When I realized that I loved her- really, honestly, unfortunately loved her- I think that was also when I noticed that he also loved her. I don't know how I missed it. I'm sure she would tell me that it was because I was just a big oaf and rarely noticed things that didn't have anything to do with battles or wars, but I know better than that. After I convinced myself that what I was feeling for her was love, I found myself watching her more often.
And the more I watched her, the more I noticed the little things that I had never seen before. The way he was always there, standing near her, and even when he wasn't, he seemed to always have one eye on her. The more I saw this, the more I wondered… and eventually, I think I came to accept the fact that I would have some competition for her heart.
That in itself was not a problem. I had everything that he did not; I had no knightly oaths- I could marry her if I pleased… in fact, the people expected me to marry. I was not a reserved man; I believed that if you did not go after what you wanted, you might miss your chance. I had money, and fame, and I would never let my duties get in my way where it concerned her.
Unfortunately, he had her complete trust, her loyalty, her devotion…and I seemed to only have a rocky friendship. I was convinced that I could make it work, despite all that. He had nothing to his name except a horse and a few weapons…I had everything.
When those thoughts crossed my mind, I realized that I was feeling jealousy. I had never been jealous of another man before- particularly a man who had no social status, no money, and certainly nothing I desired. But that fear was still there- that he would ultimately sweep her off her feet before I could.
He didn't have her…not yet. But the more I thought about it, the more I wondered if he would go against everything he believed to try and win her heart anyway.
When I went to see her—alone, as I would always request—I could see in his eyes the look of a defeated man…and as loathsome as it sounds, I started to enjoy seeing it. Kent was a good man, and I did not think ill of him… I only wanted him out of the picture.
Lyndis was perfect- she was beautiful and graceful…stubborn, but also kind… She lived a life free of duties- the kind of life I myself wanted… At the time, I did not stop to think that perhaps Kent wanted that same type of life for himself.
I only knew that he wanted her, and I wanted her, and only one of us could be successful in the end.
Sometimes, when I would go to see her, we would have a good conversation…but other times, I would end up leaving in a huff, angry beyond words. She had that talent, I think- to set me off like a stick of dynamite. The last argument we ever had was by far the worst, and I can still remember how I cursed myself to high heaven for it.
For the millionth time, I had gone to see her, and for the millionth time, he was there, too. It wasn't as if I hadn't seen it before, because like I said- a million times. But for some reason, it was the last straw. I didn't have that excuse that he had, to stand right there by her side every single day, and I think I was jealous.
I might be an oaf, and most of the people of Ostia might not have loved me then, but I was rich and famous…and I should not have wanted to be him- only a knight with nothing. Absolutely nothing.
I asked to speak with her, and she had flashed me a pretty smile- not unlike any other smile she had given, but it was directed at me, which was what made it so.
"Yes?" she had asked.
I did not mean to sound callous, or jealous, or even remotely angry, but I had snapped out a single word that did nothing to put me in her favor, "Alone."
She looked confused, but Kent- the nice, good guy that he was…he knew. He understood; I could see that in his dark eyes. I didn't hate him, I could never hate someone who only went after what they wanted- just as I did- but I was angry at myself for being jealous of him…for wanting to be him.
He looked between Lyn and myself, and left without a word. Not even an "Excuse me," or "Pardon", or "I beg your leave" before he disappeared.
She sighed at me after her knight left, and shook her head. "Why do you always send him away?" she asked me. "What is so important that you always have to talk to me alone?"
I stared at her a moment, hardly even contemplating my words before they flew out of my mouth. "I love you," I said, then, and the silence that came afterward was certainly not what I had been expecting.
She had merely blinked those beautiful eyes of hers at me with a dazed look on her face, as if she had no idea what to say, almost like what I had admitted did not fit into her little equation of life.
"We could wait as long as you wanted to get married," I added. "A year, two years…."
She said nothing.
I don't remember exactly how I felt at that point- I would like to forget it…it really was not one of my best moments, after all… But I felt hurt and a little confused. And while I am not naturally an angry man, I am not used to feeling hurt and confused, and those feelings alone made me angry- mostly at myself, for saying everything I was thinking, for mentioning marriage… I meant every word, though. Every single blasted word—in fact, I would have married her right then if she had wanted me to.
"You are jealous of Kent?" Her tone was shocked, as if the fact was just dawning on her, and it only fueled my fire.
"I am not jealous of someone who has nothing!" I found myself nearly shouting, and I did not realize at the time that my statement sounded jealous in itself.
I could see her face redden in anger, "What does that have to do with anything?"
"Nothing, and you know it. This is why I can't love you, Hector. Can you imagine what our marriage would be like? I don't want your kind of life- with ladies of court and money and earthly possessions… If I had not found out about my heritage, I would have nothing to my name now…but even so, I don't want it. I don't need it to be happy."
She had become quiet, and I shut my mouth, turning around angrily. "A lot of good being honest with you did," I muttered under my breath, my heart aching and my pride certainly wounded worse than I had ever physically been.
"I am still your friend," she said, her voice gentle, and I could not hate her, just as I could not hate the man who had ultimately won her affections.
I could see Kent sitting a few feet away from her tent as I left, and when he glanced up and saw me, he stood at attention immediately, and bowed just as he would to any figure of royalty. I was not angry at him, but I wanted to reach out and push him to the ground. I wondered if that was what Lyn felt like when he bowed to her. Calling her Lady Lyndis instead of just Lyndis, or Lyn…
I was a little bitter. Being rich and having things did not make me a better person. It did not get me Lyndis, and it did not make me someone worth bowing to. I was nothing special…not really. I had grown up thinking that having money meant something…anything. But really, it didn't mean anything at all. I could afford to take care of a wife and a large brood of children…but would my wife love me for me? Being royalty was really only full of complications…
As the days passed, the jealousy faded. The more I saw them together, the more I found myself accepting of the fact that I had lost against the better man. Perhaps not better in battle, or better where it concerned finances, but better in the sense that he was better for Lyn than I was.
Or maybe Lyndis was better for Kent than anyone else. Gradually, he began to smile openly and he would even laugh at Sain's antics… she had allowed him to become who he really was- the side of him that he rarely showed to other people for reasons that were all his own. I could not be angry at either one of them.
When I happen to glance at them from a distance, they both look happy, really happy. I've heard from Matthew that they are planning to live in Sacae after her grandfather eventually passes on.
Lyn and I are friends…nothing will change that. Friendship is something that I can count on, and I like things that I can count on. My feelings for Lyndis have not faded completely…not yet. I don't know when they will—probably when this army splits and we all go our separate ways. But she is happy…and as a man—no, a friend…it's all I really want to see.
Even if the one who is making her happy is not me.
Now this is different. It's been so long since I've written Hector. I've never written him seriously, either, so… I hope he was okay. I love Hector. And I love Lyndis, and I love Kent. Hector has always struck me as the "silent" jealous type. Not the man who would go out and actually smack someone around, of course. But the type that would keep it to himself. He may be loud and brash, but he's certainly not violent to the people on his own side.
What I was going for was that Kent and Lyndis were already "together" (in their own sense) when Hector told Lyndis he loved her. His admission is more of a last-ditch effort than anything. His line about wanting to be like Kent—that's practically taken from The Count of Monte Cristo. That movie/book is absolutely brilliant.
Anyway, I might have botched up Hector's character… I'm not totally sure. If you have a thought or opinion, feel free to give it! I'd certainly appreciate it.
Thanks for reading!