resting on her lap. The weather was warm, so she opened the front of her blouse, exposing her breasts and torso. She felt so comfortable that she soon dozed off, her head resting against the wooden panelling behind her. She did not notice when Ernesto came into the compartment. He gazed at her as she lay there like a model posing for one of his paintings. Quietly he made for the cupboard and fetched his camera. Selena only woke up when she heard the shutter click as he took the photograph.

 

Selena laughed, and said in mock protest: “You rascal! Can't a girl even get some sleep without someone taking pictures?”

 

“Not when she is as sexy as you are.” Ernesto replied.

 

“Let me see that.” She insisted. He showed her the picture on the screen, and she had to admit that it was “... a damned good picture.”

 

Ernesto asked: “What's with the stuffed animal?”

 

“When I was a little girl, my father and I rescued a kitten that had been attacked by some of the neighbourhood dogs.” Selena explained, “She survived, but we could not keep her because my father was very allergic to cats. So we were forced to give her away. It broke my heart, and in an attempt to make up for my sense of loss, dad bought me this toy at the village market. Although it could never replace the real thing, I came to treasure it - more than any of my other possessions. When I married Silas, I hid it from him. I was afraid that he might throw it away, either out of spite, or because he felt that it was childish or something like that.”

 

 

There was a sparkle in Ernesto's eyes for a brief moment, but when Selena tried to enquire as to what it meant, he would not say, but insisted that he would surprise her one day “... When the time was right.”

 

Although they had been together for a relatively short time, she knew him well enough not to hold this against him. She was assured that, whatever he had planned, it would be for her good. Thus, she let it go, and contented herself with the knowledge that she could look forward to being pleasantly surprised.

 

Whether it was the excitement or because they felt somewhat sorry that the journey was all but over, neither of them were able to sleep much that night. On the one hand, there was the knowledge that this was the last night on the train, and on the other, they were both looking forward to seeing the legendary city of Cathan. The end of the journey meant that they would have to plan the way ahead. These thoughts weighed heavily on their minds, which meant that sleep would evade them even more. It was well passed midnight when the two of them finally drifted off. Just before this, they could see the lights from Cathan's outskirts pass by. Although Cathan itself was not as expansive as Samblar, it was surrounded on three sides with rich farms that became smaller and more intensive as they neared the city. These provided the markets with fresh produce, as well as those that were intended for export.

 

Selena and Ernesto were enjoying their last breakfast on the train together. To begin with, he sat opposite her as he had since they first met, but while they were waiting for their coffee, he came and sat beside her, an enigmatic grin on his face.

 

He said, almost nervously: “Selena, I have something to ask you.”

 

Selena's eyes shone with anticipation as she replied: “What is it?”

 

He fumbled around in his jacket pocket, and produced a red velvet-covered box. He continued, this time in a more confident tone of voice: “I know it's probably not what you expect.”

 

A hint of apprehension came over Selena. She asked: “What do you want to ask me?”

 

Ernesto opened the box. Inside it there was no ring, but a delicate pendant with two stones mounted in a single golden heart. The one was a garnet and the other an amethyst. Both were beautifully cut, and glistened in the early morning sunlight. He stated: “Not your traditional proposal, as I said. But I would like us to be betrothed.”

 

In Yeshan tradition, a betrothal is similar to an engagement, or more accurately a Pagan hand-fasting. This means that the couple would pledge their faithfulness to one another for a year and a day, after which they may decide as to their future. Either they would make their commitment to one another permanent by getting married, or the couple could renew their present vows for another year. If, after this time, they were certain that their relationship could not last, they could agree to go their separate ways, as long as it was done without any form of animosity between them. The parting had to be amicable.

 

The pendant was just the first stage. It traditionally contained both of the couple's birth stones. Rather then being worn around one of the partner's necks, it was displayed in a predominant place in their home. At the betrothal ceremony, it was plaited around an ornate scarf. This was tied in an elaborate knot. The scarf with the pendant was hung in the same spot as the latter had been placed before the ceremony. The knot remained intact for as long as the relationship lasted.

 

If, after a year and a day, the couple decided to part company, the scarf would be taken down, and the knot untied. The heart in the middle of the pendant could be taken apart without breaking it, thus releasing the two stones, which would be given to their respective owners. Once they had decided to get married, on the other hand, the stones would be set into two rings, one for the groom and the other for the bride. If the decision was to keep the status quo, the scarf would remain where it was until the following year, at which time the couple would renew their commitment to each other.

 

There was another form of betrothal, but this was very rare, and was only used under certain extenuating circumstances. An example of this could be when both lovers are in the military during a war. By virtue of their circumstances, there were no guarantees that the relationship would last for any given length of time. One or both of the partners could be killed in action, and the betrothal would come to a premature end. Or they could find themselves assigned to different units, making the 'marriage' null and void. Thus the bond would endure for as long as their love lasted, or as fate would allow. Those fortunate enough to survive the conflict, their relationship still intact, would keep the betrothal knot tied indefinitely, as long as they remained committed to one another.

 

Selena felt tears trickle down her cheeks as she looked at the small item of gold jewellery, and then at Ernesto's smiling face. She held his face in her hands, and kissed him. She tried to answer, but was too overwhelmed with emotion.

