No Way Out(A HTTYD Love Story Part 23)

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It was opening day. Tuff was outside cutting the ceremonial ribbon and allowing the people outside in. It was being covered by a local newspaper, and just about everyone in town was there.

Carstella was sitting behind the counter, she wore a black apron with ‘Thorston Boutique’ embroidered in lime green on the chest.

The doors opened and people began to flood in. Carstella greeted them all with a cheerful,

“Welcome.”

Everyone was looking around and picking out items.

Carstella got up and asked a man who was standing near the counter with a couple of items in his arms if he would like a changing room. He nodded and the red eyed girl put him in one at the end. Many other people where lining up to try things on.

Tuff was at the front of the store talking to the reporter and Stoik, who was officially the mayor again. He glanced over to the dark haired girl many times, he was concerned she was soon going to be over whelmed and tried to hurry the interview along, with the reporter and Stoik wouldn’t really allow.

He glanced back about five minutes later to see the girl taking things calmly and happily; making change, taking down appointments for tailoring, setting aside a couple of items with names on them on the bags, bagging up items, cleaning out the change rooms and moving the lines along in a clean, orderly, and well timed manner.

When the majority of the crowd began to calm down and there were only about twelve or so people left in the store, Carstella started returning items to their places on the sales area.

Tuff was still busy with the reporter, but was more than surprised to see how well she took care of the situation. She was used to high stress and deadly situations after all, something like this probably wasn’t even going to faze her at all.

There were only about three or four people left in the store at about four in the after noon, excluding the mayor, reporter, owner and sales woman.

“Thank you for your time.” The reporter said, “Would you mind if I took a look around?”

“Be my guest, please.” Tuff told her.

The reporter started looking around the store, specifically the dresses.

Stoik nodded approvingly at the blonde. Tuff swelled in pride. His parents, sister, friends, fiance, and now mayor were all proud of him, he should feel accomplished.

“How’s things going back here?” He asked Carstella as he stood behind the counter next to her.

“Good.” She said looking over at him, “Sales have been even higher than we first expected, and we have fifteen tailor jobs as well, I told them to bring by their garments tomorrow, is that okay?”

Tuff nodded and smiled at her as he brought the dark haired girl into a side hug and kissed her head.

“You’re amazing.” He told her as he looked over the numbers that they had right now. In between transactions Carstella had been recording the amount earned.

Carstella stood up as Tuff continued over the numbers as she got another customer into a fitting room.

Tuff whistled as Carstella came back over.

“A lot more than we expected.”

She nodded, “I don’t think every day will be as busy as this one.”

Tuff nodded, “Berk doesn’t really get anyone who doesn’t already live here, is visiting family or the delivery men from the main land.”

“Maybe we change that.” Carstella said.

Tuff looked at her weird.

“Every Thursday night is town meeting, no?” She asked, he nodded, “Are suggestions not taken during these?”

He shrugged, Tuff had admitted to not paying any kind of attention during the meetings if his parents ever even took him.

The store closed at six.

Tuff locked up and counted the money in the register as Carstella started putting the cloths back on their racks and cleaning out the fitting rooms, sweeping, and wiping down the glass and counter.

Carstella put enough change in the register to break money the next day.

Tuff brought the rest of the money downstairs to his work shop where he kept his safe.

They were done for the night, and were glad they got through it together.

Thursday night had rolled around, the meeting didn’t start until eight. Carstella and Tuff closed up and ate dinner before bundling up and heading out to the town hall.

It was about an hour and a half into the meeting Tuff was getting restless. But just as he was about at his wit’s end, Stoik asked if anyone had anything that they wanted to say.

Carstella stood awkwardly.

Stoik asked her to proceed.

“I might be new here.” She said slowly, trying to enunciate her words to be fully understood so her Russian accent didn’t show at all, “But I have come to the realization how wonderful this place is, and that it is almost completely self-sufficient. I was thinking, that maybe, we could launch a campaign to make Berk something for tourists.”

“And how might you suggest we do that?” Another newsperson called to her.

She swallowed hard before continuing, “Marketing local stores with their unique products, the restaurants. We can offer the ability to stay on a farm or take hay rides, we can turn part of the forest into a camping ground, offer guided tours around the mountains showing the tourists local plants and teaching them about it. There are options, but I’m not sure I can come up with a lot of them on my own.”

“I think you have a wonderful idea, Carstella.” Stoik told her, “There are options here in Berk, and there are many things we can market, Berk has more history, culture, and far less crime than a lot less of the world. We’ve been almost completely self sufficient for over eighty years now, I think it is time that we may break the mold and start a tourist industry. If any of you have ideas please leave them in the suggestion box near the door.”

Carstella then sat down, her point being heard.

“And if you aren’t too busy, Carstella.” Stoik called to her, “Maybe you would like to head the movement.”

“I’ll think about it.” She said slowly as she tried to disapear into her chair.

“I think you could do it.” Astrid said as she sipped on her tea while sitting next to Carstella behind the counter of the shop, “You have a lot of ideas and creativity along with a lot of prior business experience.”

Carstella shrugged as she wrote down the meaning of a snake tattoo down beside it.

“I don’t know.” She said unsurely, “I mean I still have a lot to do for the F.B.I., and then the store and Tuff on top of that, I mean we are getting married.”

“I know, and I can’t believe he actually asked you!” She exclaimed.

“But with the new store, and if the tourist plan does go as we want it too you guys could hire some part timers, the teenagers around here are always looking for some part time gig to save up and buy stuff of their own.” Ruff encouraged, she was on her lunch break and decided to pop in and say hi to Carstella and Astrid.

“I’ll talk to Tuff about it.” Carstella said quietly as she closed the binder of tattoos and opened a file of incriminated letters in order to decode them.

“It looks complex.” Astrid said looking over Carstella’s shoulder.

“Not if you know it.” She told the blondes, “It’s one of the most sophisticated systems in the world, but when you familiar with it, it almost second language.”

“Here’s your chance.”Ruff said as she stood up, Astrid following suit and they exited calling back good byes.

“What’s their problem?” Tuff asked bringing up three or four paper bags with orders stapled to them up from the basement.

“Can we talk?” Carstella asked as she cleared up the tea cups.

“I don’t have a problem with it.” Tuff said to her as they sat behind the counter, “I mean I know it’s important to you.”

“But this is important to you.” She told him, “I want to be part of it.”

“And you are.” He assured her, “But I think you should focus on maybe getting the tourism plan in motion. I mean, you still want to write those books on the gangs and mafia, right? I think this could be what you need, and if we hire a couple more part timers you could have the time for it.”

“What about the wedding?” She asked meekly.

Tuff kissed her forehead gingerly, “We can get married when ever you want too, but I think I can say that we need to focus a little more on our careers first and getting completely comfortable before we do get married.”

Carstella nodded and smiled to the ground, Tuff had raised multiple good points. It would be good for her to put her energy into something productive like that rather than just her government work. And when they just opened it wouldn’t be a very good idea to start planning a wedding. It wasn’t that they were moving too fast, but the timing wasn’t exactly right.

“If you’re okay with it.” She said after a moment.

“I am, you need some positivity after all the negativity you do for them.” He told her, refering to the government.

“Alright.” She said with a shrug and pulled out her cell phone. Carstella sent out a quick text message to Stoik saying she would take over as the leading act for the plan as soon as they got a couple new employes.

Tuff smiled at her as she looked up from her phone and nodded saying she had accepted.

Carstella took a seat next to Stoik in the board room, she shifted a little in her seat feeling uncomfortable.

As everyone was starting to enter the room, Carstella looked over the suggestions that the people had for bringing in tourists. They actually had a lot of good ideas, but the thing was, most of them were seasonal.

“Have you had enough time to look them over?” Stoik asked the brunette when everyone had come in.

She nodded, Stoik sat down at the end of the table and motioned for her to stand up, she did.

“They are all very good ideas.” She said slowly, “They can bring in a lot of tourists and money. There is just one real concern, and that is that all the suggestions are seasonal, taking place in the short summer we have here.”

“That’s really all the time we have.” Stoik told her, “It can be very hard to get ships in during the other seasons.”

“What about ice breakers?” She asked, “They are really just large drills that are attached to the bottoms and front of a large ship that would need to go through the ice once a day to keep the way open. It might be a large sum, but it would be worth it, maybe.” She explained seeing the confused looks on some of their faces.

“How much is a lot?” Stoik asked.

“Fifty thousand.” She said with a shrug. The entirety of the board just looked at her in disbelief.

“If we don’t want to shell out that amount of money,” She continued, “How thick is the ice usually?”

“I good foot and a half on average.” Spitelout told her.

She nodded, “That would be safe enough to walk and even ride on.” She said, “Dog sleds and snowmobiles could be a good alternative, even yak drawn carriages to and from a port on the edge of ice. It’s do able.”

They all thought for a moment.

“Fernhilda!” Stoik yelled out to his secretary.

Ruff came bounding in and stood straight in her spot at the door waiting for Stoik to continue with what he wanted.

“Do you have the reports of animals on every farm from last year?” He asked her.

“I’ll grab you that right now.” She said and closed the door, she came back about five minutes later and handed the file over to Stoik.

“Thank you.” He said to her as he accepted it.

