Jessie stared out the window as the carriage moved down the quiet road country road. The had left the castle a few hours after Marvin had been crowned King. It had been a beautiful ceremony, one where she wished could say more, but had not been allowed. And now her husband Myron was taking her away from home, on a trip he had planned and had not asked her about. She was tired of this life, of losing all of who she was for a man she hadn’t even wanted to marry. She had wanted to leave him so many times, had wanted to tell him she was tired and that every time she got sick it was because of the stress of pretending. He grabbed her hand, making her jump and she turned her eyes to him.
“You seem far away.” Myron said and she gave him a little smile.
“I’m fine, not feeling too good. My stomach is sick.” She lied.
“Would you like me to ask the driver to stop?”
“No, please, I’m really okay.”
Myron fell back into silence and she went back to looking out the window. Even though he was quiet he could tell there was something on her mind. He knew she was lying, but let it go. Usually he would demnad the truth, but she had been getting sick more often and he decided to wait until she was better. As the sun began to fall he called for the driver to stop and he and Jessie exited the carriage to stretch their legs and eat and drink. A smile crossed Jessie’s face the moment she stepped out into the fresh air and he wondered why she never looked this happy for him. When she turned back to him the look of bliss vanished as she went back to eating the apple cinnamon pies the cook had made for them before leaving. He now knew it wasn’t just a figment of his imagination.
“May I ask where we’re going?” Jessie queried.
“Somewhere beautiful. We’ll get there tomorrow night.” He answered and she left it at that.
They climbed back in the carriage after they were finished eating and the driver clicked his tongue to get the horses moving. Jessie because sleepy and rested her head on Myron’s shoulder. He wrapped and arm around her and looked down at her as she slept. She was still as beautiful as she had always been, had not aged a day. He still looked the same as well, just with a little more grey hair. She was an immortal elf and would have to watch him age and die. He wondered if she would miss him when he was gone.
The next morning Jessie jerked awake when the carriage hit a bump. She sat up and stretched then looked over at Myron who was sleeping soundly. He was still so handsome and in his sleep even looked kind and gentle. Once upon a time she had thought she could love him, that they would get married in the way of her people and stay together forever, but seeing him for who he really was had put a stop to such thoughts. She gently shook him and he jerked awake. “You okay?” He asked.
“I’m hungry, may we stop?”
“Sure.” He ordered the driver to stop and he pulled over, letting them out then going and unhooking the horses so they could eat and drink.
When breakfast was over and the horses hitched to the carriage once more, they were on their way. Jessie pushed the little window open and inhaled the sweet air, enjoying the sound of birds singing and the sight of butterflies winging by. She missed running through fields of flowers and dancing in the rain, she missed sitting in the woods with a bird perched on her shoulder while she read. It brought tears to her eyes and made her heart wrench painfully in her chest. Myron could see the look of sorrow on her face and wanted desperately to know what was going through her head. “Jessie, are you truly alright?” He asked.
“Do you really care or are you asking for your own benefit?” Slipped out of her mouth and she quickly snapped it closed.
Myron’s eyes widened and his heart gave a lurch. In all the years they had been married she had never spoken to him like that. “Jessie.”
She turned to look at him, knowing it was too late to take back her words. “I’m not okay Myron, not even a little. I…I hate you.”
He felt a stab of pain in his chest like a knife being driven deep into his heart. “Hate me, why?”
“How can you be so blind to my pain, to my misery, to my anger? How can you be so close to me day after day, sleep with me, have sex with and not see my anguish?” She looked away from him, her eyes filling with tears. “I want a divorce after this trip, I want to be rid of you, I want to be free again.”
“Just stop. My heart can’t take you saying you love me one moment and then scolding me the next like I’m some stupid child. I’m tired of it, I’m constantly sick because of it.”
