After Hannah had also changed and grabbed her purse, the three girls left the homestead for an hour’s walk into town. They passed through neighboring farms, where several cattle and sheep still roamed, despite the slight, November chill. Lydia could see the rolling hills in the distance behind the town, often obscured by fog.
“I live behind those hills,” Jasmine remarked, noticing Lydia’s gaze out into the horizon. She snapped to attention.
“Your hometown?” she asked.
“Yes. My family lives there.”
Lydia paused for a moment before mustering the courage to continue conversing.
“I take it that it takes long to get here from there?”
“About a day’s journey.”
Lydia hummed in surprise.
“No wonder you don’t see them often.”
“Yes, but we send letters each month. That’s why it doesn’t feel like we’re that apart.”
There was a moment’s pause. The two girls walked side-by-side, ahead of Hannah, who was getting distracted by looking at the livestock and wildflowers on the path.
“Looks like Hannah’s enjoying the walk a lot,” Jasmine grinned, turning her head slightly behind to see her cousin going from cattle to cattle, cooing at each of them.
“That’s my cousin,” Lydia laughed softly. “Brash, outgoing, unapologetic. Love her, though.”
“She’s like a sister to you?” Jasmine asked, running her fingers through the wild grain along the road. Lydia imagined those fingers running through her hair, as the servant girl had done the night before. She shook her head to clear that out of her mind.
“Yes, we may be different, but we’re really close. Can’t imagine living without her.”
Jasmine smiled, although Lydia could sense that something was going on inside of her.
“Do you have siblings?” she asked, trying to keep the conversation going.
“I did. Well, not really. My mother had two miscarriages before she had me. And she didn’t have any others afterwards…” Lydia saw Jasmine grimace, as if trying to hold back something.
“We don’t have to talk about it, if you don’t want to,” she responded gently.
“No, no. It’s okay,” Jasmine replied quickly. She took a deep breath. “It’s just that I grew up an only child, and knowing that my mother had suffered before she conceived me, well, it makes me wonder how would it be like if she had another child, and if I had a brother or sister to care for…”
Instinctively, Lydia took Jasmine’s hand. She clasped her fingers between hers, comforting her. The servant girl was surprised, but smiled reassuringly.
“Can’t imagine what it would’ve been like,” Lydia told her. “But you know that your mother loves you, and she’s probably glad that you came into this world. The past can’t be controlled, but it’s what happens after that’s important. She must love you, Jasmine.”
The servant girl beamed, and Lydia felt her insides swell with happiness. She was glad that she could make her feel better.
“There’s a lot more to you than I’d thought,” Jasmine remarked.
“There’s a lot more to me than I’d thought,” Lydia replied, laughing in surprise.
“Yes, and I want to explore more of it,” the servant girl added, her voice changing. Lydia felt the mood shift to something more intimate, and she looked at her, seeing that Jasmine had a small smile on her face, flirting ever so slightly.
Lydia blushed. Despite trying to play it cool with casual conversation, her body still gave away her obvious attraction to her. And she knew that Jasmine saw it, too.
“Do I really make you nervous?” Jasmine asked her, curious.
“Yes,” she responded, biting her lip. “But it’s a good kind of nervous.”
“That may be the case, but I want to know why. Because I want to make you feel comfortable.”
“Um,” she hesitated, trying to find her words. “Well, I guess it’s because you are pretty. And you are really, really nice. Not just to me, but to everyone. That you always say the right words, and properly so. You’re not afraid to express yourself with me, even when I’m unable to return the same with you…”
Jasmine squeezed her hand affectionately.
“That’s very kind of you, Lydia. But I don’t always feel like I’m always kind, nor at ease with words. I struggle at times, too. To be honest, I see many of the qualities you listed about me in you, too…”
“Really??” Lydia was caught off-guard. “No way!”
“Yes! You may not believe me, but you are attractive. Really nice eyes, lovely hands, a great body…”
Lydia reddened even more, knowing that Jasmine had seen more of her body than anyone else.
“…and you are kind. You may be shy, but you show your kindness through the smallest ways. Like offering to play kickball with the Singhs’ boys, or offering the last of your potatoes to the vagabonds at the end of market day for free—”
“How did you know I handed them out for free? Even Hannah doesn’t know that.” Lydia was surprised that Jasmine knew about it.
“I might’ve stayed behind a minute longer at the market’s end one time,” the servant girl shrugged, smiling suggestively.
If Lydia could see her face right now, she would resemble a tomato. Jasmine was certainly making her feel too many emotions.
Jasmine looked back at the road as they rounded a corner in a wooded area of the countryside. Lydia looked back, too, and saw that Hannah was merely but a speck in the distance. Her cousin must be at least a quarter mile away. She shook her head, smiling in disbelief; Hannah easily got distracted whenever they headed into town.
“Shall we wait for Hannah to catch up?” Lydia asked. Jasmine nodded in agreement.
“Looks like she’s way behind,” the servant girl remarked. “Does this usually happen when you two head to town?”
“More often than not…well, always, in fact,” she responded, laughing. Jasmine grinned in return.
…to be continued…
— The Finicky Cynic
Check me out on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/thefinickycynic