Of Telmarine Descent
"Face it, Pev. You liiiike her!"
Edmund Pevensie, a quiet, handsome young man wearing a pristine college uniform, shot an annoyed look at his official best friend, Aidan Winkler, a chipper, scruffy-looking blond wearing the same outfit, albeit with much less grace and elegance.
A lot of people wondered how serious, responsible Edmund could be friends, let alone best friends, with easy-going, prankster Aidan.
Aidan boasted that he was simply irresistible, even to serious stuck-ups like 'Pev'.
Edmund just smiled. He could hardly confess that Aidan reminded him of a faun he used to play chess with, now could he?
At the moment, however, Edmund was having some difficulties remembering why he suffered the annoying twerp's company.
It was true that he'd been fixated on the girl for the past few days. He came to the Library much more often than warranted by his 'studies' and watched her as inconspicuously as he was able, peering through the old gothic shelves.
There was no denying his interest; but that didn't mean he fancied her! He just… he was curious.
He couldn't pinpoint what made her different from all the other girls who came here day after day to study. He wanted to decipher the mystery she was, that was all.
His other friends just laughed and teased him: they too all had a certain young lady – or more than one in some cases – in mind when they came to the Library to try and watch them – that is, to study.
Edmund knew his wasn't a crush. Seriously, he wasn't an immature teenager, no matter what his body looked like, no matter how he was treated here in England.
He remembered his first times being fascinated by a girl, particularly a Princess Tara of Terebinthia that still made him blush in remembrance… He knew this was different.
Besides, he wasn't controlled by his hormones, thankyouverymuch, and while he could freely admit the lady in question was elegant and graceful, he couldn't in all honesty define her beautiful. He still remembered his royal sister, Queen Susan, at the height of her beauty during the Golden Age of Narnia – he was hard pressed in finding a girl who could bear comparison. And it was simply ridiculous to him the mention of 'love' when speaking of someone he had only caught a glimpse of in a library, and a few times on campus.
No, he could only laugh at his peers' silliness in thinking him infatuated. But he was honest enough with himself to know he was… intrigued.
In some indefinable way, she reminded him of days past, of better days, of days he couldn't help but long for. She reminded him of Home.
But naturally, only Peter would understand him if he tried to explain, and Peter wasn't here right now, and so he had no help in finding the elusive answers he desired. All he could do was come back to watch her everyday, in the hope of solving her mystery.
Of course, Aidan was being a fantastic nuisance about it. Edmund wondered if the other boy was jealous or something of the sort. Really, was it too much to ask, not to be teased mercilessly for something that didn't even have any ground?
It hadn't helped that Edmund had bristled at a fairly rude comment Aidan had made on the young lady's appearance.
It had offended Edmund's sense of courteousness and what he considered basic civility. So she wasn't as beautiful as, say, his sisters. That didn't give them the right to say it out loud! She was graceful and genteel, and that was enough in his mind to earn her the respect he'd been taught to accord to any lady.
But of course, his friend didn't hold himself to the standards of a Narnian Knight and he had misconstrued Edmund's good manners for romantic interest.
"Pev, honestly! No one can obsess on a girl like you're doing and seriously claim they're not interested!" Aidan's sing-song voice sounded taunting and thoroughly amused.
Edmund fought down a scowl. Although not romantic in nature, there was no denying that he did feel an interest in the girl.
"Just go and introduce yourself already!" Laughing eyes twinkled at him from his soon-to-be-former best friend's face. Why, oh, why did he hang out with the nuisance, again?
"I will do no such thing, Mr. Winkler", he said in a calm and regal manner. "It would be both presumptuous and unseemly and I'll thank you not to suggest it again".
Really, what was the prat thinking! One does not approach a lady, especially a maid, out of the blue with no common acquaintances to mediate the encounter, no previous claim to any relationship and no better reason than curiosity. It would be a rude imposition indeed, to inconvenience her like that – and for what? To satisfy his own nosiness?
At least he was fairly confident that Aidan would subside now, for a while at least. He always seemed to, when Edmund resorted to a formal style of address. Perhaps it was the way a hint of King Edmund would shine through in such occasions – which both Peter and he had learned to keep rare, precisely for this reason.
As he expected, the blond glanced away and pointedly changed the topic, and breathing a sigh of relief Edmund forced himself to go back to 'normal British teenager' once more.
He couldn't help glancing back to the girl one last time, though. As blundering as it was, Aidan's advice wasn't completely without merit. Maybe he could find someone who would be able to introduce her to him? It would probably not be easy, but not impossible either…
But as it were, his curiosity was soon to be satisfied without much effort on his part.
The very next day, having for once actually needed to consult a book, he was walking briskly towards the circulation desk of the Library when, rounding a solid shelf, he collided unexpectedly with the very girl he'd been thinking of so much, coming in the opposite direction.
He startled rather badly at the sudden tete-à-tete, caught completely off guard, and barely managed to react in time to steady her from a fall.
He could hardly believe it.
Here was the girl he had been so fascinated with of late, suddenly in front of him…
She looked almost as taken aback as he felt and he had the unexpected feeling that she recognized him too, for she was staring, scrutinizing him with an odd intensity that had Edmund reeling, absolutely incapable of taking advantage of the sudden circumstance, or, indeed, of uttering the few sentences of apology/introduction politeness required.
He was almost starting to become self-conscious, and only his long experience as a diplomat allowed him to avoid squirming unbecomingly.
Then she shocked him to his very core.
For this rather ordinary, red-headed girl, with a very British, cotton uniform and wool high stockings and books for literature class in her arms, in this very British library…
…dipped into a graceful curtsey – not the just-hinted one that Susan informed them was the 'trend' after the war, but a full, text-book one, that had Edmund blinking his eyes at the passing impression of long, flowing gowns…
…and gently said: "The Lion's blessing upon you, your Majesty."
Edmund gasped, eyes wide in utter disbelief. "Wh-What? How…? I don't… Why would you… How?"
He stammered and faltered, even as he unconsciously straightened his pose, squaring his shoulder and sketching a courtly bow, unable to get over his incredulity in front of this unexplainable encounter.
Her smile was sad, and pained, and joyful all in one.
"Have you really never wondered, your Majesty, what became of the Telmarines who followed the Kings and Queens of Old through Aslan's Door?"
Then she left, leaving in her wake a stunned Edmund, only coherent enough to gape.
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