|Secret Garden Book 1: Forbidden
Author: Jade-Max PM
Epic length series. Re-vamped version. Serenity's curiosity drives her to travel to the forbidden planet of Earth, desiring to see the colors she's only heard about and breaking a long standing law. What she finds is more than color...Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Usagi T./Serena/Bunny/Sailor Moon & Mamoru C./Darien S./Tuxedo Kamen - Chapters: 6 - Words: 38,345 - Reviews: 31 - Favs: 96 - Follows: 28 - Updated: 05-18-08 - Published: 05-12-08 - Status: Complete - id: 4252578
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Pale fingers slid onto black fabric as Serenity took Endymion's proffered arm with a deep, bracing breath. Stepping forward, he made to lead her from the room, but her fingers slid away, dropping from his sleeve hesitantly. Pulling away from him she paced back towards the balcony, twisting her hands together nervously. "I cannot do this - she will yell at me."
Endymion followed her, sliding his hands across her bare shoulders as she stopped in the doorway of his balcony and looked out over the gardens in silence.
It was dusk, the sun having just set, and Serenity had been informed that her mother would be coming to talk to the Queen of Earth because of her; it had been implied that the Moon Queen knew of her location. Serenity shivered as a cool breeze wafted through the window and over bare skin. Dressed once more her formal gown, her hair - save for two long braids - was done up in its usual buns. The two braids were wrapped around her head and anchored at the back, covering her crescent moon while she was in the palace and allowing her to save her energy. It was a style she found she rather enjoyed and had vowed to wear it more often when she returned home.
Satin fluttered in the gentle breeze, billowing about her bare legs and against Endymion's armor, seeming to whisper words that were just out of reach. The faint light of the sun had descended below the horizon and now shed its light on the clouds, causing them to be purple, pink, blue and red hued. In addition it cast its faint light on the Princess and Prince, illuminating their faces as Endymion slid his arms around her shoulders and pulled her flush against him. Lifting her hands, she grasped his, her fingers tightening with a surprising strength.
Their fates were about to be decided – fates they'd unintentionally sealed with Serenity's impulsive actions but two days before. He felt her shiver as she light faded off the distant clouds and the Moon began to rise. It took its time, peaking over the horizon with an almost shy, apologetic light. Silver light sprang from the orb, spreading across the landscape with a gentle intensity that seemed to be drawn to Serenity.
Endymion could almost feel the way the light of the moon seemed to re-energize her as he placed a gentle kiss on the crown of her head. "Your mother will be arriving shortly, Angel."
Her eyes closed, relishing the feeling of strength that flowed through her with the first rays of the moon hitting her flesh. Strength that was as much magical as it was elusive. Endymion's warmth at her back seemed to allow that strength to resonate, embedding itself more deeply than before and leaving her impossibly refreshed. Unfortunately it did little to bolster her courage. "How can I see her, Endymion?"
"She is your mother."
Clutching his arm, she bowed her head from the moon as if she were unworthy to continue gazing upon it. "But she will be angry and disappointed with me - can I not simply stay here with you and never see her again? I would forsake my birthright!" She turned towards him; her eyes shimmering with unshed tears as she begged him not to make her go see her mother.
He shook his head, freeing one of his hands to gently place it on the curve of her cheek, tracing the shape of her face with his fingers and thumb. She leaned her hands into his hand, still looking at him and he voiced the regretful denial. "I cannot ask you to do that, Angel. You and I both know what we have done, and now we must face the consequences. You know that as well as I."
"I do not wish to lose you."
"You will never lose me, Angel."
Their lips met with a gentle pressure as he tilted her chin, but the mood quickly turned passionate as she reached up with her free hand to grasp him about the neck, kissing him fiercely. Caught off guard at the ardor in her kiss, Endymion could only react as she stepped onto the toes of his boots to get closer to him, his arms tightening of their own accord.