He swallowed, unable to speak. He didn’t know what to do, didn’t know how to comfort her or fix the problem. He had always been like this, expecting submission from those around him. He had never thought for a moment he had been hurting her. He looked out his window, trying to gather his jumbled thoughts. Jessie wiped at her face, glad she had shocked him into silence. She didn’t even care about this trip with him. She just wanted too get out of this carriage and away from him for awhile. Neither of them ate lunch or dinner and the driver ate as he guided the horses. Her eyes lit up when she saw the fireflies and the winding river. The carriage went over a bridge and pulled up in front of a small cottage.
“We’re here sir.” The driver said.
Myron still said nothing as he grabbed their luggage and carried it into the cottage. The driver released the horses and went into the small one room house next door. Myron sat their suitcase next to the chest of drawers as Jessie started undressing for bed. “Jessie, talk to me.” He said.
“I already did, what didn’t you understand?”
“Why you stayed with me for so long.”
She turned and looked at him. “Because I had no one else, because I thought maybe just maybe I could love you, because we have children and I didn’t want to break their hearts. Keltie is the only one who knows how I feel and I hate she knows. You didn’t know, but I can make you immortal like me, but I couldn’t bring myself to live with you forever. I tried to hide it from our children, but I guess it didn’t work. All I wanted was to be truly loved for who I am, for who I have always been.”
“I do love you.”
“But not for who I am. You love me for who you want me to be, docile, silent, unable to show my excitement or speak my mind. That is who you love.”
“No, that’s not true. I loved you the moment I saw you.”
“Then why do you force me to be this submissive creature who hides everything until she’s sick? Why do I have to cry myself to sleep at night?” He grabbed her and pulled her into his arms and she just stood there. “Myron let me go.”
“Jessie, please tell me what you want me to do?”
She stood there shocked. He never asked for anything, he always told people what to do. “What do you mean?”
“What can I do to be better? How can I fix this?”
“Myron, it’s been so long, maybe our relationship can’t be fixed.”
“Please, I love you.”
She sighed. “Let me sleep on it.”
“As long as I can hold you.”
“Fine, do what you want.” He pulled his clothes off and they got in bed. He pulled her against him so her back was pressed into his chest. He kissed the back of her neck and held tightly to her, afraid if he let go she would disappear.
“I love you Jessie.”
“I know.” He fell asleep with a heavy heart, fearing something for the first time in his life.
Jessie woke first the next morning with Myron stil holding her. She laid still for a moment, wanting to get up, but not wanting to wake him. She slowly lifted his arm and eased herself out of bed, watching his face the whole time. When he didn’t wake she pulled on clean clothes and headed outside. She inhaled the crisp morning air, stretched her arms above her head as if she was welcoming the light into her embrace. It felt amazing to be in such a beautiful place. She wondered how long Myron had had this place and thought it’s architecture was beautiful. It seemed like he had taken great care in building this place. She walked toward the river, loving the way the grass felt beneath her feet. She sat down next to the water and started singing what her mother referred to as The Butterfly Song.
Myron jerked awake, feeling as if something was off. His heart beat fearfully in his chest when he saw Jessie’s side of the bed was empty. His first thought was she had left him during the night and he quickly jumped up, grabbing his pants and pulling them on. The sound of singing caught his attention as he picked up his boots. He dropped them and pulled the door open then stepped out into the sunlight. Butterflies, they were everywhere, winging lazily about the valley with all the colors of a rainbow. In the midst of them, sitting on the river bank, was Jessie. Her beautiful voice filled the silence of the morning, drawing the butterflies to her. He had never heard her sing before and he found himself feeling more and more guilty.
He moved quietly through the butterflies, his bare feet not making a sound on the soft grass. When he was close to her he dropped down behind her and wrapped his arms around her, making her gasp in surprise and the butterflies fly away. “Myron, I thought you were sleeping.” She said and he hugged her tighter.
“I was, but you being gone woke me.” He turned her head and kissed her, making her heart skip a beat at the tenderness of his touch. “Your voice is so beautiful. Why have you never sang for me before?”
She looked away. “Because you don’t like outspoken women so I never said anything.”
“Is that why you didn’t wake me?”
