If anyone would have been around to witness anything they had felt, anything they had shown, theirs would be some kind of tragic tale that would make a billion dollars in book sales and be made into a movie marketed to love-hungry teenagers. But there they were; alone, completely solitary in their sadness as they both seemed to realize fairly quickly that this was the end for them. It was ending quicker than it started.
Would their only claim to fame be a single kiss? A few stolen touches, a deep longing that never gets fulfilled because they would never be able to get enough of each other? It was pathetic, really, to feel completely crushed over something like this. But a truck may as well have run over Luke in that moment. That's what it felt like, anyway.
She was trembling, and he wanted nothing more than to comfort her. To take away that pain in her eyes no matter how much he felt the same. Maybe it was some kind of stereotypical male instinct, but he wanted to take care of her, and he would never get the chance to. Every factor that could be working against them, was, and the saddest part was that she didn't even realize all of them.
No one had ever asked him that before. He'd wondered about those walls of hers for the past day and a half, and they seemed to be crumbling. But he never would have asked her to tear them down if he would have known it would have brought this kind of sadness. Hold her? That was all he wanted to do. That wasn't the problem. The problem was eventually letting go.
His other arm wrapped around her, cheek pressed against her hair, and his eyes closed for a moment as if he wished for it hard enough, somehow something would freeze time and they could stay there. But no, there were no wishes to be had. She had a life to get back to. He...had less time in one, but a life all the same.
All Luke could do was hold her as close as possible, and that still wasn't close enough. He had practically drawn her body into his and he still craved her touch to be closer. "Will..." He shook his head a little, knowing there may come regret with his question, but there would be so much more if he didn't ask it. "Will you stay with me? Tonight?" He wasn't expecting anything. Hell, if she wanted to sit out there in his arms all night long he would have been the happiest man alive. He didn't want this to be it, though; to let her go and wake up in the morning to see she was gone. He wanted her to wake up in his arms on purpose.
Maybe that would be a mistake; every passing second was another opportunity to get more attached, to fall deeper into whatever this was. Her staying the night; the ability to stare into her eyes until they closed, Luke knew he was digging himself into a hole with that suggestion, because it was going to make it that much harder to let her go.
The Bleeding Rose
His arms felt like home. Words could not describe how badly she wanted to stay there, in that moment, just holding onto him. She breathed deeply, trying to match her heartbeat with his, feeling it thud against her cheek. For that moment, he was alive and real and solid. Soon he would be nothing but a memory. Soon this would be a scene she replayed over and over again in her mind.
How could she move on after this? She couldn't. She knew she'd never find someone like him, whose arms fit around her, whose voice calmed her, whose scent filled her up with nothing but joy and longing. He asked if she would stay with him and she nodded against his chest. Wasn't it obvious? She never wanted to leave him again. She never wanted to let him go. "Yes." she whispered into his sweater, every breath filling her up bringing her closer to the last one she would breathe. Well, she'd breathe plenty after they were apart...but they wouldn't matter. They wouldn't count. They were standing on the edge of a cliff together, both just waiting for her to jump.
They stayed like that for a while, before slowly sinking back down onto the blanket. They held each other in an embrace similar to the one they'd woken up in, and while going back into the tent would have been more logical, there was nothing logical about the situation. She felt as though her body was fused with his, as if they were one being instead of two. Would pulling away mean leaving a piece of her soul with him? If this was the pain she was feeling, just knowing she had to release him, what would it feel like when she really had to let go? He was holding on too. She wasn't just letting him go...she was pushing him away.
It killed her. It made her want to die there, in his arms. Close her eyes and never wake up, to die oblivious to the pain she would feel in leaving him. His breathing grew even, his body relaxed, and she shed silent tears, enjoying his warmth and inhaling his scent. It became unbearable, the suspense. She couldn't wait until morning, watch him watch her walk away, say goodbye. She couldn't. She couldn't live through that. And so, Lucy moved slowly and carefully, slipping out of his arms.
When she was free of his grip, kneeling beside him, watching his sleep, a wave of agony washed over her. She would never be in his arms again. Her hand clapped over her mouth, barely in time to muffle the horrible sob that escaped her. She could not leave. Surely, surely she could not leave. No, she could not leave him. One hand still over her mouth, Lucy lay down beside him again, careful not to touch, not to disturb. She studied his features, memorizing them. She would not have a picture. Her life would wear on, and she would have nothing but these memories to hold onto. Nothing but the way his face looked in the light of the dying flames.
Her father had dragged her to church on all of the major holidays, and while she'd never been diligent, she knew that she needed something bigger than herself in that moment. She needed a higher power to lift her off the ground, to give her some sort of strength. Lucy prayed, long and hard, begging for the strength to walk away. What other choice did she have? She wasn't good for him. She would try, oh, she would try so hard....but her visa would expire and things would fall apart, if they didn't before them. She drove everyone away. She always had.