As she pressed nearer, Serenity decided the ridges of his armor didn't hurt that much after all if she could be this close to him – it was worth it. Skimming her fingers into the rough silk of his hair, she boldly explored his mouth with her tongue. His surprise was immediate and translated through the sudden stillness in his body. Despite it, she continued to kiss him, feeling very vulnerable and exposed; it would be unbearable – humiliating – if he pushed her away...
Endymion froze as Serenity deepened the kiss of her own initiative. He was at a loss for several seconds and felt her slight hesitation as she continued. Groaning into her mouth, he pulled her even closer, crushing her against his body armor. She squeaked in surprise as he boldly thrust his tongue into her mouth to duel with hers and explore her secrets. He marveled at her taste once again; sunshine and sweetness, freshly fallen rain in a meadow or newly fallen snow. Never had Endymion tasted anything so innocent - so pure - and he knew in that moment he was addicted to her.
Serenity tore her captured hand out of his grip as she was trapped against his body, locked in a passionate kiss, and snaked it around his waist. Her fingers began to loosen the straps and buckle of his breastplate and she barely realized what she was doing - until he jerked when her cool fingers slipped under his shirt and encountered the heated flesh of his back. Tearing his lips from hers and breathing heavily, he gasped, as she slid her hand up his back under the loosened breastplate.
"Serenity, what are you doing?"
Opening her eyes she found his passion darkened, midnight eyes staring back at her. Flames licked the surface of his pupils as he stared at her and she knew he was controlling himself amazingly well - almost inhumanely so. Her senses were reeling as she inhaled raggedly and attempted to bring herself back down to earth. "Kiss me again, my love." Her plea was soft, husky and crawled over his skin like the most intimate of caresses. "I know this is right – this feels right. I need you to hold me; to love me."
He swallowed hard, ruthlessly tramping down on the desire running rampant through his system. A desire she was able to see and he could do little to curb with her in his arms. Loosening his grip on her partially, he shook his head regrettably. No matter how tempted, he refused to give in. "I can do one, Angel, but the other is for when we are wed."
Blinking up at him blankly, she obviously didn't understand his meaning and he smiled down at her, one of his hands sliding down the bare skin of her back to settle on her waist, his thumb gently caressing the bare skin of her spine just above where the dress began. He bent his head and her eyes fluttered closed as he places a gentle, whisper soft kiss on her cheek. She turned her head towards his and he planted a similar kiss on her other cheek. Frowning, she turned her head towards him again only to receive a light kiss on the nose.
A frustrated noise sounded in the back of her throat. "Endymion-"
He chuckled down at her, finally brushing a whisper of a kiss across her lips, pulling back when she tried to move forward, and teasing her by keeping just out of reach. Her brow furrowed in frustration, her eyelids parting so she was looking up at him through her lashes, the sapphire orbs dark with passion. As if on cue, he touched the seam of her lips with the tip of his tongue, tracing the line gently, as he settled his lips over hers.
Serenity parted her lips, tasting his dark flavor greedily. The hand that had lain forgotten at the base of his head during his teasing now slid into his hair, burrowing into the dark, soft strands. She gripped the back of his head with surprisingly strong fingers, stretching her neck to mold her lips to his, angling her head so she could better kiss him and receive his kiss.
Endymion's fingers on her waist continued to brush liquid fire across the base of her spine, igniting desires in Serenity she had only felt around this man. She knew she was playing with fire but could find no reason to stop. He was everything she wanted, everything she'd dreamed of; that he could make her feel this way was nothing short of miraculous.
Cool fingers - still beneath the fabric of his shirt - slid upwards, raking her nails gently, but firmly, across his back. Feeling, more than hearing, his gasp of pleasure, she did it again and felt a sudden spasm of his hands. His other hand slid from her cheek to the arch of her neck, cupping the column in a firm grip as his thumb played with one of her earlobes and the sensitive curve beneath it.
