Chapter Twelve: Excuses
He looked very nervous as he stood in front of me. He wrung his hands in front of him and started pacing in the circle of people. I couldn't help but notice that all eyes were on him. I apparently wasn't the only one that wanted answers from Caspian; I assumed they had found out what he had done as well.
As upset as I was with him, I didn't want this to be anymore uncomfortable than it already was going to be…for the both of us.
I looked around to the by-standers," Could we have some privacy please? Only for a while?"
They all stared at me for a moment, but soon began to walk toward the exit.
"Wait!" Caspian called before they left," Stay. All of you. I know that you all have judged me for what I have done to Rosalie as well and I would like to clear my name."
Many whispers buzzed through the crowd and they slowly moved back into their previous positions.
"Caspian, are you-" I started, confused that he would want such a thing.
I was only trying to help the matter for him, but if he didn't want it…then that was his problem. The situation would only be more awkward for him.
"Please," his eyes met mine," It's what I want to do."
I didn't say another word and broke my gaze with him. It took a couple of moments for him to begin speaking. I could tell by the way he was pacing and the look on his face that he was carefully choosing his words.
Patience was growing thin with me as he stood there, fighting with himself over what to say.
"You have to know something," he finally spoke to me, softly," Every fiber of my being wanted to come back for you, Rosalie. You must know that? Surely you do not expect me to tell you that."
Sadly, that was exactly what I wanted to hear him say. I wanted him to be the one running after me to come to rescue and not just stand by. After what he had done, it was too late for him to say things such as that.
His eyes were expecting an answer from me so I chose my own words carefully.
" It was hard for me to assure myself of that as I sat in that cell for almost three days, Caspian," I said, the tone of my voice may have sounded cold once more.
"Rosalie," he said my name, still as calm as ever," We are the best of friends. You are my closest companion, surely you would know that I wanted to?"
My eyes narrowed at him. I found that my words began spilling out of my mouth before my brain could process them.
"Then why didn't you?" I spat at him," It's not like you couldn't have at least tried. If I was so important to you, then would you have been the one running after me as they drug me away?"
He looked hurt by my harsh accusation, as well as surprised. I couldn't help but admit that I was quite surprised by my words as well.
"Rosalie," he started," It-it wasn't safe for me to. I could have very well been asking to kill myself-"
"No!" I cried; I unfolded my arms and looked right at him," Do not tell me an excuse, Caspian."
"Rosalie, it's not an excuse. Both you and I know that I would have been killed had I gone back to your aid," he pleaded, his tone becoming less calm by the moment.
"Do not lie to me," I commanded him," I saw the look in your eyes Caspian."
"What are you talking about?" he asked, clearly confused by what I was saying.
It took me a moment to process what I was going to say, but as soon as it came to my head…it came spilling out and the results were similar to that of an avalanche.
"I saw it!" I cried again," I saw you look at her and then look at me. Do you think I am that stupid to believe that it was a matter of life or death as to why you didn't come to help me?"
I could barely believe that I had just said that…as soon as the words went out I wanted to slap myself and pull them back in. I had only thought those things, but I hadn't really intended to bring Susan into the situation.
He raised an eyebrow at me. I could tell that he was obviously angered," Why don't you enlighten me then? Because I don't seem to know why."
I bite my lip for a moment. Hard. Almost to the point where blood was drawn, but bitter words finally came out," I have been replaced, Caspian. I have been replaced by a Queen of Narnia. Someone who I could never compare with. It's no surprise that you would choose her over me. How can I compare with her?"
I looked over to the pale Gentle Queen who stood with a horrified look on her face. Caspian looked at her as well, but then returned his, now furious, gaze to me.
"Do not bring Susan into this!" he defended.
"But I have every reason to," I took a step closer to Caspian, just as mad as him, my voice grew louder," You chose her over me Caspian!"
He came closer to me as well, his face angrier than before," You really believe that?" he spat at me.
"Unless you can convince me otherwise," I hissed right back at him.
