Welcome back friends!
Shall we continue with the story . . . ? 🙂
I’ve been dying to share this next part with you. ^.^
( For those of you who are new around here this is the 4th part of the story. xD So I suggest you go back and start at the beginning! 😉 )
The sweet scent perfumed the air. Natural and clean, but perfectly beautiful. Finally. Finally she had gotten her rose garden. They shimmered in every hue of red and pink. The greenery (particularly the thorns) only added to their tempting purity. One had to be ever so careful not to crush the petals or prick a finger. It was a gentle process. A process that she was very adept at.
Roquian created a bouquet out of her fresh roses and whisked indoors. She placed them in a sentimental white vase, and set it in the center of their rough dinning room table. Then she returned to her garden to bask in it’s youthful glory. Master had fulfilled his promise and paid her in rose bushes.
Ma used to sit out here dreaming. She curled her hand around the silver rose necklace hanging by her throat. Her chest bubbled with emotion. “Hey, Ma.” her voice wavered. “I . . . I got that garden we always dreamed of.” Tears spilled over. She hugged herself tightly. “A friend . . .” she exhaled softly. “brought me some bushes and helped me plant them behind the cabin. Right where we said they’d go.” She sank to her knees beside the largest bush. “I took the first pick this morning.” She paused, heart quaking. “When . . . when the white ones get real big I’ll bring some to you. They always were your favorite.”
Then her voice broke as body racking sobs took over. Strong, calloused hands enveloped her from behind. She turned into them, not caring that he probably heard her speaking to the air. “Pa. . .”
His grip tightened, his body shaking with hers. “I know. . .” he whispered, the words shattering like her heart. They cried hard. Together.
Hours passed . . . or maybe it was minutes. They stood at last, eyes locked. Her father brushed some of her wild red hair behind her ear. He pressed his forehead to hers. “You look just like her, you know.” More tears spilled down his tan worn cheeks. His breaths came faster. “I want you to have what I did. You and your sister both. I want you to love like your mother and I.”
Roquian closed her eyes to refuse more tears. Her father continued, “I want you to heal, dearest Roquian. Loving is healing, so don’t fear your heart.”
She knew who her father was talking about. Matthias. “I’m trying not to be afraid but . . .”
He tilted her chin up, “But?”
“I don’t want to hurt like that again, Papa. What if . . .” she couldn’t bare the thought. “What if he dies?”
He hugged her to his chest. “We all die, Ro. But the real question is, do you want to loose the time you can have with him while fearing the time you can’t?”
Her heart seemed to pause, as the very air waited for her response. Eventually she caved, shoulders sinking. “No.”
“Then go dance.”
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~
She waited at the fringe of the dancers. Her dress wasn’t nearly half as nice as the other ladies, but she refused to think about it’s torn edges and dull color. She was here and that’s all that mattered. She pressed back against the stone wall surrounding the courtyard. It would take everything within her not to flee the moment Matthias entered.
I am invited. She reminded herself. But she’d never been to a party such as this before. The courtyard had decorated pathways and large marble fountains. Bushes were trimmed and shaped into many different winged creatures. Lanterns hung in dizzying patterns throughout, with midnight blue streamers weaving around the gardens. Her heart caught in her throat. And the dancers. Oh, the dancers. They twirled and swayed in cloth made of the stars. It was absolutely breathtaking.
But her difference in appearance didn’t concern her. It was fear. What if Matthias never saw her? What if she stood by the roses all night? What if he did ask her to dance? What if the people took notice of her all alone? What if . . .
There was no need for all the “what if’s”. The moment Matthias stepped into the room his eyes caught hers and held. A flicker of excitement lit within those dark orbs. He pushed through the guests, before his presence could be properly announced. Some gazed after him in confusion, but most in disappointment. He stopped four feet away, studying her.
She looked down, face catching fire. Suddenly her appearance mattered very much. Why had such a man taken an interest in her?
A bright smile danced over his features. She couldn’t resist the temptation to peek up at him, and then blushed harder when he made eye contact. He bowed low, “Will you do me the honor of dancing with me, my lady?”
She tentatively accepted his hand. A hand she would hold forever. “Of course, my lord.” By some miracle her voice didn’t tremble.
He led her into the center of the dancers as the musicians began a with a soft tune. They swirled through the people in perfect rhythm. She was surprised at how easy the steps seemed. It was as if she always knew them.
The evening flew by in a mix of laughter and breathlessness. It was only them, it had always, only been them. After the last song many of the guests began to pay their respects and slip away. Matthias glanced around, then tilted his head toward the darker area of the gardens.
Her chest quaked as she let him lead her into the shadows. He glanced back, sensing her nervousness. “Would you like me to bring a chaperone?”
She blinked at his consideration, hesitated, then met his eyes. “I . . . I trust you.”
His smile brightened. “Come then.” He strolled down the elegant stone pathway. She hesitated once more, then finally rushed after him.
He slipped through a hidden entrance of roses, and beckoned to her. She followed him through, and was embraced by a sweet smell. Hanging lanterns flickered on as if by command. Roses. Thousands of them. Everywhere. Her gasp must of been audible, because he laughed again. “It’s yours.”
She whipped her head around. “What?”
“This garden. It’s yours. I had it cultivated and landscaped for you.” She didn’t think it was possible, but his grin widened at her surprise.
“Why?” She couldn’t stop looking at everything at once. Rose arches, rose paths, rose bushes, vases filled with roses, even a swing! They were carved into every fountain, rock, and stone. The colors were so overwhelming, even in the dim lighting.
“I want to court you, Roquian.” There was a new intensity in his gaze. “May I?”
She blushed the deepest red ever invented. No man had ever pursued her so seriously. No man had pursued her at all. She was speechless. Glancing at the surrounding garden, her heart did something it hadn’t before. It blossomed, unfurling it’s petals in waves of love and radiance. The broken, wilted petals fluttered to the ground, allowing her to heal.
Roquian turned to Matthias, smiling shyly. Her heart finally spoke in a language she understood. She curtsied, “You may.” He had unlocked something within her. Something so deep and hidden she never knew it existed. The ability to bond.
To Be Continued . . .
Let me know what you thought in the comments!! Once again, I hope you felt something. 🙂