When Fate Betrays Your Heart

The little, stubby candle flickered, casting shadows on the floor of Isolde and Marc's bedroom. The sun had long since set and Marc had long since fallen asleep, but Isolde remained awake. Sometimes it was so hard to sleep.

Memories swirled around in her head. She remembered the time when she had read a book to Tristan by the fire. She had read a passage about love, and as she had read, Tristan had looked at her. He looked at her through those intense brown eyes as though she were the only woman in the world- a look that made her heart flutter. The fire had been so warm. The look in his eyes had been so warm. But she could never be his. She was Marc's wife now. Was it her fault? Perhaps if she had told Tristan her real name when they first met, she would now be his wife. She remembered the tortured look in his eyes on her wedding day. He looked as though he were dying inside. Perhaps he was. Perhaps she was too. Tristan! Oh, Tristan! Why didn't I tell you my real name! she thought in anguish. Silent tears rolled down her cheeks. What a beautiful life we could have lived together... If only I could be held in your arms one more time. She remembered what it felt like to be in his arms. He was so strong yet so sweet and gentle. She had felt loved... safe... She had felt as though nothing could go wrong in the world. Tristan had made her heart race and her stomach flutter like no one else ever had before or since.

She had loved him and still did. How can I live without him? Does he feel this way too? But she knew the answer to that. All she had to do was look into Tristan's eyes to see his pain. He had been avoiding her lately- she and Marc both, and she knew why. But it broke her heart every time he was not there, every time she could not see his beloved face, every time the ray of sunshine that he was to her did not cast its bright light of hope into her world of dark dreams. Why have you abandoned me here, Tristan? You are the one that said my marriage to Marc would save thousands of lives, yet every time you look at me with that tortured look in your eyes, you make me feel as though it were my fault... And perhaps it is... Oh, Tristan, if only I had told you my real name! More tears rolled silently down her cheeks.

A new thought fluttered into Isolde's mind. It was a song... a fragment of a memory... a memory of her mother singing to her as a child before she died. I wish my mother were here, she sobbed. She knew what a loveless marriage was like. If only she could be here now to comfort me, to hold me in her arms and to tell me what to do, how to handle it. Perhaps she too had loved another but was forced to marry someone else, just as I had.Isolde had hoped for a marriage of love. She never believed it would happen. Her betrothed had been a ruthless, beast of a man. But then, she met Tristan. She had nursed him back to life, wounded by a poison... a poison that had come from her betrothed's sword... the sword with which Tristan had killed her betrothed. Tristan had freed her from a horrid marriage. But he still could not be hers. He had to flee Ireland to escape her father's soldiers. When she saw Tristan at the tournament, she had thought, At last, he will be mine! How deceived she had been. How can life be so cruel? To have been free at last to be with him, only to lose him again. When fate betrays your heart... Her hope, she thought, was like the flickering candle- the light and the shadows ebbed and flowed and changed on the floor and ceiling and walls. Similarly her hopes had ebbed and flowed and changed inside her.

She couldn't think anymore. The memories that washed over her brought a tidal wave of emotions that she could not handle all at one. She missed Tristan so much. All she wanted was to be held in his arms again, to be told how much he love her.

She could hear Marc beside her, his slow, deep breathes of slumber. Marc was not such a bad man. He always treated her well, lovingly even, but he was not Tristan. He was not the man that she love.

Isolde blew out the candle, rolled over, and closed her eyes. Tomorrow would be another day, another day of acting as Marc's loving and adoring wife, another day without Tristan. But life went on. And perhaps, she might see Tristan tomorrow. He would have to come around soon. Perhaps it would be tomorrow. She clung to this hope as sleep overtook her and engulfed her in its ever-comforting arms.