"But I love you..." she whispered, more to herself than to him. It was such a loaded word, so filled with meaning. So intense and strong, so weighted, so strange on her lips. But it was true, wasn't it? This connection? What else could it be. "I love you." Could he hear it? In his sleep? In his dreams? Because she meant it. Boy, did she mean it. She stared at his face for a while longer, leaned in close, held onto his scent, and somehow found the strength to stand. Once she turned around, she did not turn back.
Lucy hardly remembered walking through the woods, or packing up her pathetic camp in the dark. She could hardly recall hiking back down to the small building where they handled reservations, calling a cab, or putting her back in it's trunk. What she did remember was the driver, asking her what on earth she was going leaving a camp site at three in the morning, and why her eyes were so swollen. She told him she'd had an allergic reaction. That she was fine, or would be once she got home and got some sleep. What she did remember was the sobs that wracked her frame in the back of that cab, and the pain in her chest that lingered. She had left him, yes. But she had never let go.
She was staying. What did that mean? A few more hours of the most peaceful sleep of his life? Maybe he should stay awake. They both should have, doing nothing but soaking in each other's company and trying to figure out how to relieve themselves of whatever tragic ending they saw. Nothing bad could happen now, right? He had her there, in his arms. All was right witht he world. There was that whole movie idea again, and it just wasn't true.
He did sleep; out there in the cold of night that didn't feel so cold with her laying against him. He relaxed. He more than relaxed, he could have practically evaporated with every worry in the world just fading away from his thoughts. He needed to let her go, he knew that. But he didn't know how. No one taught you those kinds of things, and he was beyond tempted to spill everything; tell her who he was, tell her she didn't have to go, tell her they could be together...tell her he was sick. No, none of that was fair. To either of them. And no sort of relationship could last if it was built on a lie. She wouldn't even be in the country for more than a couple months, and no sort of relationship could last if there was an ocean trying to stop it.
Outside or not, Luke couldn't remember the exact moment when he drifted off. Lucy was the ultimate comfort by just being there. He could feel her breathing slow as she relaxed along with him, but he had completely drifted off before he got a chance to say anything else. How could he not? Everything was peaceful, and peace wasn't exactly a state of mind he'd felt lately. It was hard to feel much of it when you were told you were dying.
Birds. Sunlight. Sunlight? It was too bright. But the realization that he was not inside the tent hit him along with the memory of last night, bringing that dream to life. But it hadn't been a dream, he had fallen asleep with the girl of his dreams in his arms. He had kissed her, and oh, he would remember that feeling for the rest of his life. He should have been content with it to die happily, but he was selfish, and wanted more.
Still, speaking of that girl who had fallen asleep in his arms; where...was she? Luke went from a slow, peaceful way to wake up to practically bolting up from the blanket. "No..." He mumbled to himself. She'd run away. When? How long ago? It was morning, and she'd warned him she would be gone...why didn't he listen? Why was he in such shock about it? Check his tent. Nothing. Where was her tent? Had he even ever seen it? Luke must have spent two hours walking around the campgrounds for miles, trying to find her tent. Nothing.
She was gone.
They had said the early symptoms wouldn't be that bad. Whoever wrote that down had obviously never experienced them. Two weeks had gone by, where Luke may as well already have been dead. He had no spark to his demeanor, no will to do any of his duties. No will to leave his bed, but that wasn't a luxury he was given since he was still expected to keep up appearances. His family had gone from a state of denial about his illness to urging him to get the proper treatments. What for? Skipping meals here and there because he wasn't hungry, aching in his joints, waking up in a feverish sweat. Those were more annoying little gnats that he would deal with in comparison to the hell he knew chemotherapy could be.
What reason did he have to fight, anyway? He didn't want to follow in his father's footsteps and have his life planned out for him, he didn't want to show the kind of weakness it took to 'get better' only to have it not work. He had no one to live for. He thought many times of going back to the valley, as if she would be there. The worst part was that he knew exactly where she was; at the University, and there was nothing he could do about that. No way he could go see her, because if he did, it would cause some kind of frenzy. Maybe she didn't want to see him, anyway. Maybe that was why she left the way she had. The amount of thoughts that had swirled through his head in 14 days was unreal.
It didn't help matters when a planned tour group of students was visiting the palace that day. It was an old Irish castle; the kind you see in your dreams when you think about what Ireland may have looked like in it's early years of civilization. There was a lot of history in the walls, and it wasn't uncommon for groups from young students to college-age courses to come by for different historical tours. Luke had always been told from the time he was a boy to just...stay clear of those groups. Don't cause trouble, don't let them see you. He was a sideshow attraction from the time he was born because of his last name and his bloodline. Truth be told, he had always been envious of them. He had been able to go to a 'normal' school as a child, but was quickly pulled from them after the kingdom went through a long period of threats. It would have been too easy for Luke to be a target in that, and so he'd been homeschooled with tutors for the majority of his life.
