The book series that this story is based off of is Lisa T. Bergren’s River of Time Series which I highly suggest you read. The characters and all of that belong completely to her.
Sorry I took so long to get this piece posted. I’m working to get the next one up faster.
“So,” Luca said, steeling himself “what is that?” He pointed to the iPhone in my hand.
“This is my phone.” I explained. “It can do all sorts of things. Will you grab the light?”
“What?” Luca asked. “How?”
“Oh!” I realized that he’d never even flicked a light switch before. I got up and showed him how to do it, much to his astonishment. He tentatively reached out and moved the switch back and forth between on and off a few times.
“We should probably stop.” I said, laughing at his childlike wonder. “Most people are asleep.”
“Oh!” He immediately switched the light back off and plunged the apartment into darkness again. “Where did the lights come from?” He whispered in the darkness. I giggled under my breath and moved to turn on a smaller lamp beside the couch.
“It’s called electricity.” I said, gesturing for him to sit on the couch next to me. I don’t know how perfectly I’ll be able to explain all of this, but I think we should save it for the morning. It’s already almost midnight.” I looked up at him and remembered for the first time that he was wearing medieval clothing, and so was I. “We are going to have to buy you some clothes.” I said. “You would probably fit into some of my dad’s stuff, but he wasn’t …alive when we were here last. I have plenty of my clothes, so you might be able to wear one of my massive pajama shirts.” I was mostly thinking out loud at this point, but Luca was gawking at me.
“You want me to wear your clothes?” He asked incredulously.
“They used to be my dad’s.” I said in defense. “You can sleep in mom’s bed because you won’t want to sleep in the same room as me.”
“I’ll sleep on this.” Luca said, referencing the couch. “It wouldn’t be right to sleep in your mother’s bed.” I rolled my eyes. Chivalry is fabulous, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes Medieval chivalry is a little excessive.
“I’ll grab you a pillow and some blankets then.” I said. “Do you want anything to eat or drink?”
“Some bread and water would be nice.” He said. I grabbed him a glass of water and looked at our bread options. Fortunately, my mother was a bit of a fanatic for traditional Italian bread, so we had something that would be similar to what Luca was used to. I figured he’d had enough completely new things for the day.
“I’ll be right back.” I told him when I got him settled. My dad’s old Cubs t-shirt looked out of place on Luca, but it was the best I could do. As far as pants went, he was just going to have to wear the ridiculous leggings until we could find him a pair of shorts in the morning. “I’m going to go take a shower.” I smiled at the thought. I hadn’t had a shower in years.
“What is that?” Luca asked.
“It’s similar to a bath, but not quite. I’ll show you in the morning.” I was entirely too tired to explain more to him tonight, and I had the feeling he was too tired to understand any of it.
I reveled in the extraordinary feeling of warm water rushing down my face. This was the reason I’d missed this place so very much. The simple comforts that I had taken for granted were the things I really loved.
I must have been standing in the water for a long time, because I suddenly realized that Luca was shouting my name outside the door.
“Yes?” I said, shutting off the water.
“Evangelia!” Luca sounded panicked. “Are you alright in there?”
“Better than ever.” I said, smiling. “I’ll be out in just a minute, Luca. Don’t worry about me.” I dried off quickly and slipped into my pajamas, relishing the feel of leggings and a sweatshirt.
The instant I opened the bathroom door, Luca snatched me into a crushing hug.
“Don’t ever do that to me again.” He said, voice husky. I looked up to see tears on his face. I reached up to brush them away and he caught my wrist. “Promise me you won’t.” He said desperately.
“What did I do?” I asked. I didn’t think I’d done anything to frighten him. “Let’s sit down.” I said quickly, before he could begin. Luca looked like he could collapse at any minute.
“I feel so lost.” Luca said as we settled onto the couch. “You went in there, and all I could hear was running water. As if a river was sweeping you away. Then I yelled and you didn’t respond, so I worried that somehow you had been taken. And there were these noises in the walls, as if the river was gathering from there.”
“Oh Luca.” I sighed. I hated to worry him, but wasn’t this exactly why I’d brought him here? To see what it’s like to leave the familiar? “I forgot that you don’t know what a shower is. I was never in any danger, I just didn’t hear you yelling. I’m so sorry.” He wrapped an arm around my shoulders, and I could tell that beneath his scowl, he was extremely shaken up. He could take on five men in battle single-handedly and barely feel nervous, but this new world that he couldn’t understand was enough to make him cry like a child.
Suddenly, he shifted away from me on the couch.
“What are you wearing?” He asked, staring straight ahead, refusing to look at me.
“Leggings.” I said. “They’re pretty standard here.”
“Do women not care how very much they are revealing?” He asked, still not looking at me.
“What I’m wearing is downright modest for the 21st century.” I said, slightly miffed. I know he wasn’t used to girls wearing pants, but he didn’t need to act like I was prancing around in my bra. Even as I thought it, I felt a little self-conscious. I had worn full-length dresses for so long that the sight of my two legs did feel a little bit indecent. I sighed and grabbed a blanket, ignoring that I was sweltering.
“I’m sorry.” Luca said quietly. “I know you came here to see home again. I’m sorry” he repeated.
“Don’t be.” I said, laying a hand on his shoulder. “You don’t know any different. I was the same way when I first found myself in your world.”
“That’s why you wanted to come back.” He said, looking at me as if he finally understood. “Your family settled in, but you still felt lost without all this.” He gestured around the room. I nodded.
“Try to get some rest.” I said, getting off the couch. “We’ll have plenty of exploring to do tomorrow.”
“Evangelia.” Luca said softly.
“Thank you.” He rolled over and buried his face beneath a pillow. What on earth was he thanking me for? I shook my head, turned off the light, and went to bed. I barely had time to register how soft the bed felt before I was fast asleep.