A Mouse's Tale

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Chapter 24

"My losing my Knighthood and being sent home is just a cover up," Vyron went on. "Only four people knew the truth: me, Her Majesty, Sir Gordon, and Lord Penton. And now you know too. Everyone else believes that I'm leaving because I was kicked out. Sir Gordon thought it would be best that way, people thinking that I'm in one place when I'm actually in another. He said that it would help my chances of infiltrating the Iteca without being called out as being a Knight. If they ever found out that I was one, then they would also hear that I was kicked out. I could tell them that I was angry at the Queen for that and that's why I joined them."

"But why?" Mouse whined unhappily. "Why would you say yes to him?"

"Mouse, I've never told you about my family before, have I?" Vyron sighed, running his hand through his hair again.

"No..." Mouse replied, unsure of where the conversation was going.

"Well long story short, my father left my mother for another woman when I was eleven," Vyron said softly. "This brought a lot of dishonour to my family and on that day I swore that I would do whatever it took to restore our family's name. Mouse, I had to say yes to Sir Gordon. Just think, if I were to be the one to bring down the Iteca from the inside, I would be the greatest hero that Keiento has ever seen! My family wouldn't have to live in shame of my father's actions anymore!"

"But what about me?" Mouse asked, knowing that it was a selfish question.

"Mouse, you're asking me to choose between love and family," Vyron exclaimed, standing up. "Do you realize how hard of a decision that was for me? I only just gave Sir Gordon my answer today! That's why I didn't come see you! I knew that if I did, that I would never be able to say yes!"

"Then why did you?" Mouse cried, standing as well. "If you knew that you wouldn't have been able to say yes, then why did you?"

"Mouse, I have to look out for my family!" his voice rose in frustration, trying to make her understand his decision. "They're depending on me! How can you expect me to turn my back on them? Mouse, I can't lose my family! They mean everything to me. Don't you understand how important family is? How much they - Oh!" He stopped short as he realized what he had said, seeing the pain in Mouse's eyes. She slowly sank back down onto the bench.

"Mouse, I didn't mean to-" Vyron tried to apologize, sitting down beside her.

"You're right," she said softly. "I know what it's like to lose your family... And I wouldn't wish that on anyone, especially not you." Tears trickled down her face, the pain in her heart growing.

"Mouse, I'm so sorry," Vyron said softly, taking her into his arms and stroking her hair, trying to soothe her.

"Please, don't be," Mouse sighed. "You're right. Family and duty have to come first, before friends, before dreams, before love." She drew away from him slightly and looked up into his eyes.

"I should have told you this sooner," she said sadly. "Vyron, I... I love you." She watched him as her words sunk in. He blinked his eyes a couple of times in surprise.

Maybe he thought that I didn't feel the same, she realized. Since I never told him that I loved him back.

"You do?" his voice was so soft that Mouse struggled to hear it. She lightly bit her bottom lip as she nodded, "I do."

"Now it's going to be so much harder to leave," he sighed, lightly brushing a strand of hair from her face. "Especially after doing this!" He leaned down and kissed her lips, softly at first, but then more fiercely, as if he never wanted to part from them. His hands softly cupped her head as he kissed her and Mouse felt her hands reach up, twining themselves through his soft hair as she kissed him back.

Her back slowly fell back until she could feel the hard wood of the bench seat against it, pulling Vyron down with her. She winced slightly when his weight fell on her ribs and she shifted slightly, causing them to fall off the bench, Vyron rolling to catch the weight of the fall on his back.

"Ouch," he laughed, making Mouse, who sat on top of him, laugh as well. She leaned down and cut off his laughter as she cupped his face with her hands and kissed him again, more passionately than she ever had before. His hands reached up and gently wrapped around her waist, pulling her down closer to him.

She felt so alive, her whole body tingling with excitement and passion. She wished so desperately that she could stay in this moment with him forever.

She didn't know how much time had passed before they were found there, lying on the ground, tangled in each other's arms. Mouse felt bad for the young servant who found them, her cheeks turning bright red as her eyes fell upon them. Mouse sat up and quickly grabbed her discarded tunic and pulled it back over top of her undershirt, her own cheeks turning a little pink at being stumbled upon in such an intimate moment.

Vyron, carefree Vyron, just smiled at the girl, making her blush even more as he put his shirt back on, slowly doing the buttons up.

"I-I-I-I'm so-o-o sor-r-r-ry," the girl stuttered, turning around very quickly and disappearing as quickly as she had appeared.

"Poor girl," Mouse laughed awkwardly, turning back to look at Vyron. He had laid back down, his hands holding his head slightly up from behind as he stared at her with a smile on her face.

"What?" Mouse asked with a slight laugh. "Why are you looking at me like that?"

"Mmmm, because you look so cute when you're embarrassed," he grinned, to which Mouse just rolled her eyes. She laid back down beside him, laying her head on his chest. She could hear the soft beating of his heart, its soothing sound relaxing her. She slowly closed her eyes as he stroked her hair.

"Mouse?" he said her name softly.

"Mhmm?" she replied, not opening her eyes.

"Marry me," his voice was so sweet but at the same time so serious, causing Mouse to sit up abruptly.

"What?" she gasped.

"Marry me," he repeated, sitting up as well as he reached out for her. "Mouse, I love you. I want you and no one else."

"I can't," she replied softly, pulling away from him.

"Why not?" the hurt and confusion in his eyes made her heart twinge with pain.

"Vyron, I love you and I always will," she sighed. "But I'm only fifteen! I'm not ready to be married!"

"Many girls much younger than you are already married," Vyron argued.

"Well, maybe they were ready," Mouse exclaimed. "But I'm not. Vyron, don't you understand how sacred marriage is? It's not something you can just rush into! You have to be ready for it, which I'm not."

"I just don't want to lose you," he replied sadly. "What if you meet someone else while I'm gone?"

"And what if you meet someone else too?" Mouse remarked. "What if The Creator has someone else planned for us?" She gently cupped his face with her hand. "Vyron, I love you and there will always be a piece of my heart that will belong to you, but who knows how long you will be gone? Two years? Five? Ten?"

"I don't know," he shook his head sadly.

"Exactly," Mouse sighed, letting her hand fall. "What if it's ten years? What if you get killed? Vyron, I don't think that my heart would be able to take it."

"But," she continued. "I will make you a promise. When you return, whenever that may be, if you have not found someone else and I have not found someone else, then I promise that I will marry you."

"Please, be open to love," she begged. "Your heart won't be able to handle the pain if you hold on to your feelings for me."

"I never thought that saying goodbye to you would hurt this much," he sighed.

"I never thought that I would have to say goodbye," she sighed as well. "When do you leave?" She didn't want to ask it, but she knew that if she didn't that it would drive her insane until she did.

"Tonight," he replied, avoiding eye contact.

"Tonight?" she gasped. "So soon?"

"Sir Gordon wants to get me placed in the Iteca's community as soon as he can," Vyron explained. "He and his fleet left earlier today. I am to ride out separately, to stay with the appearance of my cover story, then I am to ride as swiftly as I can to catch up with them. I have to leave by tonight to be able to catch up with them by morning."

"I wish you didn't have to go," Mouse sighed sadly.

"Me too," he sighed as well.

"Come," Mouse said suddenly, standing up and holding out a hand to him.

"Where?" Vyron asked, taking her hand and letting her help him to his feet.

"We still have a couple of hours until you need to leave," she replied, pulling him down closer to her and giving him a light peck on the lips. "And I intend to enjoy every minute of it with you."

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