“It’ll be speedier when I finish fixing the filing system.” She told him and took her leave.

Stoik looked over the numbers before saying.

“Mulch, do you think that you and the rest of the farmers would be willing to share four yaks each to give the rides?”

Mulch thought for a moment, “I don’t think any of us would have a problem if it would produce a higher gross income.”

Stoik nodded, “Early fall and late spring would be the only harder times for transportation.”

“About how long are we talking for that time?” Carstella asked.

“Two or three weeks each season.” Stoik said.

“March-April, and September-November?” She asked.

“About.” Stoik told her.

“We can market as open the rest of the year then.” She told them and marked down the approximate time that they wouldn’t be open, “It isn’t that uncommon for attractions to be closed during certain times. The next thing would be lodging. We can either go with home stays, or build a hotel as I suggest we do, eventually anyway.”

“I think home stays would be the best idea for the first little while anyway.” Spitelout suggested.

“Are there any empty houses we could maybe use as luxury lodges?” She asked.

“There are four empty houses last time I checked.” Stoik said, “I think Gothi said that she wouldn’t mind turning her house into a bed and breakfast, so right there are a good ten or so more rooms.”

“We should then take the year as an experiment,” Carstella suggested, “From there we can see if we should build the hotel or if the lodges and bed and breakfast that will do.”

They nodded and we all wrote something down.

“What could be used as winter tourism?” She asked.

The conversation continued on about what to advertise, what attractions to have, booking information, ways to contact, and how to advertise.

It was almost ten at night when they had gotten a good start.

Carstella said she would go home and try to come up with more ideas and way to perfect and polish their ideas.

Papers, note books, pens, and coffee were strewn over Carstella’s desk, a large plate of Shepard’s pie in her lap as she read over everything she had written and considered everything.

“Still working?” Tuff asked from the doorway.

Carstella nodded and gave a sheepish smile.

“Coffee?” He asked.

She nodded and handed him her cup. Tuff took it and headed into the kitchen to refill it for her. He came back and placed it onto her desk.

“Come to bed when you’re ready.” He told her, he was going to kiss her on the cheek but she moved her head so they ended up kissing each other on the lips.

“Sleep tight.” She whispered.

“Don’t stay up too late.” He whispered back.

Carstella turned her attention back to the ideas in front of her.

Tuff was right, she admitted to herself. It was good for her to put some energy into something positive like this for the community. She only wished that she could keep her promise to him.

 

 

No Way Out(A HTTYD Love Story Part 22)

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“Careful.” Carstella told Tuff as they worked together to put the counter on the stand for the shop.

They lined it up perfectly and then Carstella Got down to drill the counter top in place.

“What would I do without you?” Tuff said as she got up from finishing her task.

Carstella shrugged and put the drill in her belt before telling Tuff to bring over the shelves for under the counter.

He did as she asked and watched silently as she did her work. They had decided that the store should be the last thing that is completed. They wanted to move out of the apartment as soon as they possibly could.

They got the basement and the second floor done completely before they started moving things in. When the third floor was completely finished they were completely moved in. The only things really left to do was build the stairs to connect the street to the actual house, change the lock and add rubber insolation to the boarders of the main door, and finish setting up the dressing rooms and the clothing racks for the sales floor.

“How ’bout we take a break, Stell?” Tuff asked leaning against the counter.

“We’re almost done though?” She said sitting up and looking at him.

He shrugged before saying, “We don’t have much left to do.” He told her, “Why not take a little break and eat something?”

Carstella looked at the floor for a moment before she looked back at Tuff and shrugged, “Alright.”

“Great!” He exclaimed and shot up grabbing the red eyed girl and all but dragged her up the stairs after him.

He quickly sat her down at the dinning room table and hurried into the kitchen.

Carstella pulled her tool belt off of her waist as some of the tools were digging into her. She knew he had made something earlier that day while she was down stairs marking down and drilling the holes for the counter.

Tuff came back in with two steaming plates.

“Pelmeni?” Carstella asked in surprise.

Tuff smiled as he sat next to her, “It’s a ground yak filling, I hope you don’t mind.”

Carstella smiled and laughed lightly at it before picking up her cutlery and digging in. She loved Tuff’s cooking and hadn’t realized how hungry she was until she smelled the food.

“Done.” Carstella said as she drilled the last of the shelves into the floor.

Tuff as sweeping the dust up and wiping down the shelves.

The only things left to do was to reinstall the doors, wipe them down, and make the stairs for the outside which they would need to rent a ladder for.

Tuff tossed the last of the dirt in the trash bag.

“I’ll get started on dinner.” He told her and headed up stairs.

Carstella went through the tarps covering the front door and then tacked them back in place.

She hurried to the far side of the property and inside a small shed a few meters from the house. Carstella had ordered a four inch thick, two by five foot board form the lumber yard.

She had drawn out patterns and words on it. Over the past couple days she had started chiseling away at it. The sign was going to be done today. Within an hour it was done.

‘Thorston Boutique’ Was written in the center with intricate lines, swirls, flower petals, and a needle and a spool of thread connected to the needle along the bottom.

She was happy with it, the only thing left was to show Tuff.

Carstella dusted herself off and hurried inside and up stairs.

“Almost done, Stell.” Tuff called back, “It just has to set up.”

“Good.” She said to him, “Then I can show you something.”

He turned around and gave her a weird look, before he complied and followed her down and outside.

Carstella opened the door to the small shed and stepped aside so Tuff could fully see the sign.

Tuff’s jaw dropped.

“Did you?” He asked unable to finish his sentence.

She nodded and smiled, “Is it okay?” She asked, “We never agreed on name, but you said you wanted it to be a boutique. I just thought”

“It’s perfect!” Tuff exclaimed And pulled the red eyed girl into a hug, “You outdid yourself, Stell. Thank you so much.”

Carstella returned the hug and buried her face into his shoulder.

“It’s not problem, I just hope you’re ready for the demand.” She told him.

“You keep out doing yourself.” Carstella said to Tuff as they were hanging up clothes.

“Just doing one of the things I love.” He told her.

There were dresses of many different colours, sizes, patterns, skirts of every kind, blouses and sweaters of every kind. Many different kinds of button downs, jeans and dress pants, sweaters, jackets, vests. Just about every kind of clothing item someone could imagine was out on the shelves and racks.

Day after tomorrow would be the grand opening. Everything was set up, only thing really left to do was finish the railing going upstairs.

Things were going better than either of them could ever have thought. Tuff had been making more cloths every day after work back in L.A. and again when they started renovations here. Carstella had kept up with her translations, decoding, and explanations. She was actually working on books to decode gang letters, the differences between gangs and mafias, meanings of tattoos and their placements, origins of gangs of mafias, their beliefs and hierarchy systems. But the books were put on hold because she was busy helping with the renovations.

Carstella had suggested that Tuff could be downstairs in his workshop working on new pieces and tailor jobs while she ran the tills, she could use that time to work on decoding and explanations, she might even get ahead on her work load and start her books around the gangs and mafia. Tuff was unsure about it, but knew he would eventually need the time she was giving him for work.

Tuff stared at the dark haired girl as she finished up hanging the garments. He knew there was something he had to do before they could actually call Berk and the store their new life.

The moon was full and a light chill filled the air. Summer was coming to an end, and the long winter was about to hit.

Carstella and Tuff sat on one of the cliffs looking out to the ocean and night sky.

They had spent that evening at Gobber’s restaurant with the rest of the gang and everyone else, their parents, Stoik, Spitelout, Mulch, and Bucket.

On their way home they decided to watch the moon for a while before heading inside.

“Are you okay, Tuff?” Carstella asked the blonde, “You’ve been really quiet all night.”

Tuff swallowed hard before he turned to face the dark haired girl next to him.

Tuff reached out and grabbed her left hand as it was closest to him.

“Stell,” He started, “I love you, more than anything else. And I can’t picture my life without you. I know you’ve had a hard life and had been abused and hurt, but I promise if you choose to stay with me I will do everything in my power to keep you safe and happy, because that’s all I want. Carstella, I talked to Stoik and Spitelout, and they said they were okay with it because they know I wont hurt you. So, Stell, would you marry me?”

He pulled out a blue velvet box and opened it to reveal:

large-blue-sapphire-engagement-ring-wm8903e

“Tuff?” She said in surprise.

“I know it’s not a traditional engagement ring, but it belonged to my great great grandmother and my mom wanted me to use this to ask you, if you want to.” He added quickly.

Carstella lunged forward and wrapped her arms around him tightly.

“I would love to!” She exclaimed as she started crying into his chest out of sheer happiness.

Tuff laughed loudly and pulled her away slightly so he could kiss her lips lightly and then slid the ring on her finger. It was a little too big on her finger, but it didn’t matter. They were both more than ready to continue their life together. It was their new life and a new chapter to add to their stories.

No Way Out(A HTTYD Love Story Part 21)

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“I will be riding with you on the plane and boat to Berk.” Marshal, the man who had been assigned to protect Carstella told the group, “I hope you don’t mind.”

The dark haired girl shook her head before saying.

“Thank you.”

The ten of them got through the ticket line and customs, waiting in the designated sitting area for our plane to be called.

“Scared to relocate?” Tuff teased.