“Yes, I was afraid you would try to stop me.” She wouldn’t lie to him about how she felt anymore. He deserved to know how sad her life with him had been. He turned her body around so she was completely facing him and pressed his lips into hers once more.
“Don’t leave me.” He whispered against her lips.
“I still don’t know Myron.”
“I’ll do anything.” He kissed down her neck to her shoulder, sending goosebumps running up her arms. She was being swept away by his gentleness and how amazing it felt to have his lips against her skin. She tangled her fingers in his hair and pulled his head back.
“Please stop, what you’re doing isn’t fair.”
He looked hurt, but swallowed it down. “Then what do you want me to do?”
“Treat me like a person, let me be me and love me for it.”
“I will, I promise. I’ll do whatever you want.”
She wasn’t convinced so she said. “Come hiking with me.”
“Done, lets get our boots on or would you prefer going barefoot?”
“We can wear boots and you need a shirt.”
He smiled. “Why, does it bother you?”
“It’s unfair.” That made him laugh and he stood, pulling her up with him. He lt her go, unsure if he should try holding her hand and they went inside. They pulled on their boots and he pulled on a shirt then she grabbed two apples and handed one to him as they walked back outside.
Myron walked silently beside Jessie as they moved through the woods. He tried to focus on the wonderful sights and sounds of thei place, but his attention kept getting pulled back to his wife. She looked only partially happy and he knew it was his company that was putting a damper on her joy. He wanted too hold her hand and pull her close, do anything he could to put a smile on her face, but he wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do. He had been so serious and uptight for so long that he no longer knew how to interact with his own wife. Other than reprimanding her and ordering her about they had never had a real conversation.
“May I hold your hand?” He asked, thinking he sounded stupid.
Jessie glanced at him then laced her fingers through his. The fact that he had asked meant a lot to her. “Do you like it out here?” She asked, looking ahead.
“Yeah, it’s beautiful. Not as beautiful as you, but still lovely all the same.”
“You’ve never sweet talked me before, how refreshing.”
He frowned and gave her hand a squeeze. “I try when you’re sick, but I’m not good at it. I’ve never sweet talked before. I’m such a bastard.” She couldn’t tell him he wasn’t because that would be a lie so she kept silent. He pulled her to a stop and into his arms. “Tell me the truth, go ahead.”
“Yes, you’ve been a bastard.”
“Do you hate me, really hate me?”
“I’ll change, please don’t hate me.” His fingers curled around the nape of her neck and he pressed his lips into hers, kissing her tenderly, lovingly. She gripped his shirt and he deepened the kiss. “I love you so much.” He kissed his way over her chin and down her neck.
“How do I know you’re telling the truth? How do I know you won’t just go back to being cold and dominating?”
“I’ll show you, slowly, gently I’ll show you.” He tipped her back onto the grass and allowed his hands to move up her legs to her bottom. “I’ll stop being selfish and thinking only of me.” He hooked his fingers in her panties and pulled them off. “Tell me what feels good and what doesn’t.”
She blushed and swallowed. “I don’t really know.”
“Then we’ll find out together.” He rubbed his fingers over her and she moaned, her face becoming flushed as he teased her. He slid his fingers slowly inside her and stared into her eyes as he explored her inner warmth until he found the spot that gave her the most pleasure. “Good?”
“Yes.” She whimpered. “More.” He smiled and kissed her as he pushed his pants down and tipped back, pulling her into his lap. He captured her lips with his as he speared her, moaning into her mouth. She clung tighty to him, tears running down her face as lifted and lowered her at a slow, gentle pace.
“I love you Jessie, don’t leave me, I love you and I’m sorry.”
“I love you too.” She answered and he kissed her as he brought them to their release.
Myron rained kisses over her face, following the line of tears. “You okay?” He asked softly and she just nodded. “Do you want to back to the cottage?”