Endymion trailed feather light kisses down her jaw line and her throat, tasting the pearly skin with lips and tongue. He nipped her gently and felt her shiver. Moving to kiss her again, he could feel her body shiver against his and instead of kissing her as intended, dropped his head to her shoulder, eyes closed. Endymion fought hard to control himself. She was playing havoc with his emotions and self-control and he knew that if they continued on this course they wouldn't be leaving his chambers anytime soon. As he regained his focus he noticed for the first time that he was leaning against the doorjamb for support. Straightening, he locked his knees against the weakness he felt within, holding Serenity in a tight embrace until she stirred, the uneven rise and fall of her chest in tandem with her ragged breathing.
"Endymion?" Her voice was low, more from suppressed passion than from any desire to keep it down.
"I have never felt anything like that." A touch of awe was in her words. "What just happened?"
He closed his eyes and replied honestly. "The earth moved."
"You felt it too, then?"
Nodding, he opened his eyes and lifted his head to look at her. Slowly, she pulled her hands free from behind him and brought them up to rest on his breastplate. He smiled at her, his breathing slowly returning to normal as his heart continued to pound. "Yes, Angel, I felt it too." A light kiss was dropped on the tip of her nose – he couldn't resist when she looked so utterly adorable – and then eased his hold a little. "However, we are supposed to be meeting your mother."
Their eyes locked, his nearly black eyes with her now navy colored orbs speaking of the heat between them, and she blushed. "You will forgive me, I pray, if I say I do not wish to see my mother."
Placing one hand over his lips, she stilled his tolerant exasperation with a deeper blush and innocently shy smile. "It is not from any reservations about being punished, my love. I do not wish to leave your side this night for I have never felt like this. With you I am home."
He hugged her tightly and then set her on her feet, his hands reluctantly sliding from her slim body. The desire to keep her there was almost overwhelming. "You must understand, Serenity - I feel the same way. I do not wish to go through with this any more than you for I could lose you forever tonight, but we must go, even though we do not wish it, to ensure the future of our kingdoms."
A regretful sigh escaped from her lips and she nodded. Stepping a half step away, she ran her hands down over her dress to ensure it was as pristine as usual. It would not do to arrive before both Queens of such strong nations looking like a disheveled mess.
Endymion watched her with a slight smile on his face. "You have never looked lovelier to me than at this moment, Angel. I hope you know just how much you mean to me."
She smiled, unknowingly backlit by the rising moon and the silver beams glittered around her, as if drawn to her form, like a glowing cape. "I know, my Prince, I know."
Stepping towards him, Endymion almost pushed her away when she went to put her arms around him – there was little more he could take and maintain his control - but froze instead as she quickly tightened the buckles and ties on his armor. Without looking at him, she ensured the fasteners were back in place and then hugged him briefly before pulling away - but not far as she finally looked up at him with luminescent, expressive eyes. "I hope you, as well, know what you mean to me, my love, my Endymion."
He favored her with a soft smile as he presented her his arm. "I know, Princess, I know."
Serenity accepted his escort and, together, they exited his chambers to face the consequences of their actions.
Two Queens greeted each other formally in the throne room in the palace of the Earth Kingdom - the King of Earth was away on business, leaving his wife and son in charge of the Kingdom. Both were dressed in their robes of state for this formal occasion and the potentially dire consequences of it.
Queen Serenity looked absolutely breathtaking in her royal gown, the white fabric hugging her curves and hiding her feet. She, and the rest of her entourage, had taken a bit of time back on the Moon to adapt themselves to the earth's gravity. As a result they were able to speak to the Royal family much sooner and without the effects of negative gravity.
Queen Mindaya was dressed in the blacks, navy blues and dark reds of the court of earth. She wore a plain black dress with an over dress done in red and black roses with navy blue leaves. On her feet were delicate slipper-like boots made from pure obsidian. Her hair was pulled back in a long braid down her back and she carried a scepter of obsidian and ruby in one hand. To greet the Queen of the Moon she wore a smile on her usually dour features.
