The Praetorian Outlet, vol. 2

I sit right next to her and she doesn’t see it. Sometimes I can’t believe it, the amount of emotion screaming through my system and I hide it beneath a thin layer of muscle fibre. There is almost nothing hiding her ability to see what I feel, and yet it isn’t possible for her to ever know the truth of my ever increasing mountain of secrets.

It’s almost impossible not to lean closer to her, to breathe in the scent of her hair, but I remain steadfast in my stoicism. She isn’t mine, not mine to touch or love or enjoy, she doesn’t belong to me.

We sit together though, waiting for the final word of our future. We might live in close proximity or miles apart from each other, we have no say. We are now property of the High King and we must do as we are told. Despite our history of growing up in the same Village together, spending endless hours together in the adventures of childhood we now must face the impending truth of our time. The Kingdom is in disarray and the people need our help. I didn’t exactly volunteer for the job, but I would never walk away from my duty to the people of Aspera. This is my home as much as it is theirs and I am willing to fight for their right to live in it, to live in peace and protection.

With this fierce loyalty and determination comes fear and worry of my own future. A future without her. A future without the only woman I have ever loved. It seems an impossibility but it’s a probability that I must face and face alone.

We hear the echoing thuds of boots moving down the hall and my entire body locks into place, my system forcing the emotion aside knowing that I will have to accept my fate. As the boots rumbled in the distance a mantra of sanity slipped into my mind and I began repeating a steady rhythm of words inside the walls of my mind: No matter what, you will always find a way to be with her.

I turned toward her then, my fire-haired goddess, and I told her everything with my eyes that my lips could never express. She smiled in response, an action so pure and sweet it made the corners of my lips draw upward just a fraction. “No matter what,” she said in a tender whisper. “I will find a way to be close to you Vesyon. I won’t let the High King rip apart our friendship.” Her hand reached out and squeezed his for a moment before she yanked it back into her lap.

The boots had arrived now standing directly in front of them. It took everything I had not to grab her hand and run out the door. She had touched me, her words had seared the truth across my heart so clearly that there was no turning back. I wasn’t just going to hope to see her, I would see her and fight every day to make sure we would be together.

— Vesyon Vestra


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