Started: 03 July 2002
Finished: 07 July 2002
Revised: 27 March 2014
They had only known each other for several weeks, and hadn't even met until that day, yet he already was in love with her although he couldn't tell her, couldn't let her know how he felt, after all, she was happily dating someone she had known for several years. He didn't have a chance for anything but a nice, long friendship, and yet, as she sat there looking at the fire, he almost couldn't stop himself from brushing a stray strand of hair from her face, from placing his hand under chin and turning her so he could look her in the eyes, so he could kiss her. He almost couldn't stop himself, but he did. He almost died when he touched her shoulder, her soft, sensual shoulder, hidden beneath a beautiful shirt. The touch lasted but an instant, having removed his hand almost as soon as he touched her. His nerves nearly shot to hell. As the thunder rolled and the rains came, he cleared off the bed in the guest room so she could rest before she had to leave. It hadn't been her intention to stay the night, but he didn't want her to take a chance in the weather. The black layers of air and moisture were the result of summer weather. Unpredictable, dangerous, yet beautiful, as they kept his guest there a little longer. Kept her near him. He shook his head as he closed the door to her room, trying to rid himself of those thoughts that would get him in trouble. Trying to get rid of those feelings that he thought he could never express. As he walked into his room, he realized he wasn't tired. He couldn't sleep. He had too much on his mind. He only locked the door to his room, turned on a light, and sat down in front of his work area.
He pulled out his deck of cards and began playing a form of solitaire called free cell. Having been taught the game by his mother, he found that it was a good way to keep ones mind off of everything else as you thought about your move, sometimes 5 cards ahead. Tonight though it wasn't doing its job. It wasn't keeping his mind off what he needed it to as he fidgeted and finally put the cards away after an hour. It was early morning and he knew she would be leaving soon. He had already copied several pieces of music to spare scrolls so she had something to remember him by until their next meeting, if there was going to be one. Finding that he could not stop thinking about her, he pulled out his drawing tools and began to draw something, anything, but everything he did reminded him of her. Whose voice was as an angel's choir, soft, soothing and sweet to the ears. Whose features would have made Venus jealous, whose caring soul would cause even saints to weep. Whose heart was already taken by another, handsomer suitor. Someone she had known for years, as compared to the months she had known him. It was torturous hell, yet he couldn't stop thinking of her, how she made him feel, how he could never fully express his feelings to her, how he would never tell her just how much he loved her. How she made his heart leap with joy and break into a million pieces at the same time. He wouldn't tell her either, for it wasn't his destiny to be with her. The gods having tuned his strings some more as they continued to play him like a fiddle. He would not know the sweet taste of her beauteous lips, the touch of those soft, supple fingers. He would never know what it was like to wake up next to her, to just watch her sleep. She was only about a day away by horse, she might as well have been living on the far side of the moon as far as he was concerned. She was out of reach, unattainable, and maybe, just maybe, that's what attracted him to her. Or maybe it was her compassionate soul, her caring words that were brought to him every day by messenger.
He hasn't forgotten what it was that he felt, still feels, for Lunae and Kealowa, but he was cursed with a big heart, capable of so much love, so much so that he found himself constantly getting himself into a situation where he would find a beautiful soul, a wonderful person, only to find out they were already taken, already in love with someone else. And curse him if he would not cross that line. His own morals that he held in high esteem, that he had broken on occasion on the rare hope that he was doing the right thing by making himself happy, only to have it taken away at the drop of a hat. He would not forget the lady of his desires. He would not forget her because he knew that they would always be friends, no matter how he felt, he would not take away his friendship. He had done that before and he promised that he would never do it again. He had enough of causing others pain. He would suffer silently, knowing that he had two friends, having made friends of both her and her suitor without even knowing that they were indeed a couple. It was funny how fate had done that to him, or had the gods arranged it that way, as a way to test his moral conviction. If they had arranged it as a test, he had passed, if only barely. He would gladly host a visit from her again, and her suitor if she so wished them to meet. With that resolved, at least in his mind, the pain in his heart lessened, even if only for a bit, if only for a little while. No, he wouldn't cross that line. He knew that now. If nothing else, he had grown stronger in his own resolve, in his own conviction to never cross that line between him and the couple, whomever they might be in the present or future.
