"Still awake my love?" a pleasantly drowsy Link enquired of Zelda, who was standing by the window.
"Uh huh" she replied, without turning to look at her husband. Zelda still didn't turn when he came over to her and put his arms around her; kissing her neck and whispering in her ear;
"Don't tell me I'm losing my touch, dearest?" he asked with a little chuckle in his voice. Zelda smiled and she leaned back into Link's strong embrace, replying;
"Did I seem disappointed to you, don't be so silly." Link could hear her smile in her voice and chuckled again when she then said in a mock indignant manner; "Why are you still awake anyway, normally it's you snoring within five minutes and nothing short of an earthquake will wake you." Link gave Zelda's ear a playful nip with his teeth by way of answer and squeezed her more tightly.
They stayed embraced for a while, each with their own thoughts; when Zelda gave a heavy sigh and a slight shudder.
"Worrying about tomorrow, my love?" Link asked tenderly. "She'll be fine, our daughter is wise and brave and has been looking forward to her wedding for months now. She is very much in love with her Prince." This time there was no reply to Link's semi banter. Curious, he turned Zelda gently to face him; taking a concerned look at the tearful eyes of his wife.
"Shouldn't you save these for the wedding?" Link wiped the tears from her cheeks but Zelda turned away from him again and hugged herself against the cooling night air. She scented the honeysuckle in the air, arising from the courtyard that would host the wedding in the afternoon of the next day. She could picture all the roses in bloom and her lovely daughter bedecked in a stunning gown of silk and gold; pledging her love and future to the handsome young man beside her. Much as she herself had done to the man standing beside her now.
Then the tears fell.
"What is the matter Zelda?" Link asked softly, feeling there was more wrong than just the normal nerves of the 'Mother of the Bride'. "Come on Zel, I need to know." But there was no immediate answer. So relaxing his mental barriers, Link explored along the golden connection that joined their minds; due in part to the power of their triforce pieces and part to their own telepathic abilities. He was surprised to feel a sense of shame emanating from Zelda. She didn't block his gentle search; but he would rather she told him the problem, they had always been able to talk and confide in one another.
"Tell me Zelda, please, don't keep secrets from me." His tone was sad. Zelda hung her head, shook herself and said in such a small voice;
"You couldn't understand Link, you felt my shame. I'll get over it in time." She tried to smile but Link was not appeased. What couldn't he understand, Zelda had always talked to him because he was so understanding of her. He had also felt a twinge of jealousy wrapped up in the shame from within her mind. Link was now beginning to worry, what could possibly make his beautiful wife feel shame and jealousy.
He loved Zelda unconditionally; and had since he first sighted her aged eleven, and didn't know or understand what the feelings he had for her then meant.
"Please darling, whatever it is; let me help. You're not afraid of me, are you?" Link didn't really think she was, but what else could it be? Zelda could not mistake the love and emotion in his voice.
"Of course I'm not afraid of you Link." she whispered. "It is me. I am ashamed of myself. I don't know how to say it even." She took a breath with a heavy sigh and continued "I'm jealous. Jealous of our daughter and I'm so ashamed."
'No. No. No.' Link felt as if an icy hand had gripped his heart stopping him breathing. Not the handsome prince; it couldn't be, could it? If Zelda had been able to meet her husband's eyes at this confession; she would have seen the shock and sadness, flash in them. An immense lump came to his throat; and swallowing painfully, he asked her how long she had felt like this. Then he lead her to a small sofa in their room and, putting his arms around her shaking shoulders; he tried to encourage her to tell him more, however afraid he was of what she might say.
She responded to the familiar presence of comfort that Link always had for her. He recognised it too and his heart ached that she may only think of him as a friend now. Speaking low she said;
"It's been coming on gradually; at first I could laugh at myself, but not now. Whenever I see Sarah with Alen, these feelings just seem to take over. It's so much worse at night. It's so stupid Link; I feel so selfish and horrible." With that she turned in towards Link and sobbed against his shoulder. He stroked her back and rocked her tenderly; she was so grateful, he always managed to make her feel better. Anyway, things always appeared worse in the small hours and Link was usually right; it probably had a lot to do with pre-wedding nerves.
