Daily Prompt: Luck
Previous Installment: Mr. Dump I
“Of course, I made it.” Enfoe cleared his throat, “I’d never miss a… date with you, Karana.” He still had trouble calling it a date despite her insistence last time. Enfoe knew she was too good for him, but for some reason she continued to go out with him.
Karana graced him with a smile. “What would you like to eat this evening?”
Enfoe shrugged. “Honestly, I don’t care.”
“Okay,” Karana said, inserting her arm in the crook of Enfoe’s, “We can do that one rice place I like.”
Anything would be fine with him, he only wanted to be with her.
The two of them walked down the aisles of the market, browsing all the eatery options until they came across the stall that sold ‘Secret Rice’. They ordered two servings to-go.
“Your place?” Karana asked. She had done the same over the last few times, but he had turned her down – his place was always a mess.
“If you promise not to judge… I haven’t had a chance to clean with all the headaches those munchkins give me.” Enfoe rubbed his temple just thinking about teaching.
“No judgment from me,” she assured him. A genuine smile from Karana led him to believe she was telling the truth.
Enfoe led the way back through the stalls, trying to minimize the dust he kicked up on and around her. About halfway to his house, she noticed his conscious effort and broke out into a fit of laughter. “Enfoe, you don’t have to walk like a penguin to avoid getting me dirty! I’ve lived in Ikalga my whole life – I know dirt is a part of life,” she winked.
No matter how many times she told him something, he always had trouble believing it. He modified his walk to only halfway resemble a penguin, his hands still shaking every time dust came near her. He wiped his palms on his already dirty work pants, relieved that they had arrived at his house. At least until he remembered it was a pigpen.
As they walked into the house, his armpits joined his hands in producing a torrential amount of sweat, but Karana hadn’t run away yet. Enfoe cleared the table with a quick and sat down. “Oh! Would you like something to drink?”
“It’s not necessary, I wouldn’t want to drink from your rations,” she said.
He got up, bringing her a cup of water anyway. He would never confess, but he kept some extra saved away just for this very occasion. “A beautiful soul such as yourself shouldn’t go thirsty,” he said, as the cup almost slipped through his wet palms. She smiled in response before sipping the water.
“Tell me, Enfoe, what’s your dream? What keeps you going through these dry, neverending days?” Karana reached over and ran her hand over his forearm.
Enfoe hesitated, “I don’t know.”
Karana feigned a stern look, “Everyone has dreams.”
Enfoe fidgeted in his seat, “I feel we don’t educate our children to the extent that we could, not even addressing that half the children of Ikalga don’t get schooling…”
“Forgive my ignorance, but why not?”
Enfoe straightened up, “It’s a game of favorites, whoever provides the headmaster with gifts is admitted – it’s a poor system. He’s supposed to be using donations to better the school, but instead, he takes cloaks and exotic fruits imported from Rayte home.”
“Start your own school, Enfoe,” Karana suggested, “Take items that would benefit the school.”
“I can’t. I mean, I’d want to educate all the children, but…”
“What?” Karana leaned in.
Enfoe didn’t want to bring up his eternal sadness. No matter what he did, it still lingered. No matter what good events happened to him, it never went away. “Nevermind.”
Karana stood and quickly approached Enfoe. She sat on his lap and ran a finger down his neck. Enfoe’s eyes snapped open. “Let me help. At the very least, you can get it off your chest.” She placed her palm on his chest.
“I can’t overcome this black cloud that holds me in a perpetual state of apathy. I’m easily annoyed among other things, I could go on forever…” Enfoe brought his chin down in an attempt to look at the floor. Karana didn’t let him, holding his face up in her hands.
“As I’ve said tonight, and many nights before, let me support you. You don’t have to go at it alone.” Karana stood up and pulled his arm, “Come on, you’re tense. When was your last massage?” Enfoe allowed himself to be dragged into his bedroom.
“How are you feeling?” Karana asked.
The only response was Enfoe’s continued breathing. Karana giggled.
“I’ve been waiting for a long time to get those teacher stained pants off of you,” Karana said softly.
Enfoe was glad the sun had begun to set and the darkness was enveloping the warmth flooding to his cheeks. “Really?”
“Yes, silly.” Karana’s hand slid down Enfoe’s bare chest. Goosebumps along his arms made themselves known. “Why do you seem so surprised?”
“Because,” Enfoe said, sitting up, “Look at you!”
Karana’s musical giggle filled the air once again. “You underestimate yourself, Enfoe. You’re one of the most intelligent men in Ikalga. Sure, sometimes you might be down or grumpy, but that’s a part of life. Some are affected by it worse than others, but that’s no fault of your own. Maybe you just need some Karana every now and then.”
Enfoe glanced at her and saw her smile, dimly lit by the setting sun. He laid back down with a grin of his own.
A small knock sounded through the air.
“Did someone just knock?” Enfoe turned to Karana.
“I didn’t hear anything, but my senses might be a bit out of sync after your performance…”
Enfoe had to save thinking about that compliment for later or he’d forget to check the door. “I’ll be right back.”
He stumbled out of bed in the near darkness and threw on a shirt. Who could it be at this hour? Any sane person would have been long in their house, away from the unpredictable patrols.
Enfoe reached the door and cracked it open. He gasped, opening the door wide. He hadn’t seen this girl in years. Was it her? He couldn’t remember her name. “For Rayon’s sake child…” he hears his mouth utter. A primal noise came from a few streets down. Why was this girl out at this hour? And where had she been all these years after dropping out?
The girl glanced quickly toward the noise and looked back at Enfoe, begging to be let in. He blinked to clear his mind of questions. Enfoe reached out and gently tugged the girl inside, shutting the door quickly before a patrol beast rounded the corner.
The two just stood, staring at each other.
“Enfoe, was someone there?” Karana asked from the bedroom. The one night he had Karana over… Of all the lonely nights…
Enfoe shook his head and led the girl to the kitchen. “One second, Karana I’ll be right there.” He sat the girl at the table and asked if she was hungry. She nodded with quick enthusiasm.
Turning to his cabinets, he looked through them for anything for the girl to eat. Enfoe cursed himself for not buying anything beyond tonight from the market. In the second cabinet, he found some assorted berries. “Do you like berries?” The girl turned her head like a confused puppy. Enfoe pulled the container out, briefly washing them before putting them in front of the girl. She looked to them and then to Enfoe. “Go ahead,” he said, pushing the bowl toward her. She tentatively plucked one from the bowl and bit into it, eagerly throwing the other half into her mouth soon after. She fervently dug into the bowl with a wide, berry-stained smile.