He had made the pledge, more to himself then to anyone or anything else, knowing he would be able to keep it, and in keeping it, maybe he would really would find someone who could love him as he would love her, with all his heart and soul, for that was all he had to really give. He wasn't rich, but he was by no means poor either. He had made due with what he had, even if he did splurge on occasion. Some of his best purchases had come from impulse buying. Even though he hated being alone, sometimes he enjoyed it, as it allowed him to work on his writings in peace. He could come and go as he pleased, and he could fix his meals anyway he wanted, without having to worry about what anyone else thought of the oddity of his food combinations. He was also free to do as he wished in other areas. He could walk around his house nude, he could sit in the bathroom all day and read pamphlets on the latest scientific and magical discovery, he could eat in bed, or anywhere else. He could go to bed (or not) when he wanted to, but those benefits still paled in comparison to his loneliness, although they did alleviate it on occasion. Some nights, when it wasn't storming outside, he would take his scrolls and quills and inkwells and find a nice quiet place in the valley to sit out and write about the stars, although more often then not he just sat there looking at them, pondering his place in the universe and his scrolls would be as empty as they were before he left. He didn't mind though, he preferred to keep those thoughts private. They were the window to his soul, and he didn't want any unwanted strangers peeking inside.
He knew the dangers of keeping himself closed up like that, knew that every now and then it was okay to let others see in, and to vent outwards. That was what the practice dummy in the barn was for. He would occasionally go out there, stick his tongue out at it, or beat it up, depending on what sort of mood he was in. Right now, he was in a tongue sticking out mood, although that could change at any moment. Another good thing about being alone was that he didn't have to worry about taking out his temper — which could sometimes be terribly fierce — on anyone. That is why he had left home as soon as he could. He hated it when he got mad because it was sometimes his family that had to deal with the brunt of his anger, as undeserving of that kind of treatment as they were. That was another reason why being in love scared him, he did not want to just emotionally hurt someone, he didn't want to physically harm them as well. He wasn't a strong man, but he was still a man, and to hit a woman was wrong, very wrong, especially in his eyes. He had even vowed to Kealowa that if her husband ever hit her, to let him know so that he could go there himself and kick the living shit out of him. He let his other friends know as well. He didn't tolerate such things at all. There was no reason for a man to hit a woman, of course if said women were stronger then you and started a fight with you, you had every right to defend yourself as best as possible. Although as with men, there are certain places you just don't hit.
He had finally decided to tell his lady friend of a dream he had with her in it, although he had this dream before he even knew what she looked like. How he knew what she looked like before hand, he couldn't really say. It was a gift he had always had. To say the least, she had been flattered, shocked too, but flattered. He had been relieved as her boyfriend (and his good friend) hadn't killed him on the spot, as he thought he would have. In a way he was relieved, but in a way, he was certain that he was still going to be killed. You just didn't fall in love with another guy's girl without someone trying to kill you. Granted, he hadn't done anything. They had talked the whole entire time, even when they hugged as she left, it was as innocent as he could make it without making it seem as if he was nervous or holding back. He figured he had failed there, though. Still, the resulting non-death at the hands of her boyfriend was a welcome surprise. Was even more surprised when he suggested they get high together. Of course he had refused that, as he had gotten high once, and been shit faced drunk a few times to know that he talked way too much when high or drunk to the point of fearing of what might pop through his mind that he would say and then regret when sober.