Zelda quietened against Link and after a little while she started to pull herself together. Having relaxed in the warmth of his arms she was now very tired; so leaving the safety of his embrace she returned to their bed. A couple of minutes later she was settled and Link thought her asleep, so he too got up to join her. Zelda opened her eyes to smile at him, but as the moonlight fell on his face, she saw two rivers of silver tears on his cheeks. He was silent as he blindly got into bed, staying as close to the edge as he could get.
Alarmed, Zelda got out and ran to his side; imploring him to talk to her. For a while he remained silent and when he did eventually look up, his eyes shocked her; they were so full of grief and reddened from those silent tears. Link tried to speak, his voice choked and rough;
"I should have realised, I've been blind all these years; you're not happy. I always hoped that I was enough, that you truly loved me. I'm sorry. I'm sorry." Short, crippled sentences that she didn't understand. Trying to compose himself as best he could and wiping at his eyes; he sat up and faced her. "What do we do now Zelda, Sarah and Alen are leaving tomorrow; but where does that leave us? Do you wish me to leave straight away?"
With sudden understanding, Zelda grabbed his face in both her hands; she wiped his face with her fingers and kissed him, hard. Kissing him until she felt him respond, hungrily but with restrained anger. Then pulling away she looked at him intently.
"You silly boy, you've got me all wrong; I'm not jealous over Alen. Oh Link, you are the only man I've ever loved or will ever love. No one has been as blessed as I am in my husband." Looking up, as if afraid to believe her; his look questioned her further. Zelda took his hands in hers and said; "Since Sarah's been courting and fallen in love, she is so radiant and beautiful. Standing next to her I feel so faded. I'm fatter, I found a wrinkle and I'm getting old."
Link ran a gamut of emotions from relief, anger and amusement before recognising the underlying need for reassurance in Zelda's words. Reassurance she would only accept from him and obviously needed to hear. His turmoil would have to wait; alongside the anger that was just beneath the surface still and was channeled in a different direction. All he really needed to care about for the moment was, that he'd misunderstood and that Zelda needed him.
Getting up, he went and poured them each a glass of wine; allowing it to relax him a little. They sat for a while in a calmer silence, then Link leaned over his wife to kiss her; pushing her back onto the bed forcefully. His desire for Zelda rose rather obviously as his body started to react;
"I love you Zelda now and always. You've always been a beautiful woman. You have no cause to worry my love, I need you so much; I need you now." His eyes, no longer silvery blue with tears; were now darkened with passion. Zelda gasped as she felt his need;
"Want to recreate our wedding night love?" she whispered; unable to take her eyes away from the look in his and not wanting to.
"It's impossible Zelda, that was a once in our lifetime occasion." Suddenly he knew just how important it was to get across to his beloved; his thoughts on his love for her. "Listen to me darling. Our wedding night was wonderful and you gave me the best gift a girl can reserve for her husband. You allowed me to make love to the girl and see the woman come alive in your eyes; full of promises for the future and eager anticipation. He swallowed and lowered his voice.
"But when those promises are fulfilled and experience grows, that is the best loving there is and that is what we have. I never want to replace the Link and Zelda we are now; with the young and so shy couple we were, however much I treasure the memory of our first night. Your beauty grows my love every day."
"I've never lied to you Zelda and I'm not about to start, over something as important as this. You are my life." His voice was shaking with deep emotion and barely contained passion by now. Zelda smiled, his words were convincing; his body was certainly proving his desire. She felt such relief in his love that she abandoned herself to him, matching his passionate embraces with her own; eventually leaving them wrapped, exhausted and satisfied in each others arms.
And at the wedding; Link, (whilst recognizing all the promise of his lovely daughter ) as always had eyes for no other beauty than that of his beloved wife.