Author's Note: This was something I uploaded elsewhere, but I never bothered to upload it here. Those of you who follow my other stories might like this one as well. Aida is a fun musical. It works as a lost Disney movie musical, too. (I guess it was supposed to be one?) But it doesn't hold a candle to the Opera. But it's fun, nevertheless! Elaborate Lives is one of my favorite songs in musical theatre history, and I've always wanted to know how it would be if it was spoken instead of sung.
So, those of you who are curious, here is my take on the love song from Aida which is called, "Elaborate Lives".
My father once told me that the God's had chosen me to be strong. My 'people' look upon me now to be stronger than I ever thought I could be … And now, at something so easy, so simple, I stand here afraid and weak at the mere thought of seeing Him.
"Please," Amneris pressed, her hand gripping Aida's dark skinned one, "as a friend, Aida. Could you?"
Aida looked towards the tent, watching the last of the Nubian slaves empty with their hands full of items that Radames had willingly given them. They were overjoyed with clothes, food, and objects that perhaps were more than their freedom.
But why, why was Radames doing this?
But she could soon ask that question, for he emerged, handing a basket of fruit to an elderly woman. Looking around, his eyes caught sight of Amneris and Aida together. But he was sure his eyes were not on his betrothed. His handsome face lit up into a small smile.
"Please, Aida? Can you thank him for me?"
Aida looked to Amneris, who was biting her lip and clutching her shawl tightly around her shoulders. She looked truly terrified over speaking to Radames. Did she even know the fear that was deep in her own heart?
Aida slowly clasped Amneris' hand and smiled faintly. "I can try, but I believe your words would be far more suited than my own."
Amneris' lips etched into a smile. "Oh Aida, you always know what to say. I'm so clumsy. It'd sound so foolish coming from me." She looked behind Aida and with a quick thank you, she hurried away from the camp, and back to the palace.
As soon as Aida turned, she was stunned to see Radames only a few feet away from her. She felt scared, unsure of how to begin. All she could do was stare into his face and wish… and dread… and pray… Oh, let the God's be with her at this moment!
"The princess finds your act of chivalry most gracious, Captain." Aida's eyes looked away back to the tent. "She thanks you, and hopes things are well between the both of you now."
He chuckled, looking back to the tent. "It was everything I ever owned. Everything I ever gained…. It was nothing," then looking back to her, he shook his head, "well, it was everything."
Aida felt a smile tug on her lips.
"And yet you smile," he added, taking a step closer. Her smile fell, and she took a step backwards. "I wonder, do you smile because you know why?"
"I don't," she immediately replied. "But, the princess had asked me to apologize on behalf of what had happened the other night, and that is why I am here."
He frowned. "I know how she feels, but… you didn't answer my question, Aida."
"I asked you, 'do you know why?' Why I did this right now. Why I have given everything up…"
"Please don't ask me," she beseeched. "I don't know…"
"You do, Aida," he said, taking a step closer. "You are the most clever, intelligent, bravest woman I have ever met. And you stand before me saying you don't know? It's very unlike you."
"I have to go, good night Captain", she began, turning to leave. But the gentle tug on her wrist stopped her from returning to the palace. She was breathing heavily; scared of what was happening, what he was doing, what she was doing.
It was difficult to say that within the amount of time that they knew each other, he knew her so well. He knew her every emotion. Even the one she was trying so hard to conceal right now. But would she be strong enough to keep it from him?
"Radames," she whispered, "you are betrothed to my mistress." The words cut through the silence like a knife. She did not mean for it to sound so harsh, but it left her lips in turmoil. She felt his fingers shift slightly on her wrist.
"It was not my choice, Aida. It was arranged by my father. And, it can be unarranged."
Aida shook her head, wrenching her hand free and turning around to face him. "Do you not understand? You are an Egyptian!"
"I very well know who I am, Aida," he said, "but do you know who you are?"
She hesitated. "I know who I am. I…" She wanted to tell him, it was so easy. I am a Nubian Princess, from the country that is currently at war with Egypt. But she could not. "Nothing will ever change who we are, nothing! I don't know why you even bothered to do this!" She exclaimed, gesturing to the tent. "You know as well as I do that you can raid another country and rebuild your fortune. It's so easy for you."
"Easy?" He asked, raising an eyebrow, the tone of his voice becoming more serious. "Do you think that this … is easy?"
She turned away from him, not knowing what to say.
"My life, Aida, is never planned for me. I think it is, but it's not. Did I ask to be a prince? Did I ask to be betrothed?" She felt the earth stir beside her, and she could feel his breath against her neck. "Did I ask to fall in love with you?"
Her eyes widened.
She felt his hands gently press upon her shoulders. And she moved away, not wanting to be seen by anybody nearest to the camp. The last thing she wanted…
"I know why you haven't left yet. And it's not because you're afraid, no. You feel the same. This isn't a game of who can withstand what the other has to say. You can only take so much…"
"But you're here by choice, Aida. Because you are choosing to go against what our countries believe in."
He spun her around, raising his hands to her face, cupping her cheeks. Slowly, she raised her eyes to look into his, and she was surprised by what she saw. Concern, fear, sympathy, and … longing.
"Our choices from this moment on define who we are. I don't want to live my life making choices that I am going to regret. Or choices that I am forced to do. I've made far too many of those already."
Slowly, he sank to his knees, grasping her waist. She couldn't move at the gesture. "What I want Aida is you," he choked. "I want to be with you. Now, forever, from this moment on… my choice is you, and every thought from every moment on is you."
"I kneel before you as a man broken but triumphant because I have finally made my choice. A choice I feel proud to make. This might not be the time, the moment, or the place for any of this. But I cannot hold it in. Tell me, now, do you feel the same way? If you don't, it will never change my feelings for you. But could you live with such a choice?"
She stared at him, hoping he was lying. Hoping that every word was a strange trick of fate, or perhaps the God's were taking control of him and making him talk like this. But every explanation that she could come up with seemed so implausible.
Because he knew her.
She loved him, and he knew that she would regret this chance to tell him for the rest of her life.
Slowly, her hands touched his cheeks, then his shoulders, urging him to stand. And he did, waiting on her words with heavy dread.
"Radames," she whispered, her fingers sliding down his chest, stopping over his heart. "If you know me so well, then you know how I feel already. You've always known."
"Then who are we? Strangers? Friends?" He asked, sliding his hands around her waist and up her back. His lips fell to her neck, pressing a kiss there. "Or are we lovers?"
She closed her eyes for a moment, relishing in the contact his lips had on her skin. She felt her nerves tingling.
"Radames… I…" She began, but his lips silenced her before she could continue.
And from that moment, she knew that no other words were needed to be said.
She grabbed to him like he was the last living thing she ever prized, her arms sliding around his neck and threading into his short hair.
"I'm so tired," he whispered between kisses. "Of everything we're going through, having to hide who we are, what we want… I hope that from this moment we shall never part."
"May our confessions be the start," she said softly, pulling away and allowing her fingers to trace his lips. He smiled and picked her up, carrying her to the tent, pressing his lips to hers once more.