Authoress' Note: Hello there! Wow… it's been a long time since I've written anything. Let's change that, shall we? This is basically a collection of vignettes I've been writing over the school year. It is all Norribeth with Willabeth angst in the background. I don't really like how this first one came out, but I'm hoping they'll improve as I go along. All characters © Disney

Short Intro to The First Night

My wedding day passed in a blur of light, colour, and muted sound as though I had watched it through the shifting waters of the ocean. Its entirety felt distorted and slightly unreal. Where these feelings had come from I do not know. My solitary vision for years had been to make Elizabeth my wife, and for years she evaded me, flitting in and out of my dreams as often as she did in reality. Only when I asked her father for her hand in marriage did I know my wish would finally become true.

The First Night

Pride swells within me as I gaze upon Elizabeth, hovering on the crook of her father's arm, glide down the aisle, a vision of ivory and lace. Hesitantly, she pulls away from him to stand beside me looking small and utterly alone. She doesn't even bother to look at me, but instead looks straight ahead at the reverend as he begins to speak. This will not be as easy as I had thought.

The time comes for us to say our vows and I take Elizabeth's hands in mine. How they tremble! My heart sinks; for I know her shaking is not borne from nervous excitement but rather the suppression of stronger emotions bubbling within.

Hands entwined with mine, Elizabeth plays the part of the adoring bride well. She alternates between staring into my eyes and gazing at a fixed mark above my head. I know she does not really see me for those soft brown eyes are veiled and glazed over with sparkling tears. Finishing the repetition of my vow, I squeeze Elizabeth's hand to provide comfort, and she seems to break out of her reverie. I smile encouragingly, and she blinks at me in utter bewilderment and confusion as though she has never seen me before in her life.

Barely a moment is needed for Elizabeth to register what is happening and suddenly I am wishing she had stayed in her trance. Glistening tears spill from her eyes, rolling down her cheeks, and I can only hope they are mistaken for tears of joy.

The "I dos" will be the hardest for her, I know, and I am almost afraid to hear what she will say. When the time comes though, I find my fears to be ill placed. Elizabeth's binding vow is spoken in a much calmer voice than I had expected, swift and soft, hardly creating any disturbance in the still air of the chapel. Even her tears have faded into a mere paleness upon her cheeks. Our façade as a blissful couple begins.

Elizabeth is waiting for me in bed that evening with the coverlet pulled up to her chin. Her obvious anxiety does nothing to calm the storm of mixed emotions raging within me. Neither of us are naïve by any mean. We both know what usually transpires on ones wedding night. She is nervous though, and I cannot help being reluctant. I am not the man she wishes to give herself to. With her so fearful and distraught, anything we do tonight will feel like rape to me, and I cannot do that to her.

When I lay down beside her she stiffens in anticipation. I can feel a coldness radiating from her bare skin next to me and it takes all of my will power to remain still. Cautiously I slide my hand over hers and grasp it tightly to let her know that I am just as nervous, just as inexperienced. She pulls away and I know in my heart that I cannot force her to do what she does not wish to. Staring up at the dark canopy above I search my mind, in a final attempt, for words of comfort and love.

Being neither a great orator nor a romantic, nothing comes to mind, and so I turn over and whisper into the darkness, "Elizabeth?"

She does not respond, but I know she is listening from the way her breathing has quieted. I glance back up at the canopy willing its shadows to swallow me up. She continues listening, and still I continue to mull words over in my head, tasting them on the tip of my tongue and then swallowing them down again.

Elizabeth's eyes are on me now watching to see what I will do. I can almost hear the syncopated beats of her heart for they are my own.

"I shan't force myself on you," I finally say, louder than I had intended, "You are my wife, and I will treat you as such. Sleep well, we've had an exhausting day." My words come out forced and more blunt than I had meant them to, but I do not care anymore.

I turn over, away from her so that I cannot see her face, hoping she will not speak. We have made it through the worst, and all I want now is to plunge into darkness where I cannot think or feel anymore. The silence presses in on us, and even our breathing cannot be heard in the stillness of the night. Without a word Elizabeth turns away from me so that we are back-to-back and attempts to claim sleep.

Hours later, though my mind screams with fatigue and my body aches with echoes of the pomp and ceremony of the day, I find myself awake. It is not for those reasons I am conscious, however. It is Elizabeth, who, thinking me asleep, sobs into the darkness.

A dull ache forms in the pit of my stomach at the sound, and I wish more than anything that I could hold her in my arms and cry as well. Our life together isn't supposed to be this way. I am prepared to give her all that I have, and yet I know I cannot give her the one thing she wants most – a different man; a different life. As her crying grows louder, the renting of a broken heart made known, she stifles the sound with her pillow. I close my eyes again.

Am I really that much of a monster?

Authoress' Note: Hopefully you enjoyed that. Many more will follow I assure you. Until then, please click the review button to give me some good constructive criticism or compliments. I'll take either. ;) By the way, I can't decide whether I like this in 1st person pov or not. If you have any opinions on that I'd love to hear them.