He'd always found a way to have his fun, though, sneaking into the groups with some kind of quickly put together disguise, asking ridiculous questions, posing as a guard within the castle. Simple thrills. And it was supposed to be no different with this group, as he watched from one of the upper balconies while they came into the castle. A mismatch of young men and women, a professor, and a hired hand from the palace to give them every last bit of historical information they would ever need.
And then the world stopped spinning.
It couldn't have been her. Fate didn't work that way. It was cruel, cold, didn't give you a break. Then again, maybe that was exactly what it was acting as now. Lucy. Her name hadn't left his tongue, and neither had the taste of her own. But what was he supposed to do? Swoop down and tell her he would do anything if they could be together? Steal her away so they could both go into hiding and forget about the rest of the world? She had a future ahead of her, and he did not. How was he supposed to take that away from her?
Last edited by mymarketradio; 05-01-2012 at 04:39 AM.
The Bleeding Rose
She tried to tell herself it wasn't real. She would sit for hours in front of her laptop, trying to write some paper who's topic she couldn't remember, his devilish smirk and those deep brown eyes the only thing she could see when she closed her eyes. And she would wrap her arms around herself, press her face into her knees, and say it over and over again. "It wasn't real...It wasn't real...." Believing shouldn't be so hard. It had been two days. No, less than that. No one else had witnessed it. She didn't know his last name, she didn't know where he lived, she didn't know his life story or what his favorite food was. He might as well be a dream, for her imagination could have conjured up more about him than she really knew.
But she'd looked into his eyes. She'd heard his laugh. She'd felt his arms around her, his lips on hers, even though it was only for a short time. It was enough to poison her. Maybe it was karma? For all the hearts she'd broken? She'd never imagined it could hurt so much. Lucy was not weak, she never had been. But he had infected her, invaded her mind, her soul, stolen her heart. She found herself crying more often than she would ever admit.
In the shower, between classes, while she sat alone in her dorm with no one in the world to talk to. Loneliness had never been a problem. Then again, she'd never had anyone she wanted to be around so badly. He haunted her dreams, laughing and smiling and holding her. Sometimes they kissed, sometimes they went even farther than that...but she always woke up, unable to remember exactly what he smelled like, unable to remember exactly the way his breath felt against her hair while her face was against his chest. And as the dream faded and reality set in, she would lose herself in the abyss, and cry until exhaustion won out.
His face was everywhere. The mind was an incredible thing, the way it could onto one image and project it onto all of man kind. Every random male her room mate dragged into their dorm held his face for a split second. Her heart would leap, or drop, or stop. She didn't really know. But her breath did catch, her spine did stiffen, and the face always morphed back into someone else's. Whenever someone enter a classroom late, laughed loudly, or simply walked close by. His face. Everywhere.
She was disgusted with herself. Her grades were slipping, food had no taste, her bed no comfort. Twice a TA had stopped her in the hall and ask if she was alright, laughing a little and saying something along the lines of 'You look like you've seen a ghost' or 'Looks like you've got one hell of a hangover'. She never could quite choke out a clever answer. Her wit, had he stolen that as well?
Part of her hated him. He should have insisted she stay, or asked for her phone number, or...something. Still, she wouldn't have given it to him. She'd made up her mind. Of course, it was the right choice. She would crush him, destroy him, and he was the first person who she cared for enough to spare. Giving him up was the right thing to do...so why did it feel so wrong? Why was it so incredibly difficult? Just to get through the day, just to put one foot in front of the other, brush her hair, her teeth, do her laundry, fix herself something she wouldn't want to eat. How could she be so tired, and yet, find sleep's warm embrace so difficult to slip into?
She'd signed up for the field trip before it all. A tour of the castle had seemed like a great idea at the time. She'd hardly gotten to see any of Ireland, and her parents were always bugging her for pictures. Of course, just her luck, when it was time to go she forgot her Camera. If the damn thing hadn't have cost money she would have skipped it altogether. Then again, the thought of sitting alone all day with nothing but Luke on her mind was nearly unbearable.
Luke. She couldn't even forget his name.
The place was incredible. It was old, hauntingly so, but the interior was fixed up so beautifully you felt as though you had traveled through time. Well, with some modern conveniences, but you get the idea. The tour guide droned on and on about history she tried desperately to listen to, desperate for anything to take her mind off Luke. Surely a day spent in a castle could push him out of her mind? No. Not even that. The beautiful paintings and furniture only reminded her of everything they would never see together. She was dressed for winter weather, a brown sweater dress and burgundy tights, couples with boots that covered her calves. She would never admit that she'd only chosen the sweater because it reminded her of the sweater he'd been wearing on their last night together. She would never admit that she'd been sleeping in his shirt, dirty as it was, though it had lost nearly all of his scent.