The next day, he began his usual routine. Got up, bathed, got dressed, made some breakfast and lounged around his home. Later on in the day he began his usual routine of having the messenger service he had hired to start delivering messages between his two new friends. He would be damned if he let his own feelings run away with him. He would be damned if he was going to fuck up a chance at another friendship. He would be damned if he just cruised through this, letting the gods do as they may. He was going to fight back, not against his feelings, which he was doing his best to just accept and tuck them away, as he did so often when he was a kid. He would be damned if he was going to mess up this time. He would also be damned if he let his own sadness get out of hand and depress him as it had depressed him in the past. He was learning from his mistakes, and he was still making some at the same point, but at least it wasn't the same ones over and over again. He was not going to think about those dark things that he could do to himself. As he sat down to reply to some messages from her, he had his personal musician play some of his favorite songs. ? "Winna,"? he spoke up for the first time in several hours, "?Winna, I want you to play some of those older, happy songs," he chuckled at his rather childish description of such beautiful pieces of music that spoke of love, happiness and happy endings. He had requested three or four songs in particular. He felt that if nothing else they would soothe him. They didn't. As he got his last message from her, the musician had started playing a particular song that he had forgotten how it affected him. Poor Winna thought she was going to die, so harsh was his reaction to playing that song. The things he said he'd do, and the length of time he promised to take scared her more then he had ever scared her during her service to him. She was only more then happy to stop playing.
He had forgotten how those songs made him feel, what they made him remember. He had thought he had gotten over those feelings long ago, how could he have been so wrong, how could he have known that time had not yet healed those wounds. How could he have known that he would think about her and him, his friends. His good friends. That's all they were, nothing more, nothing else. Good friends whom he cared about. Good friends whom he had met individually before finding out that they were indeed a couple. Such a strange way to meet a couple, but in a manner, he had seem drawn to them, somehow they had called out to him and said, "Come talk to me, come learn about me and let me learn about you. Let us be your friends and you ours,?" he could not resist that Siren's call of friendship from either. Both were infectiously good and decent people. He was more awed by their skills in their respective trades then anything else. He didn't know much about them but he did know that he wanted to learn more, especially about her. But he couldn't, not without risking his sanity which he worked so hard to maintain, which he worked so hard to show the world that yes, he was as normal as they were. But was he? How does one so normal have feelings for another mans significant other, whether or not they were married, he was wanting someone that he could never have, and he knew that and it saddened him. Again he had found someone he could care about, could give all the love he had to, and she was already in love with another. In love with a man who was in all ways his better, and he would die if he ever caused them to break up. That was his greatest fear, that he would cause couples to break up, cause them to doubt their love for each other. Cause them to resent each other in the end, all so he could be loved like he so selfishly wanted to be loved.
Or was it selfish of him to want to be loved like anyone else? To be loved like every being deserved to be loved. Or had his past finally caught up with him, and with help from the gods, to ruin what was left of his life. To ruin what was left of his heart, his mind, his soul. He had done many things in the past he regretted, from fighting with his sister to fighting with his folks, to starting fires that nearly burned down his parents home, to being a stubborn ass when it came his schooling, barely passing his courses as they were set out for him, even though the last four years he basically choose when and what classes he would take. After his schooling, he had trouble keeping a job for more then one season. Something just drove him to want and expect more of himself, more of others, and he bounced from job to job, just earning enough to live on before he would start splurging and getting himself into amazing amounts of debt. He tried continuing his schooling to try and possibly get better jobs, but that only brought him more debt and heart ache in the end. So he was back to wandering, back to living on his own. He had eventually managed to pay off most of his debt and trade services to pay off the rest. Once that had been taken care of, he continued to sell his services as a poet, a romancer. Writing stories that would bring romance and passion back to others lives, even though such things were so glaringly absent from his. Although he did have one romance that lasted for nine months, it eventually ended and he was more shattered then he had ever been. Finally having tasted what he had so longed for and then having it taken away. He hoped it would have lasted, he had hoped he would marry her, but it was not to be his for much longer. It had lasted three seasons before they mutually went their own ways. Him back to being alone, her back to someone who was supposed to have been her ex husband. He didn't know what to make of the world any more, he was confused and alone and afraid. Above all he was afraid.