The red eyes girl looked up at the blonde and smiled before nuzzling up to him.

“No, you’re here with me.”

Tuff laughed lightly and wrapped his arm around her shoulders bringing her closer.

“Do you know who the agents might be?” Carstella asked quietly not wanting to draw the attention of the others who were a little too occupied with Ruff and Snotlout messing around with Astrid joining in every now and again.

“Non I can think of.” He told her, “The only person I could maybe think of would be Spitelout and maybe Sven. He was a real tough guy, a farmer too.”

Carstella nodded and leaned more into him. She knew deep down it was going to be okay, but she couldn’t stop herself from thinking that something was going to go wrong in some way.

Their plan was called and they boarded soon after.

Fishlegs switched seats with Carstella so she could speak with Spitelout and Snotlout about what was going to be happening when they got back to Berk.

“Will I have to start calling you father when we get there?” Carstella asked Spitelout.

He shook his head, “No. I think for now as a woman of nineteen you can get away without it.”

They spoke more about their family, and Spitelout told them both that the rest of the Jorgonson family had been made aware of the situation, and how she was actually the daughter of Flemingtine and the situation that made all the files say that she was Spitelout’s because she was dead.

When Spitelout had finished explaining everything Snotlout got up and went over to Stoik, woke him up and switched seats with him.

Stoik told her that the community on Berk was very close knit and someone’s business was everyone’s business. The entirety of the island was aware in some way or another what was going on. At the very least that she was the niece of Stoik and Spitelout and the daughter of Spitelout’s kidnapped sister Flemingtine. And that after years of finally being reunited they were moving back to Berk to be together, and where aware that she was working for the government in some way.

“Uncle Stoik.” Carstella finally spoke up after he had finished telling her everything, “Do you know who it might be that are the agents on the island? I mean you know just about everyone there.”

He shook his head, “I can only consider Sven to maybe be an agent. But it’s hard to say. There are certain things that people do not share and are kept hidden for a long, long time. So I’m afraid I don’t know.”

Carstella nodded, she was getting a little more nervous after that. Even the former mayor didn’t know.

“I figured we’d been going more North.” Carstella said more to herself than anyone else.

“Nope, it’s more West than anything.” Tuff told her.

She nodded as they boarded the boat.

“How long is the boat ride going to be?” She asked.

“About two days.” Stoik told her.

Carstella nodded again.

“Hope you got your sea legs.” I heard Snotlout moan to me.

“Stoik, it’s good to see you again!” A large man, shorter than Stoik, with a brown beard greeted everyone, “My have you kids grown!” He exclaimed and laughed.

“I hardly recognised you.” He said again as everyone got off the boat.

“It’s good to see you again, Mulch.” Stoik said to the man and shook hands.

“And you must be Carstella.” He said and turned his attention to the dark haired girl.

She nodded.

“It’s good to see you well, Mulch.” Marshal said and shook his hand.

“You too.” Mulch told him, “You aren’t as much of a cry baby as I remember you being.”

Marshal laughed lightly at his comment and told him he had grown up.

“I’ll leave her in your and Bucket’s capable hands.” Marshal told him.

He then turned his attention to the red eyed girl, “I don’t think I need to tell you be careful and good.”

Carstella nodded and smiled at him.

“Thank you.” She told him.

“Take care, all of you.” Marshal said and boarded a new boat which quickly took off in the direction of the main land.

“You Mulch?” Stoik asked in shock.

“And Bucket?” Gobber asked in a similar tone.

Mulch smiled at them and nodded.

“Not everything here is everyone’s business.” He told them, “Besides, we are technically retired. Bucket and I only come out when it comes to special cases. And you, miss Carstella are in fact one special case. On top of being family.”

Carstella could smile and hide behind Tuff. They had all realized after everything, Carstella was shy and very sensitive. She just wasn’t allowed to show it because of her up bringing.

Carstella was dragged all over the island by her friends with Mulch hanging back. They were giving her the grand tour.

She was shown a small apartment building which they would be staying in for the time being. The main market place. The small hospital. City hall. A tiny library. The beach. Farms on the outskirts of the town. The area surrounding the main market place had alleys leading up to an Auto shop that was closed up, a hard wear store, a lumber yard a bit further down from a scrap yard, and a few restaurants. The police station and Fire house were all a part of the city hall.

On the far end of the village there was a large, three story house that was run down and all but falling apart. This was the house that Tuff had told Carstella about and what they were going to pour their money into and make their own.

The entirety of the architecture on the island was old fashioned, it was something between Scandinavian and Victorian. And exceedingly strange combination.

The rest of the island was densely wooded forest.

“Alright, what is it?” Tuff asked the red eyed girl.

“It’s just,” She started.

“Stell.” Tuff said in an authoritative tone.

She smiled and spoke with a Russian accent playing out in every word she pronounced, “It feels much like home.”

“You like it?” He asked and wrapped his arms around her.

“I feel we raise family here.” She told him.

“Have to fix it up first, Stell.” He told her and started rocking back and forth with her against his chest.

“Easy.” She told him, “I’m good with my hands.”

Every shop on the island also doubled as a house to the owners.

The farms were situated on the far west side of the island near a fresh water river and surrounded by the forest. Most of the northern part of the island was all forest. Just before that were houses following the same theme as the others, between Scandinavian and Victorian. It was along the forests edge that the most of the population lived.

The entire island was involved with everyone else. Everyone was either a doctor or nurse at the hospital, farmer along the west coast, shop or restaurant owner, school teacher, or worked for the human resources.

And Stoik was right, someone’s business was everyone’s business.

The entire town threw a welcome home party for Stoik and the others. They all introduced themselves to Carstella who greeted them all meekly and all but buried herself in Tuff’s back.

She was even introduced to Astrid’s, Fishleg’s, and Ruff and Tuff’s parents. Snotlout and Hiccup’s moms had both passed away when they were young.

“So you’re PG’s girl friend?” A tall, burly man with dirty blonde hair and bright blue eyes asked as he approached the two.

“Dad!” Tuff whined, “Don’t tease her like that, she’s shy.”

The large man chuckled hard and then leaned down to inspect the red eyed girl. For once when coming face to face with a new person, Carstella didn’t flinch or try to hide behind Tuff.

“It’s nice to meet you, Carstella.” He said, “My name is Alvar. I hope little Tuffy has been good to you, he can be quite a handful at times. Especially when you pair him up with his sister and their friends.”

Carstella shrugged, “He’s not that bad, just gotta get past his crap.”

Alvar laughed openly, whole heartedly. He was indeed amused by the girl’s statement.

“Al!” A short woman with sandy blonde hair and grey eyes scolded the much taller man, “You’ll scare her off, and I haven’t even fully met her.”

“Sorry, Van.” He apologised half heartedly.

“It’s nice to meet you, Carstella.” She said softly and extended her hand, “I’m Vanya, Patty Garett’s mother. I’m pretty sure he hasn’t mentioned anything about me.”

Carstella shook her head and then took her hand.

“He’s told me much about you both. Nothing but good things.” She told them.

“Russian?” Vanya asked after the girl had finished her sentence.

Carstella nodded, “I’ve been told you’ve all been informed.”

She nodded, “You must have gone through hell.”

Carstella shrugged, before she stiffened up in the embrace of the woman who was in front of her.

“I’m sorry for that. But I know Patty will take good care of you, in the letters he’s sent to me the way he described you, he cares for you deeply. And I’m happy to know you are the one who can put him back in line.” She said.

“Thank you, Miss Thorston.” Carstella said and returned the hug, “It means a lot.”

Vanya pulled away and looked her dead in the eye.

“It’s either Vanya or mom.” She told the dark haired girl.

“Mom!” Tuff all but shouted at the woman.

Carstella grew red and shy again, but nodded anyway.

Vanya then laughed whole heartedly like her husband before, but it was much lighter.

“She’s a keeper!” Alvar told his son, “Has your sister not found anyone yet?”

“Not yet.” Tuff said a small amount of pink dusting on his cheeks.

“It’s all ours.” Tuff said as the entered the giant house. This one took more of a Victorian sense than the others.

“How do you think we should remodel it?” He asked and turned to the red eyed girl behind him.

Carstella suggested starting in the basement and making it into a work and storage area for Tuff, turning the first floor into the retail space with fitting rooms along the back wall, with a spiral staircase connecting the basement and the first floor and another connecting the first, retail, floor to the second. An external stair case leading up to the second floor which would be the door leading to their living area. They would move the kitchen up to the second floor with an open concept kitchen living room, along with a dinning room, laundry room, bathroom, and office for Carstella. A regular stair case leading up to the third floor which would have six rooms and three bathrooms.

Tuff loved the ideas as she drew them out in a note book with a black ink pen she had brought with her.

“Where should we start?” He asked her.

“Foundation.” She told him, “Start basement, move up.”

They made a list of everything they would need and started for the hard wear store and lumber yard to place some orders to be delivered.

Everyone on the island did any repairs or expansions themselves, so everyone was handy.

At the hard wear store people could also place orders for major appliances for their homes.

The two had placed orders for electrical wires, outlets, plugs, door knobs, windows, buckets, cement mix, screws, a screw driver, staples, insolation, dry wall, and a stud detector. Being unsure of what they wanted for their kitchen, Tuff and Carstella put off ordering the items.

