The Point of No Return
Rexus laid next to Guinevere, his body glistening with sweat and exertion, his heart racing and pounding. Her head rested against his arm, and he felt her flesh against his, their bodies pressed together in the small bed of the safehouse. He brushed his hand against her bare back, his eyes looking to the side at her wedding ring that laid on the table. He closed his eyes and tried to slow his thoughts – they had crossed a point of no return. He had been given chances to stop, to cease his course, to slow himself, and he had ignored all of them. And now, he was surely damned for his decisions – and yet he felt little regret. Gwen shifted against him, and he felt a sense of comfort that he had long missed. When they were together, there was no outside world – no political games, no ongoing revolutions. It was shortsighted escapism, and he had grown to appreciate it fondly.
They had met multiple times over the last few weeks, emotions growing with each contact, and it had all been leading to some inexplicable line that they had both agreed not to cross. And yet, when the time had come, she had set her ring aside and climbed into the bed with him. And despite how he had thought, and how he had asked the gods to help him say no to her, Rexus had never found himself terribly capable of refusing Gwen. And now, he felt something in the back of his mind, a small and wriggling fear that hinted at a sense of foreboding to come. He was startled out of his thoughts by the warmth of her lips on his before she moved, standing up from the bed. She began to dress herself hurriedly, avoiding looking in his direction as she spoke.
“This…I’m worried. What you must think of me, what happens if this gets out, what your friends must think – this is stupid and foolish.” Rexus rolled over to look at her more clearly. “This will not get out. I haven’t told a soul. There is nobody who needs to know. And yes, it is foolish – but such is love. It makes fools of all of us.” Gwen glanced over her shoulder, a wry smile forming on her lips. “I suppose we should count our blessings. Alasdair has been so distracted with Melodia, and Corthos with his politics….” She let out a sad sigh, the mention of Alasdairs name bringing a great and terrible guilt. She lifted her ring off the table and slid it on slowly. “Rexus…whatever this is, it isn’t something that can go on forever.” He laid back, looking up at the ceiling again. “I know.” It was a resigned tone, cautious and yet deeply melancholy.
He continued. “I believe that the author was Keatwick. ‘And lo, we have become filled with a fire which burns the sun from the sky, which fells the moon at night. And in the crescendo of our union, we have challenged the world around us. But when the morning comes, the sun is wont to rise in anger at having been outshined, and our light will be forced to hide. And we will huddle together in a cave, hidden from the world that we challenged, but safe within each other.’ I always thought he wrote well.” He rolled to the side and stood, slowly dressing as well. Gwen broke the heavy silence after a moment.
“Rexus…I am unsure of a great many things in life. I am unsure if this is love, or if I would recognize it even if it were. But I know that I do not regret it.” She crossed to him, kissing him briefly. “I must now don the proverbial armor to go stand by my husbands side in the courts, to play the roles that I was made to play. Until we meet again. And you are right that there is nobody who needs to know of this.” He watched her leave as he pulled on his own clothing. He felt an odd dread now – as if something had been set in motion that he could no longer stop. It was of no matter, he decided. He glanced into the mirror, brushing at his hair with his hand. “And we both are off to play our roles, but I will be wishing that I were here with you again.” He readied himself to go meet with the Ravens.
He could keep this secret. He had kept many in his life.
And if it was love – honestly – then it would free them both, wouldn’t it?