They spoke the formal greetings of the court before the two women embraced, hugging each other tightly in greeting. The royal guards of both houses stood off to the side as the rulers greeted each other, both sides looking very confused as the Queens embraced one another.
"Serenity, it has been too long since you and I last chatted. I only with it could have been under better circumstances. It seems we have something of a problem."
Queen Serenity nodded, smiling at her old friend, "Indeed, Mindaya, we do have a problem. I, too, wish we could have talked under better circumstances. Where is my daughter?"
Queen Mindaya sighed, noting the concern in the other Queen's tone. "She is fine. Endymion will be along with her shortly."
"She is unharmed?"
"No worse for wear, I assure you. Endymion has been surprisingly solicitous."
Grateful for that, Queen Serenity accepted the chair that Mindaya had brought for her. The two Queens settled into them and dismissed their guards as they began to chat about various things – the planting seasons, trade agreements on their respective planets and – eventually their children. Mindaya regaled the Moon Queen with stories of Endymion's mischievous exploits as a child and Serenity returned in kind with the antics of her daughter.
Long minutes passed as they laughed and smiled, sharing the pride only parents can take in their children. Inevitably, the topic of discussion shifted to the reason for their meeting: the relationship between Endymion and Serenity.
"I swear Endymion has been nothing but a terror with the ladies since his 16th birthday." Mindaya shook her head in a tolerant fashion. "There are few who can resist his charms and, perhaps we made too much of his abilities, but I have never seen him happier than with your daughter, Serenity. She is quite the young woman - you must be very proud of her."
"I am. I regret that I have not yet found the opportunity to meet your son, Mindaya, hopefully we can remedy that shortly."
"Where are those two?"
Serenity shrugged gracefully and tentatively probed for Mindaya's opinion of the relationship. "Perhaps saying their goodbyes?"
Mindaya sighed regretfully. "You are likely quite right. I do hope Endymion will not do something rash."
"He is known to be impulsive at times."
"Considering the circumstances and my daughter's actions, I am in no place to judge."
"Dare I hope that you are interested in an alliance with the Earth my friend? I have never seen my son happier than with your daughter. Perhaps we can come to some agreement to keep them together - they are, after all, soul bonded... if the prophecy is correct."
"My sister assures me it is." Queen Serenity's face transformed into a huge smile and she reached forward to grasp Mindaya's hands. "You have just suggested the very thing I wished to address. You know, as well as I, that with the meeting of our children that the peace will be shattered in the future. If we join our Kingdoms, perhaps we can be strong enough to fight back the darkness."
Mindaya sucked in a surprised breath. "Serenity, are you sure? I mean, I wish for nothing more than to see our children happy, but a marriage to forge an alliance? Is that not a touch extreme?"
"Why not?" Serenity frowned. "Soul mates will never be happy with anyone else, or so I am told. They should have no objections to becoming wed and we can build our armies o strengthen our forces for the coming battle."
The doors to the side of the hall opened as Mindaya nodded her accent and both Queens' turned to look as the stewards held the doors open.
Queen Serenity gasped as she saw the image her daughter and the dark haired young. They made a striking pair. Endymion was dressed in his armor, the lights in the chamber glinting and catching the silver edges. He looked dashingly handsome and determined 0 everything a Prince should be.
Princess Serenity was glowing, more than usual, on his arm. Her hair draped around her like two molten gold rivers, flowing down to her feet and framing her petite body. The two braids wrapped around her forehead looked like some sort of natural golden tiara. Her bare feet peaked out from under her skirt as she walked and she looked like a little porcelain doll, breakable and beautiful. He was darkness to her light, a protector to the one in need of protection. Catching the glint of a ring on her daughter's finger, Queen Serenity smiled privately: an accent to a wedding between these two would be the least of their worries.