The man behind the counter, named Magnus took their order and said that it would be at the house day after tomorrow because he was getting a shipment tomorrow with much of what they would need.

Carstella payed in cash and they said their good buys.

“It’s happening.” Tuff said to himself in a happy tone. He was actually starting his new life with the girl of his dreams.

They entered the lumbar yard and were greeted by a young man who was at the order station.

“Tuff, long time no see.” He said.

“Hey Gustov.” He said boredly.

“Who’s your friend?” He asked looking Carstella up and down.

“My girlfriend.” He said shortly, “We’re fixing up the old founders house. What are you doing here anyway?”

Gustov smiled a little and took a pencil from behind his ear before saying, “Helping out the family with the business, what do you need?”

Carstella gave the order they needed for the basement and to reinforce the floor of the first floor.

“We’ll be coming back for more eventually.” She added.

“I know you will.” Gustov said as he finished taking down the order, “That place is more run down than anything. You’re order will be delivered the day after tomorrow.” He told them, “And good luck.”

Carstella and Tuff left the yard and headed up towards the apartments.

“It’s real.” Tuff said again as he unlocked the door.

He swung it open and then turned around look at the girl behind him. He then bent down and threw her over his shoulder before hauling her inside.

Carstella laughed really hard as this happened. Tuff turned again to close and lock the door before continuing into the living room.

He threw her down on the couch and then climbed on top of her as he started kissing the red eye girl’s lips.

“I love you.” He said when he broke contact.

Carstella went red and said meekly, “I love you too.”

 

No Way Out(A HTTYD Love Story Part 20)

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The month was closing in, and Stoik’s house was surrounded by cars. Almost everyone was there hanging out, talking, and enjoying each other’s company.

The door opened without a knock, and Tuff strode in with bags in his hands and put them on the counter before hurrying back to the door and pulling something else inside.

Everyone, with the exception of Spitelout, was looking curiously at the blonde man as he tugged something through the thresh hold.

Their eyes grew wide as they saw the dark haired girl slowly enter the house with the blonde.

“Carstella?” Stoik was the first to say something.

Said girl shifted a little before squeaking out, “It’s a long story.”

Ruffnut and Astrid were the first ones to gain their edge back and mobbed her with a hug together.

“I’m sorry.” Carstella muttered out.

“We thought.” Ruffnut choked out, “We thought. . .” She couldn’t finish.

“Why are you. . . ?” Astrid tried to ask.

“Like I said,” The dark haired girl told them, not making eye contact with anyone, “It’s a long story.”

They all sat around the table, as Carstella and Spitelout explain to them what had happened.

Tuff didn’t pay much mind too it as he heard it before and he was busy making borscht.

“And you couldn’t tell us this!?” Snotlout demanded as he slammed his hands down on the table and stood up.

“I didn’t know I was going to change my mind until I was in the chair.” Carstella told them, “And I couldn’t after I made the deal, I was in the hospital for almost nine months recovering and trying to build up my fine motor skills again, and then placed under protective custody for the past little while. It’s only been recently that its been deemed safe enough for me have a little leeway.”

Snotlout shut up and sat down instantly.

“Why did you change your mind all of a sudden?” Hiccup asked after a moment, “You were so determined that you were going to end it there and then.”

Carstella was silent for a moment, her mouth pressed into a thin line.

“I don’t really believe in things happening for a reason, or a greater diety looking out for me.” She told them, “But when that power was cut, it reality dawned on me. I came to the conclusion that, that was not where I was supposed to die. There was something that I needed to do or find, and that’s why the power went out and I survived. So, I decided this was the second chance I was waiting for, to start over again.”

Fishlegs gagged a little next to Hiccup.

“Uh, Tuff.” Fishlegs questioned the blonde, “What is in there, it smells disgusting!”

“It’s three different types of boiled turnips, sweet onion, ginger, potato, and beets.” Carstella told him staring at Tuffnut.

“Four different types of turnips, actually.” Tuff told the brunette with a smile, “It smells better when the seasonings are added.”

“When did you learn to cook borscht?” Carstella asked the blonde.

“After I took you out to the Russian restaurant.” He replied as he started grating the preboiled vegetables.

“He stunk up the apartment for almost three weeks trying to perfect it.” Ruffnut told the red eyed girl, “He wanted to make it for you. But then. . . . everything happened.”

Carstella sunk into herself, feeling the guilt coming over her. She put them through so much, for no reason.

Stoik placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder.

“We’re glad you are alive, Carstella.” He told me, she looked up at him with eyes that held hope and fear at the same time, “And we’re even happier to have you with us again.”

She looked back down to her lap with a ghost of a smile playing on her lips.

“You sure you’re okay to do this Car?” Astrid asked as they stretched out on the beach.

“Better question.” Snotlout cut in, “Can you actually do this, and compete with the snot man!?”

Astrid rolled her eyes and turned her attention to the brunette.

Carstella nodded, “I’m used to cold waters, but I assume you do the same thing.”

“How can you surf in the cold?” Ruff asked as she adjusted the straps on her bikini, “You’d, like, die.”

“No, as long as you’re in a full body suit and don’t say submerged in the water for more than fifteen minutes there won’t be any permanent damage.”

“That why you’re wearing a wet suit?” Tuff joked next to her.

He and Snotlout were in swim trunk, Ruff and Astrid were in bikinis, and Carstella was in a wet suit. Hiccup and Fishlegs were reading further up on the sand, Hiccup couldn’t surf because of his leg, and Fishlegs didn’t like to surf.

Carstella shrugged and picked up her board before heading out into the water, the others followed closely behind.

They paddled out together and waited for the perfect wave.

Snotlout was trying in failed attempts to impress Astrid and Ruff. Tuff was staring at Carstella who had her mind elsewhere.

“What’s the matter, Stell?” Tuff finally asked.

The brunette turned to look at him.

“I was just wondering,” She started and then paused to look back at the others, “If this is what it feels like to be happy?”

Tuff laughed at her and nodded.

Carstella smiled back completely, her heart swelled. It was.

A large wave started to appear on the horizon.

“I think that’s a big one.” Carstella said to the others in the water.

“Race you guys there!” Snotlout yelled before taking off towards the wave.

Everyone raced after him and then hopped up on their boards.

Snotlout took the first cut through the wave, Astrid was close behind him, Ruff and Tuff went in at the same time and almost wiped out. Carstella laughed as she maneuvered her board to go up the wave. The others were out before the wave began to curl into itself.

Carstella rode the wave around in a circle, she then jetted out before the wave collapsed on itself. The after shock waves jostled Snotlout, Astird and Ruff and Tuff who were sitting on their boards so they were well balanced. Carstella was still standing up from coming out of the wave, she lost her balance and fell into the water.

Carstella sunk for a moment to allow the waves to die down a little bit before she started to move upwards. Not before she saw a mess of blonde hair swimming towards her fast. She smiled and grabbed his hand as they both made their way to the surface.

Both Carstella and Tuff swam forward to her board as it was the closest one.

“I could have gotten myself up, you know.” She told him. Tuff took a couple of deep breaths before he turned to look at her.

His eyes were a little sad and his face showed concern.

“I didn’t want to lose you again,” He told her and rubbed her cheek with his thumb, “Besides, you’re slower than you were before.”

Carstella smirked and shoved him lightly.

“You Two love birds done!?” Astrid called to them, “Another big one is coming.”

Tuff and Carstella were looking at one another and smiled. Tuff took off to his board and Carstella hauled herself up and started paddling forward.

Tuff held Carstella’s hand as they made their way towards Gobber’s restaurant. Their boards were on the roof of Astrid’s car which was still on the beach because she was working there at two.

They entered the store to see Gobber behind the counter, Stoik, Spitelout, and a man in a black suit sitting together at the counter.

“Could one of you turn the open sign to closed for me.” Gobber asked.

Fishlegs did it questionably.

“Mr. Reebly.” Carstella said softly.

“I see you’re doing well.” The man in the black suit said to her.

She nodded and hid a little bit behind Tuff.

“I’ll have the translations of those letters for you by tomorrow.”She told him.

“You don’t have to be so meek.” He assured her, “I’ve been speaking with you Uncles and they’ve suggested something to me that I think would be the best idea I’ve heard in regards to you in a while.”

Carstella’s gaze shifted from her uncles as she pressed herself to Tuff’s back.

Tuff squeezed her hand to let her know it was going to be okay.

“Your uncles and friends originally come from a small island in Alaska called Berk.” He told her, she nodded, “Berk is also the home to two of our most able agents. Your uncle Stoik had been thinking of moving back up there, and Spitelout has apparently grown tired of the amount of crime here in L.A. I was considering moving up there with them.”

“Dad, you wanna leave?” Hiccup asked.

“Aye.” Stoik said sadly, “I miss the snow, Hiccup. And these people here aren’t the kind I used to know, the old mayor there isn’t even able to continue on with his duties so he contacted me.”

“What about you dad?” Snotlout asked.

“I like the action, that isn’t a lie.” He told him, “But it’s taken its tole on me to the point it’s affected my health, Snotlout. Besides, this isn’t our home.”

“It’s almost always cold up there too.” Mr. Reebly told Carstella, “It will feel more like home to you also.”

