How Am I to Know?
Author's Note: I own nothing :)
Chapter Nineteen: How Am I To Know?
I sat there, on the edge for a good portion of the morning. Contemplating, reminiscing. I watched as King Edmund went strolling across the field with two escorts, one of them holding a white flag. King Miraz would either deny the request (so I prayed) or accept the challenge (so I feared).
Hearing Caspian tell me that he still cared for me as a sister was a small relief to me. This was probably the closest thing to an apology that we would ever have and I had to cherish it even though I knew in my heart that it would probably never be like it used to be. The night when we fell apart would forever stay cut into my heart no matter how hard I tried to reject it. I couldn't help but wonder what would have happened had none of this had ever happened…what if we had still gone on living the life we had before?
I laughed at myself for dreaming such a fantasy. It wasn't logical. Plus, I had met someone new that had changed me as well. That being King Peter, of course…but could I really compare the two?
Who was I kidding? Peter had brought me joy that I wouldn't of been able to have else wise. I made this my final verdict for the time being because a) I would have driven myself mad had I sat there thinking any longer and b) Reepicheep came up to tell me that my presence was requested down in the Stone Table room.
I could feel the tension in the air as I stepped into the room. Almost everyone was dead silent and the expressions worn on their faces told me that they were scared. I could imagine that my face looked just as flushed, but this was a side of the brave warriors I hadn't seen before. I could hardly blame them…I was just as frightened.
"So that is what we intend to do? Destroy the How and make the ground come collapsing under them?" Caspian asked as I took my usual spot on the rock next to Reepicheep," Assuming that the Telmarines do break their word."
Peter had his arms tucked behind his back as he paced back and forth," It one of our best chances of depleting most of their numbers. You know we haven't the numbers to actually destroy them else wise."
Caspian nodded his head in agreement," Then I agree to it."
"It'd be much easier if the lousy, pieces of trash would be decent enough to just keep their word," the mouse beside me squeaked.
A roll of laughter went through the crowd at the small mouse. He verbalized the thoughts that went through all of our heads, which made the statement much more humorous. Leave it to Reepicheep to lighten even the most serious of moods.
"Yes, Reep," Peter agreed with a smile," If only."
Our wait for the verdict was not long, for after a few minutes of strategizing, we heard footsteps running through the tunnels. All of us seemed to be silent at once as the young King came sprinting into the room, his escorts following behind him. He tried catching his breath, but announced anyways," He's accepted!"
My heart almost stopped beating as I looked over at the High King who nodded his head simply before saying," He agreed to today at midday?"
"Yes," he answered, still out of breath, as he came closer to his brother.
Peter replied with a simple nod of the head," I guess that this is the time that preparations should be made."
With a final glance over the crowd standing around him he said," You all know what to do."
Then, he turned and exited the room.
I checked seemingly every room and corridor for him, but I couldn't seem to locate him. Turn after turn I would hope to see the light-haired, blue eyed King, but he continued to stay hidden from my view. As I turned down what I had decided might be my last option, I heard my name as I looked into the enclosure.
"Rosalie," he said softly as I entered the room.
I smiled when I saw him and immediately embraced him once more," I don't want you to do this," I admitted openly as I rested my head on his chest.
"I know," he whispered back to me," I know you don't."
As much as it pained me to admit, I knew that he had to do this. Not only because it was his duty, but also because mentally he told himself that he must do this. He would never be able to live with himself if he lived to see the end of this war and more Narnians died than necessary.
"But I know," I started," That you must do this. It is for the sake of the people."
He broke away from me for a moment, still keeping two hands on my arms," You really mean this?" he asked, a hint of incredulity in his voice.
I met his blue eyes and nodded then with a confident voice answered," Of course. I have not known you for a long time Peter, but I believe that I have known you for long enough now to know that you would do anything for your people."
He nodded again and replied with a genuine," Thank you."
Slowly, I felt his hands drop away from my arms and he began stepping away from me. He walked over to where, I noticed, the armor he was to wear lay. His fingers ran over the lion emblem over the breast plate of the armor and then he continued to look over the rest of it. I found this odd that he had seemingly forgotten that I was in the room.