Rising so her feet, Queen Serenity picked up her skirt and walked swiftly towards her daughter, unable to hide her relief. "Serenity! Angel, I have been so worried!"
Princess Serenity squeezed Endymion's arm as she let go and then went forward to embrace her mother in a firm hug. "Mother." Her smile was demure but delighted and her blue eyes held a tinge of fear as she pulled away.
"Are you alright?"
Princess Serenity nodded, extending her hand to Endymion. He stepped forward and took it, kissing the backs of her fingers as he let his fingers slide between hers. Princess Serenity dropped the bombshell with a calmness she didn't really feel. "I have never been better, mother. Endymion, this is my mother, Queen Serenity. Mother, this is my fiancé; Prince Endymion of Earth."
Endymion bowed to the Queen of the Moon formally as his mother's shocked voice carried over, cutting off his greeting. "Fiancé? Endymion, what is this about?"
Princess Serenity curtsied to the Queen. "It is good to see you again, your Majesty."
Mindaya nodded her head to the princess and then looked to her son for an explanation, her brow furrowed with false disapproval. Endymion had done the very thing they had been discussing – in fact beat them to it.
Endymion smiled, his gaze taking in both his mother and the Queen of the Moon as he captured Serenity's hand in his once more. "I asked Serenity to marry me this morning – she has accepted."
The Princess shyly extended her hand to show her mother the ring they had chosen that day. Queen Serenity looked back at Mindaya over her shoulder and winked at her friend. Mindaya came to stand next to Queen Serenity. "Do you wish to tell them, or may I have the pleasure?"
Mindaya's conversational tone had Queen Serenity fighting to keep a smile off her face as her daughter and Endymion exchanged worried looks, their hands clasping tighter together as if someone would rip them apart. "Oh, I really wish to do this, though, if you must, Mindaya dear, you may."
"Oh I would never deprive you of the privilege, my friend, please; be my guest."
"You are absolutely positive you do not mind?"
Endymion had had enough. "Tell us what?"
His growl barely maintained a civil tone and did little to mask the terror that he was about to be torn away from his Angel. Serenity stepped closer, sliding her arms about his waist and together they trembled, worried as to what had been decided in their absence. Her eyes held such panic at the thought of being torn away from him that he could stand it no longer. The look was slowly shredding his heart.
His mother threw him a look that showed she was very disappointed in him for not being able to take this. The expression softened when she saw Princess Serenity close to tears, her big blue eyes looking frantically at the three of them, her eyes resting on Endymion most of the time. Mindaya could tell by the look that the Princess couldn't take much more of this without breaking down.
"Really Endymion, such a tone," scolded his mother, but there was no anger in her voice. "Serenity, dear, you tell them - your daughter is nearly in tears with worry."
Queen Serenity looked at her daughter and immediately regretted teasing the youngsters. "Serenity, honey, we were going to ask if you and Endymion would consent to a marriage of alliance between the Earth and the Moon. You have just saved us from forcing you into it."
Princess Serenity looked at her mother dumbfounded, tears glittering in her sapphire eyes and disbelieving her own ears. "You... you mean you were... just teasing?"
Queen Serenity nodded, smiling kindly. "After all you've put me through a scare did you good, I believe."
Princess Serenity closed her eyes, tears trailing down her cheeks from behind closed lashed. She turned her face into Endymion's shoulder, clutching him tightly as he held her close. "They approve," she murmured, her voice so low that Endymion barely caught it.
He closed his eyes with relief, as if hearing her confirm it, made it real and lowered his head so that he was standing cheek to cheek with her. His breath was soft and warm on her ear as he spoke. "I love you."
"And I you."
The Queens looked at each other as the two held one another close in such obvious relief and Mindaya cleared her throat delicately.
"Now that you know of our plans, perhaps you can take Serenity out into the gardens tonight before she leaves, Endymion." She motioned for the prince to exit with his fiancée, and he quickly left, leaving the two beaming parents alone in the throne room. As the doors closed behind him and his princess he heard his mother asking the Queen of the Moon if she had seen her quarters yet.
