A Heart in Disguise

Chapter 24

The moment my lips made contact I felt her freeze within my grasp. I waited for her to push me away and demand another explanation or simply look at me in disgust, but the response she gave a few seconds later astounded me. Soft fingers found their way onto my cheeks before slipping around to bring me closer by the neck.

Her lips began to move against mine as she also found comfort in a sensation that could never be forgotten. It felt like an eternity since I had kissed her; the taste was far more intoxicating than any fine wine I could lay hands upon.

My initial reaction was to push her back towards my bed, yet I was able to get a slight hold on myself. This was neither the time nor the place as much as I ached for it. Drawing away, I opened my eyes and saw that hers were still closed as if she were afraid to open them up and be exposed to reality, but when she did I saw that familiar glimmer I had grown to adore.

Her soft hands were on my face, her thumbs stroking my cheeks, and I wondered what it must have been like to share such a familiar moment yet see another woman. I did the last thing an Evil soul would ever do. I pulled her back towards me and drew her into a long embrace, breathing in her fragrance. She smelt of the forest, of the trees, of freedom.

There was an echo in my heart, a longing to become that child I once was before any of this pain touched me. Daniel flashed before my mind's eye and I knew that he would always be there; he would have wanted me to be happy, not live my life out in misery condemning the rest of the world to suffer with me.

I sniffed and the realization that my eyes were welling up hit me. Taking a step back, I turned my head and ran a hand across my face not harboring a care in the world about the kohl rimming my eyes creating havoc upon my face.

I couldn't let my past speak for me now, for I am not who I was. The past isn't what defines us. It's simply what allows us to grow and find who we are. I could only hope that Snow saw it the same way. Reaching out to her again I took hold of her face and held on for dear life out of fear that she would fade away and leave me stranded in this darkness.

"I'll find a way to change back if that's what you want—"


Soft fingers slid over my own. They simply rested there as her hazel eyes found mine. I opened my mouth to speak, yet nothing came out. If I listened close enough could I hear her heartbeat?

The corners of her eyes began to glimmer and I watched her squeeze them shut just momentarily before I began to wipe a single falling tear away with my thumb. This was where I wanted to be. I didn't care where this took me. If I had to live among the trees for the rest of my life covered in grime I'd do it in a heartbeat as long as it promised happiness.

Snow's face twitched and she parted her lips. When she spoke it shook, but there was enough assertion to know that her words were true.

"I'm willing to try and work through this…whatever this is," she looked directly at me, "if you make me one promise."

"Anything," I whispered instantly. She studied my face, for she knew desperation wasn't fit for a Queen, especially an Evil Queen. Did she believe me? Was she willing to put trust in me again?

"You have to promise me that you'll do whatever you can to fix this Kingdom. The past is already written but there is still time to change the future."

I could see their faces now, all those angry people loathing my very existence. Once they found out I had softened they would turn against me and tie me to a stake, burn me for everything I had done.

I deserved it too.

"They'll never forgive me."

"Maybe not, but maybe I will."

Closing the gap, she leaned forward and found my lips once more for a long slow kiss, slower than any we had ever shared. I could feel every emotion we had ever felt rush through me like a thousand candles growing hotter and brighter each second.

Who would have ever imagined that a Queen would fall for an outlaw? I had killed thousands in the name of revenge, out of anger and darkness. I would have tortured myself a thousand times if it meant that I could change what I had done, yet it was engraved into the stones of time.

As lips moved like delicate petals, I saw the events of the prior months flashing before my eyes and as they did I watched myself fall for this woman ever so slowly like a struggling battle against the grasp of darkness and light. I had fought it for so long and now I was willing to let go regardless of the bottom.

I could see the steamy water rippling as her bare body pushed through the waters of the springs. A trace of the warmth against my chilled skin remained. The roaring of the voices inside my head, the heat of her lips, the thumping of my heart. The gods had granted us a gift from the harshness of the mountain, a gift that would haunt me until I was willing to accept it. That was the first time I had felt her lips upon mine; little did I know that they would embrace my dreams like a fragrant ghost.

"Let me in. I can help you."

"No you can't. If you knew the images in my mind, if you truly understood who I am, you would run as far away from me as you could, my dear Snow."

See saw in me what no one else ever saw and even though I may have been disguised, that woman I became was now a part of me. I didn't need fancy dresses, a vast castle, nor did I need magic, for that had always been a protective wall around my heart. Without any of that she was able to seep right into my core and I was more willing than ever, if not desperate, to keep her there.

A breeze rushed through the room, frigid compared to our body heat, and we moved back together further into the room until the backs of her legs made contact with my bed.

It wasn't clear the time when my eyes cracked open during the night. Glancing downward, I found Snow resting quietly on my bare chest. A strand of hair danced around from her breath and I gently tucked it behind her ear.

What was to come when the sunlight hit the land? I did not know, yet I found myself unwillingly to grow timid. The fear I had clung onto had drifted away as a profound feeling of bliss washed over me. Even if no one else ever believed I had changed, I knew that Snow understood.

My fingers drew circles along her shoulders as I watched her sleep peacefully. Perhaps the stars had misaligned, but I am sure glad they did, for I knew that this was something I was never going to let go.

The greedy touch of dark magic still clung to me like a faint whisper. It would always be there, I knew, but I would find a way to overcome it. We all have our own scars to bear.

She was the only one who knew the entire story, the only one who I had ever shared my pain with, and the fact that I was willing to let her into my heart astounded me.

I had done my part in creating a world full of chaos and it was finally time for me to make things right once and for all.

Hope was never gone; it was simply hiding in the shadows waiting for someone to light a candle to find it. And she came. She came swooping in like a bandit and pulled me into a life unfamiliar that soon became my home.

I once claimed to be Evil. Come across a random villager and they would tell you that the darkness had corrupted me beyond saving. It had been engraved so deeply into my heart that trying to would result only in failure, but what they did not realize is that people can change. I don't believe in the concept that evil is born. I never wanted this life that I was given, but I can't blame anyone but myself for choosing how I reacted. This journey is my own and I must face the consequences, whatever they may be.

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