If she cared at all for him, that passion that he'd felt in a single kiss. That devotion that made you feel like you would die if you were ripped away from someone. If she felt that for even a second, he would destroy her. And not on purpose, but between who he was and the ghost he was sure to become, he would break her heart. And that was the last thing he wanted for her. The right thing to do would be to let her go, to let her find happiness with someone whether that be tomorrow or in ten years. Someone who could hold her until they were both old and gray. Someone who could provide for her whenever she needed anything. Someone to start a family with, and someone to be strong for her. Maybe he didn't feel many affects of his illness yet, but he knew he wasn't going to get any stronger anymore.
But there she was, she looked...incredible, even from where he stood. Amazingly, tragically beautiful in the dress she wore, and if that wasn't a draw to wander his hands over her, to pull her against him, nothing was. He had to be close to her, had to hear her voice, smell her hair, touch her. He had to feel that electricity he'd been lacking so much in the past few weeks that he felt like a drained battery. But how? How would he get to her without anyone noticing? What would he say? How would he say goodbye again?
None of it mattered, and his body betrayed his conscience by running up a few flights of stairs, completely winded and exhausted by the time he'd reached the top; a consequence that was new for him. Security headquarters was different from when his own father was younger. It was a moment of 21st century technology in an old fashioned castle, and those who saw it always commented on how out of place it was. Still, being a member of the royal family had it's perks, and barging in unannounced was one of them.
Two guards would look back at him momentarily, before letting him pass without a word so he could look at the rows of monitors throughout the castle, trying to find her again. There was the group, he'd seen a thousand of them in his lifetime.
But only one Lucy.
"That girl..." He pointed Lucy out clearly on the glass. "I need you to send someone to get her and bring her to..." To...to where? His room? No, he wouldn't get away with that. The basement? Sure, that wouldn't seem creepy. "The back garden, out by the pond. She..she dropped somethin' on the way in and I want to get it to her." It was a lame story, and he wasn't even sure they would buy it, but it wasn't their job to question anything he said. "Sir, we can get one of the men to give her back her..."
"No, no...I'd like to be the one to do it. She's obviously from the University, what better way to get in a bit of Brady family promotion?" His parents were always on him about not giving the family a good image. So helping some kind of damsel in distress who had lost an item he hadn't explained. That would convince the guards, right? A long pause seemed to suggest otherwise, before one burly man gave another a slight nod, before he buzzed in on his radio and repeated Luke's directions.
As if it were some sort of suspensful television program, Luke kept his eyes on the screens, watching as the tour group moved from room to room, screen to screen, until he saw one of the guards approach her. Could they tell his heart was beating out of his chest? He needed to get out of that room.
Dashing down, out of sight through a series of back hallways and private rooms, Luke could have run through that castle completely blind and still would have managed to find exactly what he was looking for or where he was going. Open and spacious as it was, the garden actually was one of the most solitary places on the land. His parents rarely went out there, tourists weren't allowed there, and really the only people who were able to enjoy it's beauty were the staff of the grounds crew and landscapers who kept it clean. It had always been a place of refuge for Luke, though. A place to clear his head, a place to breathe. A place he wanted to share with the woman he loved.
And he loved her, more than he thought his heart was capable of. Still, he kept his distance, kept his cover, and kept to himself; staying somewhat hidden in the different paths and walkways encompassed in shrubs and bushes and trees, and just keeping his eyes open. Maybe she wouldn't be happy to see him. Maybe she would run away all over again. After all, she'd left for a reason, and he should have respected that. Was he making a mistake by asking her to come out there? No. Being near her...hearing her voice. That couldn't have been a mistake.
Did he look okay? He ran a hand through his hair, and tugged at the fabric of his navy button-up shirt, that hugged against his frame for now, with the sleeves folded up on his forearms, and a pair of dark tan pants with dark brown shoes. A far cry from the jeans and t-shirt he was able to wear when they were camping, but he always had to look...well, like a Prince, when he was at home. A prince...he couldn't tell her. She would either laugh at him or be mad at him for lying. Who could he be? What could he tell her? He hadn't thought that far ahead, and his time was running out to do that.
The Bleeding Rose
They were listening to a story about some hundred year old tapestry when he approached her. "Miss?" she was in the back of the group, off on her own, making it easy to approach her. Lucy jumped a little, turning to see a middle aged man in a strange uniform. Oh, a security guard. She never could get used to the Irish uniforms. "Um, yes?" she whispered, wondering if she'd done something wrong. Did he think she'd stolen something? Guilt overwhelmed her, though she knew perfectly well she'd done nothing wrong.
"You dropped something."
She glanced down at her purse. "No, I haven't."
"You have. If you could just come with me for a moment?"
