Kate was an emotional wreck when they left the Ritz. She insisted on taking a taxi and having them pick up the car later. She was very silent on the drive over though Haldir continued to encourage her by tellign her what a wise decision she had made and how much she had changed. They arrived at the Holiday Inn, and she finally smirked at the irony of it. Haldir paid the taxi driver and took all the things into the lobby where Kate picked out another room. Haldir accompanied her up the stairs and helped her to unpack. The room was a great deal smaller, but he rather enjoyed it more than the room at the Ritz. Kate sat on the bed her face buried in her hands. Haldir knelt before her and took her hands in his.
“Kate,” he said kissing her fingertips. “You did what was right.”
“How do you know?” she said angrily.
“Kate, you are not the only one here who has been used.”
He nodded. “Long ago. She left me for another man. You have been hurt, and you have every right to cry Kate. But do not store away anger forever. Let it release. It is the only way.”
“Thanks, Haldir. Always the wise one.”
“You are wise too, Kate,” he said touching her cheek with his fingertips. “I could never be attracted to nor love a foolish woman.”
She changed the subject and stood up taking her hair out of its loose bun. “We need to do some rethinking here, Haldir. My brother lives in Hilton Head. We could buy a car and drive down there if you want. I just need somewhere to think, somewhere quiet. If you don’t want to come with me, you dont have to.
“I will follow you to the ends of the earth, Kate,” he stood up quickly.
“You already have, Haldir. You no longer need to follow me.”
“But I want to.”
“Guess I’ll never get rid of you hmm?”
“Never,” he smiled.
“I’m too tired to argue with you right now. I need to take a shower. I feel disgusting.”
“Yet you do not look it,” he grinned running a hand through her copper hair.
She smiled. “I’ll be back soon. You can watch television if you want.”
Haldir’s eyebrows raised in eager excitment. She laughed aloud then gathered up her night clothes. Before returning to the bathroom, she said, “Have fun.” As soon as Kate closed the door, Haldir retrieved the remote and flipped through the endless channels. Meanwhile Kate stripped off the clothes she had been wearing and threw them angrily in a pile. She swore to burn them when she left the hotel knowing she would never wear them again while Josh’s touch still lingered upon them. Kate turned on the shower and climbed in soaking her hair instantly until it fell below her her elbows. She rinsed her fatigued fragile body and began washing it with the soap provided. It was beautiful she thought smelling the lavendar fragrance. Kate remained in the shower a good twenty minutes until finally coming out of the bathroom dressed in her nightgown and wearing a towel upon her head. Haldir chuckled never seeing this site before.
“Dries the hair,” she explained.
Kate knelt below the bed, and Haldir hovered over her smelling her scent and not minding her presence was blocking his view of the box. Kate unexpectedly reached up taking the towel off her head, and he watched her damp copper curls fall to her arms. Before Kate could brush them out, Haldir took her hair in one hand placing the other upon her shoulder.
“Relax,” he said kneading the soft skin upon her left shoulder.
“No problem,” she replied leaning into the touch.
His hands were skillful as he massaged her shoulders releasing the tenseness of the day. Haldir moved her hair to Kate’s front and continued with both of his hands trailing down her back taking mind not to upset her scars. Kate nearly moaned as he continued. His hands were masculine, soft, and beautiful full of life. She wondered if all elven men had hands like this and disregarded the thought when remembering that Haldir was a warrior. Kate let out a soft cry as he dug his fingers into her back. Haldir stopped for a moment, and she nearly protested looking back at him. He studied her features for a moment fixing his gaze upon her.
“What are you-” she was about to say when Haldir pressed a soft hand against her mouth.
“Shhh. Simply let me look at you,” he said running his fingers upon her cheeks and then to her neck.
Kate closed her eyes as he took her hair in his hands and began brushing it himself. Kate turned her head as he started fixing small braids into it. He finally finished, and Kate turned to see him smiling.
“You are beautiful, Kate,” he whispered.
Kate did not move but started to grow nervous as Haldir lowered himself to her face. He inched near her lips but hovered over them a moment to see her reaction. He smiled, and before Kate could react captured her mouth in a soft but persistent kiss. It was brief but still left tingles upon her body. Kate wanted so much to cling to him and cling to the kiss, but a thousand reasons prevented her from doing so. He pulled back noting her hesitation and nervousness.
“Kate,” he whispered, “you keep crying out for me, but resist. Why?”
“Because you are an elf.”
“Age matters not, Kate. My years should not matter in love.”
“Love is just a game,” she answered.
“How can you say that Kate?”
“Then you do not know what love is. You simply say that because you have been hurt.”
“Don’t try to heal me, Haldir. It won’t work. Besides, I’m trying to protect you, protect us.”
“Whether you mean to or not, you are not protecting me. You are forbidding me. You take the choice from me, Kate, and it is mine though you have your own as well. I choose to love you, and I would gladly die if I could to share one lifetime with you. That is worth far more than any fate the world has to offer for me.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about, Haldir,” she stood up and began to unroll the covers of the bed. “I thank you for your concern, but I’m tired. I won’t argue with you anymore tonight.”
“Then it would be a mistake to call you a frightened little mouse would it not?”
“Yes,” she said angrily.
Haldir sighed and placed the covers over her kissing her brow. “Goodnight, Kate.” He turned out the light. “Whatever you may think, you are completely wrong. I love you, and I hope someday you can return my love. And I shall continue to try until I gain it.”
“Don’t count on it.”
With those words, Haldir was crushed. He turned away from the mortal and laid upon his own bed simply imagining how wonderful a life it would be to live with this woman.