 

Ernesto responded: “So I take that as a 'yes'”.

 

At last, half crying half laughing, she replied: “Oh yes!”

 

Selena snuggled up to him, her hand caressing his cheek, and looked lovingly at him. As tears ran down her face, they looked like diamonds in her eyes. Her smile gave her an almost girlish look, and she felt as though she was a teenager all over again. For a moment, it felt like the first time she had fallen in love. Even as the memory of her encounter with Kalin began to stir within her, she knew that she could at last put it behind her. She realised that what she had at that moment was far better than that which was in her past.

 

There was a loud cheer from the rest of the passengers who had witnessed the whole episode, and the waiter brought a small bottle of champaign with their coffee, saying: “As a token of congratulations from all of us.”

 

They had just finished breakfast when an announcement came over the intercom: “Ladies and gentlemen, we will be approaching the oldest open-air market in Yesha, Ytharra Station. This is the last stop before we reach our final destination at Cathan. We would ask that you return to the train at one thirty sharp, and make your way to your compartments to finish your packing. We are only three and a half hours away from Cathan itself. Thank-you, and enjoy the outing.”

 

The station at which the train stopped looked like a set from an old film. As it was still on the city's outskirts, there were relatively few buildings around it. The station itself was little more than a siding, with single storey structures on the one side, and a rough platform. It had been well preserved, without making it too modern so that it would seem out of place. At the one side of the station, there were a number of stalls. They were not like modern flea-market stands, but had been built out of stone, and although the awnings were new, they did not detract from the overwhelming sense of antiquity, as if these structures had been there since the dawn of Yesha's history.

 

 

 

 

In fact, the market at Ytharra Station was established as a trading post between the port, now the city of Cathan, and the frontier around it, long before it was made a railway siding. At the time there were no towns or villages inland, only rough camps inhabited by prospectors and hunters. Soon farms were built, and the farmers would bring their produce to the station to trade for those goods that were brought from far distant lands to the great port of Cathan. When the railway line between Cathan and Samblar was built, it was first suggested that the market be closed down or moved elsewhere, but a private company offered to purchase the station as it was, in order to prevent this from happening. The local council used the money they received to build a second line, running next to the original one, so that the normal trains, as well as those carrying goods, could continue on their way without disrupting those that stopped at Ytharra.

 

Once the Yeshan Express was founded, the market became somewhat of a tourist attraction, a relic of the early days, and thus it was saved from disappearing into oblivion. Even the sign with the station's name was written in the ancient script as well as in modern writing, something else unique to this site. The ancient tongue had all but been forgotten in the age of advancement when Yesha became an integral part of the global economy, and a single language was adopted throughout. Only remnants of this beautiful speech remained, such as in classical music and drama, as well as in certain historical locations and museums in which ancient manuscripts were on display.

 

Selena and Ernesto wandered past the stalls until they came to one that sold replicas of antique ceremonial garments. These included the most ornate robes and gowns that either of them had ever seen. They reminded them of tales they had heard of nobles in ancient halls, or kings and queens, in palaces strewn with banners and flags, and courtiers all around. Although they were expensive, the quality of their workmanship made them worth the price. Selena's eyes lit up as she spotted a particularly delicate garment. It was pale green with a decorative pattern on the sleeves and neckline that resembled leaves and flowers. When she looked at the price however, she passed by it.

 

“Look at these.” Exclaimed Ernesto. Selena went over to where he was standing, and saw that he was looking at some scarves that hung on a railing. Together they chose one that would be used to tie the knot of betrothal. Once they had paid for it, they moved on to a shop that sold snacks and home-made beverages. They ordered what they wanted, and sat on a bench overlooking almost the entire market.

 

As they were admiring the view, Ernesto suddenly remarked: “Oh damn! I left something at the clothing stall. You stay here. I won't be a moment.”

 

As he headed back to where they had bought the scarf, Selena could not help but suspect that he was up to something. Soon he returned, and sat down again without saying anything.

 

“Did you find what you had left behind?” Selena enquired.

 

“Oh yes.” He replied, “All sorted.”

 

Again there was something in his expression that made her even more certain that he had another surprise waiting for her. She did not enquire any further.

 

Soon it was time to return to the train. Just before they arrived, Selena noticed one of the young assistants from the clothing stall returning to the market. She smiled and nodded as she walked passed. This made Selena very suspicious indeed, but nothing prepared her for what awaited her when she opened the door of the compartment. There, lying on the bed, was the green dress she had admired. As she gaped at it, Ernesto came up behind her, and put his arms around her slender waist. He whispered in her ear.

“Nothing but the finest for my beloved.” He said, kissing her neck. She was too overwhelmed to reply. She leaned against him, feeling his strong body support her, closed her eyes, and sighed a sigh of contentment as the train slowly began to move again. Now, more than ever before, she looked forward to their arrival in Cathan. Her heart pounded with excitement as she realised that she was just three and a half hours away from the rest of her life. She felt as if the shadows of her past were fading away, as the darkness of night passes with the brightness of a new day.


© Copyright 2017 Tristan Biggs. All rights reserved.

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