Part 6 - Scolding
The morning sky dawned grayish as it was common during Spring time, but still the white light pouring from the windows was enough to wake him up.
For a split second he wished he could just turn to the other side and go back to sleep. The day ahead of him promised nothing but boring and dull moments, all of which he could very well do without. But, as soon as he moved, a small hand slid over his chest and a mumbling protest reached his ears. With eyes suddenly wide open he peered down at the girl sleeping beside him and couldn't help smile.
She really looked like a little girl, her small body fitting perfectly under his arm. She slept turned his way, her knees bent, the soft skin of her legs pressed against his waist. Her expression was calm and peaceful, just like her rhythmic breathing, and her small pink lips were parted, golden eyelashes casting soft shadows on her cheeks. Propping himself on his elbow he watched her from above and gently held a blond curl that had fallen over her face, like so many others spread over his pillow. He'd seen her sleep before, but never from up close ... And he knew that he could watch her forever, if only the world would allow him to do so.
The sound of steps outside his bedroom quickly pulled him back to reality and he slowly got up, trying not to wake her up, practically running to the door. He opened it right in time, since Elipson was about to knock, and smiled, filling the frame of the doorway with his own body.
"Oh ... I see you're awake," she noticed with a suspicious look.
"Yeah ... Could hear you from miles away," he joked. "Was about to get dress. Are you all right to be walking around like that?" he asked and she frowned.
"I'm here, am I not? Elian, what's wrong?" she asked and he gave her another smile.
"Nothing wrong. Why?"
"Hum ... Well, I need to talk to you about that boy ..."
"Later, okay?" He knew he had been too hasty in his answer when she looked at him sideways.
"Hell, you're hiding something from me and I know it! I know you too well and you suck at lying!"
"It's nothing! It's just that ..." he started explaining but Elipson didn't wait any longer and unceremoniously pushed him aside, storming into the room.
"Ah!" she gasped as soon as she noticed someone else on his bed and turned to face him, her gray eyes glistening maliciously. "So very sorry ... You could have told me you had company," she whispered and Elian sighed in exasperation taking a hand to his face.
"It's not what you're thinking ..."
"Oh ... really?" she retorted amused with his embarrass, and strode back to the door. "I'd already wondered when you'd get some female company to warm you bed ..."
"Elipson! Stop it!" he scolded her and his sudden outburst made Allana mumble a protest and turn the other way.
He sighed again as Elipson's eyes widened the moment she recognized her, and her light amusement quickly turned into a dark frown.
"We do need to talk!"
"That's why I told you it's not what you're thinking ..." he still tried to explain but she refused to listen.
"Not here! I don't want her to see me here, should she wake up. It would make her uncomfortable," she added and stormed out the room and down the corridor.
Elian sighed for the third time. And so his hellish day had started and not even breakfast could be saved.
However, as soon as he turned back, he couldn't help but smile. Allana was still sleeping, his soft blanket wrapped around her waist, her naked legs almost dangling out of bed. At least his awakening had been perfect.
Gently closing the door he turned to follow Elipson who was storming down the corridor. He saw her turn and disappear behind another door and stopped for a moment taking a deep breath for courage's sake. Facing Elipson's anger was never an easy task.
When he finally reached the dining room she'd chosen as his place of torture the Black Lady was already sitting at a table, her booted feet resting on the free chair beside her as she calmly poored tea into a delicate hand painted cup. Free to wander the palace as she pleased, a privilege only granted to her amongst his Knights, Elian knew that wherever she chose to have her meals no one else would dare enter. Disdain, envy and disgust were among the reasons, but mainly other people were simply too afraid of her; all of which she gladly accepted as long as it meant that they'd leave her alone, allowing her to do as she pleased.
Elian walked up to the table and took a red apple from the fruits' basket, biting into its sweet pulp.
"So?" he asked since she kept ignoring him. "I'm all ears."
"I only have one thing to tell you. Hurt her and Mithir will know no more heirs," she told him and he couldn't help but laugh, although he knew all too well she wasn't joking and that that had been a very real threat.
"That's it? A death threat?"
"No. But I'll certainly make sure you'll miss some of your lower parts."
He shuddered as he understood what she meant and pushed her feet from the chair to sit by her side.
"Really, Elipson. You're such a savage!"
"And I am not joking!" she retorted, facing him with a severe expression, and he sighed.
"I told you already. It's not what you think! She's just a child!"
"Again with that! I could say the same about you!"
"And she's my cousin!"
"Just stop it, Elian! You can keep on spouting arguments all you want. And yes, she's practically a child. And yes, she is your cousin. But above all, you're in love with her!"
"What?!" he demanded in disbelief and she calmly sipped her tea.
"You can also deny that, if it makes you feel better. But that's the truth and anyone can see it. You've been in love with her ever since you were a child! And now she's right there, within your reach. But don't forget that she doesn't know you like you know her. She met you for the first time just the other day. And she's in a very hard, very painful place."
"Are you saying I'm taking advantage of her?" he asked, frowning, and she calmly faced him.
"Aren't you?" he averted his gaze but she went on, merciless. "When I look at her all I see is a childish little girl, filled with bitter memories. A girl that lost all she knew and that's desperately looking for some kind of security, a safe place where she can heal her wounds, so she'll be able to stand on her own two feet again. Sure she has amazing resilience and strength but, in her current state, she's far from being able to resist someone like you," he seemed even more displeased with her words but, even so, she didn't spare him. "You're no child. And your kindness and easy going personality makes everyone think that you're some kind of innocent boy. Which you are not, as we both know. So, just take a hand to your heart and ask yourself if you're doing the right thing by her. So that she won't get hurt, latter on. And so you won't have to suffer the pain of having hurt the one you love," she added and, placing her empty cup on the table, stood up ready to leave.
"Wait!" she stopped by the door, turning to look at him, and saw him take a deep breath. "You said you had other things to discuss with me."
"Yes. But I imagine you had enough of me for the time being. So ..."
"You know I never get enough of you, especially for sharing your mind with me, even when I don't like what I hear ..." he confessed and she couldn't help but smile. She loved him for that, for his honesty and for his courage to always face the truth, no matter how hard it might be.
She walked back to him and hugged him from behind, her arms around his neck as she placed a soft kiss on top of his head.
"I'm really sorry ... You know I hate to make you sad ..."
He nodded and held her arms in place.
"I know ... And you know better than anyone how I need you to always be truthful with me." Because no one else was, everyone too worried about pleasing him or gaining his favors.
"I'm just telling you to take it easy, Elian. To grant her the time to find her own feelings. Don't push yours onto her," he nodded once again and held her hand, pulling her back to her chair.
"And so? What else did you have to tell me?"