"It'll only take a moment."
"I'm really interested in this tapestry."
"I just need you to come with me for a moment."
"I haven't done anything wrong!"
"I didn't say you had. Like I said, you lost something. I'm just trying to return it."
"I haven't lost anything."
"Everything I walked in with is right here." she held up her purse. "I haven't lost anything."
"Miss, I insist."
"I. Haven't. Lost. Anything."
He gripped her arm and she tried to pull away, but he was leading her off down another hallway. "Let go of me!" The guide stopped for a moment, looking over at them curiously. The guard holding her arm gave some sort of hand signal and the man nodded, returning back to his dreary speech. Students glanced back in their direction, watching curiously, probably wondering if she was going to be arrested or strip searched. At least, that's what was going through her mind. Their watchful eyes were the only thing that kept her from trying to run.
It was humiliating, really, being dragged down the hall like some sort of criminal. "I haven't lost anything, I haven't done anything!" she kept repeating over and over, to which the man would calmly remind her that he was simply returning something she'd lost. When he wouldn't listen to that she tried "I am an American citizen!" but that didn't seem to slow his pace either. Apparently being an American didn't give her any special sort of rights. Who'd have thought?
As they were moving quickly down a long hallway, a row of large paintings caught her eye. Or rather, one of them. Those eyes, staring down at her. The clothes were all wrong of course, and the hair was far too tidy, but those eyes. She dug her heels into the ground, forcing the man to a stop. "Miss!" He begged tiredly. "I told you, I'm just trying to-,"
"Who is that?" Her voice sounded hoarse, thick, choked. She couldn't breathe.
"The Prince, miss. Come on love, I haven't got all day."
This time when he dragged her forward, she had no strength to protest. In fact, she couldn't feel her legs at all anymore. Sir Lucas Brady III was inscribed in a little gold plaque below the painting. Luke. It was Luke. Her Luke. The same Luke who had caught her swimming naked. The Luke who taught her how to fish, held her against his chest, promised he would never hurt her. The man she saw in that painting was not him. He was proper, poised, dutiful...along with stuck up, rich, and far too important to share a tent with a commoner. Luke, who'd bandaged up her knee and ran his fingers along her leg. No, her Luke was just...a guy. A man. He was just a person. He was just some normal, Irish person who'd gone camping in the woods. These two people could not co exist in her Luke. But then again, he wasn't really hers, was he?
She remembered it all now, the paper she'd written on Ireland as part of the exchange program. Pictures of a devilishly handsome, well dressed man with pretty girls on his arm. Stories of wild partying, binge drinking, crazy sex with room fulls of women. She'd never been one to believe tabloids...but then, she hadn't really had a reason to doubt them either. His sex life was not a part of her paper, but she remembered the way those magazines documented it as well as she remembered the names of his parents, and their parents, and all of the other crap she'd put in that essay.
The man led her outside into a breathtaking garden. But the color seemed to be drained from the world, the floral scent from the air, for she could not process the information she'd just received. Her mind was shutting down, body growing cold, legs barely managing to hold her upright. She was probably going into shock. Oh well, that didn't matter. None of it mattered, because now she knew the truth. He had probably used her. They could never be together. He'd tricked her with his charm and good looks, and she'd fallen hard because...because, well, she was an idiot.
Yet, that didn't seem right either. The way he'd held her, whispered to her, kissed her...it was all too...loving. Devoted. A sick joke, surely? But then, how come it had felt so real? When they rounded a corner and she saw him, her heart dropped. He was dressed wrong. Well, wrong for the person she knew him as. Clean shaven, hair combed, a deep blue button down shirt, slacks, shiny shoes. He looked like a million dollars. Ha! A million. No, he was worth much more than that.
Lucy's expression was of agony and horror...and longing. It was clear she wanted to run into his arms, but the hurt was evident as well. He had betrayed her. Why had he brought her here? Didn't he know that this would only hurt her more? Hurt the both of them. Or, was he past caring? Did he just want to flatter her? Hey, you landed a prince. You can go on to feel good about yourself. I hope your time in Ireland is very satisfying. No. It didn't work like that, not for her. She hated him, in that moment. Hated, loved, longed for....The guard released her arm and gave a curt bow to Luke. Or Lucas. She'd remembered his name, and it wasn't even his. The man eyes her nervously. "Miss." He said in a low voice. "It is customary to curtsy when presented to his royal highness."
"I am a fucking American."
The harsh tone of her words was enough to shut him up, and with a glance between the two of them, he turned and wandered back towards the castle. The castle! He lived in a castle. Who lived in a Castle? She wanted to kiss him. She wanted to punch him. She wanted to curl up in a bawl and sob in self pity. Instead she stared at him, breathing slightly ragged, feeling her heart ache. How many times had she dreamed of this? Now here she was, unable to touch him...but why? Her own pride? Or fear of rejection.