Endymion walked slowly with Serenity through the gardens back to the waterfall, everything awash in the soft silver light of the moon. The sky was clear, free from clouds – a perfect night. They passed through the rose garden, Serenity stopping to smell certain kinds of roses, careful of the thorns.
They reached the large pond in the middle and Serenity smiled, seeing the ducks nested together in the reeds, two larger ducks sheltering the smaller ones. "I am going to miss Earth," she told him softly as they stopped to watch the waterfall. Endymion wrapped his arms around her from behind as the moonlight turned the waterfall into a silver shower.
"I will miss having you with me, but I will count the minutes until I see you next," he replied, keeping his voice low.
She leaned back against him and the stepped away, grabbing his hand as she broke his light hold, and walked towards the waterfall. "Come. Show me your garden again - once more before I must leave."
A blush stained her cheeks but she didn't deny it. "Our garden."
Endymion led her behind the waterfall, mindful of where she placed her feet. "Watch your head," he cautioned, ducking to avoid the overhanging rock.
They traveled swiftly through the passage, Serenity shivering as she walked barefoot through the cold stone walkway. Emerging on the other side, Serenity sighed and looked around the secret garden she knew better than her own room. She refused to drop his hand when he made to let go and pulled him away from the waterfall towards the weeping willow in the far corner of the yard. When they stood beneath the dropping branches she turned to face him, her expression shadowed by the overhanging branches.
"Lift me up?" Her eyes sparkled mischievously despite her soft tone.
Endymion did as she asked, carefully lifting her up until she was standing on the branch. She extended her hand in mute invitation. He shook his head, unwilling to risk over balancing her, and he leapt lightly to the branch. Trapping her next to the trunk as he placed a hand on either side of her, he looked down into her beloved face. "Why did you want to come up here, Serenity?"
She shrugged, reaching up to wrap her arms around his neck. "In here I get you to myself, Prince Endymion, and with my mother on the planet I do not wish for her to find us while I say my goodbyes to you. She would definitely think them un-ladylike."
Leaning his head down to kiss her, the smile she loved caressed his lips – it was a smile just for her. She leaned into his kiss, her back against the tree, her curves molded to his body. Endymion slipped one of his knees between her legs as she moved, pinning her to the tree more securely and causing her to straddle his thigh. Endymion moaned into her mouth as she clamped her thighs around his, one of her knees pressing up against the codpiece he wore. One of his hands slipped down to grab her thigh as the other snaked around her waist and he dropped them off the branch to the moss-covered rock beneath the boughs of the tree before pinning her against the side of the tree once more.
Serenity's hands flew over his back, snaking down and around as her fingers found, and undid, the buckles and ties of his armor she'd played with earlier that day. Pulling away from him fractionally, she smiled at his surprised expression when his breastplate shifted to hang skewed over his chest. Endymion caught it and tossed it behind him without thinking. Serenity laughed as it clanged on the stone and then pulled his mouth back to hers as she pressed against him. Her chest molded to his as her fingers flew over the armored arms pieces, dropping them to the ground when they were too heavy for her to lift for more than a few seconds.
Endymion pulled away from her, pressing his knee up between her legs, and looked down at her as her face registered surprised delight. He tore off the last of his forearm pieces and tossed it forcefully behind him. The sound of something hitting water startled him as he was leaning down to kiss her again. Looking over his shoulder, groaned as he realized he'd just tossed a piece of his armor into the small pond.
"Get it later, my love." Gentle hands ran over his cloth covered chest and tugged his shirt out of his pants. Her cool fingers hit his skin once again and this time she just about purred when she encountered a stomach of pure, muscled flesh, her approval and delight unmistakable. They slid up his chest and then down, causing him to hiss with pleasure as her nails scratched over his skin. Endymion caught her hands against his stomach, her fingers flexing, and he swallowed hard, fighting to maintain his control.