Fear of the unknown, fear of stagnating, fear of being the same as everyone else when he strove to be so much more. Strove to be better then he had become to think himself capable of, strove to be better, thinking that if he was better at anything, he would be able to finally have something to offer. Finally have a career, a steady job in addition to all the love he felt capable of giving, of all the love he did give, of all the love he knew he would give in the years to come. He was tired of selling that love as if he were some sort of whore, some sort of 'love prostitute', a person who sold his love because no one wanted it when it was freely given. No one wanted it, and he could not figure out why. He could not figure out what was so wrong with him that his freely given love was rejected unless he placed a price on it, what was money anyways. It was nothing more then a lump of metal given worth by a greedy ruler so that he didn't feel so inadequate about the lack of size of his genitals (or lack of genitals). He was forced to put a price on something he would rather give, and work in some other trade, only writing for his love, for his lover, for his pleasure and hers. Unfortunately such was not his domain, not now, possibly not ever. If people were incapable of accepting his love, maybe he should try to be incapable of giving it, of keeping it hidden away from all the world and see how it reacted, although he knew that it wouldn't give a shit what he did one way or the other. He'd just be forgotten like he always is. He'll just leave town one day and no one would even notice. No one would take note of his absence, no one would care enough to say something. He wouldn't be even remembered as ?that guy who sold poetry?.
He would leave, and he would never return, like he had done so many times before. Like he would do again, as the time once again was near. He went into town to look for Winna, as there were a few songs he had recently acquired that he wanted her to play, even though he knew the affect it would have on him, knew that it would fill him with longing, loneliness and pain. He knew the affects, and when he found her, he even agreed not to get mad at her, as she was just playing what he wanted her to play, he even compensated her generously for the last time he had blown up at her. When she asked if there was anything in particular he wanted to hear, he just responded ?"Just an old fashioned love song,"? he paused a moment, ?"in three-fourths harmony, please,"? he finished his request, a small grin playing across his lips to let her know it was indeed okay and that he wouldn't go ballistic, that he wouldn't threaten her or harm her. He just wanted to listen to some good music from one of the best performers around. As she sang, he began to pack up his belongings, a lone tear streaking down his otherwise dry cheek. He was again alone against the cold wind and he had no one to blame but himself. He still couldn't believe how much he had said, not sure anymore if it was just the moment or if it was real. His confusion compounding the problem in his already tangled mind and heart. He didn't know what to think anymore, what or how to do anything. Even his writings over the past few days had become hollow and meaningless.
Maybe he had just gotten so good at lying that he couldn't even tell what was fact and what was fiction, what was real and imagined. Maybe he had worked so hard at getting others to believe in his lies that he too had started to believe them. Just maybe, but maybe not. He sighed as his mind kept mulling over these things as he packed up. He had several works of art, paintings of beautiful ladies who had graced him with their kindness and caring (which he seemed to mistake for love). He still didn't understand why he felt love so easily for others, yet he never thought much of himself, never saw himself as being part of the in-crowd. Never part of any group any further then his money took him. There was always a difference in joining a group and being part of it, and he could never seem to get the latter to work. He was getting a bit impatient at his lack of progress, especially since he didn't know where the problem lay, whether it be within himself or those that he tried to join. It didn't matter much right now anyways, he was getting ready to move and no one and nothing could stop him. He had planned on not telling anyone, but he didn't know if he could do that again. Of course both Lunae and Kealowa had been told of his moves, but he wasn't sure if he should tell Mae, the woman who had become his latest infatuation.
That thought had caused him to bolt upright, clonking his head on his dresser drawer. Infatuation, was that all this was, simple and inconsequential infatuation? The thought hadn't really occurred to him before, he had never thought that he could just be infatuated with someone. The thought was almost revolting in it's implications, yet, it almost felt right. Almost felt as if he had just been infatuated all along, had gone through all he did because he couldn't tell apart infatuation from real love, and he realized something in that moment. He realized that if this was just infatuation and it was this strong, real live true love must be ten, nay, a million, nay, not even that little, it must be a billion times more powerful, more real, more dangerous. He shuddered as goose flesh appeared on his body. It was a chilling thought. Love, real live true love a billion times stronger. Could his heart hold together in the face of something as all powerful as real love? He again shuddered as he thought about the implications.