"What do you want Luke?" she whispered, letting the question hang in the air for a moment. "Or is it Lucas? Am I even allowed to call you by your first name?" she gave a laugh, void of humor, filled with agony. "Do you want me to be flattered? Am I supposed to be happy to see you? Did you forget that this isn't a fairy tale?" she swallowed the lump rising in her throat. "You just let me prattle on about myself, and...let me guess. You forgot? It didn't seem important? You didn't want me to feel inferior? Well I don't. I am disgusted by you." the words seemed hollow. She tried to mean them, tried so incredibly hard. "You should have told me. I work in government. Was I supposed to pick up on that? Was that some sort of clue? Maybe it's me, then. Maybe it's my fault. I guess I owe you an apology then? Or a thank you? What a privilege, to eat potatoes off of a paper plate with the heir to the throne. Wow. Thank you, Luke. You really made my whole trip worthwhile. Should I get your shirt back to you? Is that national property? Don't worry, I'll give it right back. The fact that the prince of Ireland caught me swimming naked is enough to provide me a lifetime of happiness."
She was dangerously close to crying, talking fast, leaving little to no time for him to get a word in. And yet, she demanded her original question again, as if he'd been making her wait. "What do you want, Luke?" Suddenly, the irony of it all his her like a ton of bricks. 'You've lost something', the man had told her. Well, maybe it wasn't something she was meant to find.
If he was left out there to his own devices for much longer, he would have worn a hole into the earth with as much as he was pacing back and forth. He shouldn't have called for her. Of course she would get suspicious, she might even just...refuse to come. The Lucy he'd come to know wasn't exactly timid in a lot of ways, after all. But no, he shouldn't have asked for her. She would walk through the palace, she would get angry that she was being dragged from her group, she...what was he going to say to her, again?
I found you. I missed you. I want to take you right in the middle of this garden...I love you. None of them sounded right, even though they were all...so true. But he was blank. Maybe he should have been the one to run away right then, and just...stay away. But he had tried that already, for two weeks, and it hadn't worked. Hell, at that point he liked to think that his occasional lack of appetite was from the disease, but he knew it was because of her. Nothing had a point without her, and maybe that was crazy. How could two days of each other do this to a grown man? But it had brought him to his knees.
Footsteps. And then...her. Closer up it was nearly impossible not to go to her. He'd wanted to rip her clothes off through the small television screen inside, so you could imagine how hard it was to keep his hands to himself when she was feet away. But the physical attraction aside, she made his heart beat so fast he wondered if it would just..give out, and stop working. What were the chances? Was this some kind of fate that he was destined to see her again? It couldn't have been. There were constant tours through the palace, and hers was just...one more.
His thoughts were interrupted by the guard's voice, though. Oh..so they weren't the only two people left on the face of the planet? With Lucy's...remark, Luke took a step toward the pair, shaking his head. "It's not necessary, Damien." Most embarrassing moment of the century. She knew. She found out. And after the guard had walked off, she didn't hesitate to let him know just how she felt about it. What did he want? Her. Simple. But that wasn't what she meant, and he struggled to find any other answer.
"I..." He started, though he was immediately cut off by one of the sharpest rants he'd ever heard. No, no, no...none of the things she was saying were true, but he could understand why she thought them...felt them. How could he have been such a fool? Why didn't he just tell her the truth from the start? Because she either wouldn't have believed him or would have treated him differently, that was why. But it had to be better than the lashing he was getting now. "Lucy, just.." Every word he tried to get in was immediately chopped off, and he deserved it. He deserved every last word, but that didn't mean it was easy to know that she felt that way for a second. He'd promised he wouldn't hurt her, and he'd managed to do it already. That had to be some kind of record or something.
"Damnit, will you shut up for a minute, woman?" His accent was thick, and he wasn't yelling at her to be degrading or disregarding what she said, but his head was spinning and he needed to clear it at least for a second. And in that split moment of clarity he found, with his eyes on her own, he took one last quick step toward her, grabbing her arms just above her elbows and kissing her; a hell of a lot harder than their first, with a hunger behind it he didn't realize he had. That was where his appetite had obviously gone. She may have hated him, and she may have had every right to, but he was still in love with her, and if kissing her was the last thing he ever got to do with her, even if it was the pre-requesite to a smack across the mouth, it would be worth it. "You.." His breath was short as he pulled away, his hands still on her. "I want you."
Just shaking his head, he forced himself to step away, running a hand through his hair as the slow pacing began again. "Look, I'm sorry I didn't explain. I should have, right away...but c'mon, would you have even believed me or thought I was completely crazy? And even if you did believe me, you wouldn't have treated me the same. I'm still me, Lucy."
