Eile sat miserably on her bed, staring down at her pale hands and the floor. Saraid, her three-year old daughter, lay next to her, sleeping soundly, Sorry held tightly in her skinny arms. Not even the peace her daughter could now experience could cheer up Eile.
She had known for quite some time now that she harboured more than just friendship and gratitude for Faolan, her truest friend and companion. Not that she had ever admitted them openly. Eile had never been good with words, and in some ways, she still feared intimacy with any man, if not quite as much with Faolan. The memory of her sick uncle Dalach hurting her, robbing her of her chastity and innocence still made her shudder. If Faolan had not come to her rescue…no, she would not think of that.
Then she had seen Ana hugging Faolan outside his room, like a lover. Eile had been unable to watch any further, and had silently retreated to her room to brood. How foolish she was, to think that Faolan might return her feelings. Why would he, when he had someone like Ana to love, beautiful, highborn, wealthy, noble? She, Eile, was just some sluttish girl whose daughter was her own uncle's child, with no beauty or intelligence of wealth.
Someone knocked on the door quietly. With a weary sigh, Eile strode over to it and pulled it open, looking up at Faolan with surprise.
"Faolan! Why are you here? What do you want?" Eile could not keep the hostility out of her voice.
"Why are you so angry at me?" Faolan enquired gravely, immediately noticing the tone of her voice.
"I saw Ana hugging you outside your room," Eile replied miserably. "You think I have no eyes or brains? I know what she means to you; I know how much you love her."
"Loved her. She can never be more than a friend to me now."
"Don't torment me with your lies!" Eile snapped, keeping her voice down. "Please, Faolan. Just go." Eile tried to retreat and shut the door, but Faolan was far quicker and managed to place his booted foot between the door and frame.
"I thought you trusted me, Eile. I'm telling you the truth: I no longer love Ana. I did once, at least, I thought I did, but things change. My heart belongs to someone else now."
Eile merely shook her red-haired head. "Enough, Faolan. I've heard enough. Stop telling me how many women you've loved."
Faolan took a step forward, keeping an eye on her face, and laid his hands on her shoulders. "Eile, it's you I love. Believe me, I love you far more than I ever loved Ana. She means nothing much to me anymore. If you cannot love…"
"Faolan, you already know what's been done to me. I am not some chaste, beautiful, wealthy woman; I cannot give you what you want."
Faolan did not bother to verbally reply to this. Instead, he merely pulled Eile close and kissed her, careful to keep it gentle, without force. He felt Eile's thin shoulders tightening, her breath ceasing in her throat, before her hand came up to his face, her lips returning his kiss.
"I'm sorry, Eile." Faolan pulled back at last and eyed her cautiously.
"Don't apologize to me." Eile pressed close to Faolan, not wanting him to release her. "You've done nothing wrong. But why this all of a sudden? Why did you choose to give up Ana?"
"She was blinded by her own convictions," Faolan replied, hugging Eile close. "She chose to believe that Drustan was a perfect, stainless man after but a meeting or two with him in the woods. Of course, as I suspected, he wasn't all that perfect after all. She brought this on herself; I will not interfere. Perhaps now she has learned what can happen when you judge someone based on their appearance. Drustan might be a comely man, yes, but his heart isn't all that pure. Ana will have to deal with things on her own now."
"Mmm." Eile barely registered a word he had said. The pleasure of being in his arms far overrode anything else. "Well, if she's so strong and wise, I'm sure she'll manage."
Faolan raised Eile's head and kissed her again, passionately. He felt Eile smiling, resting her head on his chest. This was everything they had dreamed of, each other's love, kindness and courage. They were the lucky ones to have found each other; Ana might have had the handsomest man in the land as her lover, but they had each other, and nothing in the world would compare to that.
Finis! End of story! Yes, I know it's badly written, sorry, but I got really bored, and wanted to finish this quickly. Anyhow, it is a parody (as I've warned you), so please don't expect it to be too accurate or sensible.
To everyone who's reviewed, thanks a million!