IMPORTANT NOTE: I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry but this is the end of this story! I'd intended to make it MUCH longer but I don't have the time, it's not going to happen, so I thought I'd give it a light hearted, hopefully satisfactory ending. PLEASE REVIEW. I'd feel bad if so many people waited so long for an update and now they've all lost interest. Drop me a review on my other stories or email me. Goodbye, Heart's Undoing, it was lovely while it lasted.
Chapter Three: First Signs of Madness
"…don't even know what I'm doing. Things were easier before the men I liked actually began to like me back. Maybe being desirable to them isn't such a good thing after all. I liked it when it was less confusing. I mean. I've always liked men. I had that terrible crush on Neal when I was a page… but now things are more complicated. What am I doing? Should I be doing it? Should I give up? Why am I talking to myself? I never used to talk to myself. I used to be stone. Such a good Yamani. Now I'm disgracing even myself."
"You know, you're right, Kel. I've never heard you talk to yourself before."
Kel turned around and directed the scowl at the perpetrator of this flippant comment. "I was talking to Peachblossom."
"Naturally." Neal stepped closer and leaned casually against the stall, watching Kel work. "You do happen to realise that once things happen, there's no undoing them."
"I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about."
Neal sighed. "Romances happen, Kel. I'm not the sort to advise you not to distract yourself from your oh-so-noble-and-bothersome knightly duties, but it's not all fun and games. It's nothing to raise a fuss over. Yet."
Kel felt like rolling her eyes. "No one's making a fuss over it but you, Sir Nealan, and how exactly did you find out about it in the first place?"
"We may not be as bad as women, but men do tell each other things, particularly family members who can offer advice or other kinds of useful commentary."
"So you've told Dom about the time at the Yule ball when you were dancing with Lady Lucretia and she was wearing that low-cut gown and all of a sudden you—"
"Gods, Kel! Keep your mouth shut!" Neal turned a brilliant shade of crimson. "What I was trying to say is… blast it, I don't even remember. Just be careful. You're still a novice of sorts, you know, where this is concerned. If you need help, you know where to find me. I've had plenty of experience, so consider me a most excellent teacher." Without giving her the opportunity to express doubt of this remark, Neal turned and left Kel to her own muddled thoughts.
At some point later in the week, Keladry found herself at the end of her rope and decided, in a fit of unusual resolve, to do something about it. She'd spent far too much time lately worrying about what people knew, what Dom thought about it all, what her friends thought, or the tension between her and that certain blue-eyed sergeant. She was by no means experienced as he was, but she at least had the courage to try something.
So eventually, when she was sure they would have time alone to relax and grow comfortable with things, Kel drew Dom aside to talk. They spent quite a while walking along the ramparts of New Hope, the conversation flowing easily, until she found an opportunity to discuss the subject she'd been waiting to broach for days.
She smiled. "Why do you always do that?"
"Do what?" The corners of his lips quirked up.
"Make me smile when I'm trying to say something important."
"Terribly sorry, my dear. Go on, what is so important?"
She bit her lip, suddenly uncertain how to proceed. "Last week…our walk. I don't know what it established, but it established something." Kel paused. "I hope I'm not reading the signals wrong here. But I… oh dear. I'm just not very good at this." She cleared her throat. "So…unless I'm wrong here…"
Dom caught her hands in his and focused his eyes on hers. Unfairly, she thought, since it was hard to concentrate or not look away when his eyes were so lovely and blue. "Kel," he began, seeing at first completely in control and confident, then his words suddenly failed him and he laughed sheepishly, stuck in the same problem she was. "Gods. I thought I was better than this but now I feel like a teenager again." They shared smiles, and he began again. "I'll just get it out—you're reading the signals right. I'm interested in you. Infinitely interested and it's actually not something I can say in two, three, even a dozen words right now."
Kel nodded. "Exactly. Only, you have much more experience in this than I do."
His lips twitched. "Oh, I wouldn't be too sure about that. I have never in all my life met someone quite like you, Kel. So I beg your pardon if I say anything that you don't like, or think things about you that aren't right, or…do something horribly and inexcusably forward, like this."
He leaned in a little and fit his lips against hers. Kel was startled a little at first, she hadn't anticipated this so suddenly, but then she relaxed and admitted it was nice. Quite nice. Beyond nice, really, so she responded and let her hands slide along the sides of his face and gently drape against his neck.
When the kiss ended moments later, they both smiled and laughed a little, like they'd just shared with each other a very important secret.
"We'll be careful."
"Incredibly, most carefully careful."
"We won't let ourselves get too distracted."
"Don't want this to be the cause of anything bad in the end."
"It wouldn't be worth it."
"We won't raise a clamour over this."
"No, let's leave that up to Neal and his overdramatic personality."
"We'll take it one step at a time."
"Agreed. But Kel, one question."
"What is it?"
"May I do that again?"
Their lips met, savoured, and parted.
"You can do that anytime you wish."
A/N: okay. So. Update on my life, in case anyone cares. My mum, dad, and ickle sister are all going on a trip to Italy leaving tomorrow getting back Monday after next, so me and Cricket (Dom's Lover for those of you who remember her) are going to be alooooone on our oooown. And I got a new CD, the Clash. And I re-read The Bell Jar. And I get to see Paul on Friday. yay.