The Bleeding Rose
His harsh words did shut her up. She was more surprised than startled. Surprised that he would still yell at her? Or should she have expected it? Weren't princes supposed to be royal bastards? His words were different, though. He wasn't just being an ass. He was being...Luke. He was treating her exactly like he'd treated her before, doing the only thing he could possibly do to shut her up. Shock her.
She was about to say something. Something along the lines of 'if you think I'm going to do what you tell me now, you're more psychotic than I thought'. Of course, those words never escaped, because Luke stepped forward and did the exact thing she'd been dying to do since she saw him. Those perfect lips were against hers in an instant, his grip on his arm almost painfully tight. It was rough, violent, angry. That didn't make it any less enjoyable.
Fireworks, sparks, sparks of light caused from the neurons in her brain being starved of oxygen. Whatever they were, they happened. Her stomach was in knots, her skin burned for his touch. He tasted good. What did she taste like? What had she eaten today? Coffee. She probably tasted like old coffee. And yet, she couldn't seem to care...probably because when he pulled away she got a lungful of that scent she'd been missing. It was like a drug.
Everything came rushing back. Everything she'd been craving was right there in front of her, gripping her arm, looking down at her and saying the words she'd been dying to hear. He wanted her. Lucy couldn't breathe. With her head spinning, she stumbled forward a step as he released her, unaware that she'd been leaning into him. Had she leaned into that kiss? She must have. It was so full of longing, so hungry, how could she not?
He was pacing frantically. Maybe she should try it? Maybe it would clear her head? No, she'd tried it before. Pacing never helped. And so, she did what she had always done when she was upset, or light headed, or utterly confused. She collapsed. Well, not in a completely literal sense of the word. She crouched low to the crouch until she found the pavement, sliding into a sitting position, elbows resting on her knees, hands in her hair. It wasn't exactly appropriate, to just sink to the ground in the middle of a conversation. Or, well, in the middle of the palace gardens with the prince pacing like a maniac nearby. Still, she couldn't seem to care.
She needed to think, needed to clear her head, needed to stop thinking of ways she could rush towards him and crush her lips against his once more. Lucy closed her eyes and took a deep breath, staring down at her burgundy tights while her mind wandered elsewhere. He was apologizing, trying to explain.
His words made sense. She wanted to believe them, to accept him, to pretend they fixed everything. She wanted the world to stop spinning, to be a different place where it was as simple as saying 'I want you to.' And she did. Oh, how badly she wanted him. Him. He was still him, she could tell. The simple act of yelling at her and kissing her roughly had proven that. But...that didn't change things. Did it? Maybe it did, but it didn't fix them. It only made everything that much more painful, that much harder to let go.
Her eyes moved up, fixing on him. Why did he have to look so....so good? That shirt was begging to be unbuttoned, and she longed to run her hand along his smooth jaw to feel the difference with the lack of stubble. Or maybe she wanted to run her lips along it, and run her fingers through his hair to put it back in that messy state it belonged. Her heart, her body, her soul ached for him. But...
"It doesn't matter." she finally said, sounding tired, dead, defeated. Her gaze turned back to the ground so she wouldn't have to see the pain in his eyes. She knew it was there, she could feel it building in her chest. "It..." her voice caught, humiliating and shameful. She swallowed the lump in her throat, trying to push forward. "It doesn't matter. None of it does. I'm only here for a few more months. You're...there's no way you'd be allowed a real relationship with me. Not one that could go anywhere. We have no future, Luke. And I can't..." dammit, why was it so hard to talk? What was it about him that made her cry so easily? She wasn't someone who cried, often or ever. So why was she fighting back the tears? "I can't be a fling. I want you, but I can't be a fling for you. So it doesn't matter..."
How he'd missed the feeling of her lips pressed to his own. There had been a time or two over the past couple weeks where he worried he had forgotten what it felt like. But that was impossible, he knew that deep down. He would never forget it. The slight friction of movement as her perfect mouth worked against his own, the softness of her bottom lip against his tongue, the feeling behind all of it that was a hell of a lot more than lust. He missed her kiss more than he had words for, which was probably exactly why he chose to go a different route...away from words.
But he couldn't just kiss her and expect everything to be okay. One thing she said was right; this wasn't some kind of fairytale. Even though...he was a Prince. That didn't make him charming, though, it made things worse. At the moment, it was ruining everything. He was apologizing for who he was, essentially, but that didn't mean he could change who he was.
His eyes followed her as she sank to the ground. Well, at least one of them could act out how they were feeling, because he felt about a foot tall right then, too. He didn't say anything else, though, just knowing that something was going to be taken the wrong way or he'd end up putting his foot in his mouth. For a yougn man who was supposed to be eloquent and poised, she had him completely tongue tied and blank.