He ran his fingers through his hair as he stepped away from me. His eyes shot around the room to all of the faces still watching us intently. I wondered if he had regretted not allowing them all to leave. He looked over to Susan again who looked to be watching Caspian intently, wondering just what he was going to say next.
"It was for your protection, Rosalie," he finally admitted, loudly.
I looked at him sideways as he turned back around to meet my glance.
"Protection?" I asked, my anger boiling," That's ridiculous! How could you ever think that leaving me there would equal protection?"
It would the most absurd thing I had ever heard. There was no way that I would be any more protected in the clutches of the Telmarines than I would be out in the woods with the rest of them. How could he be so naïve to believe such a barbarous thing?
"Because," he sighed, desperate for me to believe him," I thought that maybe, by chance, your father would take you back. Your family loved you too much to keep you locked up in a cell. Surely they couldn't stay mad at you forever. They could be mad at me, but not at you. I knew that eventually they would have to let you out-"
I stopped listening.
His plan should have worked. That should have been the case…but it wasn't. Caspian didn't realize who my father was. He didn't realize a lot of things because I had never told him a lot. I never had the chance to tell him… All he knew was that my family would be happy to see me…
But that wasn't enough for me.
I shook my head," There's so much more to it than that, Caspian!" I yelled at him, as tears started to surface to my eyes.
"What is it then?" he shot at me.
I sighed and crossed my arms once again. My eyes avoided his as I fought back tears," When you left me, Caspian…when I went back home…Jacob betrayed me. He and Penelope turned me in to father because he had told them that I had told him everything about mother and what she had told us of Narnia. He then lied and said that I then ran away because I couldn't bear to face them. He took away mother. He threatened that if I ever came back to see them, then they were to turn me in if they ever wanted to see mother again. Jacob actually believed him and Penelope only pretended to. If it weren't for Penelope, rebelling against my father and for Edmund and Lucy, then I would have been hung, Caspian. My hanging was scheduled for this next morning."
He swallowed hard before saying anything else. I could tell that he felt horrible…and his eyes told me that he was apologetic, but my heart was still cold toward him. He had only made me more upset. His heart meant well, but his actions were very childish if he thought that would actually work. He didn't know a lot of the details which should have given him even more of a reason to come running after me. He shouldn't have relied on what he didn't know for sure.
He should have trusted what his heart was telling him. He shouldn't have trusted logic.
"Rosalie, I could have never known-"
The words of Aslan came to me. The words that the horse had told me before it flew off into the night "…trust your heart, Rosalie."
Could this have been a connection, possibly?
"Really?" I countered, my voice cracked," Caspian, tell me something. Did you do what your heart was telling you to do…or were you doing what was…seemed logical?"
He shook his head," Why does it matter?"
"You said that you wanted to, Caspian, but you didn't. You must know that had I seen you being dragged away by a guard of soldiers, then my heart would be telling me to run after you no matter what it meant. Someone once told me that your heart always knows best," I explained to him," That's why it matters."
The conversation was done as far as I was concerned. He looked to not have anything else to say and I was disappointed that this new Caspian that had been created would not at least apologize for what he had done...by try to justify it with a story that could only happen in one's dreams.
I looked at the dark haired Telmarine one last time before turning my back and walking to exit the room.
"Rosalie!" he called, but I kept walking.
"Rosalie! Do not walk out of here!" he yelled just as I reached the edge.
I paused for one moment and turned to look at him one last time," What more could you have to say to me?"
"Rosalie," he started, more softly this time," Please, we are the best of friends. Don't let this friendship fall apart, please just forgive me. I know it doesn't make sense, but please, can't you warm your heart toward me? Please…believe me."
"No," I replied," We were the best of friends. Now, you've turned in to someone who, quite frankly, I don't even know."
"You chose Susan, Caspian. And now with me out of your hair…you can be with her," I told him, coldly.
And even though that's what I said, I don't know if I fully believed it.
His anger surfaced once more as he came charging toward me," This isn't about Susan!"
"But it is," I hissed right back at him as he stopped face to face with me.
