This is my rough draft completely unedited. For a full explanation go to Part I.

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Today – Part XVI – Rough Draft

“Oh I uh…” Kael couldn’t think fast enough of a way to get out of it.

“I know, I wasn’t quite done talking to you either.” Jillian put her arm through Kael’s and practically pulled him down the path. He was hopped along beside her as she prattled on about thing that obviously nobody cared about. Until it finally occurred to him.

“Hey Jillian, Banny said he would meet me out by that big crooked oak tree. I’m going to just cut through the field. I would hate for you to have to walk alone, but I would hate even more for you to get your new dress dirty.”
Jillian pursed her lips vexedly an nodded, “I suppose you are right. You don’t have time to walk a lady home first?’

“Do you see a lady close by?” Is what Kael wanted to say but instead he replied, “I’m sorry I really don’t have much time. Just stopping to talk to you might mean I have to walk home in the dark. Don’t want to trip and fall of the island or anything.”

“Oh Kael the path to your house doesn’t go anywhere near the edge of the island.”

Kael heard the remark, but he had turned and was a good couple strides from her, so he acted as if he hadn’t. Maybe if he was lucky he wouldn’t have to see her again before he left on his adventure.

The shortcut through the cow pasture was not actually a short cut. Bannon was not actually waiting for Kael at the crooked oak tree. Wait a second Kael thought. He looked up in the branches and there the boy was. Sprawled out over a few branches snoozing gently.

Once Kael saw the lazy lout he called his friend he quietly snuck up underneath him. Finding a fallen branch from the tree he aimed it right for his right shoulder.

Kael shoved his shoulder hard and in his best deep authoritative voice he yelled, “Hey boy what do you think you are doing.” He got the desired result.

Bannon half climbed half fell out of the tree.

“I get a better vantage from up there si…” His words fell of as he saw it was. Bannon stood not much taller than Jillian, and was much shorter than Kael. His frame was thin and wiry, and he had a mop of black hair that he regularly battled to keep out of his eyes. His eyes are where the mystery lied. They were a steel grey and caught most people off guard when they first noticed them. Kael thought that was the reason he kept his hair so long. In those eyes you could see his intelligence, which he also tried to hide from most.
“What’d you want.” He acted angry but Kael knew better.

“I’ve got a proposition for you man. I would’ve been here sooner, but Jillian caught me, and I had to walk her halfway home before thinking of an excuse to find you.”
“Must be hard having to walk pretty girls home all the time.” Bannon prodded at Kael. Kael ignored it.

“Yes I guess she hard a run in with your mom, gave her a good tongue lashing if you believe how Jillian tells it.”

“Me mom’s always making dresses fer her. Has to deal with her every week or so. I doubt anybody got the better of her.” Bannon didn’t believe for a second anybody gave his mother too hard of a time.

Kael always had a soft spot for Bannon and his mother the seamstress. They came to town when Kael was just a boy. It seemed like they were trying to get away from something, Kael always assumed it was Bannon’s father. They never spoke of him and Kael never asked. They were all the town could gossip about for what seemed like and eternity.

That’s the thing about the townspeople they think they have no effect when they gossip about people but they do. They thought it never got back to who they were talking about but it always did in one way another. Even as a child Kael was disgusted by this behavior and set out to befriend the Boy that had come from afar with his mother.

Turns out Bannon wasn’t a bad mate. He kept his accent more out of spite Kael thought than anything else. He had lived on the island with Kael for most of his life.

“Well what’s your proposition, you want me hand in marriage. I’m sorry to tell you me heart belongs to another.” Bannon put both hands on his chest and leaned out looking of into the vastness of the sky. “Billy the blacksmith’s boy, he had me from the moment I first lay me eyes on him.”
Kael hit Bannon’s shoulder, “No man, I’m going on a trip and I was wondering if you wanted to be my mate on this voyage!”
“That’s the second time you hit me shoulder in the past 5 minutes,” Bannon was rubbing his shoulder eying Kael, “ Give it a rest!”

“Forget your shoulder, what do you say?”
“Sounds like you want me to accompany your to your house, is that the big voyage. Because I’m sure Jillian would take you up on that offer.”
“No man, I am going to travel the world over and see all the islands. You can be my right hand man. Your name will go down in history as the fellow who discovered all the islands.”

“Why would I want to do that?”

“What kind of question is that?” Kael was flabbergasted, “Why wouldn’t you want to do that.”

“I’ve already seen more of the world and I didn’t care for it.”

“You were like 8 how much could you possible have seen?” Kael pushed.

“Enough. Alright?” Bannon was not smiling.

Kael eased up. That was the one subject Kael never approached. Bannon was very sensitive about it.
“I’m going to Goya, to get myself a turtle.”

Bannon perked up at that. “A turtle huh? I wouldn’t mind having a turtle. It would make getting around this island a whole lot easier.”
“Forget this island, we could get around the world with a turtle!” Kael swung his arm wide as if he was gesturing to the world.

“Alright I’ll do it.”

“What?” Kael was taken aback by the sudden change.

“I said I’ll do it, isn’t that what you wanted.”
“No yeah that’s great!” Kael recovered.

“I’ve been caught napping one too many times by old man Sykes. He was probably going to let me go soon anyways.” Bannon didn’t seem to hurt by that.

“Great, that’s good timing then. Well I’ve got to get a couple things ready for travel still, but we’ll be out before spring festival.”

“Alright I’ll see what I can wrangle up.”

“Great it’s settled then I’ll see you in a few days and we can figure out how we are going to get there.”

Bannon nodded and looking at the sky and seeing what time it was he head back for the barn to close up for the night.

Kael wasted no time getting back to the path. Wouldn’t you know it right when his foot hit the worn dirt of the path back to the town center he heard a shrill voice.

“Kael, oh I’m so glad I caught you again, I was worried you would go a different way.” Jillian rushed towards him.

“I wish I had.” Kael grumbled to himself.

“What’s that dear?” Jillian perked up.

“Oh nothing, just saying I’m glad you caught me.” Kael said with a rictus of a smile.

“I was nattering on so much, that I forgot what I wanted to ask you before you ran off.”

Kael only nodded in the silence waiting for her to speak.

“Well she picked up again. As you know the spring festival is just around the corner.”

Another nod from Kael.

“And there is of course the big dance, and I was wondering if you would like to be my dance partner.”
Kael almost nodded again until he understood what she was asking. He just stared for a second before trying to formulate words. “Well, I, uh.”

“I know usually you boys ask us girls, but I just knew you would forget so I took matters into my own hands. So what do you say?”

Kael’s mouth was still open, then something occurred to him. Hadn’t he just told Bannon they could be gone before spring festival began. “Sounds great” He toothily grinned at her.

“Ooh perfect. I’ll have to go back an get a new dress made just for the occasion.”

“Yep, well I better get going it’s starting to get dark. See you at the festival!”

“You certainly will.” She quickly turned and headed back down the path towards her house.

Kael felt a sprig of guilt pop up at how excited she was. Oh she’ll forget about me he thought to himself.

The thoughts of his upcoming adventures inserted himself in his mind and he didn’t think once more about taking Jillian to the dance. He know knew his deadline though, before the dance at all costs.

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