What didn't matter? How they felt? How it hurt? How it killed? He wanted to understand, and part of him did. Lucy was being realistic, and smart, and she was trying to save them both a hell of a lot of agony for so many different reasons. She was completely reasonable, and he wasn't. Why did she have to be right about everything? It made him feel like a fool, facing reality. He didn't want to do it. He was going to have enough 'reality' to face ove the next year, anyway. And she only had a few months left there...where would he be in a few months? He had no way of knowing how quickly his...condition could compromise his health. Especially if he wasn't going to follow any treatment plan.
But living in the now, even, kept them apart. He had obligations that were centuries old, and it wasn't like he was asking her to marry him, but ultimately he was supposed to end up with someone of stature. And even then, surely not an American. Luke wouldn't live to see the throne, so he didn't see why that mattered. But was that selfish? It didn't seem fair to Lucy, when he thought about it that way. None of it did. Ultimately, no matter what he did...even if he broke every last rule and denounced his title. Even if she stayed there or he went to America or they tried every last thing to make a relationship between them work...it wouldn't. Because Luke didn't have the time.
But there he was, kneeling down in front of her. He may have been polished, but he was the same guy she'd met in the valley, and he wasn't exactly gentle in most aspects of life, but seeing her that way, and hearing those words...it killed him. "You would never be a fling, Lucy..." His words were quieter, an attempt at comfort, but he couldn't find it for himself, let alone give it to her. She wanted him too. She admitted it right then and there. That was what made it worse. Maybe it would have been easier if she screamed at him and told him she hated him and never wanted to see him again. But she wanted him.
"I don't...I don't want you to disappear. These past couple weeks have been hell and I just...I want to be with you. Can't that be enough? Can't we deal with all the other bullshit when it comes up?"
The Bleeding Rose
He was on his knees in front of her. How easy it would be, to lean forward and press her face into his chest, let her arms wrap around his torso, her body molding to his. She wanted to so badly, to let him hold her and make promises he couldn't keep. Hadn't she been dreaming of a moment like this? Just one more chance to see him, to touch him, to breathe him in, to hold on and never let go. Well, here it was. He promised she wouldn't be a fling, begged to be with her, saying all the right words. But they were diplomatic, in a sense that he was just putting a nice spin on the harshness of reality. Lucy felt her heart break for the second time, eyes staring into his, full of hurt and longing.
That kiss, rough and desperate, could not be their last. She pushed herself up onto her knees, leaning her body against his, taking his face in her hands. He was so solid, so warm, chest expanding and contracting as he breathed with her. One last time. Just one last time. She leaned in and kissed him, letting her tongue trail briefly along his bottom lip. His face was soft and smooth under her hands, and there was no stubble on his chin to scrape against hers. There was something wrong though, in that kiss. It would notice it as she pulled back, still holding his face in her hands, eyes staring straight into his.
"Luke," she told him, speaking softly, carefully, as if she were breaking some sort of horrible news. Lucy shook her head, just slightly, the tears finally spilling over and rolling down her cheeks. "That is the very definition of a fling." Her hands moved from his face to his shoulders, and she pushed herself up onto her feet, stepping away from him, slipping out of his arms as quickly as she'd fallen into them. She wiped at her face hastily, as if the tears were burning her skin. He would no doubt notice that she would not meet his eyes, crossing her arms over herself defensively as she backed away.
"Don't try to find me again. You'll only make it harder."
And with that she turned, walking back out of the garden at a brisk pace. She was sure that if she didn't get away from him soon she may never be able to leave. Had it been worth it? A few minutes together to fight, kiss, and fail...and now she was back to wear she started. Broken, alone, wishing for him...wishing he'd chase after her. But it would end the same way, with one of them walking away.
She could not settle. She could not be a short romance, captured in the tabloids, forgotten when he married someone with a title and the proper accent. It was horrible, the grief that overwhelmed her. In a way she was back at the beginning, but then...had she ever really healed? No. No, she hadn't. Maybe she never would. How could you get over someone like that? Someone you were sure about, who you knew you'd never be whole without. Someone you could not have.
She stopped the tears just in time to ask a security guard to help her find her group. They were talking about a large, carved table that had been hand crafted by...someone. Someone important ate at it, someone important had probably spilled beer on it at one point or another. The history was less magical now, the rooms lacking the heir of mystery. Everywhere she went, all she could see was Luke, the full extent of what she'd left on his knees out in that garden. It wasn't a fairy tale, though it had all the proper elements. The problem was in the story line, in the setting. It could not work. Horrible, considering how desperately she wanted his too. She could still taste him on her lips as they boarded the bus, smell him on her clothes as she walked back to her dorm. Lucy stood under a hot shower for what seemed like hours, but she could not wash away the feel of his fingers, nor the pain in her chest. And after scrubbing and scrubbing, she climbed into bed and found she could not sleep until she pulled that dirty, giant t shirt over her head. She'd never be able to sleep without him, not really. Nothing could count as sleep after what she'd experienced in his arms.