"You aren't listening! All you're doing, Rosalie, is believing this fantasy that you've dreamt up on your own! You don't want to hear anything other than what you've already decided. This whole conversation was pointless because deep down you already had me convicted!" he yelled at me," You haven't listened this whole time."
But I had listened. And listening only made me more saddened by my loss of my friend.
The crowd that had been standing-by, who I had been oblivious to, started buzzing with shocked expressions. I noticed Susan had taken a step closer to the pair of us, as well as Peter.
I choked back tears," That's not-"
"But it is!" he yelled," It is true, Rosalie! You're too proud to forgive me because I didn't do, what you wanted me to do. You've got this idea in your head that I chose Susan over you and if you were the same Rosalie that I knew, you would know that I would never choose anyone else over you! Don't you know that?"
My blood was boiling with rage as he continued saying all of these things. My mind was racing with many different sorts of things to say to him, but I almost broke down right there. I couldn't stand it anymore.
Tears fell out my eyes as I turned and stormed out of the room," You're jealous, Rosalie! You're just too arrogant to admit it!" he yelled as I started running, pushing through the circle of creatures that had formed around us.
I heard Caspian still fuming, but I didn't care. I kept running, I hadn't the slightest where I was running to, but I kept going deep into the tunnels.
"If you don't know that, Rosalie…then you've changed just as much as me. And quite frankly…I don't know you either!" I heard him yell, but everything after that…I refused to listen to.
Regret immediately filled my heart.
I had just lost my dearest companion.
I made my way to the overlook eventually, where I thought that I could finally be alone.
I sat with my legs over the edge as I looked over the landscape. Narnia was so peaceful in the evening and I would have enjoyed the sight even more had I not just been through a war of words with my former friend.
I couldn't believe myself. My heart was torn in two. Part of my heart was telling me how stupid I was for throwing away my one and only stable friendship that I had. Then the other part was still boiling mad at him. The things he had said to me had really stung, but surely he was not that ignorant.
But then again, I hadn't been the most friendly person either. Almost all of my words probably stung pretty severely as well. I replayed the whole scene through my head several times before throwing my head into my hands and sighing loudly.
"Why couldn't you have just listened to him? Why are you so bitter toward him?" I mumbled aloud to myself as I watched moon slowly sinking in the night sky.
He had claimed that I was jealous…was it really that? I put that thought out of my head quickly.
"You're so stupid sometimes, Rosalie!" I said aloud as I ran my fingers through my hair.
" I don't know if stupid is the right word," a voice said from behind me, causing me to jump" But, rash or bold may be more appropriate."
The High King had snuck up on me once again. I wasn't exactly ecstatic to see him…but I wasn't going to send him away either. I would drive myself mad if I didn't have some sort of human interaction soon.
"What do you want?" I sighed, looking out to the landscape.
I heard him take a few cautious steps toward me.
"May I?" he finally asked motioning to take a seat beside me.
"I don't mind," I replied, quietly," It's not like you're interrupting anything exciting."
"Oh," he replied, raising an eyebrow, as he took a seat beside me" It sounded like a riveting conversation with yourself," he tried to joke.
I looked at him, just how long had he been standing back there? I wanted to be upset that he had been eavesdropping, but I couldn't help but…smile. Smile? My brain was so confused that none of my emotions were making any sense.
"Please, tell me you haven't been standing back there for long," I looked away, still smiling.
"Only long enough to hear you call yourself 'stupid'," he ensured me," Don't worry."
I looked at him. I hadn't really seen this side of Peter before. My first impression of him wasn't the best. It was quite possible the worst way to view someone. Then he had spoken with me at the river bank and I was touched that he was trying to make amends, but then my view changed of him totally when he came running after me to fight off the guards. Now…he was trying to be…comforting.
Something about his blue eyes made me like his company.
"Just kidding," he smiled," I heard everything."
My jaw dropped, in shock that he would actually listen to me talk to myself," You're absolutely horrible," I told him, but not angrily or coldly…teasingly.