“If I go.” She said softly, “I’ll be leaving all of them here.” She looked over he friends and then Gobber, and finally her boyfriend.

“I was planning on heading back up too.”Gobber told her, “There is a lot of room for you guys there too.”

“What do you mean?” Astrid asked.

“There is no longer an auto repair there because the young guy how came over from the main land quit because there wasn’t enough business for him. The high school there is in need of a couple more teachers, math, history, and art. The secretary in the city hall right under the mayor quit so she can get married and have a family. And we’ll probably need some new fire fighters or police there, wouldn’t you think, Spitelout?”

Spitelout nodded.

“What about Tuff?” Carstella questioned.

“It’s hard to say.” Stoik told them, “Alaska isn’t very prominent for fashion.”

“Is the abandoned house on the far side of the island still there or has it been torn down?” Tuff asked.

Stoik shook his head, “It’s still there, we are thinking of tearing it down if nothing is done with it.”

“I think I can turn it into my own store and tailor shop, what do you think? Wanna start it with me, Stell?” He asked.

Carstella gazed up at him in disbelief.

“You would be willing to leave?” She asked.

He nodded, “If I remember right, no one there was well dressed. I think I can fix it. But I can’t do it alone.”

Carstella embraced Tuff tight, encasing his midsection with her arms.

“You aren’t alone.” She told him.

Tuff placed his arms on her back and pulled her towards him.

“I guess we can all move back to Berk then.” Hiccup said looking at his father.

Stoik nodded, “I’ll make arrangements for you guys to start work, and for you two to rent to house.”

“Can we purchase it?” Carstella asked.

Stoik gave her a weird look.

“Tuff told me about that house.” She told him, “It’s three stories, right?”

Tuff nodded when she looked up at him.

“We can fix it up and make it all our own.” She said.

Stoik nodded, “Alright.” He told them, “Put in your two week notices, we’ll move by the end of the month.”

“But wait.” Astrid spoke up, “Berk isn’t that far away from the east coast of Russia.”

“The east coast isn’t that populated.” Carstella told her, “Most of the mafia there are positioned on the south west of the country where most of the population and warmth are.”

“We also have thought about it, Miss Hofferson.” Mr. Reebly told her, “There wont be any problem with the Jorgensons moving back home.”

They all looked at him weird.

“With your permission, Carstella.” Spitelout told her, “We will be taking care of the paperwork to change to say that you are my daughter and the younger sister of Snotlout. Your other information wont change.”

She nodded knowing they wouldn’t find her because she had already changed her information form the original.

“Permission given.” She told him, “You are the only family I have after all.”

“It’s set then.” Snotlout all but shouted, “We’re moving back home.”

 

 

What If It Were Real?(Part 9)

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“Well, I think she liked the flowers.” I admitted to Mykhayla, Wire and Heat the next morning when I saw them, “What’s the next plan of action?”

“Plan G.” Mykhayla told me, “Gifts.” She paused for a moment and looked up into the sky before her eyes grew wide.

“There’s only two weeks left until Christmas!” She exclaimed loud enough for the entire ship to hear.

“Christmas?” We questioned.

Her jaw dropped, “Do you not know what Christmas is?”

We all looked at each other sideways and then slowly shook our heads.

“Oh my God.” She said slowly, “This’ll be the best Christmas for you guys ever then!”

She then hurried us along to the top of the ship where Kidd’s ‘throne’ was and hurried to grab everyone else on the crew. She then commanded all of our attention and began to explain to us that Christmas was a wonderful time with the exchange of gifts, togetherness and food. I think we were all confused when she was done speaking.

“Not exactly.” Torri said climbing up the stairs and coming towards us, “Christmas is more about spending time with those close to you and enjoying one’s company. In my family it usually had a lot to do with the food. Cooking and baking for Christmas eve and then helping my mom out with Christmas dinner the next day. We all enjoyed and partook in it, creating memories to last forever.”

“Yeah, Christmas is fun. And that is what I meant to say.” She said with a nervous laugh, “So do you think we can pull off Christmas this year for these guys?”

Torri looked like she was thinking for a moment before she shrugged.

“If captain doesn’t mind shelling out the money needed I have no problem being in the kitchen all day for the next little while to make it happen.” She told the blonde, “But then decorations are all up to you.”

“Yay! Cookies!” She exclaimed, “I mean, yay! Decorating!”

Mykhayla and Torri looked at Kidd, his say was final.

“How long until we reach the next island?” Kidd asked the navigator.

“Four more days, captain.” He told him.

Kidd turned his attention back to them, “Can you create Christmas in ten days?”

“If you keep your men out of my kitchen, then yes.” Torri told him.

“And if I get some help with the decorations, it’s doable.” Mykhyla said.

“Alright.” Kidd said in defeat, “I’ll give you all the money you need for whatever, but you can’t disregard your regular duties either.”

“I thought I was banned from mopping.” Mykhayla wondered out loud.

“I wasn’t talking to you.” Kidd growled.

Torri nodded to Kidd and then turned to leave again, she was going to be busy the next little while.

I sighed again while Mykhayla tried to tell me what the perfect present to Torri might be for Christmas.

It was getting a lot colder though, we were going to be docked on a winter island for Christmas.

We were to dock either later today for early tomorrow, I figured I could roam the streets and find something she would like, I hoped.

“Oh, there’s another thing we could use.” I heard Mykhayla say more to herself than anyone around her, “We can skip up to plan M and have you two kiss under the mistletoe.”

“Mistletoe?” I repeated.

She nodded, “It’s a Christmas tradition,” Mykhayla told me, “When two people stand underneath the mistletoe the tradition is that they should kiss.”

I felt my face heat up again. Why would she suggest such a thing.

“Maybe.” I said after a moment, “Maybe.”

She seemed content with that and continued to list off things she would need to make the ship Christmas-y.

I decided to get up and go inside, maybe talk to Torri if she wasn’t too busy.

I found her in the dinning room, she had paper and pencils in front of her as she muttered to herself ingredients and food items.

“You look busy.” I said to her and sat down across from her.

“It’s only the start.” She said as she scribbled down more, “What’s up?”

“Nothing really.” I told her, “I just wanted to see what you were up to.”

“Deciding what I should bake and in what order, on top of the regular food supply.” She told me.

“Anything I can do to help?” I asked her.

She shook her head and said it was a good kind of stress to have.

I nodded and left her alone to her work, I made my way down to see Kidd in his room. I had had enough of that blonde for one day.

Open window displays showed fancy chocolates, beautiful dresses and garments, and real and fake gem jewelry. I didn’t really know where to start to look. I knew she wasn’t the biggest fan of sweet things, so chocolate was out. She was a tomboy so dresses and cloths were out. The island was clearly devoid of any weapon shops so I couldn’t get her any new knives like I thought I could have. I didn’t want to get her anything for the kitchen incase she took it the wrong way. That left one option; jewelry.

I walked looking into the displays of every jewelry shop I could find. Non of them jumped out at me. They were all of flowers, or stones that didn’t suit her at all.Without realizing it I wandered into the far end of the village. There weren’t many shops, and they didn’t seem to get any business.

There was only one Jewelry shop here. I gazed into the window.

These were much more Torri’s taste. I thought to myself.

There was one imparticular that caught my eye. It was a silver pendant in the shape of a phoenix on a leather strap.

I smiled to myself knowing what I was going to get her, I walked into the store.

I wiped the sweat off my brow as I went back down to haul in the last of the food. When the final crate was on the floor of the kitchen I started unpacking all the food there was, while humming to myself ‘White Christmas’. I loved snow.

“Okay.” I said to myself when everything was away, “Let’s start on dinner.”

I began cutting potatos for a shepard’s pie as I thought about my strategy for taking on the mountain of baking I would have to do.

I walked out to take in a breath of the cold, crisp, clean, snowy air before I called to everyone that dinner was on the table. They hurried past me as I stretched out a bit before heading inside.

A white Christmas. I thought to myself, been a while since we had one of those.

I went back inside to eat quickly, and then clear the table.

Mykhayla came in after I finished and dumped everything to make her ornaments out on the table after she promised to clean it up when she was done.

I shrugged and finished the dishes before setting out to start on chocolate chip cookies, snickerdoodles, and peanut butter cookies. It was going to be a long night.

I yawned again and stretched out as the last of the cookies were cooling and the last little bit of food was in the oven.

I started setting baked goods out on trays to be taken out. Mykhayla was busy running around putting snowflakes, wreaths, garlands, holly, stars, and banners saying ‘MERRY CHRISTMAS’ everywhere she could.

The cookies, tarts, brownies, fudge, and even Christmas cake were set out on the designated dessert table.

I mixed up eggnogg and brought out a bowl of it before setting out the actual food.

Everything was set up completely. The in and outside of the ship looked like Christmas just threw up everywhere, and the amount of food I had set out almost made me want to throw up. It was perfect.

I told Mykhayla to grab everyone to start the party. She ran out to grab them instantly, giddy as a school girl.

I sighed and walked down slowly towards our room.

The crew was loud and rowdy, enjoying the drink and food and each other’s company.

Killer looked around the room nervously, a dark blue box in his hands tied up with a silver ribbon. But he didn’t see the person he was looking for. He had already checked the kitchen, the hall ways, the deck, the crow’s nest, and her room. But he couldn’t find her anywhere.