"Peter, are you-" I started to ask, but I noticed he was not even paying attention to me.
After several more moments he finally responded," Rosalie, do you mind if I ask you something that may seem personal?"
Confused, I took a step closer to him and replied," I do not mind, ask your question."
He let out a sigh before beginning," It seems like only yesterday that our paths first crossed and you threatened to kill me with a slice of your blade," I smiled slightly at the remembrance of this, I saw a smirk form on his face as well, but it vanished as he continued on," I remember slicing your hand and feeling immediate guilt afterwards. I remember thinking awful thoughts of a stupid girl trying to bring harm to me, but I saw something in you that I admired. Can you guess what that was?"
Hardly finding this question applicable to being personal, I pondered on it for a moment. I wondered just what it was that he was trying to get me to say, but I answered just how I thought he would want me to with a slight chuckle," Bravery?"
He shook his head and returned with a smile," Though it would have fit…no. Try again."
My mind buzzed with all sorts of things that he could have been thinking. I replayed that day several times in my head, but what bothered me was that Peter wasn't even asking what I knew he wanted to. This seemed to be some sort of a foreplay, so finally I asked him," Just what are you trying to get at? I don't seem to be understanding."
He didn't look at me, but continued to gaze at the armor," It was loyalty, Rosalie."
I remembered seeing Caspian, about to be destroyed by Peter. I remembered feeling so much hatred toward this pompous, boy who thought he could just be rid of him right there. Though I wasn't much of a swordsman, I could do what I could just to protect him…my brother. I guess that was being loyal.
"You were so determined to save him that you put your life on the line for him," he said to me, stroking the sword he would carry," You were willing to die for him."
Pieces of the puzzle slowly started to form as Peter continued talking.
"Then, as time progressed, you continued to despise me and went so far as to strike me because you saw me as a threat to the person who you loved, would you say this is accurate?" he questioned me, looking at me briefly.
"Yes," I answered, but then went on to add," But things have changed since then, Peter. You know that."
"Oh yes," he agreed," I know this very well, Rosalie. I know that you were betrayed by the person who you had been closest to your whole life for we have already discussed this-"
"Which is why," I interrupted," I am still puzzled as to why we are reliving this."
"Because Rosalie," he explained to me," I have always had a special feeling for you that I haven't had for anyone else I have ever met. Ever since the moment that you had the audacity to draw your sword at me, I have found myself attracted to you in a way that I can't even describe."
A part of my heart melted as he told me this.
I hadn't a clue how I could respond to this. I wanted to respond in the same manner and say that really, my love for him was hidden under my hate, but it wasn't that sort of a case. I was cold toward Peter for the longest time. In fact, I would argue that I was anything but attracted to him; I was appalled by him. Had someone told me that I would develop feelings for the boy, I would have laughed at them and turned away thinking it to be some sort of sick joke.
"Peter, I was so bitter toward you at first-"
He shook his head and stepped away from his armor for the first time," No, no, no, don't worry about the past. The only reason that I refer to the past is so that I can discuss the future."
The future. Those words hit me deep. Peter had been there for me whenever everyone else had abandoned me, he was my rescuer, he was my safety and whenever I was in his presence; I was happy. However, when he said those two words, I remembered my younger sister's face, worried over my relationship with Peter.
"Do you mean after all this is over?" I asked him tenderly.
"Yes, Rosalie," he replied as he stepped closer," I wish to get to know you better."
"And I you," I answered, slightly comforted that he wasn't rushing into anything extreme.
"However," he began and I glanced at him through the side of my eye, heart beating," The main reason I am saying all this is because I want to be certain you feel the same way."
Penelope's voice rang in my head once more as I waited for him to speak more. I remembered her referring to the short amount of time that I had only known Peter. I remembered her making a reference to Caspian.
This was not about Caspian. I had already heard Caspian's feelings for me.