"You aren't going to slap me again, I hope?" he asked me, still smirking," Because I can leave…"
I looked back out over the landscape and chuckled," No, I don't think you have anything to worry about."
"Well, that's a relief."
I didn't need anyone else angered with me and since he was on the short list of people who could tolerate me at the moment…
This was the perfect opportunity to ask Peter what I had been wanting to know for the last few days. As we sat there in silence for a couple of moments, I really was curious as to why Peter had cared so much about me to risk his life. I really hadn't done anything for him to care about me. In fact, if anyone had a reason to leave me it would have been him.
"Peter," I finally started," There's something I've been wanting to ask you for a couple of days now."
He looked at me," And what's that?"
I sighed as I chose my words," You didn't have to come running after me at the castle. I had been nothing but rude to you, but yet you were willing to risk your life for someone that you hardly even knew…why? I mean, theoretically, you should have done what Caspian did."
I saw him nod his head as he listened to me speak, he looked out into the distance before answering," I thought you would eventually ask me about that," he paused," Rosalie, when you rule over a land of people you want to do anything to make sure that they are safe. When we ruled over Narnia, it was our job to make sure that everyone in Narnia was happy and safe."
"I will admit that the castle raid was poorly planned on my part. I really should have called them off earlier, but I let my pride get in the way. I thought that we could actually weaken them and I was at fault for this. I had already failed my people and when I saw you, I was determined to spare as many lives as I could. I couldn't let anyone else be taken away, Rosalie. I couldn't fail anyone else."
He had come after me out of chivalry…I was…impressed.
"Even though, I was rude and plain disrespectful to you?" I asked him, not fully believing what I was hearing," You had every reason to leave me."
He shook his head," Rosalie, you are a person. No one deserves to be left. No one deserves to be abandoned. Even though I wasn't exactly fond of you…I knew I couldn't leave you there. It's my duty to keep you as well as everything else in Narnia safe."
There was another pause that hung in the air.
I blinked, trying to make my eyes believe that all of this had come out of his mouth. I despised the High King only days ago. I didn't want anything to do with him, but ,slowly, and very slowly; I was starting to enjoy his company.
"I've made a lot of mistakes, Rosalie," he told me, breaking the silence," And coming after you wasn't one of them."
I met his gaze," What makes you say that?"
"Because you are different than most girls," he explained," I don't think I have ever in all my years of meeting girls and such, met a girl who was quite as blunt and honest as you. You're very intriguing and very similar to a puzzle. The more I get to know you…the more intrigued I am by you."
I immediately felt my cheeks become hot. Embarrassment for the things that I had said to him earlier came flooding to me. It was most definitely a good thing that there was still some darkness(morning was drawing near) lingering over the landscape.
The High King seemed to notice the morning soon coming upon us and quickly changed the subject," You're probably tired aren't you?"
I nodded my head. I hadn't really slept for the last three nights and could only imagine what the bags under my eyes had looked like or my wadded mess of hair. It was a fight trying to keep my eyes open, but having a conversation with someone kept me a little more lively.
"Well," he told me as he started to stand up," Why don't you go and try to get some rest because according to Ed, we've got a Telmarine army that's planning for attack."
I looked up at him," The same source tells me that you haven't the slightest what you're doing either."
A boyish smirk came to his lips," And that's exactly why we need to start training as soon as possible and I'm going to need one of my best swordswoman well-rested and ready to strategize."
He offered his hand to help me up. I placed my own hand in his as he pulled me to my feet.
"That's an order," he told me, still smiling slightly.
"Yes," I replied, looking straight into his eyes," Your majesty."
He hadn't come to talk to me about Caspian or Susan or anything…he just wanted to comfort me. The King claimed that I was a puzzle...but he was just as complex as I. I was honored that he came after me out of chivalry, but it was still confusing that he could go from riding on my nerves to helping me in just a matter of days.
I found myself liking the High King of Narnia much more than I should have.
Author's Note: Okay, so there you have it! I know that this chapter had lots of drama so next chapter will have action…as well as some Peter/Rosalie. :)