The taller blonde approached a much shorter one.

“Mykhayla!” He called over the others and the music in the small room.

The blue eyed girl looked up at him, her face stuffed with cookies.

“Have you seen, Torri?” He asked desperately.

“I lost her at the food table.” She admitted through the crumbs in her mouth.

Killer sighed and headed out to look around the ship once more.

One of the look outs told him that she had gone out into the woods by herself about the time the party had started.

Killer sighed again and hurried inside to grab himself a coat before he hurried in the direction they said she had gone.

I stared down at the yellow mess at my feet. I couldn’t stop now. I wasn’t going to depend on anyone for unnecessary help again.

I caught my breath completely before continuing to run and toss my knives at various targets I made up in my head. I had to improve myself, I wasn’t going to stop until I was happy with my level.

My body felt cold, but my mind was at peace. I stared up into the sky watching all the snow fall down onto my form, not enough was coming down to cover me completely at this rate.

“Torri!” I heard someone calling my name to the right.

I looked over and through the treesand I saw Killer advancing towards me.

I sat up and waved. He hurried over to me.

“I thought you were at the party.” I told him as he sat down next to me.

“I thought you were there too.” He said to me as he caught his breath.

I shrugged.

“What are you doing out here anyway?” He asked.

“I was training.” I told him shortly.

“Why are you training during a holiday?” He asked.

“I have to improve myself.” I told him, “Nothing’s going to stop that. Now why are you here?”

He turned away from a moment and unzipped his jacket to pull out a small, dark blue box with a silver ribbon.

“I, uh, wanted to give you this. It is a Christmas tradition, according to Mykhayla.” He said and handed the box to me without looking at me.

“Oh, thank you.” I said and took it from him, “I feel bad now, I haven’t gotten you anything.”

“You don’t have too.” He said softly, “Open it.”

I pulled the ribbon and opened the box to show a beautiful necklace. It was a silver pendant in the shape of a phoenix attached to a leather strap.

“It’s beautiful.” I said without thinking.

“I’m glad you like it.” He said.

“I love it.” I said and pulled it out of the box and slipped it on over my head, “Thank you.”

“Don’t worry about it.” He told me.

We sat there in comfortable silence for a moment before he stood up.

“We should probably head back to the ship, shouldn’t we?” He said.

I nodded and stood up, we then started to head back towards the ship.

There was a lot of commotion going on in the gallery when we got back, what cut through it was Kidd’s yelling in objection. Killer and I both looked at one another before bolting up the stairs.

When we got to the party room I saw Kidd and one of the under crew men standing across from Mykhayla.

“What’s going on here?” I asked and turned my attention to Mykhayla.

“Well,” She started nervously, “I thought it might have been a good idea to add in some fun to, you know, put up some mistletoe, and now they aren’t obeying the rules of Christmas!”

I looked up at the ceiling above where the two men stood. On a long piece of string there was a little tassel of mistletoe on the end of it.

I sighed and tossed a knife at it, causing the mistletoe to fall helplessly to the floor and my knife to get embedded in the wall.

“How about no mistletoe.” I told her, “Where did that tradition even start?”

“If it keeps me from being killed, I’m okay with it!” She said and jumped for joy.

I rolled my eyes at her and grabbed my knife from the wall. I felt the necklace readjust itself against my chest. I looked down at it and smiled at it. This was a good Christmas after all.

What If It Were Real?(Part 8)

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“Sounds crazy.” I said after Killer had just finished telling me a story about the crew and the first half of the Grandline.

“It was.” He said and laughed.

There was a moment of silence between us as I gazed out to the ocean, I never could understand how Mykhayla could get tired of this sight.

“Uh, you’re hair looks really nice today by the way.” Killer complimented.

“Oh, thanks.” I said slightly startled he would say something like that out of the blue.

“Are you using a new shampoo or something?” He asked almost desperately.

I shook my head, “I never really do anything special with it.”I admitted, “Half the time I don’t brush it. If you’re looking for a new shampoo to try out ask Mykhayla, she’ll know.”

“Good idea.” He said after a second.

“I’ll catch you later,” I told him and stood up, “I need to get started on dinner.”

He nodded and I left.

Why would he say something like that so out of the blue? I thought to myself. My hair isn’t even that nice this morning, I haven’t washed it in three days.

I shrugged it off and continued inside.

“That girl is so thick I question how her visions actually get in there!”

I turned my head to see Mykhayla standing there with her hands on her hips glaring in the direction Torri just took off in.

“What are you talking about?” I asked her not wanting her to know I liked her friend.

“Dude,” She started, “We already have one person who is oblivious about their feelings, let’s not make that two. Okay, I don’t even know where to begin with that statement.”

“Is it that obvious?” I asked and winced, if she knew then Torri had to know.

“If Kidd knows, everybody knows!” She exclaimed, “But the only one who doesn’t know is the one who needs to know! Because she’s just that dense!”

“I don’t know what to do anymore.” I admitted, “I’ve tried everything from being nice and trying to care for her, to trying to protect her and make her laugh, I’ve tried complements hundreds if not thousands of times. What am I doing wrong? I mean if anyone knows Torri, it’s you. Right, Mykhayla?”

“I know Torri, but you can never actually know Torri. If you get me.” She told me.

“Then what should I do?” I asked, “If you have any suggestions, I’m open. Hit me!”

“Boy do I have suggestions!” She bragged, “I have plans from A to Z two times over and more on top of that. I’m thinking we need to take the subtile approach for this one.”

“Why don’t you just tell her?” Wire asked coming up to us, Heat not to far behind him.

“I’m afraid she’ll reject me.” I finally admitted, “You can run from anyone on the sea, but you can’t run from rejection, especially on your own ship.”

“True as it may be,” Mykhayla tried to assure, “Deep down I know there is a little piece of Torri that cares. You just have to get past all the junk, ice, fire, mean comments, and anger to find her heart.”

“And how do you suggest I start fighting my way there?” I asked her just waiting to hear what she was going to say next.

“First,” She said, “Plan A. A stands for: ask. Ask her how she feels right now, and then we can build off of that.”

“I’m not asking her!” I exclaimed and shot up, “No! What’s plan B?”

“B, it might not be a good idea right now.” She said nervously.

“What is it?” I asked anyway.

“Brainwashing.” She said almost too quiet for me to hear, “It’s a last resort, okay!”

“Plan C!?” I demanded.

“Cookies.” She said.

“Cookies?” I repeated.

“Yup cookies.”

“And what am I supposed to do?” I asked, “Make her a dozen chocolate chip cookies and she’s just going to return my feelings? No, what’s plan D?”

“Well firstly, she likes peanut butter cookies more than chocolate chip, and plan D is dance.” She said, “Ask her to dance.”

I felt my face grow unbelievably hot.

“Plan E.” I told her.

“Engagement!” She said happily.

The blonde was about to say something else before I cut her off.

“F, please. Plan F.” I almost yelled.

“Flowers.” She said unsure, “It’s a good idea, but because it’s Torri it could go either way.”

“Flowers?” I thought about it for a moment. That could work, if she doesn’t return my feelings then I can play it off as a dare or just as a symbol of friendship and they’re simple so I don’t have to worry about making her feel uneasy.

“I like it.” I said, “We’ll start with plan F then. The next time we dock I’ll get her some flowers and give them too her, it’ll at least give me an idea where we stand.”

“Now that’s what I’m talking about!” She exclaimed, “That, right there, is the attitude we need!”

I felt a small amount of pride well up inside me, I could do this. It’s not going to be that hard.

“So what flowers do you think you’re gonna get her?” Mykhayla asked, “She’s big in the language of flowers so you better be careful.”

My heart sank. Flowers have languages?

“I can’t believe I’m doing this.” I muttered to myself for what seemed like the millionth time that morning.

“You’ll be fine!” Mykhayla told me, “That’s why I’m with you, so you don’t mess it up completely.”

“Thanks.” I said sarcastically and continued forward to one of the many flower shops in the town.

I walked in and was instantly overwhelmed by types, colours and the sheer number.

What did I just get myself into? I asked myself as Mykhayla pulled me towards the roses.

I walked back to the ship later in the evening. I didn’t have any flowers in my hands. I didn’t find any flowers that stood out as something Torri would like.

I sighed again and Told Mykhayla to continue on without me. I wanted to be alone for a little while.

I took in my surroundings and suddenly stopped. In a giant field to my right there were tons and tons of white lilies.

I hadn’t seen any of then in the shops, but I remembered seeing them grow everywhere wildly in my village.

They were tough little things to grow in a place like that, but I had always thought they were kinda pretty.

My mind then flashed to Torri. She had dark features, and an even darker personality. But there was something about putting her in that field of flowers that seemed right to me. I set out to pick as many as I could carry.

“Mykhayla!” I called out as I finished the stew.

She popped up in the doorway to the kitchen.

“Call everyone.” I told her, “Dinner’s ready.”

She nodded and darted off to fetch them.

I served them and cleared the table, taking note that Killer wasn’t at dinner tonight.

I questioned Mykhayla because she was with him earlier today, but she didn’t know.

I sighed and kept a plate hot for him as I cleaned up.