"Just days ago, you were willing to place your life on the line in order to save your companion, that being Caspian. I know that a lot can change over the course of a few days and before we delve any further into this, I want to be sure that you haven't any feelings for the prince. How can you prove to me that the young prince is no longer in your heart?" he questioned me, continuing to grow closer to me," How can I be sure that I would not be sharing these emotions with another? How am I to know?"
So…this was about Caspian.
I had to think of this from Peter's perspective. He had known that Caspian and I had grown up together. By the looks of it, he could have easily inferred that we were a "couple" just by the amount of time we spent together, before the whole castle raid incident that is…
He didn't know the whole story though, he hadn't heard what Caspian had just said to me only moments ago.
Then I took into consideration my own feelings. Suppose I did end up with the King, years down the road, how would I feel? Could the small part of my heart that did still desire Caspian's companionship ever be silenced? Would I ever be able to live with my sister never forgiving me for choosing someone who I hardly knew as long as Caspian?
Were all of these feelings merely temporary?
I felt him come closer to me and slowly try to place a hand on my shoulder," All I need is to hear your answer."
I heard the footsteps coming closer down the hallway, probably coming to suit the King up for his duel. This was not a matter that any of them needed to hear about, this was merely between myself and Peter. I felt even more pressure to give him an answer.
"You are asking-" I stuttered, still trying to find the right words," More than you know."
I remembered sitting on the overlook and remembering everything that I had thought of. Over the last few days, I had separated myself from Caspian. I didn't care the slightest for him…or so I told myself. Now, I had to verbalize it. Now, I had to tell Peter how I felt of the Telmarine prince who I had been so close to for so long…it is easy to avoid someone who no words. It is easy to hate someone mentally for what they do, but expressing it in words is much different.
" I know that this is-"
"Peter," I stopped him," You must know, that I share the same feeling around you that you feel when you are around me. You must know this," the footsteps became louder as I paused," However, you must also know something else."
I tried picking my words wisely. So many conflicting thoughts inside of my head made it hard for me to make any sort of decision. The footsteps, almost entering now, put even more pressure on me. My heart was screaming for me to confess my love for Peter and to tell him that it was all I wanted to get to know him better and that all of my heart was dedicated to him.
But I would be lying.
I would not only be lying to him, but to myself as well.
My heart would always be wounded, even if it was only a minor scratch, for the Telmarine prince.
"I do not know how to explain this, but a part of my heart still belongs to Caspian, Peter," I admitted to him, breaking his eye contact," I think that it is merely because he is a part of my childhood and that-that he is my last connection to the life I used to have. I want you to know that I would love to know you better after this has all passed, Peter, but I cannot lie to you and say that you are the sole person on my heart because he still holds a place there as well. You must understand. His friendship was almost the only thing that I had as a child and the thought that I have lost my childhood by losing him...will forever pain me."
My words seemed to float in the air for a few moments before he actually responded.
"This is what I thought," he mumbled to himself and slowly moved his hand off of my shoulder. I grabbed his hand again, trying to comfort him.
"I'm sorry," I whispered to him.
"You've nothing to be sorry for," he assured me, trying to force a smile," When all of this is over with, we will have it sorted out."
"Please do not take this the wrong way. You know what I am saying, don't you? You understand?" I asked him, keeping my fingers locked through his.
"Of course, it would be foolish of me to ask for you to forget someone so close to your childhood," he said, his voice more confident.
I smiled at him, glad that he did understand. This was a genuine relief to me and I squeezed his hand one last time for the men were entering the room. I slowly bid Peter a farewell and stepped away from him. Then, just as I was leaving I found myself almost colliding with one of the soldiers coming to meet with the King.
I looked into the eyes of Caspian.
Author's Note: And the drama continues! Haha, this chapter took me a while to plan out and I have been battling the Flu as I write this, so I apologize if any of it doesn't make sense. I did read over it several times, but sometimes medications prevent one from thinking straight. Anyways, I have already started the next chapter and, rest assured, there will be action in the next chapter. (notice the underline and italic…haha)
Don't forget to keep voting in that poll! I still have a few ideas that could have the story end either way. Right now, Caspian is winning by three votes. Thanks to the reviewers/alerters/favoriters, you are greatly appreciated.