Everly's Walk: Part Three

Everly Carrigan built Carrigan House from the ground. Each stone set was there because she’d pointed, drawn, demanded, or placed it herself. Back then, she was known around and about for her wild hair. It was perhaps the only red thing on the entire coast. Until Caspian Blythe-Cameron showed up down the shore and ordered his townspeople to paint their cottages in lively colors (that would later fade to blinding white beneath the sun that somehow only shone on Blythe’s part of the coast) and to whitewash the stones and streets. 
Everly Carrigan hated that smug Caspian Blythe-Cameron with all of her red, beating heart. She would never order her townspeople to do something so foolish as paint, not when she’d already hauled most of them out by their ears and wallets and forced them to live the seaside life. Apart from the tug boat captains and crew (some of whom preferred to live elsewhere, though certainly not in Blythe-by-the-Sea), Everly’s townspeople tended to be business types, accountants and money-making people that Everly didn’t really think she needed in the first place.
Later down the line, when the tug boat industry wobbled, many of those business types left, but a whole crowd of artists and writers and historians and scientists had been drawn out by Everly’s lovely library and legendary wit, intermingling silently with the crowd so that no one saw them come and no one expected them to go. 
(These people even brought with them the famous Carrigan Coastal Circus, a magnificent tent in brilliant colors that sat on the water. Beneath it one could find all manner of wares, entertainment, and even a rather rare and delicate carousel. This was in the prime days of Everly’s Walk, of course, after Everly had died but far before Alice and Araby were born.)
Everly herself, though she never missed a detail, was far too preoccupied with building her home and thwarting that dastardly Caspian Blythe-Cameron to care overmuch that some new people had snuck into their midst. Besides, these people tended to be the only ones of actual interest for Everly to talk to. Apart from Caspian. He was irritatingly quirky.
So irritatingly quirky, in fact, that Everly fell in love with him. Not before he fell in love with her though, she was quick to point out. 
It started out quietly enough, a not-quite-built-house call to judge with his twinkling eyes, an unfortunate run in at the home of some mutually-hired contractor types, perhaps a verbal sparring match over dinner on the edge of Carrigan Cliff--it would have been rude not to invite him to dinner after she’d yelled at him all day. 
Then there were the letters. Nothing more than insults wrapped in romanticisms, they told themselves. But it was true when Caspian said he loved her hair and her hands. Everly had wonderful hands, simply made for pointing and gesticulating.
And it was true when she said she didn’t hate his suits. That it had actually been a lie when she’d shouted that after him down her drive. She also said that she liked his sarcasm, his smirk, his wandering hands. But those were, of course, lies designed to outwit the enemy.
Everly spent a beautiful day with that enemy in the place where the circus tent would be built. He’d forced--literally forced, she would never go quietly--Everly to take a day from building and planning and business-ing. She’d never have admitted that it felt nice to have his steadying hands on her waste as she rode the carousel horse. (Caspian had brought one of his prized carousels from France where he kept them at his mother’s house. It was pink and gold and mint and horrible. Only that was wrong because it was beautiful.) Except she did admit it, in a whisper, with a look from beneath heavy lashes. She didn’t need steadying, naturally; she was an accomplished rider. Caspian knew this because he’d watched her gallop across the scrubby plains on the cliff tops. He’d hated the way the wind sought to unclothe her, flung her curls to the sky, of course. He’d been annoyed by the way she was so sure and confident, so gentle and kind to the beast.
So no, she didn’t need steadying. Except when she did, when she was tipsy on star champagne drunk at dinner in a town where no one knew that she and Caspian hated each other and so they’d probably thought them a couple, and she teetered down the way to her house. The walkway was a narrow, stone bridge that held Carrigan Cliff--which was really more a tower of rock--to the mainland, barely wide enough for a carriage to cross. 
When Caspian Blythe-Cameron told her that he’d hate to see her fall from that death trap, it was true. But only in as much as it was a slight to her poor planning of where to live. Nothing more. Because she annoyed him.
And she swore that she would fall, if only to bother him then. Because he was too quirky and sweet and smart for her to like.

Comment and critiques are welcome.


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