Bittersweet Temptation
By: Manna


xOx…

Her eyes catch the sunlight, and I wonder for a moment if it is possible to capture this fleeting happiness in some way, to save it for another day, another night, for a time when things might not be so happy anymore.

When she smiles, it's as if nothing else in the world matters anymore. When she laughs, my heart sings. Every day that I see her healthy and well are good days.

But lately, it's as if a dark cloud has settled over her. There is no happiness for me as long as my Oscar is suffering; it doesn't even matter how or why. If she is hurting, I am hurting; her pain is my pain, and I am only too happy to help her bear it. But how long will it take her to realize this?

I have showed it in a thousand ways. I have stood quietly by like I had always thought would be the right thing to do. After all, I think bitterly, love is patient, love is kind. It is not self-seeking.

But when she looks like that, so radiant and beautiful and full of life, it makes me want to change. She is too good for me, I know that. How could I not? When she smiles, I feel as if even a god of the Greek myths would be undeserving of her affection.

Almost as quickly as it came, her smile flees, and my heart sinks sickeningly. Is there anything I can do to make you happy, Oscar?

Is there anything anybody can do? Surely, God would not have handed her the destiny she is living! He must love her enough for happiness, her own true happiness, to be somewhere in her future.


xOx…

The ride home is quiet, and dinner is even more so. Oscar eats alone in her room, and I don't feel as if I can keep anything down. The sound of her piano drifts down to me, but the melody is forlorn and soft, and she does not play it for very long.

My curiosity, my desperate need to know that she is okay, grabs me, and before I know it, I find myself knocking at the door that leads to her foyer.

"Come in," she calls, but her voice is hollow, and it pains me to hear it.

I do as instructed, and softly open and close the door behind me. She is sitting by the fireplace, and I am surprised to see that she is not drinking. Instead, she looks at me with an expression mirroring confusion.

"André?" she asks. "Is something wrong?"

"No." My voice is calm. She is still dressed, and I am forced to squash my disappointment. It really is improper to think that way! "Does something have to be wrong for me to come and see you?"

"I suppose not." A hint of a smile crosses her face, and my heartbeat begins to race.

I smile back at her. "Are you well, Oscar?"

She looks away from me and nods. "I'm fine."

Her smile seems forced, somehow, and that bothers me. Why must she pretend to be happy? Why can't I make her happy?

Standing, she stretches her arms over her head before stifling a yawn. She doesn't know what such a simple, every day action does to me. Love is not self-seeking, I remind myself. She doesn't want me, not like that, and I have no desire to become the kind of person she could hate.

"I'm tired," she says in that voice of hers that sounds confident. Perhaps there isn't anything terribly wrong with her after all. "Tomorrow will be another long day… I should get some sleep."

I nod, ever the patient gentleman, as her lips quirk upward in a sad, melancholic sort of way. I'm not sure what I'm more upset to see—her lying to me, or the sorrow that sits within her eyes. Where is that happiness I had glimpsed earlier in the day? If I had managed to capture it in more than just my memories, I would have shown it to her now.

I love her, so very much, and yet… I can do nothing for her. I see her suffering, I see her sorrow, and I stand idly by. But what can I say to erase the hurt she must be feeling? What can I do to help someone who is lost within their own sense of self?

She is so beautiful. She's right here in front of me, her lips parted slightly as she breathes and watches me, waiting for a reaction, an answer to her comment. I could reach out right now, I realize, and I could kiss her. I could hold her in my arms, I could run my fingers through her blonde hair, and I could touch the skin of the face that has been dancing through my mind for so many years.

"André?" she asks, but her voice is shoved to the back of my mind. All I see are her lips as she speaks my name.

Weakly, I answer her, my mind conjuring up every kind of image of her in my arms, my lips on hers. "Yes?"

"Goodnight, André." Her voice is so tender, so sweet… Does she even realize it? Does she know what she does to me? How could she possibly be aware of the thoughts that cross my mind every time I see her!

She isn't. I know she isn't.

She walks into her bedchamber, and almost a minute later I find myself chasing after her. She is standing in the darkest corner of the room, her shirt half undone. Her wide, confused eyes meet mine, and I hope she can't see my thoughts. How I would love for that shirt to fall away from her body!

And for that brief instant, I contemplate actually going through with my thoughts, running to her, taking her in my arms. I love her more than I love myself! In my mind, I am already there, and I take her in my arms and kiss her gently, feeling her respond after only a short moment.

But I can't do that. I can't…

She's right there, right in front of me, and I think that just touching her, just kissing her, would be enough. To hold her in my arms for a moment would quell my turbulent emotions. If she would kiss me back, my entire world would explode with lights and sound and color.

But no, I will not touch her. I can't touch her.

"Goodnight, Oscar," I say breathlessly, before turning around and leaving her room, leaving her standing there, confused but unaware of my feelings for yet another day.

If I touch her now, I am afraid I will never have her.


xOx…

Author Notes:

I found inspiration for this in the most random of places… World of Warcraft, to be precise! I'm not sure how it happened, but as I was playing that game, the idea for this suddenly came to me. Oscar is pretty much a bittersweet temptation for André, isn't she? She's quite the temptress, I think, though she doesn't realize it; he loves everything about her so much that I doubt anything is a turn-off! And it's all so bittersweet because he cannot say a thing.

His thoughts about love come from I Corinthians 13:4-7, but are quoted in a more roundabout way so it makes more sense. I'll probably use the actual scriptures another time.

Anyway, constructive criticism and feedback are very much appreciated, as always! Thank you for reading!