The rest of the week had passed without incident. He woke up one morning, though, only to realize that he was having a hard time not thinking about Mae, thinking about how beautiful she was. He decided that day he would start exercising more often, riding his horse around town had made him extremely lazy and let his mind wander for hours on end. Something like walking would engage his mind more then letting a horse do all the work, that way his mind wouldn't wander so much and he wouldn't be able to think about her. Wouldn't be able to think about how lovely her hair was, how cute her features were, and he wouldn't have to think about how she was already seeing someone else.
He had returned from his trip several hours later, lamenting on what a complete failure it had been, other then to tire him thoroughly and to make him sweaty and smelly. He gathered some clean clothes and a towel, having decided to head over to Secret Falls to wash up in the refreshingly cold water. He was definitely pathetic. He couldn't stop going over in his mind what would have happened had he moved to kiss her, couldn't stop wondering how soft her lips were. Even the shock of the cold water was not enough to take his mind off of her, off her sexy voice, off her beautiful, shapely body. He choked back a sob as he realized it would be a long time before he would be able to shake away his feelings for her. Damn him, and damn the gods. They had had their fun once again and were probably even now laughing their asses off at him and his apparently self-made plight, they were playing this Taurus for all he was worth. Having been born under the sign of the bull had been his only mistake, and it wasn't one that either he or his mother had control over. Still, he cursed the day he was born. Cursed the day the gods had taken an interest in him, and cursed the gods themselves for playing with him in such a fashion. He loathed them as he would loath the impish trolls that bothered him from time to time.
As he dried himself off, he thought about all the what ifs in the world, but that still didn't change the fact that he was at the very least smitten with Mae, his heart still tugged on the little memories he had from meeting Mae in person, tugged on them and attached emotion that he tried to rationalize away. Tried to rationalize everything and nothing. He had made a mistake in coming to Crosswinds, he had made a mistake in sharing his work with others. Made a mistake, no, meeting her had been no mistake, meeting her suitor had not been a mistake. He had made new friends because of it, and that was also very important to him, that acceptance of who he was, even if it meant only friendship. No, he continued to rationalize, he had made no mistake past following his heart, the most irrational part of him, but also, the part that he could not live without. The tears flowed freely as he lay out under the sun in the nude. Enjoying the sun and wind on his body. Drifting off to sleep, his last thoughts were of Mae and how beautiful she was.
He didn't wake up until moon rise, his body hardly tanned as he had lain underneath a tree, it's shade giving leaves having protected his body from the harsh light of the unforgiving sun. He woke up, and he got dressed and walked back home, thinking of what he could do to make himself accept Mae as just a friend, something he dearly wanted to do, if for no other reason then to be able to meet her again in person, to be able to hug her goodbye without his heart leaping from his chest. To be able to look at her and smile as he thought of what a good friend she was, to be able to accept her as she accepted him, as a friend.
As he was getting ready to leave Crosswinds, he received a message from Mae. Thinking it would be the last he thought nothing of it as he opened it up and read it, read about how much she loved her gentleman suitor, how much she wanted to stay with him, and he couldn't help but smile. They both had told him that they had known each other a long while, and she told him how she felt about her friend, her lover, hopefully her future life mate. And all he could do was take a deep, long breath and smile. Somehow, that message actually made him happy. In that moment, he stopped thinking about dating her and started to think of her as a friend. He stopped packing and called Winna in and told her that he wouldn't be leaving after all. He felt his skin tingle as goose flesh formed, and he just smiled. Yes, he did care for her and found her amazingly attractive, but this time he would do things different. He wouldn't run away, he had accepted and he wouldn't run away. He felt that the best friend he could be was one that didn't run. So what if he would never get to taste her lips as they kissed. So what if they never made love. All of that seemed unimportant now, it seemed so petty, in light of the ultimate truth. He would one day find his true love, he would one day find the real ?her? and for that he was amazingly calm and relaxed. His wish from earlier had come true and for that he was grateful and for once, instead of cursing the gods, he sang their praises along side Winna.
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