“Yes please.” She answered. He moved her off of his lap and pulled his pants up before getting to his feet and pulling her to hers. She grabbed her panties and slipped them back on and he lifted her off the ground. She rested her head on his shoulder as he carried her back. The driver was outside with the horses and gave them a look of concern. Myron just shook his head to tell him not to ask and the driver went back to what he was doing. He took her inside and sat with her on the couch, keeping her cradled in his arms.
“Tell me what’s going through your head.”
Jessie pressed her face into his neck. “You’ve never made love to me before and it makes me want to cry.”
“I’m sorry love.”
“It’s okay, it’s a good cry.”
“That’s good I guess.” He replied with a smile.
“And you did it outside.”
He chuckled and leaned back so he could see her face. “I didn’t hear you complaining. In fact you sounded very excited and incredibly pleased. If you stay with me, I’ll take my time with you every time and I’ll make love to you wherever you like.” She blushed and her heart fluttered in her chest. She couldn’t believe the things he was saying, that he was willing to do anything for her.
“I’m still so worried and confused. I was so angry at you, but now I don’t know. I never expected you to have a gentle side, to actually care about me wanting to leave.”
“Jessie, I can’t live without you, I really can’t. I want to be with you for the rest of my life.”
She swallowed, remembering telling him she had not wanted forever with him. “Give me more time to get my thoughts together.”
“Take all the time you need. I’ll wait for you.” Her lip quivered and he hugged her tightly against him, kissing her cheek as tears cascaded down her face. He comforted her and told her how much he loved and needed her, wanting her to stay with him even if it was just for the years he had left. He would gladly slip into death’s embrace as long as she was there to hold his hand. She cried until she was exhausted and fell asleep in his arms. He stood slowly and carried her to bed, laying her down then pulling off her boots before covering her and kissing her forehead. He went into the living room and grabbed a book then sat down and read as he thought of ways to make up for his behavior. His heart still ached and he wished he had not been so blind to the constant pain she was in. The fact that he had been the cause of her being sick weighed heavy on him. He knew it may not be easy, but he was going to love her better and listen to her when she spoke because if she left him he would only be half a man.
Myron closed his book when he realized it was past noon and checked on Jessie. She was still asleep and he decided to leave her alone and go fishing in the river. He kissed her forehead and opened the bedroom closet, grabbing his fishing pole. He went out ad next door to the little house the driver was staying in. He knocked on the door and the driver opened it. “Do you need something sir?”
“Sorry to disturb you. Could you hand me the trowel out of the closet?”
“Uh sure.” He went back inside then came back with the small shovel.
“Thank you. Would you like to have dinner with us…sorry I guess I don’t know your name.”
“Oh it’s Taskil sir and yes I would like that very much.”
“If you want you can help me dig for worms so I can catch some fish.”
“Okay, just let me get my boots and a basket.”
Myron waited patiently and gave Taskil his best smile. He wasn’t used to smiling to those who worked for him, but he figured that too would take time. Taskil didn’t seem to notice and followed his king to the edge of the woods. They dug in the ground until they had a few worms then headed to the river where they rinsed their hands then Myron baited his hook and tossed it in. He sat on the river bank, enjoying the weather and Taskil’s chatter. Jessie woke a few minutes later feeling refreshed. She sat up and stretched, smiling when she noticed she was in bed. She got up, wondering where Myron had gone. When she didn’t find him in the house she opened the door, stopping when she saw him fishing and talking to Taskil. She felt herself tear up and went back inside before they saw her and stopped. She sat down on the couch and cried, so happy to see him actively trying to change.
She dried her face and went outside running up to him and hugging him from behind. He dropped his rod in his startled state and she immediately apologized. He smiled and pulled her into his lap then picked up his rod again. “You want to fish?” He asked softly.
“Sure, I haven’t done it in awhile.” He gave her the rod and rested his chin on her shoulder. “How long was I sleeping?”