With a swift movement, he grasped her arms and pulled them from of his shirt to pin them above her head. "Serenity - we have to stop."
She pouted, sticking her lower lip out adorably. "You do not wish to continue?" Looking up at him through her lashes, she pressed forward on his leg and tried to lean up to kiss him. Her eyes had darkened to a deep navy blue with her desire.
His chuckle caught in his throat. "On the contrary, my lady, I wish to continue more than anything, but I wish for your first time to lie with me to be as husband and wife. I pray you can understand that. It pains me to stop now, but if I do not, I do not know if I will be able."
"I understand." Sighing softly, she dropped her gaze. "Perhaps we should retrieve your armor?"
He pulled away from her tactfully, and Serenity rearranged her skirts, holding onto Endymion's arm as her knees regained their starch. Watching her, he examined her features and wouldn't help but smile. Her mouth was kiss bruised while her eyes were dark and stormy with desire and confusion. He saw acceptance there as well as uncertainty for what she was feeling. It only reinforced he was doing the right thing. She fixed her dress, making sure nothing was clinging to it and then looked up at him through her lashes.
Endymion swallowed hard. It was a good thing I was wearing my codpiece. He knew his eyes must be almost as black as the nighttime sky without a moon as he looked at her. In silent accord they walked silently to the pool as Endymion collected his armor in a pile and made sure all but the one piece hadn't landed in the water. He quickly discarded the rest of his armor and then removed his shirt.
As it came off over his head, his gaze met Serenity's who was watching him, her cheeks tinted pink, but not looking away.
"Angel, would you mind turning your back as I retrieve the last piece?" He fingered the waistband of his pants as he spoke to get his message across, arching an eyebrow at her.
Crimson flushed her face under the moonlight and she turned her back to him, her dress flaring out with the hasty movement. He saw her cover her face with her hands, as if embarrassed, and quickly shucked the remainder of his clothes and slipped into the pool. Despite her innocence – or perhaps because of it – he had no wish to frighten her.
Serenity turned away from Endymion, her face flaming. She heard him enter the pool with a small splash but didn't dare turn around or peek though she knew he would remove all of his clothes to retrieve the last piece of armor and her suddenly active imagination tried to picture what he looked like. Hiding her face in her hands, trying to banish the thoughts from her mind, she found it was more difficult than she'd believed it would be. Sinking to her knees as she waited for him to climb out of the pool, the cool metal of her engagement ring and her promise ring rested against her cheekbone in silent comfort.
Endymion quickly dried himself off with his cape after climbing out of the water before dressing and then dried off the piece he'd retrieved. Replaced his lower body armor he left his breastplate and arm guards off as he went to sit next to Serenity, gently touching her shoulder. "I am sorry; I did not want tonight to be like this."
She nodded, not looking at him.
"Are you angry with me, Angel?"
She shook her head, a tear trickling from the corner of her wide eyes, but she still refused to look at him.
"What is wrong? Have I done or said something...?"
She shook her head again, this time more violently, her hair swinging with the motion but she still refused to speak.
He lifted a hand to her face, turning her shadowed feature towards him and his breath caught in his throat. Her eyes were red rimmed and filled with tears. What he saw in her eyes was what reached into his chest and squeezed. Her desolation - the realization that she was being parted from him and would be for quite some time – was plain to read in their depths. Her words, softly spoken and choked, confirmed it.
"How will I live back on the moon knowing you are so near, and yet so far?"
Endymion smiled at her softly, brushing her tears away with the pads of his thumbs. "The same way I will, Angel - counting the minutes until I can see you once again. Counting the minutes until you can appear once more here, in our secret garden."
Author's Note: And that's it for Book 1! It's the shortest of the books as I wrote it first. Book Two: The Joining of Two Nations can be found in my profile if you've a mind to read it. Thanks for reading and for all your wonderful comments!