“Torri.” Mykhayla said as I was finishing with the dishes, I turned to look at her.

“Killer’s back, and he wants to talk to you at the back of the ship.”

I stretched and nodded as I pulled off my apron.

I slowly made my way to the back of the ship, and there I saw Killer standing there with something behind his back.

I advanced in the moonlight towards him.

“Hey,” I said to him.

“Hey.” He replied.

“Missed you at dinner, where were you?” I asked.

“Picking these.” He said and brought from behind his back, seventeen white lilies, “I thought you might like them.”

I was taken aback to say the least. No one had ever gotten me flowers before.

He handed them to me and I took them gingerly.

“It’s really sweet of you.” I told him staring at the flowers I had in my hands, “Thank you, it really is sweet.”

“Aah, don’t mention it.” He said, “I just thought maybe you might like them when I saw them and-

“I love them.” I said finally with a voice of confidence, “Really. Thank you.”

“Don’t worry about it.” He told me and prepared to turn away.

“I kept some dinner hot for you.” I told him, “It’s in the oven.”

“Thanks.” He said and all but took off running.

I stared at the flowers a moment more, before I took one out of the bouquet and put it behind my right ear. It was really sweet.

I had just finished writing the log for the day and was preparing to go to bed when Mykhayla walked into the room.

“What kept you?” I asked not looking up.

I didn’t hear a reply from her right away so I turned to look at her.

“What?” I asked finally.

“Where did you get the flowers from?” She asked me.

“Killer gave them to me earlier.” I said gesturing to the lilies in a black vase.

“That was nice of him.” She said in a tone that led me to believe she knew more than she was letting on.

“It was.” I said not wanting to ruin my mood, “It really was.”

 

What If It Were Real?(Part 7)

0

I collected my knives from the target on the mast, I was preparing to throw them again when Mykhayla came running up.

“You won’t guess what just happened!” She exclaimed jumping up and down on the deck like an excited child.

“What?” I asked unamused.

“You have a bounty!” She shouted and forced a newspaper into my face.

I took it from her and got a good look at it. It was a picture of me against one of the walls at the marine base we were at yesterday while I was looking for the room Mykhayla was in. I was wanted dead or alive for seventeen million bellis.

“Nice picture.” I commented.

“What the hell’s going on here?” Kidd hissed as he approached us.

“Celebrate good time, come on!” She sang as she took the paper from me and handed it to Kidd before she continued to dance around humming the tune.

Kidd just stared at her blankly for a moment before turning his attention to the newspaper in his hands.

“Congratulations.” He said to me, “You can now officially consider yourself a member of this crew.”

I shrugged at his words and turned to the target again.

“Any dreams I should be aware of?” He asked before he turned to leave.

“Nothing you should really be aware of at the moment.” I assured him and threw a knife at the target.

“Keep me informed.” He told me.

I nodded, he left.

“Wait what?” Mykhayla asked as she paused from her dance.

I shook my head and told her dismiss it before turning back to the target.

Cold grey eyes scanned over the news paper in dark, tattooed hands. The eyes held no interest what so ever in the content of the pages, until they came across one article with a picture.

A young girl, with short brown hair, and brown eyes that held danger and anger, she was in a military base. Her bounty was seventeen million, she was awarded this for not only aiding in the enialation of an infamous pirate crew and the murder of about a dozen well known marine officers. It said she was involved with the Kidd pirates.

The cold grey eyes lite up and grew increasingly curious with every word he read.

Eustass Kidd, of all pirate captains, allowing a woman, even with such a first bounty, to join him and his crew. He couldn’t believe it.

The man called to one of his crew members who came running in. He gave orders to set course to the last place the Kidd pirates were seen. They followed their orders.

He had to know who she was.

“So where are we even going?” Mykhayla whined from next to me.

I looked up from my book to look at her sprawled out on the deck. We where on the back of the ship, the place I liked the most out of it all.

“We have to get to the end of the Grandline to the island where the pirate King Gol D. Roger left his treasure for other pirates sharing his dream to find.” I told her turning my attention back to my book, only to need to look back up because she was complaining again.

“But where is that!?” She whined.

“On the other side of the word.” I told her calmly.

“That’s specific.” She scoffed.

“We just made it through fishman’s island.” I told her, “The pirate king’s treasure is on the other side of the world to that.”

“How long is it gonna take?”

I shrugged, “Depends on how long we need to stay on an island for the log to set, who we encounter, rest needed from battles, wind, and marines.”

“Sooooo, not tomorrow?” She asked, “Not a week from now?”

“At least a year I would think.” I told her.

“I get so tired of just watching water, rocks, seagulls, and rocks!” She exclaimed.

“Go bug some of the crew then.” I told her.

“They’re not amusing, enough.” She told me, “They’re boring, and have poor senses of style.”

“It’s punk and metal style.” I told her, “They probably think your casual style is just as strange.”

“Good point.” She said, “But I do love me some jeans.”

“I actually wounder where Killer got his jeans.” I wondered out loud, “Who has tassles on their jeans anymore?”

“So right, it’s such a seventy’s thing!” Mykhayla giggled.

“And Heat, who wears that much leather all the time? It’s got to get unbearably hot and sweaty.”

“You would think it.”

“And Kidd! He goes around shirtless all the time! You think he would get cold.”

“What you really should be asking is why he’s always wearing a fur coat.” Mykhayla corrected, “It’s not functional for the sea, for fighting, for the weather here, and it doesn’t do much for his intimidation factor. Plus, who only uses one sleeve of a coat?”

“Would you rather he go completely topless?” I inquired.

“No!” Mykhayla exclaimed, “It’s not a good sight!”

“How do you know it’s not a good sight if you ‘haven’t’ see it?” I teased.

“My innocent mind cannot contain this image!” She exclaimed and threw her hands over her face.

I laughed openly for a moment before I saw her looking at me deviously.

“What about Killer without his button down?” She asked in a dangerous tone.

I shrugged, “What about it?”

She just face palmed.

“What do you think about it?” She demanded, “What are your thoughts on the subject?”

I shrugged again, “I don’t really have an oppionon.”

“Something like, you know, ‘attractive’, ‘sexy’, maybe your eyes wander?”

I stared at her for a moment before I closed my book and stood up.

“I think you’ve over heard way too much from the rest of the crew, and with that, I’ll take my leave.”

I turned and left to go into the sitting area inside.

“Torri!” She called after me, “I need you to keep me entertained! And to answer my question!”

I rolled my eyes and continued forward. Why did she think I liked Killer, and that he liked me? I would never be able to understand her reasoning, we were friends. I paused on my way to the door. Killer and a couple of the lower crew men were sparing on deck. It was a warmer day and Killer did have his shirt off. I stared at him momentarily, but nothing like she was insinuating came to mind. He was powerful and strong and his body was still lean, I could understand how it would be considered desirable, but I didn’t understand why she said it the way she did.

I was just about to turn and continue into the sitting area, I saw Killer wave I put up a hand back. We were friends, I was glad for it.

Just as I was about to take a step forward something rammed into the side of the ship causing me to fall face first onto the deck.

I hurry to my feet, only to feel a sharp pain in my neck before an aching, dull throb. My eyes began to darken, and before I was knocked out completely I heard both Killer and Mykhayla yelling for me.

I heard the faintest of giggling as my vision began to clear. I was the smiling face and blue eyes of Mykhayla sitting across from me. She was waving and sitting tied in a chair.

“What?” I managed out groggily.

“Torri!” She exclaimed, “You’re awake! It’s okay now, I’m here with you. All I had to do was grab onto the leg of the guy that was trying to take you and they grabbed me too.”

A million things started flooding through my brain. Who was it that took us? What did they want? Why? Where were they? Was the crew okay? Were they even alive? How long until we came under the same fate?

“You’re awake now I see.”

My eyes shot to the man in the door way. He was tall and dark, he had a black and yellow hoodie on, jeans with spots on them, a fuzzy looking hat with spots of a similar type, he had tattoos on his arms and hands from what I could see, and he carried a long katana.

“Trafalgar Law.” I hissed at him.

He smirked at me as he entered the room, two me with hats entered after him.

They moved Mykhayla next to me.

Law pulled up a chair across from us and sat down.

“I’ll be nice to you, if you tell me what I want to know.” He told us, “You are, Torri.” He said to me, “What is it about you that Eustass-ya wants to keep?”

“Because she’s fabulous!” Mykhayla exclaimed in a sing song voice, “I mean who wouldn’t want to be her friend?”

I saw his eye brow twitch slightly before he spoke again, “How did you join the Kidd pirates?” He asked directing his attention to me.

I bit my tongue to stop from cursing him out and glared.

“Well, you know we kinda met them during a weird fight thing with weird people and they grabbed her and I grabbed them and because they realized that I wasn’t go let them go they took me too, and here we are!” Mykhayla answered for me.

“How long have you been a part of the Kidd pirates?” He asked holding back a growl.

“37 days, 12 hours, 13 minutes, and 56 seconds exactly.” Mykhayla said happily.

This time Law turned his attention directly to Mykhayla, “What is it about Torri-ya that makes Eustass-ya want to keep her around?”

“It’s her insight, and the facts she can kick butt pretty good.” She told him nodding continuously with a straight face.

