I was feeling better in the morning, particularly when Lisette found me, a little shaken but still flushed and glowing. The two of us hadn’t sparred in a while, and it felt good.
“You’re rusty,” I said as my spear met the twin short swords she’d taken to wearing recently. Something between the sword she carried into the siege and the knives she’d grown up using.
“I’ve been busy,” she said. I laughed. “Are you alright?” I relented and nodded. “Aaron said you weren’t thrilled about Olivia and Thomas.”
“I wasn’t,” I frowned, “I’m not. But, it’s not my business, I guess.” She looked at me. “I just worry about him, he doesn’t always think these things through and it’s other people who get hurt. And this time I don’t want Olivia to be collateral damage.”
“Are you going to lecture me about Harran too?” She asked. I sighed.
“No,” I said, “I actually think it will be good for you, but you went about it in a monumentally stupid way.” She smiled. “How was it?” I grinned. “If how he fights is any indication, I’d imagine it was athletic, forceful?” She blushed.
“Intense,” she exhaled, “he was very focused.” She paused. “He kept asking what I wanted, and I didn’t always know how to say it, but then he found the way there anyway.” I smiled. I did like this for her. After the grief and complication of her time with my brother, it was worth the cost for me to see her simply, content. “After this morning, though, that was more awkward.” She exhaled. “Olivia says he’s in love with me.”
“He most certainly is,” I smirked. “I didn’t see it at first either. I thought he just liked to flirt, but he’s in love with you.” She frowned.
“I wouldn’t have,” she admitted, “I thought we felt the same way, that we wanted each other, but that we were friends.” She exhaled and pushed her hair off her face. “And I have to tell Eric. He’ll leave, and I couldn’t blame him.” I looked at her, and I was suddenly tremendously glad that I went to sleep with Aaron each night, and that his expectations of me were so straightforward. “I don’t know, I think about it a lot, if I was actually Lisette.” I smiled. Tristan told me she did this sometimes. “I think I’d have run away with him. I thought about it, all the time, that year. Maybe I’m still trying to run away.” I looked at her.
“Before we came to Pantona,” I said softly, “I was involved with one of Trey’s apprentices, it wasn’t serious, and he’s kind of an idiot, but he was ambitious, and I used that. I was after all, raised in the house he was trying rise in, and it was fun. After I’d been so hurt and used, to be treated like I mattered, like I was important, it was intoxicating.” She looked at me.
“He was the one that Aaron found you with?” She said. I snapped my neck over and looked at her, surprised that she knew that. “You were upset, and he was unnerved by it.” I smiled. I loved that man so much. “I’m not using Harran.”
“I didn’t say you were,” I whispered, “I just think that if I hadn’t been with Carlton, after everything that happened with Warren, I don’t think I would have been able to be with Aaron, to see him properly.” She looked down.
“So your suggesting what?” She said. “I use Harran until Tristan is out of my system?” I rolled my eyes.
“I’m certainly not suggesting Tristan be in the conversation at all.” I sighed. “By all means, if you’re still missing him and need to shake it off.” She bit her bottom lip.
“I do miss him,” she said softly. “I miss what we had, and I miss his calm.” She exhaled. “I don’t miss what a mess it was at the end. I don’t miss hearing Marina cry while she hides it from, I don’t miss him refusing to admit he was jealous.” I smiled. “But I miss him, a part of me always will, even when he’s right next me again, it won’t be the same.” I exhaled as she rested her head on my shoulder. “Thena, I don’t know what to do anymore.” She sighed. “I haven’t had a Dream in ages, and The Leader’s are insisting on a marriage sooner than later, but they don’t like the idea of it being Eric because then we’ll become too Phanian but Harran would be a threat because if any of the tribes don’t like it then it could be civil war, and what is wrong with that nice Emmett Friers anyone, Your Majesty?”
“Ah yes, a fifteen year old boy who’s said ten words to you,” I raised my eyebrows, “obviously your perfect match.” She laughed. “You know my opinion, take the politics out of it, Cammadan is better if you’re happy, if someone who’ll support you is at your side. Who is that?” She closed her eyes and exhaled.
“I don’t know,” she said softly. “Thank you though, for listening.” I nodded and back up to our apartment where Aaron was sitting at the desk in the sitting room.
“Oh, there you are,” he stood up, “I didn’t want to go to this meeting without seeing you.” I ran over and threw my arms around him and kissed him deeply. “Well, hello to you too.” He laughed.
“I love you,” I said. He smiled. “Seriously, I do.”
“I love you too,” he laughed. “What happened?” I shook my head.
“Lisette and I just had a long talk is all,” I said softly, “be gentle with her today. She knows she’s put everyone in a tough spot.” He nodded.
“Of course,” he said and kissed me again. “I have to go, I wanted to check in with Marina first.” I nodded. “I love you.”