“Do you trust me?”
Jade looked back to this boy, his golden brown eyes sparkled with excitement but she wasn’t sure if she could, should trust that look. He stood on the ledge of his “window”, she wanted to look and see how high up they were, was he going to make her jump? The footsteps were getting louder and the boy looked insistent. With a deep breath, Jade grabbed his hand, he hauled her up to the ledge, his other arm around her waist to steady her.
“What about Fox?”
Alijah glanced at his dog, whose eyes were on them before barking and taking off down the stairs.
“He’ll find me. Always does.” They slipped out of the window just as the guards burst into the room. The big men always ransacked his place, looking for something that was never there, something to get him into trouble as usual. Everything he had, were things people threw away or didn’t miss. It was never enough for them but enough for Alijah.
Jade held tightly to his hand, it was warm, firm and steady. He knew what he was doing as he led her across the thin ledges of the old buildings. Alijah grabbed a hanging piece of fabric and tugged on it.
“Will that hold?” He shrugged. “You’re not sure?”
He turned to her with a grin but Jade was not impressed. Alijah’s grin never faltered.
“It’s better than making a jump for it right?” His fingers grabbed tight onto the fabric and he pushed himself off the ledge, his feet keeping him steady against the side of the building. “Come on, I’m right below you. Try not to fall.”
Jade watched Alijah make his way down the fabric. It wasn’t long enough. It didn’t touch the ground and she’d never done anything like this before. It was ludicrous… but he was doing it without problem. You wanted to be here. So be here. With a deep breath, the young princess followed suit. Her stomach dropped to her toes feeling her body fall from the ledge but she held tight to the fabric.
“Hold on tightly.” His voice said from below. “Don’t look down.”
“Stop talking!” She hissed. She heard light laughter reach her ears and for a second it sounded like the best thing in the world but she had to focus. Focus Jade! She felt hands against her legs.
“Let go, I have you.”
With a shiver of hesitation, Jade released the fabric and while Alijah did have her, his footing caused them to stumble backwards. Jade dug her feet into the dirt hoping to prevent the fall, but with Alijah tumbling backwards and his grip against her, they couldn’t stop. They hit the hard ground hard, Alijah released a pained grunt.
“I thought you said you had me.”
“I did have you, I just didn’t have myself.”
They sat up, Jade turned to face him, catching the light from the sun as it descended behind the buildings. It shone across his face, Jade couldn’t help but to blink owlishly at him. The sun browned his skin more, caused his eyes to flicker from golden brown to a deep golden green. It shocked her. Who was this boy? She could see his freckles. Where did he come from? She had to know.
“Can you stand?” She nodded, still a bit dumbfounded but allowed him to pull her to his feet. “They will have to go all the way around to get back here, by then we’ll be long gone.”
Alijah glanced at her for a moment, her hood had fallen in the escape, she didn’t seem to notice. She was beautiful and he stared. Her deep brown eyes watched him. They watched each other. Silence hung in the air before he reached up, her eyes hardened at the motion, but he pulled her hood forward to cover her face again before turning to lead the way.
They walked as the sun completely disappeared, washing the back alleys of the kingdom in long shadows. Alijah felt Jade grab his hand, he grinned and squeezed it. Today wasn’t such a bad day after all. They walked in silence, but the kingdom was abuzz with the sounds of night. Songs from crickets, laughter coming from children on the streets, sounds coming from candle lit windows… it was different from the quiet sounds of the palace.
Alijah paused in front of a building, he glanced around, and knocked. Jade stood quietly next to him, wanting to know where they were but she chewed her lip instead. She was naturally curious, now that she was out of the palace, her curiosity grew and it was killing her not asking but obviously he had his secrets.
“Where are we?” she whispered. She couldn’t help herself. He didn’t answer. Candle light flooded the side street as the door opened. A woman with long dark hair that fell in waves down her back stood before them, her grey eyes shifted between the two before a smile appeared on her face.
“Hey there handsome,” her eyes shifted to Jade, suspicion crossed her features.
“We need a place to hide for the night Maria. Can we stay here?”
The woman’s eyes never shifted from the young girl, who narrowed her eyes in return. Jade was never one to back away from a fight, especially one as brazen as this. Maria’s eyes glanced down to see Alijah’s hand entwined with this mysterious hooded figure but she moved aside to allow them in. Alijah pulled Jade in with him before releasing her hand and putting an arm around her waist. She tried to keep her reaction subdued but it hardly mattered, the surprise at his movements was quickly masked by what she saw.
There were scantily clad women in various areas of the room. The building was two stories, obvious by the stairs near the back. There were women in rooms covered by beautifully colored curtains, women dancing about, perfumes filled the air, it was warm and Jade’s eyes widened. Alijah paid no attention to the surroundings. He followed the woman in the impressive purple dress in front of them. However, the tightness of his arm around her waist showed her he was in fact paying attention.
“This is where I can put you for the night,” She led them into a room on the top floor near the back.
“Maria is this your bedroom?” Alijah asked finally releasing Jade’s waist. Jade’s stuttering heart began to slow to a normal pace. Maria turned towards the two, her hair whipping around.
“Just… stay quiet and do not touch anything.” Her eyes flickered to Alijah before turning back to the girl. She then swept out of the room.
“This a brothel.” Jade’s voice shook with surprise. Alijah pushed the curtains back against the windows, checking for the guards.
“This is a brothel. I had no idea we had these in the kingdom.” He released the curtains and turned to her. She spoke so strangely. Where does she come from? She willingly pulled her hood from her head, her hair all but released from the bow she used to try and contain it. Seeing the dark thick curls, Alijah had to turn away. Something about her was familiar but he could not put his finger on it. She didn’t belong here, the smoothness of her hands, the way her hair curled, the way she spoke and carried herself. This world wasn’t for her, it may suit her though.
“Yeah. I think you’re pretty naive to this whole thing.” He pushed away from the window.
“Obviously. But why are we here?” She carefully sat on the edge of the bed, mindful to not touch anything. Alijah tried no to laugh at her rigid movements.
“Maria looks out for me. When I was younger, some older boys beat me up for stealing from them-” She arched an eyebrow and he rolled his eyes “-it was a toy for Fox. But they didn’t like it so they beat me up. So Maria on her way back here, found me and fixed me back up. Simple.”
Just on cue, the door opened and Fox trotted into the room. Maria shook her head before closing the door once more. Alijah greeted his dog, Jade smiled but it faded at the uninterested look Fox gave her before jumping onto the bed and curling up.
“I don’t think he likes me.” Alijah shrugged and sat on the floor against the wall. He pulled his hair from his tie, it fell against his shoulders and Jade’s breath caught. There was something so sincere and genuine about this boy. Why couldn’t the suitors her parents wanted her to meet be like him?
“Fox is hard to please. It’s been just us for so long. We’ve never had to take care of anyone else.”
“You’re not taking care of me.”
“If you say so.”
He ran a hand through his dark brown hair and smiled at her. He was comfortable with her, but the nagging in the pit of stomach told him he would never see her again.
Okay, I feel like this one isn’t that good but I had an idea for my Aladdin thing and I went with it. But this is probably the last Aladdin piece I’m going to write since this is about to become an actual story.
By the way: I pictured Alijah to be Anthony Ramos (with the longer hair). Freckled face cutie.
Princess Jade is harder to find someone to represent her. But her hair is very much like this in terms of length and texture.