Law smirked lightly, “What kind of insight does Torri-ya give to Eustass-ya?” He asked Mykhayla again.

“Pretty much whatever she chooses to share with him.” She told him with a smile before continuing, “By the way, I like your hat. It’s fuzzy and adorable. I think it’s really cute. I know a pirate probably doesn’t want to hear that, but I find it cute.”

I can see his eye brow twitch slightly again before his face relaxes and he asks her something else.

“What does Torri-ya choose to share with Eustass-ya and what are some of the things that she keeps to herself, do you know?”

“Nope!” She exclaimed and popped the ‘p’ sound, “She’s very selective with what she tells and what she doesn’t tell, she doesn’t tell. She doesn’t even have a diary for this kind of stuff. It’s annoying! I have to ask her things, which she doesn’t tell anyway. And I can’t follow her around because I always get caught because I always trip on fall flat on my face, and when she’s telling Kidd something I’m not paying attention.”

“Is there anything about Torri-ya’s insight for Eustass-ya that you do know?”

She shrugged, “Something about the future or his next move or something.”She told him, “I don’t really-

She stopped dead looking over at me I was glaring daggers into her telling her with every fiber of my being to shut the fuck up.

“I don’t really know.” She repeated, “My attention span is really small!”

Law’s smirk grew exponentially as he turned his attention to me.

“So that must be it.” He said as he stood up and began to circle me where I sat, “I’ve heard of prophets, people who have the ability to see the future. I wonder if it’s you, Torri-ya? That would more than explain why Eustass-ya would want you on his crew. I remember you from Saboy, I think I now regret letting Eustass-ya grab you first.” He continued to circle me, eyeing me up and down, “But I always thought that these people had a third eye in the middle of their foreheads? I guess you’re the exception to the rule.” He stopped right in front of me and bent down to look me in the eye, I still had my glare fixated on him.

“If you tell me everything you know, I’ll let you and your blonde friend here join my crew and we can take down Eustass-ya together.” He offered holding out his hand to me.

“If I join you,” I said lowly in a growl, “Then that would make me a traitor my captain. Meaning the second I outlive my usefulness you’ll kill me.”

“That depends on how useful to me you actually are.” He assured.

I had my gaze fixated downwards after he made me the offer, I raised my head to look him dead in the eye and spat in his face.

“You can go fuck yourself back in whatever hole you decided to crawl out of!” I hissed at him and struggled upwards against my chains that bound me to the chair, “I swore to Eustass Kidd that I would make him King of the pirates even if it kills me! You will not take that!”

Law wiped the spit off face and smirked at me.

“Have it your way, Torri-ya.” He growled, “I’ll get what I want out of you, one way or another.”

“Get it ready.” He hissed again, this time to the subordinates in the room with us. The three of them left and Mykhayla and I were left in the room on our own.

“That a girl Torri!” Mykhayla cheered as the door started to close, “I don’t know  what I’m cheering for, but I’m glad you finally spoke up! I was beginning to miss your voice.”

In the midst of chaos one blonde was pacing up and down the deck trying to find answers.

“Shut up!” He finally shouted to the rest of the crew who were silenced by that.

The blonde quickly resumed his pacing.

“Do you think we can get away with leaving the blonde with Trafalgar?” Kidd asked from his seat on the deck.

“No,” Killer told him as he continued to pace, “Torri would never go for it. She would leave or force us to go back.”

“What if she dies in the cross fire?” Kidd asked again.

“I’m pretty sure Torri would put either herself or another crew member between Mykhayla and what’s being fired.”

“And if I throw her over board when the blonde gets back on deck under suspicions of mutiny?” Kidd asked desperately.

Killer stopped in his tracks and looked at his captain, one could feel the blonde thinking his captain was an idiot for what he’d just said.

“No, it wouldn’t work.” Killer told him, “Torri would throw a life line to Mykhayla and toss you in the ocean creating a mutiny and then take over as captain. And if it were the case, I wouldn’t blame her and maybe even follow her.”

“You would follow her over me?” Kidd snarled at his first mate from where he sat.

“If you threw Mykhayla overboard for no reason other than you didn’t want her here and Torri did toss you off I would follow her because it was you who was in the wrong.” Killer confirmed, “And if it ever came to a point where you died or were killed or executed I would vote her to be the captain because she has the know how, planning ability, and can keep her head better than you can. And I don’t think I’m alone in thinking this.”

Kidd just stared at the blonde for a moment, “Is it because you like her?” He asked.

“Nani?” Killer asked almost shocked.

“Is it because you like her?” Kidd repeated, “Come on, Killer. Even if I wasn’t your best friend you’d have to blind or a complete idiot not to know.”

Killer sighed.

“Have our radars picked up anything yet?” He asked.

“Nothing yet.” Wire told him.

Killer nodded and went back to pacing.

Few minutes later Sachi and Pengune came back into the room, Sachi was carrying a tray that had two cups of tea on it. He handed the first one to Mykhayla who took a whiff of it and smiled to herself as she tried to guess what was in it. Over the time they had left she had broken the sting, literally the kind used to tie up a roast, so she had full movement of her limbs again.

He came over to me and held the cup up to my lips. I refused to drink it and kicked him in the knee. He stumbled back in pain dropping the cup of tea and having the content spill all over the floor and my lap.

“You’re supposed to do this the nice way.” He growled at me as he clutched his injured leg.

“Who said I was nice.” I growled.

He made a face at me and left with Penguine. They came back a few moments later with three other of their crew members and another cup of that tea. I was not going to drink it.

One of the men went behind me and held my mouth open, I struggled a little and bit him hard on the hand. He cried out and tried to pry his hand out of my mouth, but I had a firm grip. He gripped my hair to try to get me to release. But I would have much rather had his blood filling my mouth than whatever that tea was.

I finally let go of his hand and spit the blood that was in my mouth out at the one holding the cup of tea. He dropped it again, it spilt all over the floor.

“Captain gave us permission to use force if she wouldn’t take it this time.” One said.

They nodded as the one who had been holding the cup went over to the cabinets behind us and pulled something out. The others tried to hold me down. I struggled too much for them though. Eventually my chair fell backwards, breaking the wood causing it to break and splinter against my back. It didn’t stop my struggle though. When one of them came too close to holding me down firmly enough my leg shot up and the bottom of my boot connected with his face. He stumbled back and slumped against the wall when his back hit it.

“Can you not take care of one little girl?”

They all stopped and looked over to the door where Law was standing.

“She’s been struggling too much for-

I used part of the broken chair a weapon to hit one of them over the head with. My arms had been behind my back, but Killer had taught me how to dislocate and relocate them in an emergency, this was an emergency.

“What type of tea is this anyway?” Mykhayla asked the room despite the atmosphere, “Is it orange pico? Rose? Earl grey? It’s been driving me crazy!”

Using the moment of distraction I threw the piece of chair at Law, before it even hit him he wasn’t in the door way anymore he was behind me.

“You just can’t play nice, can you Torri-ya?” He asked, his breath hitting my neck as he spoke.

“Who said I was nice?” I repeated as I scanned over the room, there had to be a way out there just had to be.

Before he could say anything else, deja vu all over again, something rammed against the side of the ship/submarine.

“Captain! Captain!” I heard another voice coming down the hall, “The Kidd pirates are here!”

Law growled as he seized me by my hair and called back for one of his subordinate to grab Mykhayla. We were pulled through the submarine up to the deck.

“Long time no see, huh, Trafalgar?” Kidd asked as he looked down to the other man from the railing of our ship.

“Eustass-ya.” Law hissed, “What are you doing here?”

“Isn’t it obvious?” Kidd cackled, “To get my crew member back.”

“Thanks Kidd!” I hear Mykhayla yell behind me.

Law started to chuckle, “This proves it!” He called, and then pulled me closer to him, “You may not be a prophet or something like that, but you have purpose to Eustass-ya. I have to have you.”

I looked over at Kidd, noticed my chains were just regular metal, Mykhayla was wearing a metal studded belt.

“What’s the matter Torri?” Kidd questioned me, “Don’t you trust your captain?”

“I trust you!” I called to him and kicked Law as hard as I could in his knee, I heard him cry out in pain and a sickening crack echo in the air. I broke his knee. He let go of my hair and Mykhayla came running up to me. Kidd used his magnetic powers to pull us over back onto his ship, then Killer, who was at the helm, pushed forward causing the submarine to crash into a sea rock as the ship moved forward.

We left the heart pirates behind us, stuck on that rock. I watched from the railing as they were running around on the deck screaming for orders, and I could feel Law’s eyes boring into my soul.

I knew this wasn’t going to be the last time that we came across one another.

I was taken out of my daze by Kidd smacking me upside the head.

“What did he want?” He demanded leaning against the railing to look at me.

“He wanted to know who I was, and why you wanted me.”

“And you didn’t see this coming?” He hissed.

“I told you before Kidd,” I said to him as I pushed off the railing, “I can’t control what I find out, and how long in the future. You accepted it and took me on knowing this, there is always going to be things that are unexpected coming up, with life you just have to accept it.”

I turned and headed inside, I wanted a hot shower. It was only now that I was safe again did I realize just how bad I had hit my back and now that the adrenaline had faded it was all pain. Mykhayla could make us sandwiches for dinner, I was out for the night.