“For awhile. You needed it so it’s okay.” He kissed her cheek and she blushed. There was a nibble then a bite on the hook and Jessie quickly set the hook and reeled the fish in. Taskil jumped up and grabbed it, releasing the hook and putting the fish in the basket. Myron put more bait on the hook and they sat out there until the caught two more fish. Taskil helped Myron gut and clean the fish then they all went inside where Myron cooked the fish while Jessie prepared a salad and buttered bread. They sat down together and talked as they ate, just enjoying each others company and getting to know Taskil. When dinner was over their driver told then goodnight and she and Myron washed dishes together.
“Thank you for inviting him and being so nice.”
“I told you Jessie, I want to change for you. I love you and I refuse to lose you over my piss poor attitude.”
“Can we bathe and then will you read to me?”
“Of course, whatever you want.”
Jessie enjoyed how lovingly Myron washed her. His hands were gentle, exploring every dip in her skin as he got to know her body. “Make love to me again.” Her voice was a soft, shy whisper and he smiled sweetly as he kissed her, letting his tongue explore the inside of her mouth. His hands slid down her back to bottom and he lifted her, pressing her back into the shower wall. He made slow passionate love to her, allowing himself to get completely lost in her moans and whimpers of pleasure. Happy tears slid down her cheeks and he kissed them away as he whispered how beautiful she was and how much he loved her. Her name was wrenched from his lips as he filled her with his seed and she clung tightly to him, her heart beating out a happy rhythm.
Myron lowered her to her feet and gave her a soft kiss. “Everything about you is so amazingly beautiful. I love the sounds you make.”
She blushed as they finished washing and rinsing. “I love when you say my name while making love to me.” She replied as they got out of the shower. He gave her a smug grin and she threw the towel at his face. He pulled her into his arms and gave her a long kiss that had goosebumps crawling over her skin.
“Then I guess I’ll have to say it more often. I’ll let myself get so swept away by you that it’s the only word I can think of.” She smiled, unable to help the joy spreading through her. He had never spoke this way to her, as if he adored everything about her. He carried her to bed once they were drying and laid her down. “I’ll be right back.” He went and got a book then headed back to the bedroom and crawled in next to her. “I hope this book is okay.” He showed her the cover.
“I just want to hear your voice.” She replied and rested her head on his chest. He flipped the book open and read to her, the deep timbre of his voice vibrating through her and lulling her to sleep. Myron smiled when her breathing evened out and her body relaxed completely against his. He shut the book, switched off the light and followed her into a restful sleep. They woke to the sound of chirping birds and smiled lovingly at each other. Myron pulled her on top of him, needing her again. They lay there holding and kissing each other afterwards then got out of bed when they became hungry. “So I was thinking.”
“Should I be worried?” He asked and she smiled as she cooked breakfast.
“No, it’s about something good. Would you like to marry me in the way of my people?”
He felt himself choke up and he turned her around, kissing her. “My god yes. I want forever with you if you’ll truly have me after all the pain I put you through.”
“You have proven to me that you are a great and loving man. This is the Myron I have always wanted and I really, truly want to spend eternity with you.”
“When can we do it?”
“After breakfast.” She finished cooking and he ate quickly, making her giggle as she finished her breakfast. She washed their dishes then grabbed a sharp knife and went back to him. “Come sit with me outside.” She said softly and he followed her. They sat in the grass together and he gave a happy sigh at how beautiful she looked. “Hold out your hand.” He did and she cut both of their palms then grabbed his hand, her fingers laced through his. She started chanting, the words in her native language so he didn’t understand. A burning heat moved through his palm and up his arm, a little painful but nothing he couldn’t handle. When she finally stopped she released his hand and showed him their matching scars. “We are now one, we will feel each others pain, pleasure, sadness, and happiness. We belong to each other completely.”
He pulled her into a tight hug, a few tears slipping down his cheeks. “I love you so much Jessie, thank you.”
“I love you too Myron, with all my heart and soul.” They spent a couple of more days there enjoying each other and falling more in love with each passing second. Jessie was a little sad when they packed up and set off, but Myron promised he would bring her back again. They held each other as Taskil took them home, basking in their love for one another and excited about telling their family of their reconciliation.