(This chapter is more of a flashback than anything… enjoy!)
Chapter Six: One Horrible Night
The rain fell in torrents, pouring from the skies like tiny diamonds, the skies outside grey and dark. Inside, a fire crackled, warm and rosy. Two figures basked in it’s warmth, watching the flames dance in a perfect concert of light. Sparks showered, and Lori’s head rested against his chest, listening to the soft sounds of his breathing and the beating of his heart. His arms were wrapped around her, chin atop her head. He loved grey days like this, with his girlfriend cuddled beside him, wrapped in a blanket with nothing better to do than watch a fire together. He planted a kiss atop her head, inhaling her scent and sighing. Had there ever been a time he felt more complete? Nay, this was the lady of his heart, the woman he loved more than anything else. Nothing could change that. He rubbed his cheek against her hair, then spoke softly.
“Lori? Um… I don’t have the ring yet… but would you marry me… if I asked?” His blue eyes were pleading, hope laid bare in their depths. Everything he could want was in this room, and the only woman he’d ever loved was here, with him. He watched her eyes, hoping against hope that she’d say yes.
She watched him with wonder in her eyes, her breath caught in her throat. Was he serious? Could he actually be asking her to say forever with him? Her hands drifted to trace the angles of his face, fingers gentle. “You really are here, asking me if I want to be your bride,” she murmered, admiring the way his hair fell past his shoulders. He was still waiting for her to answer.
“Leo… if you had the ring now, I wouldn’t hesitate to answer you. But, my love, I will not marry without a pledge… nor will I bind myself out to you until that pledge is made.” She watched his head drop, but he soon regained his composure. Pain had fled from his eyes, leaving a blank stare. Glassy-eyed and upset, he untangled himself from the blankets, then stood. Grabbing his coat, he was gone before she could call his name.
Laureli tossed her head on the pillow, muffled sounds coming from her throat until she couldn’t help it. “Leo!” She cried, her mind filled with pain and fear. How could she have left him alone?
“Harry… come back here,” Goldie called in exhasperation, blowing a lock of hair out of her eyes. Where on earth was that boy going? Lori stood nearby, laughing, and the beautiful woman came closer to her. “You think it funny, do you?”
The girl had to bite back a laugh. “No, ma’am.” But the laughter bubbled over, and she doubled up, holding her stomach. Tears of joy filled her eyes, and Harry came back, dragged by a tiny puppy on a leash.
“Here, Lori. Take your filthy mutt,” he grumbled, thrusting the leash at her. She took it, sending a scathing look at the man.
“Toby’s not a mutt… he’s half husky, a quarter heeler and a quarter Cattle Dog. So he’s no mutt!” She snapped, then bent down to allow the dog to lick her face. “Toby’s so smart, yes he is!” She cooed, laughing as the animal licked her joyfully. A red sportscar whipped around the corner, but Lori paid no heed to it. She knew it was Leo’s car, and they hadn’t spoken since the fight. She continued to play with Toby, ignoring the pain in his eyes. There was nothing to be done… Nothing…
Laureli woke up screaming, sweat pouring off her in torrents. Legolas was standing in her doorway, watching her with wide eyes. In a bound, he was across the room and kneeling at her bedside. “What is it, my love? What frightened you so?” His eyes had gone quite soft, as though she hadn’t pushed him out of her room a few hours before. And, though she hated to admit it, she was glad to see him and flung herself into his arms. Just to hold him, to get comfort from another. Her head rested on his shoulder.
“I’ll… I’ll be okay, Legolas. I just had a nightmare.” Did nightmares exist here? He must have understood, for he soothingly stroaked her back in circles, rubbing her soft skin with gentle, work-roughened hands. He was so out of his element, but he still seemed to fit here.
“Want me to stay in here tonight? I can sleep in that chair… If you want.” So it wasn’t about him wanting to get into her bed, that was certain. But, yet, she almost wanted him there. To feel the warmth of another at her side. But she bore up and snuggled down, nodding as she did.
“Yes… if you don’t mind, Prince.” She watched him lower into the chair and dropped her head, though she didn’t close her eyes. Instead she blended dream and living night until the sun rose. And he was still there, watching over her with a surge of posession that wasn’t quite real.