Tristan was asleep and I stood up and got dressed. I like him sleeping. He sleeps like a child, sprawled everywhere, his face relaxed. I kissed his forehead and walked down to the kitchen. Aaron was sitting brewing tea.
“Good Evening,” he grinned, “you look, well, different.” I picked up a rag and threw it at him. “Is Sir Tristan content?”
“Don’t be vulgar,” I wrinkled my nose. “Why are you up?”
“A similar venture,” he shrugged. I raised my eyebrows. “Lady Athena has thawed a bit.” I laughed. “It’s different, this time.”
“If you say so,” I said softly. “Why aren’t you with her?”
“Her words,” he shrugged, “were ‘I want to trust you. But in order to do that, we have to take it slow.’ So that will be new and interesting.” I laughed. “And a messanger came and brought letters.” He handed me one.
I opened it, recognizing Caleb’s handwriting.
My Dearest Lisette,
I’ve been worried about you, my little one. It’s been too long since I heard you laugh. Sometimes I hear one of the girls here and I turn and I think it may be you.
I saw Anselm, he told me of your visions. Both the one of Lady Marina at Brayton’s side and of the goddess. I know what you fear. You must be brave, which I also know you despise hearing.
There’s a lot of talk here about what all of our next step should be, but I think, given the way things have progressed keeping you apart from everything is no longer an option. Discuss it with Anselm and let me know your thoughts. I promised you this summer and I will hold to that unless you say differently.
Be strong, Little One, hard days are coming, but you won’t be alone.
Your Loving Father.
I smiled. Aaron looked at me.
“What does he want?” He asked.
“You didn’t get one?” I frowned. He rolled his eyes. “He wants us to join the camp.” I folded the letter. “I think it might be time.” He nodded. “We’re ready, aren’t we?”
“I don’t know,” he said, “I don’t think we’ll ever be ready, not entirely, but I think it might be time.” I nodded. “Think it over, like he said. He’s usually right.” I could hear the bitterness in his voice.
That was new in the past year, the way they spoke to and about eachother, Aaron and Caleb, and it made me sad. There was something between them that I couldn’t see, no matter how much I knew them both.
“Get some sleep,” I whispered and kissed his forehead and walking back up to my bedroom. Tristan was sitting up now and smiled at me. I slipped in and let him hold me, forgetting the world for a minute, lost in him.
“Where are you?” He asked softly. I smiled.
“Right here,” I said softly. He nodded and kissed me. “Have you spent much time at the resistance camp?” He laughed.
“A fair bit,” he said softly, “more when we were younger, when my parents were still alive.” I nodded and rolled over resting my chin on his chest. “Why?”
“Tell me about it,” I whispered. He nodded.
“Are we going?” He asked.
“I don’t know yet,” I said. “Part of me never wants to go, part of me wants to stay here, safe and apart from it forever,” I straddled him, “with you.” He grinned and kissed me again.
“I wouldn’t particularly mind that either,” he whispered, I pushed hair off of his forehead. “Lisette,” he said softly, “tell me what you’re thinking.”
“I’m thinking,” I said, “of the threads of time.” He kissed me again.
“The what?” He laughed.
“You’re going to tease me,” I shook my head.
“Never,” He said solemnly.
“In the old times,” I explained, “when the chosen ruled and communed with the gods, they believed that the events of the universe were threads being plucked and spun together on the wheel of the world,” Tristan kissed my neck, “threads are untangled and cut as people’s decisions are made,” he pressed into me.
“And what does this have to do with us, or the resistance camp?” He asked, I whimpered as he moved inside of me.
“I,” I exhaled, “I’ve been thinking about the thread we’re on, where my parents were killed and so we met now instead of when we were very little.” He nodded. “You might not have loved me on another thread.”
“I’d always have loved you,” he whispered, “no matter what thread we were on.” He rolled over and we kissed again as he finished. I lay in his arms and wished with everything in me that nothing would change, and that our what if was real. “You wanted to hear about camp?” He whispered. I nodded. “It’s a busy place. General Martin does not accept laziness.” I nodded. “He’ll be furious about this, by the way, putting you at risk.”
“You haven’t put me at risk,” I said. He sighed. “How could I be safer than having my bodyguard, quite literally in my bed.” He laughed.
“My family,” he whispered, “The Dumanis,” I shook my head. “They aren’t, good, Lisette, I love them, but they’re,” he sighed, “my grandfather does terrible things to maintain his hold on the guild, and my aunts and their husbands, and my cousins.” I kissed him.
“You aren’t them,” I said softly. He looked at me. “My cousin murdered my parents, my mother’s closest family is the Queen of Phania and she abandoned her to that death and me to this exile,” I touched his face. “We’re supposed to build a new world, apart from that.”
“We’re supposed to?” He laughed. I nodded. “I think you, Your Highness, have that mandate, not me.”
The word Mandate, startled me. Chosen have mandates, from the gods. Of course I am Chosen, but no one knows that except, well, Caleb and Anselm and me.
“I can’t do that alone,” I said.
“You’ll never be alone,” he said softly. “I won’t leave you.”