“You’ll stay with me tonight, and then tomorrow we’ll immerse you with the rest of the regulars. You’ll start your training as soon as we can get organized. Maybe even tomorrow.”
“Training?” I asked with a furrowed brow.
“To be a weather witch. You’ll need training. I’m sure you haven’t received any here?” she asked.
I shook my head, but my brow remained wrinkled.
“You do want to go with us, don’t you?” she asked.
I nodded. “Of course.” I cleared my throat because my voice seemed to be leaving me. “I just didn’t know what to expect.”
“Well, for now, let’s get some rest. The rest of the camp is quiet so it must be pretty late, and we’ll be getting an early start in the morning.” She motioned for me to get into the cot, and I shook my head.
“We can share the cot. We’ll be warmer that way. I won’t hurt you,” she added.
I nodded again and slowly got into the cot and curled up so that I took up as little space as possible. I watched her as she got undressed and crawled over me so that she was in the bed behind me. She didn’t concern herself with taking up space, she stretched out and wrapped herself around my body, and she felt warm and strong. I felt safe, and my muscles started to relax. I stretched out a little bit and allowed myself to be encircled by her strength.
“That’s better,” she whispered into my hair, which was still wet and must not have felt very good.
“My hair,” I said, and I pulled off the kerchief and then pulled the hair up off my neck and onto the top of my head so that it wouldn’t be in her face.
“Thanks,” I could hear the smile in her voice, and feel her warm breath on my neck. She took a deep breath and exhaled on my bare skin. “You smell like the rain,” she said.
“I can’t do much about that,” I said with my own smile, finding it easier to talk to her when I couldn’t see her.
She reached over me one last time to put out the lantern and darkness flooded the room. I could feel her heart beat against my back, and her warm breath on my neck, and I thought that I would never fall asleep. I’d never been so close to anyone before. This felt so good, so comfortable and safe, I wanted to stay awake and enjoy it.
“Will you sleep now?” she asked in the darkness, her voice tickling the tiny hairs on the back of my neck.
I had to clear my throat again. “Probably,” I said, “the rain sounds so soothing,” I made it up off the top of my head. I couldn’t tell her what I’d been thinking. That I’d never been held this way before. That I liked it and didn’t want it to end.“Good,” she said. “You’re so warm, I’ll probably be asleep in minutes,” she yawned and didn’t say anything else that night.